Venice Theatre to celebrate 65th anniversary with black-tie event featuring performance of HAIR directed by Tony winner Ben Vereen

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Venice Theatre to celebrate 65th anniversary with black-tie event featuring performance of HAIR directed by Tony winner Ben Vereen


(Venice, FL) Savvy theatre goers who want to be first in line to experience Ben Vereen’s reimagined production of Hair, The American Tribal Love Rock Musical, are invited to attend Venice Theatre’s 65th Anniversary Gala on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015 at 6 p.m. This black-tie event includes a souvenir photo on the red carpet, hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, Hair’s opening performance, a talk-back with Vereen and his cast after the show, champagne, dessert, and a commemorative gift. Tickets are $100 and are available at, 941-488-1115, or in person at the box office at 140 W. Tampa Ave. in Venice. Those who have already purchased a ticket for Hair can upgrade to the gala by calling the box office at 941-488-1115.


Gala Chair and Venice Theatre board member Mary Taylor says the theatre is thrilled that so many community businesses are getting involved in the anniversary celebration. Appetizers that reflect a taste of Venice and showcase the quality and diversity of local eateries have been donated by Art Caffe, British Open Pub, Cafe Venice, The Crow’s Nest Marina Restaurant, Daiquiri Deck, Fin’s on the Pier, Gold Rush BBQ, The Jewish Congregation of Venice, Le Petit Bistrot, Left Coast Seafood Company, The Pavilion Grill, Applebees and Ristorante San Marco. To add ambiance to the evening Hazeltine Nurseries is loaning trees and plants to the theatre and Always an Occasion Florist is donating flowers and bows.


After its special opening night, Hair will continue on Venice Theatre’s MainStage Tuesdays through Sundays through Dec. 13, 2015. A product of the 1960s peace movement, hippie counterculture and sexual revolution, Hair won the 1968 Tony for Best Musical and the 1969 Grammy for Best Score from an Original Cast Show Album. Revived on Broadway in 2009, it won Best Revival of a Musical. Songs include “Aquarius,” “Good Morning Starshine,” “Hair,” and “I Got Life.” The show contains mature themes and nudity. Audience discretion is advised.


Additional performances have already been added to the schedule due to high demand, so ticket buyers should purchase early. Performances are at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays with additional performances on Saturdays Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. and Sunday Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. There is no performance on Thanksgiving. Tickets are $32 for adults, $20 for students (recommended for 18 and older) and are on sale now at the theatre’s box office, online at or by phone at 941-488-1115. Venice Theatre’s 2015-2016 MainStage Series is sponsored by Gulf Coast Community Foundation.


Tony Award winner Ben Vereen originally became involved with Venice Theatre in 2013 when he presented his concert “Steppin’ Out Live”.  He returned for a second performance in 2014. A few months later he served as the master of opening ceremonies at the international community theatre festival hosted by Venice Theatre where he also taught master classes. It was there that he and Venice Theatre’s Executive/Artistic Director Murray Chase discussed the possibility of Venice Theatre producing Vereen’s reimagined version of Hair.


Well-known and respected for his stage, television and film career, Vereen appeared in the original Broadway productions of Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and Pippin for which he won the Best Actor Tony Award.  More Broadway credits include Wicked, Fosse, I’m Not Rappaport, Jelly’s Last Jam and A Christmas Carol. Television and film credits include Roots, All That Jazz, How I Met Your MotherGrey’s AnatomyHot in Cleveland, NCIS, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Star Trek – The Next Generation, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He is currently receiving positive reviews (Rolling Stone says he plays the role of Dixon with “grit and grace”) for his appearance with Richard Gere in the film Time Out of Mind. Chase says, “Venice Theatre is delighted to be working with an artist of Ben’s caliber.”



HAIR, The American Tribal Love Rock Musical

Music by Galt MacDermot

Book and Lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado

Reimagined & Directed by Ben Vereen


Production Team


Music Director: Michelle Kasanofsky

Choreographer: Geena Ravella

Stage Manager: Lisa Million

Assistant Director: Kristofer Geddie

Scenic Designer: Tim Wisgerhof

Sound Designer: Dorian Boyd

Lighting Designer: Robert E Graham

Costume Designer: Nicholas Hartman

Projections: Thor Trammell





Claude: Patrick Mounce
Berger: Charles Logan
Hud: Aaron Vereen
Woof: Joseph Visaggi
Hubert/Father: Ted DeVirgilis
Margaret Mead: Nancy Pasternack
Principal: Henry Lawrence
Sheila: Vera Samuels
Crissy: Samantha Centerbar
Jeanie: Jessica Babcock / Kim Gaesser



Tribe: Brian Finnerty, Josue Rivera, Khamor Lyons, Zach Wasson, Samuel Echevarria, Logan Junkins, Anthony Jacot, Krysta White, Corinne Woodland, DaNiesha Carr, Liz Pascoe, Leah Woodsum, Jessica Babcock, Amanda Heisey, Ariella Pizarro, Mirra MacDonald, Charlotte Crowley, Annika Bush, Brandon Butler, Syreeta Banks, Joe Sergio


Children: Ali Wasmund & Isaac Smith


Venice Theatre

140 W. Tampa Ave

Venice, FL  34285

TICKETS: 941-488-1115 |

Venice Theatre is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to making a dramatic impact on all stages of life. The second-largest of 10,000 community theatres in the United States, it is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. in Venice, FL. Its MainStage offers seating for 432 patrons and features musicals, plays, concerts and special events.  Its Yvonne Pinkerton Theatre seats 90 patrons and is home to the theatre’s “Generations,” Stage II and Cabaret Series. In addition to providing entertainment to the community, Venice Theatre offers a wide range of education and outreach programs for children and adults.


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