South Florida – “The Foreigner” is bursting with wit and southern charm at Lake Worth Playhouse. Theatre Chat shares an exclusive Q and A from a few of the cast of Lake Worth Playhouse production of “The Foreigner“. Special thanks to all of he cast Jason Leadingham (Charlie Baker), Jodie Dixon-Mears (Betty Meeks), Samantha Marangell (Catherine Simms) and Richard Iverson (Ellard Simms). Let us start the exclusive Q and A with Artistic Director Jodie Dixon-Mears:
Jodie for those that may think an Artistic Director should focus on planning the next shows.. what do you tell them why put your self on stage?
“Being our 60th anniversary season we have decided to do many different events around the playhouse to celebrate, I decided to go back to my roots (literally, let my hair come in its natural grey) and return to how I started in this business by acting.” Jodie Dixon-Mears.
What makes this part right for you?
“I didn’t just put myself into the part, I did audition for the Director Patty Goodrich and had many a discussion about me creating this character.” Jodie Dixon-Mears.
Why is this part so important that you felt I need to play that role?
I love “The Foreigner“, and I believe Betty is a great character full of warmth, a bit naïve, but ultimately a great character to create. I guess I’m following in the footsteps of other Artistic Directors, Company Managers, Producers and Directors in South Florida that have also gone on stage, written their own shows etc. As artists I think it’s very important to keep your skills sharp and allow one’s self to be creative by doing what they love. I have directed countless shows not only at the Playhouse, but it’s been sometime since I have actually acted and gone through the rehearsal process as an actor. It has allowed me to remember what it’s like to be an actor, and I do think it will make me better at my job.” Jodie Dixon-Mears.
What is the hardest part of being Artistic Director that others may not even realize?
Jodie “I can’t really say what the hardest part of being an Artistic Director is, everyday is a new adventure so that answer changes from moment to moment. Jodie Dixon-Mears.
BroadwayGlobal named Florida the fun in the sun arts destination. What makes your theatre a reason to come to Sunny Florida?
“I think any theatre in South Florida should be visited by not only locales but also those coming from other places. Lake Worth is a great small town and of course the Lake Worth Playhouse is a registered Historic Theatre, it’s lovely inside, a very intimate house and of course first class entertainment. “I am thankful for the opportunity to return to the Lake Worth Playhouse stage as an actor in this production of “The Foreigner“. This laugh-a-minute show is full of outrageous antics, scheming characters and some of your favorite Southern stereotypes! It’s not to be missed.” Jodie Dixon-Mears.
Lake Worth Playhouse is the Theatre Chat top pick for “Best Community Theatre” with professional production standards. They offer a diverse array of programming, including award-winning dramas, comedies, musicals, area premieres, Broadway favorites, children’s shows, ballets and operas on film, live concerts, Improv comedy and alternative programming. Thank you Jodie Dixon-Mears.
Jason Leadingham (Charlie Baker) shares his exclusive:
Jason what have you found to be the best part of moving to Florida for theatre?
“I moved to west palm beach from 10 years of living in NC (with a brief 10 month stop in St Petersburg, FL) to take a lead pastor position at church here called Hope Fellowship. (www.GoHFCC.org). I was in my way to Starbucks on lake avenue the first week I was here and saw signs for auditions to be in “the king and i” I had doubled majored in theatre and ministry in my undergrad and had done a lot of community and theatre work in NC and it had been over a year since I was in a show so on a whim I just went. Immediately I fell in love with the Lake Worth Playhouse (LWP). It’s a community theatre that feels and behaves just as or perhaps even more professionally than the regional theaters I did work for in NC.” Jason Leadingham (Charlie Baker).
Why should someone come see the The Foreigner?
“Bottom line…it is funny. You will laugh you will enjoy yourself. It would be difficult not to. I have heard these same bits for months now and I still laugh when I hear lines delivered when I’m not on stage. The writing is that good.” Jason Leadingham (Charlie Baker).
Why did you do The Foreigner?
“”The Foreigner” was on my bucket list of plays to do. I asked for a script and was going into auditions thinking I would go for the part of David (he’s a pastor so I thought I could cover that well) but after reading the script I fell in love with the idea of playing Charlie (the foreigner) it has been by far the most fun and Challenging roles I have ever played. Charlie essentially is in a semi-depressed state at the open of the show and is basically reborn throughout the course of the play. Charlie is not the same Charlie at the end as he was in the beginning. I think that story speaks to people on many levels particularly in a world today that many people are searching for a second chance or maybe a 100th chance to reinvent themselves.” Jason Leadingham (Charlie Baker).
“Also, personally it’s been challenging for me because of the various dialects and accents I use during the fast paced two hour show. I have to be careful to speak the right accent to the right person at the right time. Charlie’s new life is created in the midst of a group of characters who all need “something” in their lives and they help him fill in his missing pieces with what they need from him. I love that idea and I think it has made this cast bond and it shows throughout our performance. ” Jason Leadingham (Charlie Baker).
