Sunday, February 18, 2018
Stage

Largo community theater launches showstopper 'The Producers'

LARGO

They've got it, and they'll flaunt it.

The Producers, that is.

Today, the deliriously entertaining musical by Mel Brooks, winner of 12 Tony Awards, premieres at Eight O'Clock Theatre.

Rocco Morabito, who co-directs the production with James Grenelle, is deliriously proud of the whole thing.

"This is the first time the show has been presented by community theater in the bay area," Morabito said. "It's something I've wanted to do for a while. When Eight O'Clock finally got the rights, I thought this is so big, so much work, it's scary. But we knew we could put together a hard-working, talented cast and pull it off."

Morabito and choreographer Ronnie DeMarco both bring Broadway experience to the table and have already produced showstoppers like Chicago, Chorus Line, Cabaret, Guys and Dolls and Gypsy for Eight O'Clock.

"We always draw a very talented pool of actors who love the challenge of doing the classics," Morabito said.

The show opens as theater producer Max Bialystock experiences one more failure — Funny Boy is so bad it must close on opening night.

Ben Taylor, 51, a recent Tallahassee transplant, plays Max, and says it's a juicy role that's all about timing.

"Almost every third line is a joke," Taylor said. "Our hope is that we can get that many laughs out of it."

Just as Max is about to do a little fundraising for the next show (i.e. romancing a rich little old lady), Leo Bloom enters the picture. Leo, a sheepish accountant, is so apprehensive about everything that he clings to his blue blanket whenever life stresses him out. But deep inside he has a dream he wants to fulfill (I Wanna Be a Producer).

George Cahill, 24, plays Leo.

"He must be sincerely naive in everything he does," Cahill said about his wide-eyed character. When Leo looks over Max's books, he innocently suggests that "under the right circumstances, a producer could actually make more money with a flop than he can with a hit."

So the two conspire to produce the worst, most highly offensive musical (Springtime for Hitler) of all time.

The part of Ulla, the super sexy "secretary-slash-receptionist," is played by 27-year-old Christina Capehart.

"I've been old or funny in most of my roles," she said. "Now I get to be sexy and fun."

She shimmies and performs backbends and splits for Max and Leo in the number When You've Got It, Flaunt It.

It's something for which she says she was well prepared.

"I take pole dancing classes where we learn to do aerial tricks and dance," she said. "I began long before I knew about this role and it's really helped. It was just meant to be."

     
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