‘And the World Goes ‘Round’ performance entertains crowd at Herb Strauss Theater
The seats filled at the BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater during the opening night of “And the World Goes ‘Round” Wednesday night as the audience was entertained with dancing, singing and a bit of comedy.
The musical showcased 18 students from around Lee and Collier Counties singing tunes from “New York New York,” “The Happy Time,” “The Rink,” “Chicago,” and “Cabaret” to name a few. While some of the scene’s highlighted one or two of the actors and actresses at a time, many of the numbers included as little as two characters to the full cast dancing and singing in unity.
Nayda Baez, 16, played the role of Woman 1 during the four day performance presented by Creative Theater Workshop company.
“She’s the one in my opinion that goes through a lot,” she said of her character that had her heart broken because her husband cheated on her. “She wants to find love and at the end she does.”
As one of the leading roles, Baez spent a great day of time on the stage belting out beautiful notes as she sang an array of songs. Some of those songs included “And the World Goes Round,” “My Coloring Book,” “Class,” “There Goes the Ball Game,” and “Cabaret.”
Before the North Fort Myers High School student took the stage for opening night Wednesday she shared that her nerves were extremely high.
“When I get on stage I don’t think of myself as me anymore,” she said of how she conquers the nerves.
Sam Bowling, 18, charmed the crowd with his quirky song lines and positive vibes during the performance last week. The soon to be Florida Southern College student performed Man 1 during “And the World Goes ‘Round.”
“Man 1 represents the optimistic positive side . . . hopeful, eager and excited and has a smile on his face,” he said.
His favorite part of the performance was when the cast danced on roller skates mimicking “Swan Lake” dance moves.
“It’s definitely entertaining” he said.
Before taking the stage for opening night, Bowling also shared being nervous.
“I’m more nervous because it’s a small audience,” he said of the intimate setting. The intimate setting also had an upside, he shared because it would be less difficult for the audience to feel the emotions the cast was portraying.
Christian Koller, 17, pulled audience members in as he took them through many emotions while playing Man 2. He said his character showcased a different side of hope.
“Man 2 has a lot of feelings and love he can give and provide,” he said, adding that his character hopes he gets the same feeling reciprocated, which was a struggle throughout the performance.
One of the songs that drew the audience in included “I Don’t Remember You,” from “Happy Time.” Although the song depicted sad feelings, Koller said it’s sweet.
The leading actors all shared a similar love for their craft, which started early on in their lives.
Baez began acting in elementary school after developing a passion for the art once joining the drama club.
Bowling began acting in elementary school because his parents worked professionally for theaters.
“They saw I wanted attention and put me in drama camp,” he said.
Over the years, Bowling said he grew a fondness for becoming someone else while acting. He said it’s fun to think the way a character would think.
Koller had a jump start on his acting career due to his parents being musicians working on the musical direction for shows. He began perfecting his craft at the age of 7 because it felt like a natural move.
In August, Koller will begin the filming for “Coney Island” a new television show based on Gaston Leroux’s book, “The Phantom of the Opera.”
Aaron Jackson, one of the directors of “And the World Goes ‘Round,” said the group of 18 kids are “the best of the best” of Southwest Florida coming from Lee and Collier Counties. He said the performance is the only time the kids get the opportunity to perform together from various high schools.
“It’s a bunch of great kids,” Jackson said.
Thirty-five kids auditioned for “And the World Goes ‘Round.” The group began rehearsing on June 1 to get ready for their Wednesday, June 24, through Saturday, June 27 performances.