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Successful season at Cultural Park

By Staff | Jun 27, 2019

It was another successful season at Cultural Park Theater, where Cape Coral’s one-of-a-kind troupe sung, danced and acted as part of the 56th Broadway Series.

The seventh annual Marquee Awards were held earlier in the month — Cultural Park’s Tony Award’s style recognition night for all thespians involved in making these productions come to life.

This year’s theme was “Hawaiian Luau.”

“Cultural Park Theater actors, directors, set designers, lighting designers booth techs, stage managers, sponsors, patrons and a host of volunteers came together to celebrate the close of the theaters 56th Broadway Season. And celebrate they did,” said Cultural Park Theater Executive Director, Michael Moran. “The voters were the theater’s season ticket holders along with any member who saw all the shows. This season there were over 40 individual awards handed out but this theater had no losers.”

This year’s season included 10 shows, “The Wizard of Oz,” “A Wedding in Tuscany,” “Don’t Drink The Water,” “Cultural Park Theater”s Spectacular Christmas Revue,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “The Butler Did It,” “Chicago,” “Ripcord,” “Broken Hearts” and “Lend Me A Tenor.”

“Our 56th season had brought wonderful shows to our stage,” said Moran.

Some of the winners included AJ Ford, who took home Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Jesus in “Jesus Christ Superstar” and Lisa Kuchinski won Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her work as Roxie in “Chicago.”

Best Leading Actor in a Play went to John Alday for “Lend Me a Tenor,” and Best Leading Actress in a Play was awarded to Gloria St. Onge for her performance in “The Butler Did It.”

“Celebrating with all the people that make Cultural Park one of the most popular theaters in the county also shows are many volunteers and sponsors how much the Board of Cultural Park appreciates their service to the organization,” said Moran.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” took home Best Musical with “Lend Me a Tenor” taking home the Marquee for Best Play or Comedy.

Tony Saracino was awarded Best Direction of a Musical for his work on “Jesus Christ Superstar” and Tyler Young won for Best Direction of a Play for “Lend me a Tenor.”

Also at the Marquee Awards, Cultural Park’s new Board of Directors for 2019/2020 were announced.

Lisa Maglione-Chenault was named president, Christi Wengerter was named first vice president, Ray Maselli second vice president and Adam Culliton third vice president. June Koc was elected as treasurer. Patrick Shepherd is now the recording secretary. Bill Johnson Jr. was elected as correspondence secretary. Lee Otto is the outgoing president and Moran remains executive director.

Board members are elected yearly and voted into office by members of the non-profit theater. Terms begin on July 1 and end May 31.

Cultural Park Theater wouldn’t be possible without the support of countless volunteers.

Those volunteers were recognized for their outstanding commitment to the theater at the Marquee awards and included Joy Ursillo, Kieran Lawless Strosser, Linda Burns, Patrick Shepherd, Ray Maselli, Deanna Enslin, Constiantina Duduid and a special sponsor award given to the Culliton family and the Culliton Gunterberg Charitable Foundation.

With school out for the summer, Cultural Park offers summer camps for youth ages 7-15 who may love the theater or have never had the opportunity to experience what its like to be on stage.

“Children’s Theatre at Cultural Park has provided some of the best summer camps in the region for over 30 years,” said Moran. “We know the experience should be much more than just filling time when school is out. Summer is an exciting time of creative exploration, spending time with best friends, or making new friends. Summer camp can be a time to discover a wonderfully different side of your child, whether they talk excitedly about going on a treasure hunt, telling a story through song, or even falling down a rabbit hole. We know summer camp is about creative group dynamics and helping each individual child grow and play at their own pace. Outgoing children find a place to strut their stuff. Shy children find a comfortable, nurturing place to build their confidence and self-esteem. We know summer camp is about quality and value. We have the best teachers in town, and we run an organized, safe summer camp experience, from drop-off to pick up.”

Camps are broken down into three, three week sessions for youth.

Sessions one has completed and session two has sold out. There are still spots available for session three, which begins July 15 and runs to Aug. 2. Camp is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost is $300 for the three-week program, with discounts for multiple children available.

“We know there are a lot of summer camps out there, but nobody knows summer like we do,” said Moran. “If your child loves to sing, dance, and act on stage, or has always wanted to, and was a bit shy or didn’t know how, then this camp is their big chance. Join us for three very busy and incredibly fun weeks of casting, learning, memorizing, choreography, dancing, staging, preparing, and performing a production. Campers will be educated in theater etiquette, self-respect, teamwork, discipline, vocal techniques, acting skills and so much more.”

Each session culminates in a live production for the family and friends of campers.

Session three will perform “Anything Goes.”

The 2019-2020 Gunterberg Charitable Foundation Broadway Series has already been announced. The 57th season will include: “The Little Mermaid,” “The Ghost In The Meadow,” “On Golden Pond,” “Spectacular Christmas Revue,” “Nunsense,” “Same Time Next Year,” “Urinetown the Musical,” “The Owl & The Pussycat,” “Nana’s Naughty Knickers” and “A Passage To Ireland.”

This weekend, Cultural Park is performing “The Gazebo,” June 28-30.

Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

For more information and tickets, visit www.CulturalParkTheater.com or call 239-772-5862.

Cultural Park Theater is at 528 Cultural Park Boulevard.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj