Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cleveland’s Hanna Theatre Re-Opens

Images from GLTF
Back in January, I wrote about the history and renovation of the Hanna Theatre in Playhouse Square (“Imagine a Re-Imagined Hanna Theatre”).

The Hanna renovation is now complete, and The Great Lakes Theatre Festival will be calling the Hanna their new home. The theater will have a grand re-opening with the GLTF annual benefit this Saturday, September 20.

Here are the details from The Great Lakes Theatre Festival on their new home and on their new season:

Great Lakes Theater Festival Announces Ambitious 2008-09 Season in New Home at the Hanna Theatre

The Festival’s 47th season features a dynamic line-up of theater offerings, an expanded performance calendar and A Christmas Carol’s twentieth anniversary.

CLEVELAND, OH – Charles Fee, Producing Artistic Director of Great Lakes Theater Festival (GLTF), announced plans for the classic theater company's forty-seventh season today. The Festival's four regular season offerings in 2008-09 will take place in GLTF's new home at Playhouse Square 's Hanna Theatre while A Christmas Carol will remain in its traditional Ohio Theatre setting .

“The design of our new home is truly remarkable,” said Fee. “The creative opportunities that the ‘re-imagined' Hanna Theatre will afford our artists, our audiences and our community are absolutely extraordinary. What is particularly exciting for us as a company is that the design of our new home is really a metaphor for the kind of work that we do on stage each season… re-imagining classics. We can't wait to share this new experience with our audience. Working together with our amazing resident company of artists, our loyal and adventurous audience, our region's educators and students and with our great community partners like Playhouse Square, we look forward with optimism to the future. And this bright future begins today with the announcement of our forty-seventh season of classic theater - one that exemplifies the bold, ambitious artistic vision and dynamic, entrepreneurial spirit that has made this company great.”

Great Lakes Theater Festival's new 550-seat home at the Hanna Theatre will feature a flexible thrust stage and afford its audiences an exciting and uniquely intimate theater experience. The Hanna's new “Great Room” inspired design concept will create a single unified environment that integrates the artist and audience experience into one realm and dissolve the formal separation between the social experience of the lobby and the artistic experience of the stage. The new Hanna will offer patrons a variety of seating options including traditional theater seats , club chairs , banquettes , private boxes and lounge / bar seating . This variety of options will enable each visitor to self-define their experience at the theater.

Great Lakes Theater Festival's 2008-09 season will run from September through May and will feature a Fall Repertory, the Festival's annual holiday classic A Christmas Carol and a Spring Repertory. In the fall (September 24-November 8, 2008) , GLTF will present William Shakespeare's towering tragedy Macbeth , directed by GLTF Producing Artistic Director Charles Fee , in rotating repertory with Stephen Sondheim's enchanting musical, Into the Woods , directed by Victoria Bussert . GLTF's annual production of Charles Dickens' holiday classic, A Christmas Carol (November 28-December 23, 2008) , adapted and directed by Gerald Freedman, will mark the midpoint of the Festival's forty-seventh year. GLTF will continue its 2008-09 season with a Spring Repertory (March 25-May 3, 2009) pairing William Shakespeare's fantastic farce The Comedy of Errors with Anton Chekhov's soaring classic, The Seagull. The directors of The Comedy of Errors, The Seagull and A Christmas Carol will be announced at a later date.

The season sponsor of Great Lakes Theater Festival's inaugural year at the Hanna Theatre is National City . The season will be presented with additional generous support from The Cleveland Foundation, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, the Ohio Arts Council and SCK Design.

The Festival will expand its Fall and Spring Repertory performance calendars in 2008-09 to satisfy increased audience demand for public performances and to accommodate GLTF's significant student matinee audience. The company's Fall Repertory will expand its run from five weeks in 2007 to seven weeks in 2008. Similarly, the Festival's Spring Repertory run will expand from five weeks in 2008 to six weeks in 2009. The performance calendar for A Christmas Carol will remain consistent with past seasons.

Great Lakes Theater Festival's unique rotating repertory format has played a key role in the theater company's success with audiences over the past several seasons. The Festival returned to a rotating repertory format in 2003 with alternating productions of Hamlet and Tartuffe.

“Presenting a pair of classic plays in rotating repertory is a great challenge for artists and great fun for audiences,” said Charles Fee. "The opportunity to see a single resident company of actors perform two plays on the same stage, alternating shows every few nights, makes the Great Lakes Theater Festival experience unique in northern Ohio . Producing plays in repertory enables audience members to ‘get to know' the actors in our company on a much deeper level while simultaneously allowing us the opportunity to showcase the company members' considerable talents. It is amazing to witness the actors' transformation each night as they take the stage.”

Great Lakes Theater Festival's annual production of A Christmas Carol will celebrate its twentieth anniversary in 2008. Originally adapted and directed by former GLTF Artistic Director Gerald Freedman in 1989, A Christmas Carol has entertained over 450,000 adults and students over the course of its history. The production will remain in its traditional home at the Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square.

Great Lakes Theater Festival's expanded 2008-09 performance calendar includes two new features: 1) a pair of additional Preview performances and 2) a new Friday evening Press/Media Opening performance for each of the company's regular season offerings. The remainder of the 2008-09 season schedule remains consistent with historic Festival offerings. Opening Night performances of Macbeth, Into the Woods, The Comedy of Errors and The Seagull have been scheduled for Saturday evenings, while A Christmas Carol 's Opening Night is slated for a Friday night. 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. All five productions in the Festival's forty-seventh season will continue to offer sign interpreted and audio described performances as well as the popular Director's Night and Playnotes pre-show discussion series.

Subscriptions to Great Lakes Theater Festival's 2008-09 season will go on sale to the general public beginning April 1, 2008 and subscription renewals for 2007-08 season subscribers will begin on February 11, 2008. An adult subscription to Great Lakes Theater Festival starts as low as $93. Student subscriptions begin at $36. For more information about becoming a Festival subscriber, patrons should contact the Great Lakes Theater Festival subscription office at (216) 664-6064 or online.

Single tickets will be available beginning in July. Regular priced adult single tickets will range from $15 - $69. Regular priced student/youth tickets for the Hanna Theatre are $13 ($28 for A Christmas Carol in the Ohio Theatre) and will be available for all performances. Additional handling fees may apply and may vary depending on point of purchase. Further details and pricing specifics will be announced in July. Single tickets will be available by calling (216) 241-6000, by ordering online and by visiting the Playhouse Square Ticket office. Groups of ten or more receive discounts as do educators.

The first resident company of Playhouse Square , Great Lakes Theater Festival will celebrate twenty-five years in the Theatre District this season. Since 1962, the Festival has brought the pleasure, power and relevance of classic theater to the widest possible audience in northern Ohio.

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