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Season ends on "Happy' note

Stage West Community Theater is ending its 1992-93 season on a high note. And a low note. And just about every note in between.

The Hernando County theater group caps its season with The Most Happy Fella, a three-act musical by Frank Loesser that has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity since its revival in New York last year.

The 1956 production by writer of Guys and Dolls has seen more than 600 performances, but, according to local thespians, only rarely in community theater.

"I've wanted to do this since 1962," said director Madeline Child, who, coincidentally, directed Stage West's Guys and Dolls. Unfortunately, getting the right talent to handle near-continual singing _ some in six-part harmonies _ usually proves too difficult for amateur talent.

"(Most local theaters) would never tackle it. It is almost constant music," Child said. "There's only about 15 minutes without music."

Stage West actors met the challenge, but the going was rough.

"After last night, I'm feeling a lot better," Child said on Tuesday, the day after a full-fledged dress rehearsal, the cast's fourth time practicing on stage.

"We still have technical things to work out, but their performance was there and I think their enthusiasm will carry them."

Jim Hall, a veteran music teacher who recently retired from Pasco County schools, is the driving force behind the show. With his expertise, the dream of doing Fella has become a reality, Child said.

"A lot of community theaters won't touch this show. It's a real task to put on," Hall said. "But if you have people with a lot of singing experience . . . they're able to do it."

Hall handled the 46-member cast, which includes Irv Clark, who plays the leading role of Tony; Monica Mills, who plays lead Rosabella; Nancy Arzillo, who plays Tony's sister, Maria; and Tom Russel, a middle school teacher who plays Herman.

The three-hour production offers a medley of musical numbers, ranging from operettas to pop hits. Accompaniment is provided by two pianos, as Loesser intended, not an orchestra, which accompanies the show in most productions. Hall will be the featured pianist.

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella by Stage West Community Theater

WHERE: Central High School auditorium, 14075 Ken Austin Parkway, Brooksville

WHEN: Today through Sunday and Thursday through June 27. Curtain time 8 p.m., except for 2 p.m. on Sundays.

COST: $9 reserved tickets. Call 683-5113.

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