Cleveland's Classic Company at the Hanna Theatre

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October 10, 2011

Cleveland's Classic Company Commences 50th Anniversary Season with A Tony Award-Winning Musical & 1980s-Infused Battle of the Sexes

CLEVELAND, OH (September 1, 2011) - Great Lakes Theater (GLT) will commence its 50th anniversary season at the Hanna Theatre, PlayhouseSquare, with a Fall Repertory that features the Tony Award-winning musical, Cabaret and William Shakespeare’s uproarious battle of the sexes, The Taming of the Shrew. The productions will be performed in rotating repertory September 23 – October 30, 2011. The Fall Repertory features GLT’s resident artistic company of actors performing two alternating plays on the same stage over six weeks. Victoria Bussert will direct Cabaret and Tracy Young will direct The Taming of the Shrew. (Cabaret was adapted from the book written by Joe Masteroff, based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood. The music was written by John Kander with lyrics by Fred Ebb. This version of Cabaret was originally co-directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall and directed by Sam Mendes. Cabaret is presented by arrangement with Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc., 560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York,10022)

Great Lakes Theater is generously funded by the citizens of Cuyahoga County through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. In addition, the company’s 2011-12 season is presented with support from The Cleveland Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council. Media sponsors for GLT’s 50th season are Cleveland Scene, The FORM Group, The Plain Dealer, WCLV 104.9 FM, WCPN 90.3 FM ideastream and WKSU 89.7 FM.

"Forty-nine seasons ago, Great Lakes Theater was born as a result of the visionary leadership of Dorothy Teare and, our first Artistic Director, Arthur Lithgow,” said Charles Fee, GLT’s current Producing Artistic Director. “In the succeeding decades, fortune has shined on our company through a succession of extraordinary leaders, dedicated board members and a community of support undaunted by the challenges of creating and sustaining the artistic and educational mission of ‘Cleveland’s Classic Company.’ We are thrilled to begin our 50th season in as strong a position as we have ever been – both financially and artistically! I can’t wait to continue our long artistic legacy, and kick off our golden anniversary, with the two extraordinary productions that we have in store for our audience this fall.”

GLT’s 2011 Fall Repertory commences with the Tony Award-winning musical, Cabaret. Great Lakes Theater invites audiences to take a seat at the Kit Kat Club, a decadent cabaret in pre-war Berlin where Clifford Bradshaw, a young American writer, falls in love with the club’s headlining performer, Sally Bowles. Playfully presided over by an outrageously rambunctious Emcee and bursting with a bevy of Broadway’s greatest hits, this Tony Award-winning tale of love, war and the struggle to survive in tumultuous times disarms and delights.

  An exuberant, 1980s-themed production of Shakespeare’s uproarious battle of the sexes, The Taming of the Shrew, completes GLT’s Fall Repertory pairing. She’s got an attitude…but he’s got a plan! Marriage, money and mayhem take center stage in one of Shakespeare’s best known comedies. In a clash of wits and wills, fortune-hunting Petruchio drags quick-tempered Kate to the altar to become the wife she never imagined she’d be. Can love tame a shrewish heart and surprise an unbridled bachelor?

The Fall Repertory directing corps is comprised of familiar and new Great Lakes Theater faces. Victoria Bussert will stage the company’s production of Cabaret. A Great Lakes veteran, Bussert will celebrate her 26th year at GLT this season. Her work was last seen by Great Lakes Theater audiences in 2010 when she staged A Christmas Carol and in 2009 when she directed The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Over the past twenty five years, she has directed a host of memorable GLT productions including Into the Woods, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Private Lives, Anything Goes, Gypsy, A Little Night Music, She Loves Me, The Most Happy Fella, Rough Crossing, Blithe Spirit, La Ronde, The School For Wives, Noel and Gertie, The Threepenny Opera, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. 

Director Tracy Young will make her Great Lakes Theater debut during the 2011 Fall Repertory when she helms the company’s “totally tubular” production of The Taming of the Shrew. Prior to arriving at the Great Lakes, Young recently directed The Imaginary Invalid, The Servant of Two Masters, and Luis Alfaro’s Breakfast Lunch and Dinner at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) – the nation’s largest theater company. In addition to OSF, Tracy has also directed at Cornerstone Theater Company, Yale Repertory Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater, The Marsh Theater, Chalk Repertory Theatre, The Improv (L.A.), Onyx Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and The Actors’ Gang. Her awards include: Connecticut Critics Circle, Ovation, LA Weekly and Backstage West Garland Awards for direction; finalist for the Alan Schneider Directing Award, CTG Robert Sherwood Directing Award and the P.E.N. West Playwriting Award.

