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‘Rhythm of the Night’ will get you dancing

By Staff | Jul 8, 2015

Herb Strauss Theater Artistic Director Bobby Logue and Sheridin Wright rehearse a number from “Rhythm of the Night.” PHOTO PROVIDED

A production guaranteed to move the audience from their seats onto their feet dancing with the cast will showcase the Latin community through contemporary music and an array of colors at the Herb Strauss Theater.

“This is a show for everybody,” Herb Strauss Theater Artistic Director Bobby Logue said. “It’s a joyous celebration. (The audience) is allowed to get up and dance with us. We encourage that energy.”

Logue, Marley Dove, Tempest Perrin, Juan Luis Espinal, Christopher Anderson and Sheridin Wright make up the talented cast for the “Rhythm of the Night” production, which will kick off with a special preview at 7 p.m., Friday, July 10, for $20 a ticket.

“It’s one of the most talented casts we have had the pleasure of writing for,” Logue said of the triple threat that can act, sing and dance.

He said having a cast compiled of wonderful and kind people is just as important because the audience can feel the love and presence on stage as they take the journey with them.

Cast members of “Rhythm of the Night” rehearse the dance moves to “Turn the Beat Around” to get ready for opening night this weekend. MEGHAN McCOY

Once the cast gets into position with red boas around their necks, the music of “Turn the Beat Around” fills the theater as dance moves engulf the center stage and smiles lit up the room during rehearsals last week. Pure joy remained on the cast member’s face, as the number continued to fill the intimate space of the theater.

Logue said the production is a celebration of the cultural melting pot of Miami and Manhattan, and the love of the Latin community through colors and rhythms.

The performance will take audience members on a journey of a woman coming back home, unsure if she’ll fit back into the community. That journey will take the audience through such songs as “Turn the Beat Around,” “I’m Going Bananas,” “I Want to Feel This Minute” and “Sway.”

Espinal, who was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to New York two years ago to pursue his acting career, said “Rhythm of the Night” gives him the ability to sing in Spanish.

“It’s a chance to show who I am,” he said of the solo.

A wide variety of dance styles will also draw the audience into the storyline.

The “fiery, original production” Anderson said is a good challenge for an older dancer. He decided to semi-retire two years ago after having a rewarding career, including time spent in New York.

“This is my first show in Southwest Florida,” Anderson said. “Southwest Florida is a rich area with Latin heritage and culture.”

Logue said cast member Anderson was a gift from God for the production because of his dancing abilities.

Wright said she was drawn to the production because of her love of Latin dancing. She said she moved to the area a year ago and began working at the Enchanted Ballroom.

Fellow cast member Wright said Latin dancing, which has always been a part of her life, creates a great platform to make friends.

“Of course I’m in,” she said of becoming a part of the cast. “This theater is home to me and it was a no-brainer.”

Anderson said the diverse cast shows respect for the culture, while paying tribute to the Latin roots.

In May, Logue traveled to New York for two days of auditions, attracting 170 to 180 actors, and revealing the talent of Dove, Perrin and Espinal.

“I loved the idea of doing something with Latin roots,” Dove, who moved to New York three years ago, said of why she auditioned.

The production at Herb Strauss Theater will take place from Saturday, July 11, through Saturday, Aug. 15. Shows will be held Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, at 7 p.m.

Logue said the theater received a grant from the LAT Foundation, which allowed them to upgrade the technical difficulties they were having. The “Rhythm of the Night” production is the first time “we will pull out all the technical stops,” he said.

The production will include lasers, 32 moving lights and a sound board with audio and visual components that will enhance the overall performance.

Tickets for adults are $30 and $5 for students aged 25 and younger with a valid ID and children 17 and younger.

The Herb Strauss Theater is at 2200 Periwinkle Way. For more information, call (239) 395-0900 or visit www.BIGARTS.org.