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Great Lakes Theater presents Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ at the Hanna Theatre

Great Lakes Theater's production of "As You Like It" begins on Friday of this week at the Hanna Theatre at PlayhouseSquare.
Great Lakes Theater's production of "As You Like It" begins on Friday of this week at the Hanna Theatre at PlayhouseSquare.
Great Lakes Theater

The production is part of “Shakespeare for a New Generation”, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Great Lakes Theater will be finishing its phenomenal 2013-2014 season with the performance of William Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It” at the audience friendly and intimate Hanna Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. The show will run April 4 through 19, 2014. Edward Morgan will be the director for the show.

Great Lakes Theater is one of 40 professional theater companies selected nationwide to participate in “Shakespeare for a New Generation”, bringing the finest productions of Shakespeare “As You Like It” to middle- and high-school students in communities across the United States. This is the 10th year of “Shakespeare for a New Generation”, the largest tour of Shakespeare in American history.

“For the finale of our 2013-14 season in the re-imagined Hanna Theatre, we are thrilled to bring Shakespeare’s beautiful, boy-meets-girl as girl-playing-boy, romantic comedy, As You Like It, to the Parker Hannifin Stage,” said GLT’s producing artistic director, Charles Fee. “I am especially happy to welcome director Edward Morgan to Great Lakes Theater. Ed comes to Cleveland with an extensive background in Shakespeare and the classics as well as contemporary work and musical theater, having served for nearly a decade as Associate Artistic Director of Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and working across the country from Santa Cruz Shakespeare Festival to Virginia Stage Company. His experience as a musician as well as a writer of musicals informs his work on As You Like It – one of Shakespeare’s most musical of comedies!”

In this, one of Shakespeare’s most enchanting of romantic comedies; Rosalind seeks refuge in the Forest of Arden after being banished by her uncle. Her exile becomes a delightful adventure as she meets up with a variety of colorful characters including fools, witty rustics and the handsome but lovesick Orlando. A secret gender bending romance ensues that transforms the lost into surprise lovers.

Generous production support for As You Like It was provided by Lynn & Tim Pistell and The Great Lakes Theater Business Alliance. Special Student Matinee Series support for As You Like It was provided by PNC. GLT is supported in great part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. Season support is also provided by The Cleveland Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council. Media sponsors for GLT’s 52nd season are The FORM Group, Ideastream (WCLV 104.9 FM and WCPN 90.3 FM), The Northeast Ohio Media Group and WKSU 89.7 FM.

“Beneath its sparkling surface, As You Like It is not merely froth,” said director Morgan of Shakespeare’s comedy. “It juxtaposes civilized corruption with the life-giving force of the natural world. It gazes on mortality and the virtue of redemption. It mocks how urban and rural people view each other. It does gymnastics with gender roles and sashays with sexual ambivalence. And finally, it celebrates the threshold of a new era of individuality. With themes so strikingly modern, it’s astonishing to remember that this play premiered 415 years ago.”

Great Lakes Theater’s award-winning home at the Hanna Theatre features a visionary “Great Room” inspired design 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. Arranged in an intimate 550-seat thrust configuration where the audience surrounds the stage, no seat is further than 12 rows from the performance.

Great Lakes Theater offers patrons a robust series of Experience Enhancement Programming that is organized by day of week. The series highlights the Hanna’s unique amenities and affords access to artists.

--“Salon Thursdays” feature an engaging pre-show discussion/presentation beginning one hour before curtain with a Great Lakes Theater artist. (Offered: Apr. 10, 17)

--“Happy Hour Fridays” afford audience members the opportunity to gather, socialize and enjoy appetizers or beverages for sale in the Hanna’s bar and lounge beginning ninety minutes before the performance. (Offered: Apr. 4, 11, 18)

--“Nightcap Night Saturdays” are designed to encourage audience members to stay after the evening performance and mingle with the GLT artistic company in the Hanna’s lounge. The Hanna’s bar is open ninety minutes after Nightcap Night Saturday performances.” (Offered: Apr. 12, 19)

--“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 Deathtrap’s run, but on “Ice Cream Social Sundays,” the treat is half price. (Offered: Apr. 6, 13)

--“Director’s Night” offer audiences the opportunity to take part in a lively pre-show discussion with GLT’s Producing Artistic Director, Charles Fee before the Friday preview performance. (Offered: Apr. 4)

--“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: Apr. 12, 19)

Great Lakes Theater will continue to afford patrons extraordinary access to its artists and production process at every Hanna Theatre performance of “As You Like It”. 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 renew its New Deal pricing initiative this spring - 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 GLT one of the most affordable entertainment options in the region.

The Opening Night (also Press Night) performance of As You Like It is scheduled for Saturday, April 5th. A preview performance is scheduled for the preceding Friday night evening (April 4th). 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.

Single performance tickets range in price from $15-$70 (Student tickets are $13) and are available by calling (216) 241-6000, by ordering online or by visiting the PlayhouseSquare Ticket Office. Groups of ten or more receive discounts of up to 40% by calling (216) 241-5490 x302.

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 positively impacts 100,000 adults and students annually.