FloArts presents The Musical Theatre Project: Hot ‘n’ Cole: A Cole Porter Celebration!
The Musical Theatre Project: “Hot ‘n’ Cole: A Cole Porter Celebration!” comes to the Florida School of the Arts Main Stage at the St. Johns River State College Palatka campus October 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. and October 29 at 2:30 p.m. Admission is $5. The family-friendly show runs for about an hour and a half.
Born in Indiana, Cole Porter was a classically-trained composer and songwriter. Prolific between the late ‘20s and late ‘40s, his songs include “Anything Goes” – (from the 1934 musical “Anything Goes” ); “It’s De-Lovely” – (from the 1936 musical “Red, Hot, and Blue” ); “I’m Throwin’ a Ball Tonight” and “I’ve Still Got My Health” – (from the 1940 musical “Panama Hattie”); “Another Openin’ of Another Show” – (from the 1948 musical “Kiss Me Kate”); and so much more.
Director Stephanie Masterson said she knew she wanted to do a revue of a composer’s music. “Since we’ve never done anything with Cole Porter in the 24 years I’ve been at FloArts, I wanted to introduce the students to what I think is some really wonderful music by an exceptional composer. I decided this one looked like it would be fun to do,” she said.
While performing Porter’s range of work has been challenging for the students, Masterson said they have done a wonderful job preparing Porter’s classics for the stage. Six FloArts singers, often singing in a six-part harmony throughout the show, will perform vignettes, using snippets of different musical pieces to tell the story. Pianist Curtis Powell will accompany the performers.
In keeping with the minimalist approach to the design elements and production values of the Musical Theatre Project, Masterson explained, “The Musical Theatre Project seeks to put emphasis on the core vocal, dance and acting work that is the heart of the musical theatre with enough enhancement from scenery, props, lights and costumes to give the audience a flavor of the full production.”
Student Costume Designer Uvenka Jean-Baptiste explained that the colorful and fun clothing worn in the show will transition through a few decades, representing the time period of Porter’s music. Researching the clothing of this time period has been Jean-Baptiste’s biggest delight in her role as costume designer. “I love to research the different time periods and the different style lines throughout the periods,” she said. “It almost feels like you’re entering that older era.”
Although the generation most familiar with Porter’s work will thoroughly enjoy the music in the show, Masterson said it will also be entertaining for those who are not familiar with his songs. “If you want to know more, please come, because you’ll learn a lot about this composer,” she said.
FloArts alumnus Zack Fowler, from Palatka, is the show’s choreographer. Since graduating from FloArts, Zack has gained a wide range of experience, including working as a dance supervisor for the Princess Cruise Lines. “Having him work on the show has been really wonderful for him and for our students,” said Masterson.
The “Hot ‘n’ Cole” cast includes Cameron Bartelt, Kiersten Bartholomew, Mitchel Burns, Caitlin Charrier, Tori D’Alessandro and Noah Peacock.
The production staff includes: Director Masterson; Choreographer Fowler; Accompanist Powell; Costume Designer Jean-Baptiste; Scenic Designer, Scenic and Lighting Advisor, Staff Technical Director and Scene Shop Manager Robert W. O’Leary; Lighting Designer Katrina Babitzke; Sound Engineer and Sound Board Operator Braden Harrington; Stage Manager Yul Carrion; Student Technical Director John Robinson III; Costume Faculty Supervisor Emily Strickland; Costume Shop Manager Tiffany Jordan; Assistant Stage Manager Brandy Ramos; Assistant to the costume designer and Wardrobe Head Sarah Cox; Costume Construction Crew: Robert Allen, Bartholomew, Danielle Brownfield, Anastasia Costas, Marcus Donaldson, Brandon French, Allyson Futch, Martin Hamilton, Jasmine Saumat and Carine St. Juste; Dressers: Allen, Costas, Cox and French; Master Electrician Andrew Stevens; Paint Charge Brittany Posso; Assistant Paint Charge Anna Guzman; Lighting Board Operator Tricia Willliams; Carpenters/Painters & Electricians: Babitzke, Burns, Matthew Campbell, Kevin Figueroa, Guzman, Harrington, Peacock, Posso, Madison Protonotarious, Robinson III, Hayley Smith, Andrew Stevens, Christopher Toombs and Williams; House Manager Katie Garrepy; Understudies: Alberto Blanco, Kevin Figueroa; Emma Gazdecki; Breanna Shuman; Gemma Smith and Mark Wildman.
“Doing an understudy part here is an important learning tool for the students to become successful when they leave,” said Masterson. “They work as hard as the leads do. Sometimes, they have to know more than one part, but in this show, we’re not doing that because it’s a small cast.”
Florida School of the Arts is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards the two-year associate degree. The School serves the entire state of Florida and is located on the SJR State Palatka campus. For more information, call 386-312-4300 or visit the website at floarts.org.
It’s Delightful, It’s Delicious, It’s De-lovely… Florida School of the Arts students rehearse for their Musical Theatre Project: “Hot ‘n’ Cole: A Cole Porter Celebration!” set for October 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. and October 29 at 2:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for this family-friendly show. Pictured are Cameron Bartelt and Tori D’Alessandro.
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