Those attending the Sarasota community theater's fundraiser sing its praises.
Listening to those who attended the fundraiser Feb. 9 at Lakewood Ranch Country Club, it was easy to understand why they are smitten with the Players Centre for Performing Arts.
Sarasota's Erin Weinberger, who currently is performing in "Kiss Me Kate" at The Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg, said participating with The Players since she was 5 basically educated her.
"I would tell anyone who is aspiring to be a performer to go to the Players," Weinberger said. "They taught me how to walk into a room as a professional. They taught me how to work with a director, how to take notes, how to audition."
Weinberger and her mom, Amy Weinberger, were attending Smitten with the 70s, the Players' second annual benefit for its Arnold Simonsen Studio. The Players is building a new theater complex in the new Waterside Place hub of Lakewood Ranch.
Amy Weinberger said those living in the Lakewood Ranch area should be excited about the new theater as the Players' had a tremendous impact on her daughter.
"I thought it was the best-kept secret in town," Amy Weinberger said. "It raised so many great talents."
Next in line could be 10-year-old twins Liv and Gabe Tunks, who performed 1970s' style dances for the crowd at Smitten with the 70s. They both perform for both the Players Kids group as well as in the Players main performances.
Liv Tunks said she was excited about the new theater, but will be sad to leave the old one in Sarasota.
"It is where I did my first performance," she said.