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A song in your heart

Playhouse 19 rolls out an evening full of tunes in Rodgers and Hart _ A Celebration.

Richard Rodgers enjoyed two famous collaborations with musical partners over 60 years. He is credited with writing music for more than 40 musicals, such as Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, King and I and The Sound of Music.

Lorenz Hart was his first musical partner, and they teamed up for enduring classics such as Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered and The Lady Is a Tramp. They wrote music for about two dozen musicals.

Later, Rodgers teamed up with Oscar Hammerstein to cement his legacy as one of Broadway's great composers.

The Playhouse 19 show is a revue of the best songs from the first partnership, and includes some of the pair's lesser-known works. Presented in a 1930s radio format, a radio announcer (Jim Farley) and his sidekick (Donovan Foster) help tell the story behind the celebrated careers of the two songwriters.

The cast includes:

Danielle Flury has a dual role as director and Girl No. 2 in the play. She is a seasoned director at Playhouse 19 whose credits include The All Night Strut, Once Upon A Mattress and Kismet. Having begun playing the piano at age 6, she has been involved with the Redlands 12 Piano Orchestra and has performed with Stetson's Concert Choirs.

Shirley Button (Girl No. 1) of Spring Hill has appeared in productions of Cabaret, Mame and Jekyll and Hyde.

Richard L. Flury (Boy No. 1) has been in Man of LaMancha, Cabaret, Chicago and All Night Strut, and most recently was the Poet in Kismet at Stage West. He is the music director for St. Benedict's in Crystal River.

This is the first show at Playhouse 19 for Michael Benson (Boy No. 2). Credits include Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Nick Arnstein in Funny Girl and most recently the Caliph in Kismet, all at Stage West.

Patty Villegas (Girl No. 3) directed Anything Goes and was the lead dancer in Zorba. This is her first performance at Playhouse 19. She has worked with professional and amateur theater in Michigan, New York, Canada and Florida. A Citrus County newcomer, she recently appeared in Arsenic and Old Lace at the Art Center Theater.

Before moving to Florida in 1995, Bob Allen (Boy No. 3) sang in community choruses, performed church solos, sang competitively in barbershop quartets for more than 20 years, and performed in the Central Florida Master Choir under Susan Robinson. This is his first experience in a stage show.

The song list in the first act includes Jupiter Forbid; Falling in Love With Love; Where or When; With a Song in My Heart; Isn't It Romantic and Blue Moon.

The second act will bring Any Old Place With You; The Most Beautiful Girl in the World; Song of Paree; Ten Cents a Dance; She Could Shake the Maracas; I Could Write a Book; Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered; The Lady Is a Tramp; My Funny Valentine and Jupiter Forbid (reprise).

Jorge Sanchez covers arts and entertainment in Citrus County. Call 860-7313 or e-mail sanchezsptimes.com.

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