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‘Crowning glory’

Seabrook Performers set to dazzle with Tales of the South Pacific

Created date

October 23rd, 2012

This month, the Seabrook Performers will dazzle audiences once again with their eighth production since April 2009 what producer and director Lindo Meli calls their crowning glory. The theatrical group will present Tales of the South Pacific, by James A. Michener, November 16, 17, and 18 at Seabrook, the Erickson Living community in Tinton Falls, N.J. It s going to be something that Seabrook hasn t seen yet, says Lindo, who began his theatrical career in 1939. I don t want it to be produced as the musical adaptation South Pacific, by Rodgers and Hammerstein. It will be more like the original work by James A. Michener. In fact, Lindo says, they have a special guest who looks so much like James A. Michener, he s going to be the narrator. Fellow community member Jack Cunningham will play the role. Other community members and some staff nearly 40 in all will act, direct music, design the set and costumes, and manage lighting. Artist Ludwig Selikowitz has painted a background, marking the first time the 250-seat Seabrook auditorium has featured a painted backdrop for a performance. The scenery will be especially well done for this show, Lindo says.

Practice makes perfect

The group started rehearsals September 4 with two, two-hour practices, two days a week. Most of the people have been in our shows before, Lindo says, but we have some new people coming on too. Cynthia Rozenberg will play the lead female role of Nellie Forbush. Hans Henderiks will play the lead male role of Emile de Becque. Jim McDonnell will play Luther Billis, newcomer Bob Gamble will play Lieutenant Cable, and Louise Driscoll will play Bloody Mary. There are a heck of a lot of characters in this show, Lindo says, citing the following as other participants in the performance group: Sally Parsons, William Poyner, Marion Kleiner, Virginia Consoli, Barbara Keeley, Janet Griffin, Ed Robins, Lorraine Clementoni, George Torpey, Joe Emm, Ann Zarrello, Aubrie Johnson, Murray Harris, Lois Werner, and Sophy Kirsch. Norma Linzalone continues to lead the group as musical director. Lindo is a task master, she says. He works you hard. He s Broadway quality. Lindo says by the time opening night comes around, they will have put in 80 to 90 hours of rehearsals and preparation. I have hope that we ll be ready, he says.

One of their own

Earlier this year, the Seabrook Performers took on another challenge. They wrote, produced, and performed their own original musical productionThe Wizard of Seabrook Village. A sub-group of five Lindo Meli, Herb Gissen, Art Katz, Bill Sagosz, and Norma Linzalone created the show, while 24 residents and staff performed. They worked on it for an entire year, even during rehearsal of their fall 2011 showTevye the Milkman. I thought it was a very creative piece, Art Katz says of the production. He wrote lyrics and developed the storyline, while his colleague and neighbor, Herb Gissen, wrote most of the dialogue. It s largely based on life here at Seabrook. Week by week, month by month, the story plot started to come to the fore. Herb and Art in particular brought in scenes every week, and we read them and tore them apart to pieces but kept moving toward the final production that you have seen, Lindo writes in the August issue of The Shore Lines, a monthly community newsletter. It was difficult, Norma says, but it was a lot of fun. She says the group constantly made changes to perfect the piece, right up until the first performance. They put their own lyrics to familiar tunes that Norma played on piano. The production, which took place in mid-June, drew attention from area media, includingThe Coaster,Asbury Park Press, and WOBM-AM radio. Acting takes a lot of aptitude, says Seabrook Public Affairs Manager Tony Ciavolella, but creating an original production and then taking the time to perfect the roles and musical numbers says a tremendous amount about how active and engaged our residents are.