2014 Benefit

Buy Tickets Online

Use the Trinity Commons entrance from Prospect Avenue just east of E. 22nd St.

Please join us for Near West Theatre’s Annual Benefit:

Love Makes the World
Go 'Round

as we honor longtime Near West Theatre Trustee and supporter Jan Roller

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014
6:00 to 9:30 p.m.
Trinity Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Ave., Downtown Cleveland (use Prospect Ave. entrance)

Click here to buy tickets online through Feb. 13

Purchase by phone at 216-961-6391, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays through Feb. 13.

Ticket sales start at the door at 6:00 p.m.

You’ll experience:
• An energetic performance by Near West cast members
• Food, beer, wine and soft drinks
• Desserts and coffee
• Dancing and a live DJ
• A silent auction and raffle highlighting the best that Cleveland has to offer

Tickets are $85 (or a 10 pack of tickets for $800!)
Questions? Call 216-961-9750.


Make a big impact on Near West Theatre’s art and mission by sponsoring our Benefit at $10,000, $7,500, $5,000, $2,500, or $1,000! Call 216-961-9750 for details on the various recognition and ticket packages at these levels.

Our sponsors so far (as of Jan. 31):
American Limousine Service
Douglas G. Bugie
Charles and Alice Butts
Davis & Young, L.P.A.
Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization Euro USA
Richard Fleischman + Partners Architects
Char & Chuck Fowler
Gypsy Beans & Baking Co.
The Huntington National Bank
Chuck and Rita Maimbourg
Majic Family Fund
Mansour, Gavin, Berlack & Manos, L.P.A. Panzica Construction Company
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Pogue
R.C. Distributors
The Sherwin-Williams Company
Jim and Anne Schoff
Tucker Ellis LLP

Parking information and directions

Use the Trinity Commons parking lot on Prospect Avenue just east of East 22nd Street or the Cleveland State University multi-story lot next to it. If you use the CSU lot, bring your ticket to the Cathedral with you for validation. We’ll greet you at the Benefit registration table inside the Trinity Commons entrance. Directions to the Cathedral are here: http://trinitycleveland.org/about/directions/


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Hans Holznagel, Near West Theatre 216.961.9750 - hholznagel@nearwesttheatre.org

Cathedral to be transformed into stage, dance floor for a night

CLEVELAND – A downtown cathedral will become a stage and a carnival-themed dance floor on Saturday, Feb. 15, when a local theater holds its festive annual fundraiser.

Near West Theatre’s Annual Benefit, this year titled "Love Makes the World Go 'Round," will be from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Trinity Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Ave. It will feature a high-energy, original performance by NWT cast members as well as food and drink, a DJ and dancing, a silent auction and raffle, and other surprises. This year’s honoree is Cleveland attorney Jan Roller, a longtime Near West Trustee and supporter.

Through scenery, decorations and actors' costumes, the cathedral's gothic surroundings will take on circus- and carnival-like colors and imagery. The visual themes of Near West's recent productions of the musicals Side Show and Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris will inform the look and feel of the evening.

The Benefit is the most important fundraiser of the year for Near West Theatre, which builds community among ordinary people by staging classic musicals with large, diverse casts of all ages and also offers children’s and youth programming. Companies and individuals are invited to consider Benefit sponsorships at levels of $10,000, $7,500, $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000. As of Jan. 9, sponsors include American Limousine Service, Douglas G. Bugie, Euro USA, Char and Chuck Fowler, Gypsy Beans & Baking Co., Chuck and Rita Maimbourg, the Majic Family Fund, Panzica Construction Co., Mr. and Mrs. Richard Pogue, and The Sherwin-Williams Company.

Besides the evening's entertainment, a ticket to the event at $85 (or 10 tickets at $800) buys full access to beer, wine, soft drinks, and a festive spread of food provided by Spice of Life Catering and desserts by Gypsy Beans & Baking Co. Tickets can be purchased online here; by phoning 216-961-6391, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays; or in person during those same hours at NWT’s business office, 6516 Detroit Ave., Suite 9. $50 of each ticket is tax-deductible. Details are at www.nearwesttheatre.org/benefit.html.

CoolCleveland.com has called Near West Theatre's Annual Benefit "one of the best parties of the year" and "a near perfect synthesis of a fun event that also manage[s] to showcase artistic expression and the social issues that Near West is grounded in."

