Below is a blog post written by Bernice Garfield-Szita, director of “I’m Not Rappaport” and president of Center Players’ board of directors:
I have been blessed with a phenomenal cast and crew who have worked tirelessly to
bring this amazing play to full, glorious performance. We will be opening in two days and I believe we are ready to launch another very successful production for Center Players. There are so many factors that go into a truly artistic performance. Of course, there is the acting, which when done well doesn’t feel like acting at all but rather a glimpse
into the heart and soul of a real person that we have had the opportunity to meet in a really personal way. The two leads, Ray Dothard as Midge and Ray Sammak as Nat, have reached a level of such male bonding it’s hard to believe that we are not watching two older cantankerous men sparring and supporting each other on the bench they frequently share in Central Park. We have two brand new actors on a stage for the first time, Anthony Woodcock, aged 16, who plays Gilley and Mark Peters, who plays Danforth. Both have made tremendous strides in learning stage basics and have confirmed my talent barometer for choosing new actors and teaching them the basics so they can do amazing work! Ricky Selterman, the Cowboy, is an experienced veteran of theater and has acted, sang and directed on our stage over the past several years. Although the character he plays isn’t anything like Ricky in real life, he stretches his skills to bring us this darker member of the park populace. The three women in the cast, Lisa DiLeo who plays Clara and the shared role of Laurie played by Danielle Capalon and Lindsay Wagner, add elements of gentle femininity and strong intelligence to their roles. The ensemble of the supporting cast work so well with one another, it really delights me to watch them.
The set design by Cristina Peters which was constructed, painted and completed by she and her husband Mark, has surpassed my vision of the set that could hold the action of the play. I am so grateful for their attention to detail and creative work. It adds a wonderful dimension . Of course, we would all be in the dark with no sound or light without our very skilled designer, Mark Lamhut. I feel very indebted to our wonderful behind the scenes people, my husband Bob, Mimi, Joan, Colleen, Sandy, Sami, Ray R. Linda and so many more.
I have directed many plays and each time I question my sanity the week before we open. Suddently, the “baby” is born and my mind moves to what the next challenging and fulfilling project will be! I am so happy to be in the Center Players community that encourages us all to do our best and forgives the imperfections that are inevitable in live theater and in life!