By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – A particularly successful production of last summer’s “The Wedding Singer” has contributed to the Regatta Players’ growth in number of participants and this season’s extension. Rehearsals are underway for the community theater group’s first wintertime show: “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.”
The musical comedy will be presented Friday, Feb. 26, and Saturday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m. Snow date is Saturday, March 6, at 2 p.m. Performances will be staged at Southgate at Shrewsbury’s Flanagan Theater, located at 30 Julio Dr.
Serving as music director is Bonnie L. Narcissi, a founding Regatta Players board member. She’s pleased that last summer’s well-attended performances of “The Wedding Singer” is now paying off for the group.
“We’re in more of a financial position to move forward and do two shows this season,” she explained. “Plus, we had some new people onboard last summer. It was so exciting that we didn’t want to stop riding that wave.”
In 2014, Narcissi retired after a 35-year career in education, including 16 as a Shrewsbury High School (SHS) teacher, and district director of music and drama.
“Some of my students had said that they wanted to continue doing theater in the summer,” she noted.
That’s when Regatta Players was born in 2010 with its first production, “Baby: the Musical.” Narcissi cast the show with SHS alumni who were on summer break from college. The theater enthusiasts reunited the following summers to produce shows.
Now, Narcissi is collaborating with her former SHS students as colleagues. Siblings Dan and Katie Monopoli are the director and choreographer respectively for the players’ current show. In addition to actively participating in SHS stage productions, Dan and Katie continued working onstage and behind-the-scenes while each attended Westfield State University. Narcissi feels that they’re applying lessons learned to this show’s rehearsal process.
“Dan and Katie are great,” she proclaimed. “They’re very talented and enthusiastic, and bring a lot to the table with fresh ideas.”
“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” is presented as a series of vignettes connected by the central theme of love and relationships. Its tagline states: “Everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit.” Narcissi appreciates the show’s universal appeal.
“There’s something that everybody of just about all ages from teens to older can relate to,” she said. “It’s humorous, yet poignant at times.”
Although the show includes a large number of characters, it’s typically done with a small cast. The original off-Broadway production had a cast of four. The Regatta Players has a cast of six: Jeff Dodd, Laura Gulli, Tessa Newell, Josh Raymond, Stephanie Sarkisian and Ron Vorce.
“Playing many different roles is really good for these actors to be able to show their versatility, both with their acting and singing,” Narcissi noted. “They’ve become a tight-knit group. They work well with each other, and sound great together for the ensemble numbers and duets. They’re doing a great job with a really delightful show.”
Narcissi is the piano accompanist with Bill Buckley on bass guitar and Elizabeth Levens on violin. The production crew includes Sandra Weed, producer; Katie Monopoli, stage manager; Joanne Smith, production manager; Katie Rodriguez, costumes; Kira Cowan Troilo, sound; and Scott Caron, publicity.
Tickets are $15 general admission; $12 students and seniors. Contact [email protected] or 508-925-0583 Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ticket requests must include name, and the number of adult and/or student/senior tickets. Promotional material notes, “This show contains strong language and adult content.” For more information, visit regattaplayers.com.