Near West Theatre thanks Community Shares of Greater Cleveland, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, and the Ohio Arts Council for ongoing support of its art and mission.

Stephanie Morrison-Hrbek (top) sings with (L. to R.) Geoffrey Short, Rachel Woods and Patrick Ciamacco at Near West Theatre's 2013 Benefit, "You Can’t Stop the Beat." Photo by John Stuehr.

Stephanie Morrison-Hrbek (center) leads the performance finale at Near West Theatre's 2013 Benefit, "You Can’t Stop the Beat." Photo by Terry Schordock.

Download Benefit Info Sheet

Our Honoree:
Jan Roller

A Near West Theatre Trustee since 1996, Jan Roller is a model of professional and citizen involvement for the public good.

A resident of Cleveland's West Side, she has built a busy career as a trial attorney specializing in medical malpractice and personal injury defense litigation – and, increasingly, mediation – with the Ohio law firm Davis & Young. She joined the firm in 1983 and became its first woman partner in 1989. She has been active in local, state and national organizations within the legal profession.

But she has not allowed her remarkable professional life be the sum of her public service. She has made time for years of leadership in nonprofit, civic and governmental organizations that are devoted to social good in Cleveland and beyond. The City Club of Cleveland, City Year Cleveland, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, Urban Community School, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, WomenSpace, the Greater Cleveland Women's Roundtable, Neighborhood Counseling Service, the Office of School Monitoring and Desegregation, and the Cuyahoga County Port Authority are among the many that have benefited from Jan's leadership as a board member, and, in several cases, president.

Professionally, she is a past president and trustee of the Cleveland Bar Foundation; a member of the bar associations of Ohio and Cleveland, the Defense Research Institute, the American Board of Trial Advocates, the International Association of Defense Counsel, the Eighth District Judicial Conference; and a "Master Bencher" with the Judge John M. Manos Inn of Court.

Jan is a graduate of Denison University, Granville, Ohio (cum laude, 1976), and of Case Western Reserve University School of Law (1979). She and her husband, David T. Abbott, have three sons. She was president of the Near West Theatre Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2003.

"In her political work, civil work and neighborhood activity, she routinely navigates murky waters with ease," Angela Shuckahosee, executive director of the Cleveland Tenants Organization, recently told Crain's Cleveland Business. "She leads through intelligence, depth of character and wisdom."

"Jan took the initiative to help formulate a new board for us at the critical juncture when we were striking out on our own as an independent nonprofit," said Stephanie Morrison-Hrbek, NWT's founding executive director. "She seized the moment with her indomitable spirit, drive, and passion. She recognized the opportunity for us to institutionalize our organization on a whole new level and launched the first annual benefit event for Near West in 1999 at Playhouse Square. She then led the effort to initiate a search for a new home that same year. Her presence and leadership have been indispensable through these processes. Jan was also instrumental in creating the honorary leadership team for the Gordon Square Arts District campaign by first enlisting Tom and Sandy Sullivan and Dick and Pat Pogue. This has proven to be one of her greatest contributions to our organization and our community. To have Jan dedicated to our cause is simply the greatest blessing one could hope for. She sees the possibilities and then goes for the gold! We have reached great heights –with more in sight – due, in large part, to Jan's wisdom, strength, and leadership."

"I love NWT, I truly do," Jan said recently. "We have our everyday work-a-day worlds: going to work, buying groceries, making dinner, getting up and doing it all over again. But when seeing a show at NWT, the quality of the performance transports you into another time and place. You actually feel the highs and lows of the human experience, hear wonderful music and see great acting and choreography. But that has only been one part of my NWT experience.

"The other part is to work with the dedicated team, led by Stephanie and Bob, to not only keep the programming going but also to raise a new building. This is where a certain kind of magic has happened for me. I have witnessed NWT go from a small, fledging 'project' of another nonprofit, to the strong, respected, first-rate theater group it is today, with sold-out performances and the ability to build its own performance site. But most importantly NWT has never lost its way in being true to the call for social justice, in the themes it stresses in various shows and in how it treats and encourages the best in people. I'm one of those people. I have received so much more than I have ever done for NWT and I so greatly appreciate that it is a part of my life."