The Granada Theatre in Hollister has always been known for entertainment.
On Saturday, the venue that once played Hollywood movies was the scene of blackjack tables, a bar at the lobby and dolled-up patrons at the first ever Casino Night fundraiser hosted by the San Benito Stage Company.
“I think tonight was a great success,” said Derek Barnes, event organizer and board member of the local theatre group that has been staging plays and musicals at the downtown theatre since 2007. “I think we hit our target. We had over 100 people and our goal was 100.”
Barnes said proceeds from the $35-affair will go towards the stage company’s operation costs, equipment upgrades, scholarships and future productions.
“We’re going to make plans for next year,” said Barnes. “We said if this was a success, we would do it again.”
For the cost of entry, guests received $350 in chips. The patron with the most chips at the end of the evening won the grand prize, a package consisting of two tickets to the San Benito Stage Company’s upcoming teen show, an annual membership and gift cards valued at $350.
In between playing roulette, poker and other casino games at seven tables setup throughout the theatre, guests were entertained by a bevy of stage performers halfway through the evening.
Maddison Alipaz, Marlene Hartman, Betsy Molchan and Amy Redmond Waran, who also served as cocktail hostesses throughout the night, enthralled guests with a dance routine choreographed to “Big Spender” from the 1960s Broadway musical “Sweet Charity.”
“I hope we are able to get these people to come and be more active members in San Benito Stage Company,” said stage performer and producer, Adrienne Summers, who was hopeful seeing so many new faces in the theatre.
The fundraiser also featured a silent auction and raffle with prizes including a Keurig coffee maker, wine tasting for two at Guerra Cellars, family night at Fisher’s Catering and vouchers for Premiere Cinemas.
Anne Hall, theatre company board president, thanked many local businesses and community members for sponsoring the event and donating raffle and silent auction items.
Richard and Marilyn Ferreira sponsored the grand prize and Will and Lisa Sutton from the Hollister Rotary volunteered as bartenders, serving wines from DeRose Winery and domestic beer.
Adriana Ferry, stage company member and event volunteer, said turnout for the company’s inaugural casino night fundraiser was great and the night fantastic.
“I cannot wait for next year,” she said.