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Audiences Say I Do in Absolute Delight for Center Players’ I Do! I Do!
by Muriel J. Smith
FREEHOLD - Call them the “Dynamic Duo”, call them actors who love their roles, call them fun-loving thespians who want to keep an audience happy. But more than that, call Center Players and make your reservations to see I Do! I Do! Husbands and significant others, make a big hit with that special lady by presenting her with tickets as the best Valentine gift ever.
There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the talent of Anthony Greco and Yvette Cataneo who have both garnered rave reviews in their own right in numerous productions at Freehold’s resident theater in the past several years, but explode with energy and excitement as husband and wife in Center Players’ current production I Do! I Do! The two-act musical comedy, with book & lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt, celebrates the fifty year story of Agnes and Michael from the day they marry until decades later when they reflect on their life together.
It’s appealing from the first song, the ebullient “Together Forever”, the first song of many over the evening. Most of the songs are not those easily recognized, but their dual rendition of “My Cup Runneth Over” is an absolute scene stealer. Cataneo, a Freehold resident, holds a master’s degree in vocal performance, and is comfortable and outstanding on the stage. While Greco, a Center Players board member, shows that he takes ease sliding from his offstage roles as Producer & Designer of this production to acting onstage. But the variety and complexity of the songs in I Do! I Do! shows the magnificent range and expression the actors pour into each note depicting every emotion from love and happiness to anger and annoyance. Together their voices create a perfect marriage in harmony.
One of the charms of Center Playhouse is its diminutive size, and actors like Cataneo and Greco shine in such an arena. Both are expressive and appealing in their facial expressions, often telling the story in physical expressions as well as voice. You can see the tears in Cataneo’s eyes, the shock in Greco’s face, and the obvious joy they both take in acting.
The love scenes are sensational, but it’s the frenzied wildness of their frustrated anger scenes that bring the audience to stillness in appreciation. Each must take a serious dose of energy pills before coming on stage, not only because of their constant activity, their full time in front of the audience, but also because of their frequent costume changes. Kudos must also go to Director Janet Lynn Spahr (who directed both of these actors in last season’s How the Other Half Loves) who has once again created a magnificent setting and a means for the play to have so much action in a single setting. Blended with the talent of musical director Robert Sammond and choreographer Monica Vermeulen, (yes, there are even some dances in this musical) I Do! I Do! is one of the best of so many outstanding presentations at Center Players.
I Do! I Do! is on stage at Center Playhouse, located at 35 South Street, Freehold, through February 24th with performances on Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM AND a special added Saturday matinee on February 23rd at 2:00 PM. Seating is extremely limited and few tickets remain to this fabulous production so call the box office at (732) 462-9093 immediately. Think of making it a memorable occasion by adding dinner at one of downtown Freehold’s fine eateries who promise to serve you a relaxing and delicious dinner and get you out on in time for the performance. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I can’t think of a better gift of love!
Dan Aykroyd and Dracula Share a Drink
Michelle Catania Children's Theater Fund Scholarship Winners for 2011/2012
Freehold Business Night
Investors Savings Officers Paul Kalamaras, Edie Legg, Victoria Magliacane, & Tino Fontes were proud to collaborate with Center Players in helping combine the arts & business in Freehold for their joined effort, “Freehold Business Night” held on March 4th.
Doubt: A Parable on YouTube
||CENTER PLAYERS WINS 3 NJACT PERRY AWARDS
NJACT is a non-profit corporation dedicated to recognizing achievements by artists of all disciplines involved in the performance and production of Community Theater in NJ
The Awards Ceremonies was held on September 21, 2008
Outstanding Young Male Performer in a Play
Matt Dubrow - Children of a Lesser God
Kathy Bien & Colleen DeFelice - Visiting Mr Green
Outstanding Scenic Design for a Play
Bernice Garfield-Szita, Kathy Bien & Colleen DeFelice - Visiting Mr Green
COMMENTS ON DRIVING MISS DAISY:
Dear Center Players,
For the past 2-3 years, I have been attending the Center Playhouse Signature Series, and I feel compelled to let you know that your latest program, "Driving Miss Daisy" was simply spectacular. I attended the August 1, 2008 performance.
The three actors who portrayed Daisy, Hoke and Boolie were amazing, so much so, that is is difficult to state which was the most credible or enjoyable to witness. I hope you utilize their skills and talent frequently in the future. In addition, the period music played between scenes place me throroughly in the moment.
My thanks to you for offering the community a most pleasant experience at an affordable price. I look forward to many more seasons.
COMMENTS ON CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD::
Dear Center Players,
I thoroughly enjoyed the dress rehearsal for "Children of a Lesser God" last night. Chris and Camille are certainly a great team and the amount of energy and hard work that it took them both is amazing. They must have been drained, yet exhilarated after the show. I know I felt that way just from watching. They are certainly true professionals.
Chris rose to the challenges of the role and did an amazing and impressive job. To watch him recite his lines in two languages and show emotion as well was obviously hard, but he made it look as if he were doing it forever. He carried us through the whole story.
Camille is truly an amazing actress. My co-workers and I thought she was remarkable. I've never seen anyone convey so much emotion without hearing them say a word. And in the end when she screamed and spoke, I had chills and wanted to cry. Her hand movements were so precise that I could actually see her opening the window and microwave, playing cards and using the blender without them really being there. Her facial expressions said it all --angry and rebellious -- soft and in love -- I got it all!
I was also totally impressed by the rest of the cast, especially Matt and Tracey who were believable in their roles. If I hadn't met Matt at the interview I would have thought he was actually hard of hearing. My friends were wondering if he was. He's a great and promising young actor.
All of the behind-the-scenes work, including Charlie Fraser's directing together with Lou Palermo's help, deserves recognition as well. Everyone's hard work brought the show to life. The members of the Center Players and the quaint little theater have brought more than just the arts to Freehold Borough.
Thank you all for an enjoyable and eye-opening experience that will remain with me forever.