With its roots firmly established in Lakewood, Great Lakes Theater celebrated the present and future with its fundraiser, “Sonnets & Serenades,” at home in PlayhouseSquare’s Hanna Theatre. As the organization has grown and expanded, it retains a friendly, almost clubby, aura. At the benefit, artistic director Charlie Fee introduced a humorous sonnet written by longtime trustee John Schubert, performed by members of the company. The evening also featured a musical program performed almost entirely by students in the Musical Theater program at Baldwin Wallace University. Duets from this season’s musical “The Fantastics” started the program. Next year, Great Lakes Theater is doing a large-scale musical with “My Fair Lady.” Finally, the close-harmony musical “Forever Plaid” was showcased with the well-known “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” and “Three Coins in the Fountain.”
Guests socialized in the theater and lobby spaces, and marveled at the newest unveiling at PlayhouseSquare. The Sherwin Salon is part of the Hanna complex and has been lovingly restored with ornate light fixtures and plasterwork. Lucky corporate supporters of Great Lakes Theater dined there while other guests oohed as the Hanna curtain rose revealing the stage set for dining for 240. Guests also raised their paddles to give donations to the theater’s education program, which puts professional actors in classrooms for a week of immersive experience with Shakespeare for hundreds of students in all grades.