Bob Taylor should have more days in the week now for his favorite magazine. After 23 years with the Great Lakes Theater, 20 of them as executive director, Taylor received a gala farewell into retirement at the annual Backstage Bash at the Hanna Theatre.
With a proven background in finance and administration, Taylor played a pivotal role in getting the theater company on solid ground and expanding partnerships with the Lake Tahoe and Idaho Shakespeare Festivals. Significantly, he spearheaded the $20 million capital campaign to renovate the historic Hanna, providing the Great Lakes Theater a home within Playhouse Square. So he wasn’t going to go off into the retirement sunset without a proper theatrical farewell.
The festivities began in the Speakeasy Salon. There artist Boe Wank emceed the “CaBOBret, interspersing a trivia pursuit of Bob Taylor life-
bits with performances such as Mack Shirilla’s powerful “Being Alive” from Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.” In honor of one trivia item, that Taylor spends every Sunday reading The New Yorker, stage decor included floral arrangements made from the pages of the beloved publication.
The party moved on to the Hanna’s main stage, where members of the artistic company took turns wowing the crowd with renditions from past performances and future productions. Highlights included a scene from “Hamlet,” ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” and a melodic duel of “Maria” from “West Side Story.” A spectacular blast by producing artistic director Charlie Fee sent a blizzard of colorful confetti over the finale. Then the audience took to the stage for dancing to Tricky Dick
and the Cover-ups and dining on slider and dessert specialties by Driftwood Catering.
Among the featured auction items: Cleveland Cavaliers executive suite for a party of 12 and a Cleveland Guardians First Pitch experience. All proceeds from the event’s sales, auctions and raffles support Great Lakes Theater’s mainstage productions and educational programming. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY PEGGY TURBETT