Make us your home page

Stage West production of musical 'I Do! I Do!' features bold casting move

Dorothy Ferguson portrays Agnes and Keith Surplus plays Michael in Stage West Community Playhouse’s production of I Do! I Do!

Courtesy of Carol Ballard

Dorothy Ferguson portrays Agnes and Keith Surplus plays Michael in Stage West Community Playhouse’s production of I Do! I Do!

SPRING HILL — The director of Stage West Community Playhouse's musical Jesus Christ Superstar, made a daring casting decision for its production of that show last season: She cast a female in the role of Judas Iscariot, a role traditionally played by a male, usually a black male.

It was an inspired move. Actor/singer Victoria Primosch did a magnificent job with the role and went on to win a coveted HAMI Award, the single HAMI given to the show in a tough season that included the musicals Ragtime and Little Shop of Horrors.

Now director Kathy Capelle is making a similarly bold move with the musical I Do! I Do!, playing Thursday to Oct. 23 on theater's Main Stage. The two-person musical follows a married couple through their ups and downs from their wedding day in 1895 to their golden anniversary in 1945.

The bold move? Capelle cast a black woman as Agnes and a white man as Michael.

It makes sense. Dorothy Ferguson and Keith Surplus are two of the most proficient singer/actors who have ever performed at Stage West. Ferguson won HAMI Awards as Sarah in Ragtime and as Calpurnia in To Kill a Mockingbird. Surplus has performed professionally at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre, played the title role in Stage West's Jesus Christ Superstar, lead male in Little Shop of Horrors and Younger Brother in Ragtime and has had several lead and supporting roles at Richey Suncoast Theatre, where he picked up a Tommy Award (now Charlie Award) for his performance as Cornelius in Hello, Dolly!

I Do! I Do!, based on the play The Fourposter, debuted on Broadway in 1966, starring Robert Preston and Mary Martin. It was nominated for seven Tony Awards in 1967, and won for Preston's performance. Seven years later, it toured the United States with Carol Burnett and Rock Hudson in the leads. It was proposed as a movie, but was never made. Instead, it became a television production with Lee Remick and Hal Linden. It's sometimes done with an eight-person cast, most recently at the Ocala Civic Theatre.

It has become a favorite of regional and community theaters, especially those catering to mature audiences, mainly because of what was once dubbed as its "remarkably plain-spoken" song lyrics.

It begins on Agnes and Michael's wedding day and follows them through the decades as they set up house, have children, quarrel, make up, separate, reconcile and, finally, look back on their lives together. The music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones produced one hit, Ed Ames' version of My Cup Runneth Over, though critics generally praised the entire score. The composer/writers also wrote The Fantasticks, the long-running Off-Broadway musical.

>>if you go

To see the show

I Do! I Do!, a musical, at Stage West Community Playhouse, 8390 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill, Thursday to Oct. 23. Shows are at 7:30 p.m., except Sundays and the second Saturday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20, reserved seating. Call (352) 683-5113.

Stage West production of musical 'I Do! I Do!' features bold casting move 10/04/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 4, 2016 5:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of July 24-30


    Tampa Bay Comic Con: The geek fest returns to the Tampa Convention Center from Friday-Sunday, bringing celebrity appearances including Val Kilmer (Batman Forever), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek's Uhura), Kate Beckinsale and numerous comic book artists and writers. Also, comics, videos, toys, action …

    Shaun Audit poses for a photo at opening day of the 2015 Tampa Bay Comic Con at the Tampa Convention Center. (Friday, July 31, 2015.) [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  2. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 19: A peregrina spends the whole day under the weather, and part of the day under the table


    Day 19: El Burgo Ranero to Puente Villarente: 25.4 km, 7.5 hours (Total for Days 1-19 = 454 km (282 miles)

    This list pretty much sums up my day:

    Eat two bananas

    Walk 13.1 kilometers


    Walk 6.2 kilometers


    Eat half an apple

    Walk 6.1 kilometers

    Crash< …

  3. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 18: Despite feeling ill, this pilgrim passes the midpoint in her 500-mile journey on foot


    Day 18: Lédigos to El Burgo Ranero: 34.3 km, 12.25 hours (Total for Days 1-18 = 428 km (266 miles)

    Today was a struggle.

  4. Actor John Heard dies at age 72


    John Heard, who played so many roles in the '80s but was probably best known as the dad in the Home Alone movies, has died, according to media reports. He was 72.

  5. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 17: Think 11 miles of nothing but straight trail and open, flat fields sounds easy? Think again.


    Day 17: Villarmentero de Campos to Lédigos: 33.5 km, 10.25 hours. Total for Days 1-17 = 394 km (245 miles)