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Young friends land roles in productions of Dickens’ classic

By Staff | Dec 12, 2009

Two elementary school boys, who have became best friends over the past year, are starring in the Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” classic production as Tiny Tim this holiday season — one at The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre and the other at Cultural Park Theatre.
Stacy Wolfe said her 9-year-old son, Ian, began performing when he was 6 years old. She said she did not know what to do with his energy, so she took him to Nabbie’s where he began to take lessons in singing, acting and dancing. Ian attends Caloosa Elementary School.
“He loves it, he loves to perform,” Stacy said about her son playing the Tiny Tim character in the “Ebenezer Scrooge” production at Cultural Park Theatre in Cape Coral. “He has made so many new friends, he loves performing.”
Stacey said that Ian’s best friend, Spencer Saso, and her son auditioned for the same production at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall a year ago where they first met.
“Spencer and his mom sat in the same little area as we did,” she explained about how they met. She said that Ian and Spencer really hit it off.
Stacy said the boys are “doing something that they greatly enjoy,” adding that it is a neat experience for both Ian and Spencer because they have the opportunity to exchange notes on the production by being involved in the same part but at different theaters.
Michael Moran, executive director of Cultural Park Theatre Company Inc., said Ian came to the theater earlier this year. He said his first appearance at the theater was in the “Hollywood Music Review Show,” which is a tribute to the last 100 years of Hollywood music.
He said that Ian is a very talented young man.
“He is an extremely talented little boy,” Moran said. “He has done stuff all over town.”
“Ebenezer Scrooge” is an original piece that the theater is putting on this year with music and lyrics by Robert Feigenblatt, Moran said.
“I think it is a wonderful musical for Christmastime,” Stacy said. “Everyone this time of year needs to think about what they enjoy in life. What we need to focus on is exactly what the ‘Christmas Carol’ is telling us. These kids really teach us this story.”
Moran said Ian performs a duet in the show with the fellow playing his father.
“He is perfect, he’s just this really cute little boy.”
Ian is also accompanied in the performance by his father.
“Not only is Ian Wolfe in the performance, but his father is performing in it also,” Moran said.
Brian, Ian’s father, plays one of the businessmen who collects money for charities. Ian’s brother, Eric, is also involved in the production as a lighting technician.
Cultural Park Theatre Company Inc. will have performances for the production “Ebenezer Scrooge” today, Dec. 12, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 13, at 3 p.m.
Tickets to see “Ebeneezer Scrooge” are $16 for adults, $15 for seniors and $11 for students.
Cultural Park Theatre is located at 528 Cultural Park Blvd., in Cape Coral. For information, call (239) 772-5862 or visit www.culturalparktheatre.com.
The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre also has a production of the “A Christmas Carol” featuring 10-year-old Saso playing Tiny Tim. Saso is a fifth grade student at Gulf Elementary School.
BJ Catalano, Spencer’s mother, said he started acting when 7 years old,m getting his start at Cultural Park Theatre Company Inc.
Catalano said it all started out with her son singing in the back seat of the car and recognizing that there was a talent there. She said he was first discovered when he sang at the Southwest Florida Model and Talent Show.
Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre General Manager Susan Johnson said Spencer recently performed in “Peter Pan” at the theater as Michael.
Catalano said Spencer absolutely loved performing in “Peter Pan.”
“He had a blast with ‘Peter Pan,'” she said about his 36 performances. Catalano said the theater management invited Spencer back to perform as Tiny Tim in the “A Christmas Carol.”
Spencer shares the character of Tiny Tim with Cody Vagle. Both boys perform in a total of 26 shows.
“He absolutely loves it, if he wakes up in the morning and he does not have a show, he is depressed,” Catalano said. “I am ecstatic that he loves what he is doing.”
Johnson said “A Christmas Carol” is a very different version of the production, due to it being a musical. She said the musical version of the “A Christmas Carol” was originally presented by Radio City Entertainment at the theater at Madison Square Garden for 10 years.
Alan Menken, who did the music for Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid,” also did the music for the “A Christmas Carol” at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre.
“The nice part of it is it’s such a nice family show,” Johnson said about the production, due to the message of good will at the very end of the “A Christmas Carol.”
“This is a great show to remind everyone what it is all about — the holidays, Christmas and being with family and helping your fellow man,” she said. “It is a good message for people right now.”
There are 25 actors in the “Christmas Carol” production, with 10 of them being children, and all are paid positions, she said.
Johnson explained that many of the children have worked with the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in other productions.
“They are very good at being actors and actresses,” she said. “It’s an excellent cast, not just the adults, but the children as well.”
“A Christmas Carol” will run until Dec. 26 at the Broadway Palm, located at 1380 Colonial Blvd., in Fort Myers.
Johnson said “A Christmas Carol” is stated every day except Monday with evening performances, along with a few matinees. Curtain time for matinees begin at 1:15 p.m. with a meal being served at 11:45 a.m. The evening shows begin at 7:30 p.m. with dinner being served at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets for “A Christmas Carol” and dinner range from $49 to $53 for adults and $21 for children 12 years old and younger. Tickets to just attend the show come are $27.
For information or to buy tickets, call (239) 278-4422 or visit www.BroadwayPalm.com.