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Casting call for Civil War drama

You, too, can be a star of the stage, singing and acting your way to glory in front of a live audience.

Auditions are under way for the original musical drama Beyond All Reason, written and directed by local talent Michael L. Harris.

The production's musical director, Oldsmar resident and former Hollywood lyricist David Bethards, helped pen the score.

Auditions will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Oldsmar Arts Centre, 402 St. Petersburg Drive.

If you cannot make that audition, one will be held the same time, same place, Feb. 8.

Beyond All Reason is a two-act play about a Southern plantation owner and his family, set in the Civil War era, specifically 1859 Mississippi. Fearing the worst when he hears the whisper of war, John Hughes, the play's patriarch, wants to set his slaves free and convince his rich neighbors to do the same.

Only Hughes' eldest daughter, Mariah, believes in him.

Some of the play's lead characters have been cast. Hughes will be played by Tony Cuciniello. Mariah will be played by Michelle Marie Forte.

But there are other characters left to cast. Needed are a 45- to 65-year-old black man; two white women in their 20s or 30s; one 45- to 65-year-old white man; one 30- to 40-year-old white man; one 20- to 30-year-old black woman; and one 40- to 50-year-old white man. Also needed are three black dancers 19 or older, and three white women dancers 19 or older.

The curtain will rise in June. (Dates will be announced later.)

If you are interested in participating in the performance, contact Harris at (813) 891-4244.

Fine Wine & Food

Festival a success

The fifth annual Fine Wine & Food Festival sponsored by the Oldsmar Chamber of Commerce was a sellout.

The event featured silent auction items, including a professionally prepared Last Will and Testament and a jersey of Minnesota Vikings player Randy Moss.

Four hundred people attended the one-night affair at East Lake Woodlands Country Club. Chamber staffers said their financial goal was surpassed by 30 percent.

Funds benefitted two scholarships for East Lake High School students (at least $1,500) and the Business Assistance Program.

Several awards were handed out, including the People's Choice Award for best artist to Klaus Schilling, and the People's Choice Award for best restaurant to Tutto Favoloso for their stone crab claw cakes.

"Their display was very Florida-looking," said Brenda Robinson, the chamber's director of member services and special events. "They had real birds of paradise."

Each participating restaurant or catering company decorated their station. The Safety Harbor Resort & Spa was honored for having the best display.

"It looked like a Disney theme," said Robinson. "They had a leopard tablecloth, had Tigger, Eeyore and coconut people (characters) and had jungle music playing."

Before the event, a woman called Robinson from Canada, told her she would be down for a visit at the Belleview Biltmore Hotel and asked how she could buy a ticket to the festival.

Robinson sold her one and saw her there _ all the way from Canada.

Composers showcased

in Tarpon Springs

The Lipatti String Quartet from Bucharest, Romania, will perform the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Debussy at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 E Pine St.

Tickets are $13 and $11 for students or center members.

On Saturday, pianist Anthony de Mare will perform works by Gershwin, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Curan, Copland and Rzewski at 8 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are $13 and $11 for center members and students.

De Mare won first prize at the International Competition of Contemporary Piano Music in France and three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.