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Theater Notes: Celebrating young actors

By Staff | Apr 23, 2019

Sidney B. Simon

This theater critic had three plays he’s seen that made his heart sing. I don’t say that lightly. One of these was performed at a college, one was at a local church and the third was at a high school for performing arts. How lucky I have been.

They will all have had their curtains come down on the last performance. But, knowing about them, will keep you eager to find out what they will do next season as summer vacation nears for most of these fine young people.

Let’s start with Florida SouthWestern State College under the brilliant direction of Professor Stuart Brown who pulled off one my favorite old Broadway Musicals, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” I hope some of you remember it. It takes romance from an early Match.com through every hilarious moment in time, where man meets woman and woman meets man. With a gifted cast Brown has trained, the young performers earned the audience’s bravo, whistling standing ovation. I wish you could have been there.

That same week the Sanibel Community Church did one of its magnificent dinner theater productions. It had a cast, it seemed, of every kid from a 4-year-old up to all the older members in high school. It was a project of the H2O Youth Ministries group. There were also dozens of older members in various magical choruses and individual roles as well. The title of the whole pageant was “God’s Amazing Grace and Other Stories of Faith.” It traced the creation of hymns from 1600 with John Newton, up through contemporary hymn composers. The whole large church rang with a powerful creativity. Oh, I wish you could have been there.

Then on April 13 at Cypress Lake High School’s Center for the Arts, I witnessed 25 high school students pull off a sensational production of a play that is so relevant today for its social and political confrontations as it was 25 years ago – “Radium Girls,” by D.W. Gregory.

Certainly not your senior class play at a more typical high school. Well nothing is “more typical” at Cypress Lake. The play is so brave, and the three young women who had the leads as the three “Radium Girls” were just perfect. They were Grace (Braden Downing), Kathryn (Talia Tumminelle) and Irene (Susie Carlo) and oh, how they led us deep into their hearts, and agonies.

Congratulations to the faculty director of the play, Alexandre Glamyan. What you and your staff pulled off was awesome. The kids, many of them in multiple roles, rose to the occasion, as we rose to a loud and long standing ovation. Suffice it to say I didn’t want to be anywhere else on a Saturday night other than right in that black box theater enjoying genuine talent and some future stars, maybe the persistent ones for jobs in the big time. Again, oh I wish you could been there.

I sure hope your own week had some thrills as gigantic as these three were for me.

This is my last review for the season as I head for summer in Massachusetts, where the five colleges in the area will be doing plays. Then the summer gets filled with journeys to The Berkshires and theaters in Northhampton, Amherst and Chester. Wish you could be there, too.

But thanks for reading my reviews. I look forward to writing for you again next season.