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Presenting Peter Pan: Cultural Park open season with timeless classic

By Staff | Sep 5, 2013

Cultural Park Theatre kicks off the 2013-14 season today with a classic, “Peter Pan the Musical.”

Playing through Sept. 15, the British production features an updated score for a modern feel.

“‘Peter Pan’ is a timeless tale,” Executive Director Michael Moran said.

The theater uses the first show of each season to lend performance time to its youth actors and actresses. This year, adult performers will join their younger counterparts to play the adult roles.

“We’re thrilled that we’ll be opening with that,” he said of the production.

For “Peter Pan the Musical,” the ticket price for children has been lowered to $10. The theater also offered groups like Special Populations and Big Brothers Big Sisters free admission for children.

“We’re reaching out to the community because ‘Peter Pan’ is such a timeless story. We do want all the children and families to be able to enjoy that one,” Moran said.

There are four musicals and six plays on the schedule this season. After the opening production, the remaining musicals consist of “I’ve Got Rhythm,” “Guys and Dolls” and “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.”

“‘Guys and Dolls’ is a classic musical. It’s been timeless in what it’s done,” he said.

The film version featured Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando.

“Smokey Joe’s Cafe” salutes the music of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

“It’s staged in a ’50s setting and a lot of the music are songs that were recorded and made famous by Elvis Presley,” Moran said. “It’s very up tempo, quick moving.”

He described all six plays as comedies.

The theater is bringing back “Cheaper by the Dozen,” which it did about eight years ago.

“It was very much enjoyed by all the audiences,” Moran said.

“Sicilians in the Basement,” written by Joe Simonelli, will also take the stage.

“It is the Florida premier of that comedy,” he said. “We’re the first.”

Simonelli has been compared to playwright Neil Simon.

Also on the schedule are “Cactus Christmas,” “Harvey,” “I Remember Mama” and “A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody.” According to Moran, there is a committee at the theater that talks to performers, directors and patrons to get suggestions for shows. The season schedule is formed from the feedback.

“I know, particularly, ‘Guys and Dolls’ and ‘Smokey Joe’s’ were way at the top,” he said.

Along with the 10 productions, the season features six special events, or concerts.

Fazz Live and Duo Romantica will present “A Magical Musical Tour” from Sept. 20-22. In November, the theater will hold a premier performance – an original musical production, titled “The Studio.”

“It’s about the dreams of the people in the dance studio to go on and become successful,” Moran said.

December will consist of the “Christmas Spectacular.”

“Which is a big musical Christmas review, to include Santa Claus,” he said.

Impersonator Harold Ford puts on his Johnny Cash tribute on Feb. 28 and March 1-2, followed by Cultural Park Theatre’s second annual Marquee Awards a few months down the road in May.

“That show showcases all the shows we’ve done this season and gives out awards to actors and actresses and other people involved in the shows,” Moran said.

Gene Ferrari is set for May 25 as the final special event for the season.

“He is a tribute performance of Tom Jones,” he said.

Show times are Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Tickets cost $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and $12 for students. Group rates are available.

Broadway season packages cost $130 each and snowbird season packages cost $104 each. Both packages are available until Sept. 15. The theater also has a book of 10 flex passes for $135.

Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. performance weekends.

“We’re now celebrating our 51st year, so we’re very excited,” Moran said. “We think we have a very dynamic and exciting season.”

“We’re just looking forward to another great season,” he added.

Those interested in performing are urged to check the audition notices online.

“We are a community theater. We are currently casting for some of the shows,” Moran said.

“I’ve Got Rhythm,” “Cactus Christmas” and “Guys and Dolls” are holding auditions.

Cultural Park Theatre is at 528 Cultural Park Blvd.

For tickets or more information, call (239) 772-5862 or visit: www.culturalparktheater.com/.