Great Lakes Theater’s award-winning home at the Hanna Theatre features a visionary “Great Room” inspired design concept that integrates the artist and audience experience into a single unified environment. Hanna patrons select from a variety of seating opportunities including traditional theater seats, club chairs, lounge/bar seats, banquette couches and private box seating. Boasting a fully flexible hydraulic thrust stage, a complete array of state-of-the-art theatrical systems and an intimate 550-seat house arranged in a thrust configuration, the Hanna is one of the most innovative theaters in the country.   

In 2011-12, GLT will continue to offer its popular Experience Enhancement Series at the Hanna including Nightcap Night Saturdays which feature, live music performed by the region’s finest local bands and musicians in the Hanna’s bar and lounge following Saturday evening performances (non-opening night). Nightcap Night Saturdays - a four-date music series coordinated by Jim Wadsworth, the director of programming for Cleveland’s landmark music venue Nighttown - is designed to encourage patrons to extend their stay at the Hanna and to highlight the GLT/Hanna experience as one of the most unique entertainment options in the region. A complete list of musical acts will be announced at a later date.

Great Lakes Theater’s Experience Enhancement Series is organized by day of week. The series is designed to augment a patron’s theater experience by highlighting the Hanna’s unique amenities and by affording extraordinary access to Great Lakes artists.  

 Salon Thursdays” feature an engaging pre-show discussion/presentation beginning one hour before curtain with a Great Lakes Theater artist. (Offered:  Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27)  

 “Happy Hour Fridays” afford audience members the opportunity to gather and socialize at the Hanna’s bar and lounge immediately after work. A fine assortment of savory hors d’ oeuvres and a complete range of beverages are available for purchase beginning ninety minutes before the performance. (Offered:  Sept. 23, 30 & Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28)  

 “Nightcap Night Saturdays” are designed to encourage audience members to stay after the evening performance and enjoy entertainment performed by the region’s finest musicians and bands while mingling with the GLT artistic company in the Hanna’s lounge. The Hanna’s bar is open until ninety minutes after the performance on “Nightcap Night Saturdays. (Offered:  Oct. 8, 15, 22, 29)

“Ice Cream Social Sundays” offer patrons the opportunity to enjoy a London theatre tradition brought state-side. Audience members are invited to purchase a cool, personal ice cream treat before the show or at intermission. Ice cream will be offered at every performance in GLT’s Fall Repertory, but on “Ice Cream Social Sundays,” the treat is half price. (Offered: Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30)

“Director’s Nights” offer audiences the opportunity to take part in a lively pre-show discussion with GLT’s Producing Artistic Director, Charles Fee, and the director of each production before preview performances. (Offered: Sept. 23, 30)

“Playnotes Pre-Show Discussions” inform patrons with illuminating introductions to the content and history of each play in GLT’s season presented by a guest scholar before Saturday matinee performances. (Offered:  Oct. 8, 15, 22, 29)

Great Lakes Theater will afford patrons extraordinary access to its artists and production process at every Hanna Theatre performance this fall. The Hanna always opens its doors ninety minutes before each performance allowing patrons to observe the complete pre-show preparation process of GLT’s actors and technical staff. Elements traditionally hidden from audiences such as stage combat rehearsals, dance calls, prop/scenic pre-sets, technical cue rehearsals and actor warm-ups will be conducted in full view of patrons, offering GLT audiences an unprecedented glimpse into the theatrical process.

Great Lakes Theater will also continue its New Deal pricing initiative this fall - designed to increase accessibility for audiences. As part of the program, adult tickets begin at $15 and student tickets for any seat at any performance are $13 - making the Great Lakes Theater experience one of the most affordable entertainment options in the region. “It is absolutely vital to the mission and long-term health of our organization that we create affordable opportunities for every person in our region to experience live theater,” said GLT Producing Artistic Director Charles Fee of the program.

Opening Night (also Press Night) performances of Cabaret (September 24th) and The Taming of the Shrew (October 1st) have been scheduled for Saturday evenings with preview performances of both productions scheduled for the preceding Friday nights. Curtain times for all evening performances will remain at 7:30 p.m., with a 1:30 p.m. curtain time for Saturday matinees and a 3:00 p.m. curtain time for Sunday matinees. Both productions in GLT’s Fall Repertory will continue to offer sign-interpreted and audio-described performances.

Single performance tickets for Great Lakes Theater productions range in price from $15-$70 (Student tickets are $13 – any performance / any seat) and are available by calling (216) 241-6000, by ordering online at or by visiting the PlayhouseSquare Ticket Office. Groups of ten or more receive discounts of up to 40% by calling the Great Lakes Theater Group Sales Ofice at
(216) 241-5490 x302.
(Additional handling fees may apply and may vary depending on point of purchase.)

Great Lakes Theater, the first resident company of PlayhouseSquare, has brought the pleasure, power and relevance of classic theater to the widest possible audience since 1962. GLT programming reaches 85,000 adults and students annually.

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Media Contact:
Todd Krispinsky
Marketing and Public Relations Director
(216) 453-4449 /

Related Shows:
The Taming of the Shrew 12

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