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He's Broadway quality'

Theater director keeps minds, bodies active

Created date

September 20th, 2010

The thing that sold me to move to Seabrook was the auditorium, Lindo Meli says. I saw the potential to do showshere that would appeal to people my age, who live here. A life-long entertainer, Meli started the Seabrook Performers Theatrical Group upon moving to the Tinton Falls community. The group produces at least two shows a year in Seabrook s 250-seat auditorium. I am trying to get people to use their mental capacity, he says of his motive for starting the group. People can stretch their minds, and this is one way to keep the mind active.

Putting on a show

Originally called the Seabrook Players, the group debuted on April 18, 2009, with the 1944 comedic thriller Arsenic and Old Lace. We made a radio studio on stage, and the characters walked up to the mic and recited their lines, Meli says. They did so well in the first presentation that I started having them memorize lines, he says proudly. Nine people, including Meli, participated in the debut performance. Since then, they have presented three shows to the Seabrook audience, including Six at 7:30, a collaboration of six comedy skits at 7:30 p.m. on September 12, 2009, and Guys and Dolls in February 2010, which took more than 30 people to produce. Putting on a show doesn t just take actors and directors; it also takes lighting technicians, musical directors, and set and costume designers. For the Seabrook Performers Theatrical Group, people who live at the community accomplish all of these jobs, making the group appealing to almost anyone. Meli recruits his neighbors and discovers their talents: voice, performance, technical aspects, sewing, or music. I do the directing and I leave everything else to others because I want people to get involved, he says. There is no better activity to get involved in than putting on a show.

No messing around

Last winter, Meli discovered Norma Linzalone while she accompanied another of Seabrook s musical groups, the Sociable Singers, on piano. He gave me the score of Guys and Dolls, and I took the challenge, she says. The group practiced for three months, three times a week, to prepare for their performance. It takes several months to prepare, Meli says, confirming that, while most may be amateurs, the Seabrook Performers Theatrical Group puts on a quality show. Lindo is a task master, says Norma Linzalone, the group s musical director. He works you hard, and eventually he gets 95% of what he s looking for. He s Broadway quality. For Linzalone, who has been playing piano since she was 12 and surrounded by it her whole life, directing the Seabrook group is a pleasure. I love it! It s my life, she says. I never had a title in all my life, and now I m musical director.

Stay tuned

Next, the Seabrook Performers Theatrical Group will perform a collection of seven musical numbers from seven Broadway shows, titled A Taste of the Best of Broadway. Evening shows are scheduled for October 28 and 29, with a Sunday matinee on October 30. Tickets are $2 for Seabrook residents. What musical numbers will they perform? Meli says, That s a surprise. You ll have to come to the show to find out.


Living a musical life

Her fingertips kiss the ivory keys, while the walnut case shapes each note ringing from her Weber-Aeolian baby grand. Since 1964, Norma Linzalone has played this baby grand, and when she moved to Seabrook, she had no thoughts of leaving it behind. Now it fits perfectly in her living room, where she plays it nearly daily. You see, for Linzalone, music is her pleasure, her joy, her life. Growing up with five sisters, each playing an instrument, Linzalone is no stranger to music. However, training only got her so far. I started taking piano lessons at age 12 and only took them for four years, she says. After that, she continued to play by ear. Now, years later, she accompanies three musical groups: Seabrook s Sociable Singers, Lion s Head South s choral group, and the Seabrook Performers Theatrical Group, where she also acts as musical director. It s a gift from God, I guess, she says of her musical talents. Lindo Meli, director of the Seabrook Performers and life-long performer, praises Linzalone. She s a wonderful musician. To be able to play some of the music from Fiddler on the Roof is very difficult. How she does it, I don t know, he says. When asked her favorite type of music to play, Linzalone responds, I play all kinds of music, making her a perfect match for the Seabrook Performers next performance: A Taste of the Best of Broadway featuring seven musical numbers from seven Broadway shows.