Guests took a step back in time to the Roaring ’20s when the Akron Civic Theatre was built for “Spirits of the Civic” on Saturday evening. Ted Walter chaired the benefit for the historic theater, and Mary Ann Jackson was honorary chair.
Outside the stage door, Tammy Carter and Dan Cortel greeted guests amid a bevy of antique cars from Bob Jones’ collection. Antique car hobbyists Bill and Cheryl Salisbury, Jack and Cheryl Kimberly and Bob and Beth Bechtel volunteered to drive the cars to the theater.
Once inside, Ed Balash guarded the door to the speakeasy, admitting only those who knew the secret word — “moonshine.” Maureen Rivers and Kathy Keenan served bathtub hooch as Helen Welch entertained with songs of the era and guests enjoyed buffets scattered around the theater’s Grand Lobby. Keystone Cops George Jenson, Harry Cool and Ken Carder kept order as guests mingled and ogled Carli Willis in her bathtub gin.
The Verb Ballet danced down the Grand Lobby stairs before everyone went upstairs to sample bourbon, beer and vodka. Spotted in the crowd were “Fast Eddie” Frederich and his wife, Carol, Jim Arnold, Ann Wehener, Brian Fortney, Jacqueline Donadio, Bob and Marilyn Jones, Gary and Linda Lyell, Dr. Steve Schmidt, Dennis and Nish Carmedy, Steve and Tia Spinelli, Marcia Kodish, Tom Luck and Tia Stathopoulous.
Rick Krochka tried the ghost whiskey, a white bourbon, while Rich Kopronica and Andrew Lix offered samples of Cleveland whiskey, a new bourbon, specially aged in a new process invented by Lix’s father, Tom Lix.
Matt Frank took photos of his wife, Erin, as she was “jailed” by Warden Barb Lawless, before her father, Steve Toohey, bailed her out. Cigarette girls Lindsay Mulhollen and Erin Buck sold “bribe cards” to those who needed to get out of jail.
Back downstairs in the theater, Trixie Morgan conducted the live auction of trips, getaways and a signature guitar signed by Akron’s own Black Keys.
Then the stage was transformed into a 1920s speakeasy complete with dancing and casino gambling. Josh Rzepka entertained in the Grand Lobby, and guests enjoyed the coffee and dessert bar.