Samantha Marangell (Catherine Simms) shares her exclusive:
Samantha your not only an actress but a theatre blogger. How did that happen?
“Interestingly, my blog is only occasionally about my involvement in community theater. It’s part of an online women’s travel magazine (www.travelgogirl.com). I wrote a piece last year on the benefit of community theater in getting me involved as a new transplant to the area. I was involved in Lake Worth Playhouse’s production of “The Unexpected Guest” at the time. If you’re curious, you can find that piece on Travel Go Girl. Samantha Marangell (Catherine Simms).
Why are the arts innvaluable?
“Theater had previously been something I had chosen to push aside in favor or travel, graduate school, and Peace Corps service (hence the women’s travel magazine). I’m currently a private teacher during the day, but, community theater and the Lake Worth Playhouse provided an opportunity to remember how special and invaluable the arts are to a community. Getting involved in the theater has been fundamental in helping me feel involved in a place I never expected to be. I understand that it wouldn’t have such an effect on everyone, but I would highly recommend giving it a shot.” Samantha Marangell (Catherine Simms).
What can the average patron do to support the arts, this show and why?
“Get involved in any way, shape, or form. Audition, volunteer, or usher for some of the performances. There are people here who have been a part of this place for the last few decades, and tapping into that passion and joy has been phenomenal. I’m very grateful to those at the playhouse who have let me in to witness this. Thanks to community theaters like the Lake Worth Playhouse, involvement in the arts no longer has to be something that is either chosen exclusively or tossed aside in favor of more “practical” passions.” Samantha Marangell (Catherine Simms).
What is the most important message of being in theatre?
“As a teacher, performer, and traveler, I feel that theater has given me more poise and confidence than I would have had without it. Children getting involved in theater can experience a glimpse into more than just “make believe”–they start to delve into psychology, literature, history, and public speaking. They learn body awareness and communication skills. So, I would not only recommend that families attend community theater productions, but that they participate together if possible.” Samantha Marangell (Catherine Simms).
Special thanks to the cast of “The Foreigner” and Lake Worth Playhouse for sharing this exclusive. In addition to its main stage theatrical fare, the Playhouse presents year-round independent and foreign films in the Stonzek Theatre, an intimate black-box style theatre equipped with a large viewing screen and high-definition projection. The Playhouse is proud to offer a variety of educational programs for adults and children, as well as community outreach initiatives that bring cultural programs into the neighborhoods of underserved youth and also make theatre available free of charge for disadvantaged citizens in the community.
Synopsis of “The Foreigner“: In a resort-style fishing lodge in rural Georgia, this comedy around two of its’ guests, Englishman Charlie Baker and Staff Sergeant Froggy LeSueur. Charlie is so pathologically shy that he is unable to speak. As way of explanation, Froggy claims that his companion is the native of an exotic country who does not understand a word of English. Before long, Charlie finds himself privy to assorted secrets and scandals freely discussed in front of him by the other visitors.
“The Foreigner“, a two-act comedy written by American playwright Larry Shue earned two Obie Awards and two Outer Critics Awards. Following its’ MIlwaukee premiere, the play opned in 1984 at the Astor Palace Theatre in New York, running for 686 performances. Directed by Jerry Zacks, the original cast included the playwright himself a Froggy, Anthony Heald as Charlie and Sudie Bond as Betty Meeks. Shue died in a plane crash the year following the New York premiere, never living to see the popularity his show gained. In 2004, a revival of the show opened at the off-Broadway Laura Pels Theatre. Directed by Scott Schwartz, it starred Matthew Broderick as Charlie and Frances Sternhagen as Betty Meeks.
Travel to the deep south for the hilarious comedy of errors. “The Foreigner” Directed by Patti Storch-Goodrich features Jodie Dixon-Mears, Lake Worth Playhouse Artistic Director in the lead role of Betty Meeks. Tickets can be purchased through the Lake Worth Playhouse Box Office at 561-586-6410 or online at www.lakeworthplayhouse.org.
Lake Worth Playhouse is located at 713 Lake Ave in Downtown Lake Worth. Valet Parking is available for $5. Street and lot parking is also available.
Preview Night is Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. ($23 & $27). Opening Night is Friday, March 1, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. ($28 & $32 – includes Opening Night Elegance). Evening and Matinee Performances will run February 28 – March 17 – at 8pm and 2pm. ($26 & $30). Dinner & Show Night is February 28, 2013 and includes a 6:00 p.m. pre-show dinner at Paradiso, an upscale Italian restaurant in downtown Lake Worth, prior to the 8:00 p.m. performance. The all-inclusive dinner/show package price is $55 and includes a three-course meal and premium seats for the preview performance.
For tickets to Lake Worth Playhouse production of “The Foreigner” visit www.lakeworthplayhouse.org or call 561-586-6410.