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Setting the stage for sixth decade of ‘Broadway Season’ shows at Cultural Park Theater

By CJ HADDAD - | Sep 15, 2022

It’s showtime.

After months of preparation, a new face to run the place, auditions and rehearsals, Cultural Park Theatre’s 60th annual Broadway Season opens next Thursday.

Starting off with the uber-popular “School of Rock,” Southwest Florida’s longest-standing community theater is ready to welcome patrons with open arms.

There will be a “re-opening” of sorts at the theater with members of the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce as CPT shows off its new lobby and theatre areas, starting at 5:30 on opening night.

Of course, a new season comes with old feelings, said CPT’s Executive Director Mark Fleming, who took over for Michael Moran and is in his first year at the helm.

“We’re nervous, anxious, petrified, thrilled, and so many additional emotions, Fleming said. “They are all common feelings about pretty much any opening.”

This year’s slate of shows includes popular titles sure to have audiences tapping their toes.

“We wanted to pick shows that were fun, light, with memorable songs and dialogue,” Fleming said. “We’ve gone through enough stress for several years and we just wanted to pick something fun for people to both perform and to see.”

Performers, directors, lighting and sound technicians, stage builders, volunteers, and other have been working hard to present the best that CPT can offer.

“Our theater is thrilled to be kicking off the 60th season and being a part of Cape Coral history,” Fleming said. “They have been so dedicated to presenting the best in entertainment. The crew is practically working around the clock to make this show memorable for everyone.”

Though performers, casts, and crews have been tirelessly working to improve their works, Fleming has been doing the same with the theater overall.

“As some who have come around call it, we should be named the ‘new’ Cultural Park Theater,” he said. “People have been in awe of what’s going on and what has happened so far. That is what we want people in the Cape and across Southwest Florida to find out — that CPT is a new experience of outstanding entertainment that is waiting for everyone. This is where the fun is. And it’s because of our amazing volunteers that this is possible.”

CPT has brought together casts from 10 to 50 in size and actors from ages 5 to 80. They had over 150 individuals audition and the excitement has carried over to areas of production.

“We now have a wide variety of talent behind the scenes who have accomplished terrific things,” Fleming said. “From the new look of the lobby, to the theater itself, and the costumes, lighting, sets and more.”

Shows included in the 60th anniversary include (synopsis provided by Cultural Park Theater):

“School of Rock” (Sept. 22 – Oct. 2)

“School of Rock is a two-hour, two-act musical, based on the hit movie. The tuner follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn an extra bit of cash by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight-A pupils into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. But can he get them to the Battle of the Bands without their parents and the school’s headmistress finding out?”

“The Women” (Oct. 13 – 23)

“Filled with strong, colorful, comedic characters, a snappy supporting cast of many dozens, and an abundance of witty dialogue, Clare Boothe Luce’s ‘The Women’ is juicy, wicked, and full of guilty fun. Both a scathing commentary on the life of the superficial, selfish socialite and a knowing, heart-felt depiction of romantic rivalry, toxic friendships, and the thousands of supporting roles women play in offices, salons and their own lives.”

“Pippin” (Nov. 10 – 20)

“The ensemble cast tells the story of Pippin, a young prince who longs to find passion and adventure in his life. To prove his loyalty to his distracted father, King Charles, Pippin goes to war. But when the Leading Player convinces the prince to fight tyranny, Pippin kills Charles and takes over the throne. Pippin struggles to decide whether he should settle down and pursue a peaceful life or continue to make magic with the dazzling troupe of performers.”

“The Sound of Music” (Jan 12 – 22)

“Based on the true story of the Von Trapp Family Singers, this play captures a personal tale of growth and hope amidst the horrors of World War II. ‘The Sound of Music’ tells the tale of young postulant Maria Rainer. Commissioned by the Mother Abbess to serve as the governess for seven motherless children, Maria transforms the Von Trapp family home from a place of dour rules and regulations to one filled with joy, with laughter and with music. In the process, Maria wins the hearts of all seven children — and their widower father, Capt. Von Trapp. When the Nazis show up at their door to take Capt. Von Trapp away, it is a family singing engagement that buys the family time to make their narrow escape.

“Rumors” (Feb. 16 – 26)

“Four couples arrive at the townhouse of a deputy New York City mayor and his wife to attend a party celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary. However, the four couples soon discover that there are no servants, the hostess is missing and the deputy mayor has shot himself in the head (it’s only a flesh wound). Comic complications arise when, given everyone’s upper-class status, they decide they need to do everything possible to conceal the evening’s events from the local police and the media.”

“Grease” (March 9 – 19)

“The 1950s high school dream is about to explode in this rollicking musical that is both an homage to the idealism of the ’50s and a satire of high schoolers’ age-old desire to be rebellious, provocative and rebellious. At the heart of the story is the romance between hot-rodding gangster Danny Zuko and the sweet new girl in town, Sandy Dumbrowski. They had a secret romance in summer, but now back in the context of school, peer-pressure and cliques make their love a bit more complicated. Can Danny maintain his cool dude status and still get make demure Sandy his girl?”

“Crimes of the Heart” – (April 20 – 30)

“The three MaGrath sisters are back together in their hometown of Hazelhurst, Mississippi, for the first time in a decade. Lenny, the eldest, never left Hazelhurst — she is the caretaker of the sisters’ cantankerous Old Granddaddy. Meg, the middle sister, left home to pursue stardom as a singer in Los Angeles, but has, so far, only found happiness at the bottom of a bottle. And Babe, the youngest, has just been arrested for the murder of her abusive husband, Zackery Bottrelle. Under the scorching heat of the Mississippi sun, past resentments bubble to the surface and each sister must come to terms with the consequences of her own ‘crimes of the heart.'”

“Private Lives” (May 11 – 21)

“Private Lives is a 1930 comedy of manners in three acts by Noel Coward. It concerns a divorced couple that, while honeymooning with their new spouses, discovers that they are staying in adjacent rooms at the same hotel. Despite a perpetually stormy relationship, they realize that they still have feelings for each other. Its second act love scene was nearly censored in Britain as too risque. Coward wrote one of his most popular songs, ‘Some Day I’ll Find You,’ for the play.”

CPT has reduced individual and season tickets, as well as Flex passes, for all Broadway Series shows to make the theater experience affordable for all.

All tickets are on sale now; ticket prices are as follows (*ID may be required for purchase):

– Adult $26

– Senior $22

– Student (under 20)* $16

– Children (under 10)* $12

– Group (10 or more) $20

– Flex Pass $200

– Season Pass $175

Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 1 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m.

CPT also announced it will have food trucks at its Broadway Series productions. They have partnered with some of the best vendors in the area to bring tasty bites to patrons with the newly re-landscaped Cultural Park as the backdrop.

“We all just hope that more people discover this Cape Coral gem and find out all of the things it has to offer,” Fleming said. “The best in entertainment is just outside your doorstep, and there is way more to come. We want to keep live theater alive.”

Those interested in purchasing tickets can call the box office at 239-772-5862 or visit www.culturalparktheater.com for more information.

Cultural Park Theater is at 528 Cultural Park Blvd.