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When I was Hot in Cleveland

I was speaking to Mom the other day and I suggested she check out a show on TV Land cable TV called “Hot in Cleveland.”

“Hot in Cleveland”  revolves around three L.A. women of a certain age who are best friends played by Valerie Bertinelli (who I grew up with watching “One Day at a Time” when I was growing up in Cleveland), Jane Leeves (formerly Daphne on “Frasier”) and Wendie Malick (formerly on “Just Shoot Me”).

According to the “Hot in Cleveland” Web site, The women’s lives are changed forever when their plane -- headed to Paris for a girls-only celebration -- unexpectedly lands in Cleveland and they soon rediscover themselves in a city which isn’t full of stars and wannabes.  With bleak prospects waiting for them back home, and noting the attentive looks they get from men in a local bar, they decide to stay a while.

They find themselves living under one roof and battling the sassy caretaker (Betty White playing Elke) of the property they have rented.

Produced by "Will and Grace" star Sean Hayes, the series is TV Land’s first original situation comedy, which station is usually filled with ancient reruns.

It’s kind of a paradox that the show is set in my old home town which I left to find “stardom” and acting gigs. Now, it’s the focus of  the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Football Hall of Fame former home of LeBron James who has recently been in the news going to Miami Heat rather than sticking with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hey, it was even the theme song of  the Drew Carey Show, “Cleveland Rocks.”

My start there after high school musicals, glee club and plays was with the Chagrin Valley Little Theater which is still running today. I also got some modeling gigs at a local clothing store and local “tea rooms.”  Actually, the place is called “Corky and Lenny’s” and is also still there today.

I, however, went off to Indiana University for voice, theater and dance on an opera scholarship, of all things! Then I left after my junior year when I auditioned and was hired by the American Repertoire Theater Company’s ARTReach touring group. It was my big chance to get my career started and it is also still running today, and still directed by Kathryn Schultz Miller, who was artistic director for the group back in my day. We’re still in contact and she has contributed to some of these columns!

So, check out “Hot in Cleveland” Wednesday nights on TV Land. It’s set in my old home town and it’s nice to see the focus back there again. And Betty White is a hoot!

About Kathryn Spira

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland, OH who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County, New York. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site