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On stage with the Seabrook Performers

World of Cervantes honors 400th anniversary of Don Quixote author’s death

Created date

August 10th, 2016
(From left) Seabrook Performers Amelia Raziano, Assunta Lee, Marion Kleiner, Cynthia Gerstenberg, and Leo Heiden sing during a dress rehearsal for World of Cervantes in June.

(From left) Seabrook Performers Amelia Raziano, Assunta Lee, Marion Kleiner, Cynthia Gerstenberg, and Leo Heiden sing during a dress rehearsal for World of Cervantes in June.

The curtain rises and reveals a stage full of people frozen in time—except for one, Miguel de Cervantes, played by lifelong producer and director Lindo Meli. As Lindo recites his lines, he taps each character with his lance, and they spring to life.   

“During my stay in prison, I conceived the story of Don Quixote,” Lindo says as Cervantes, the renowned Spanish writer and author of Don Quixote.

To mark the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ death, the Seabrook Performers presented World of Cervantes June 24, 25, and 26.  The entertaining musical is the fifteenth Seabrook show Lindo has produced and directed. The group, one of 120 activities at Seabrook, produces two shows a year—one in June and one in November. 

The Performers, a group of about 16 Seabrook residents, rehearsed for three hours a day, twice a week for three months in preparation for the the show. 

“The amount of time and energy they put into this [is amazing],” Lindo says during a dress rehearsal two weeks before opening night. 

True teamwork

Residents perform on stage as well as behind the scenes on set design, costumes, lighting, and choreography. Other community members make stage equipment, like artist Mary Cliauga, who paints backdrops on a large painter’s canvas, and woodshop members who build props.

“It’s good teamwork to work together to make something like this happen. It takes a lot of different moving parts,” says Bob Gamble, stage manager for the production. He ensures the Seabrook Performers have the props, costumes, and any other special items needed for a production.

While he says it’s a lot of work, he also says, “It’s a lot of fun.”

The show’s musical director, Norma Linzalone, has been the accompanist for all of Seabrook Players’ musicals since 2010.

“I feel privileged to be working with such a talented and committed group of friends who are my Seabrook family,” says Linzalone.  “Playing, singing, and acting are all exercises to keep our minds alert.”

A lifetime of theater

Lindo moved to Seabrook in 2008 and started the Seabrook Performers a year later. 

He has many years of experience working both in theater and radio. In 1939, he founded the Criterion Players. 

During WWII, while in Australia, he appeared in Vaudeville Theatre, many U.S. Special Services shows, two Brisbane Repertory shows, and six Australian Broadcasting System radio shows. 

In 1949, after he got married, he founded the St. Mary’s Drama Guild and was honored in 1991 for his dedicated service to the Guild. 

He has performed and directed more than 150 shows, both on radio and stage, and has worked with many famous actors, including Lauren Bacall, Gene Barry, Raymond Burr, and Peggy Cass.  

“Theater has always been in my blood, and with each production I direct, the cast becomes my family,” says Lindo. “I enjoy seeing these young seniors sharing their talents and accomplishing something they didn’t know they could do—acting, singing, and more. I’m looking forward to our next production.”