Cast Set For TheatreZone's LITTLE ME This Month

Performances begin Thursday, March 7th. 

By: Mar. 04, 2024
Cast Set For TheatreZone's LITTLE ME This Month
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TheatreZone' has announced its 14-person cast of Neil Simon's Little Me, which takes the stage on Thursday, March 7th. 

The production is almost sold out for the first week, though tickets remain for the six performances during the second week, March 14-17, highlighted by a Talkback with the cast and staff after the show on Thursday, March 14.

The two leads of the TheatreZone cast are Lauren Culver as Belle Poitrine, and Adolpho Blaire, a New York-based actor returning to TheatreZone for his 20th performance. He will play an astonishing variety of eight unique characters: Belle's first love, a miserly banker, shrewd theatrical agent, French entertainer, Hollywood director, soldier, Monte Carlo prince, and Ivy League student.

Both Culver and Blaire will deliver tour de force performances, according to TheatreZone's founder and artistic director, Mark Danni.

The musical follows Belle Poitrine's (nee Schlumpfert) comic 50-year journey from a humble beginning in Drifter's Row. She yearns for a more exalted life like that on The Bluff, falls in love with the wealthy Noble Eggleston, and crisscrosses America and Europe in a pursuit to earn his mother's favor. Her multiple love affairs and marriages elevate her status with wealth, culture and social position. 

“Using her voice and body language, and with support from our costume designer Kathleen Kolacz, Lauren convincingly ages 50 years while rarely leaving the stage.” She is returning to TheatreZone for the second time after playing Vibrata in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 2012.  “Lauren absolutely killed it in the Little Me audition. She is a stellar actress, great singer and performer,” said Danni.

Adolpho Blaire, a TheatreZone fan favorite, is well-known for his comedic roles.  When he first heard TheatreZone was producing Little Me, Blaire said "I want that role."  In preparation, he researched the characters for months, creating a unique persona for each and ensured that all showcased his special brand of wackiness.  "It's a gargantuan, herculean role,” he quipped.

Mark Danni says, “We had an extensive and competitive audition process for the coveted role of one person playing the eight characters. Adolpho's audition was outstanding. Every character and every accent were perfectly done.” Blaire adds that, “I came in and played four of the characters -- hats, moustaches, glasses and all!"

Blaire notes that his favorite character is the wide-eyed WWI dough-boy, Fred. “I play him as innocent and half-blind and he is both real and endearing. Mr. Pinchley is the trickiest to play. He's a mean, nasty old miser. It's like trying to get a laugh from Ebenezer Scrooge.”

Both Adolpho Blaire and Mark Danni emphasize each character in Little Me plays like variety show sketches and Saturday Night Live. Blaire explains that, “The trick of the roles is not to erase myself, but to bring all of my silly quirkiness to each of the men. The accents aren't perfect and it makes it that much more charming.”

The 12 supporting cast members also each play multiple roles as well as parts in the ensembles. Danni said that the TheatreZone production will have “a great orchestra led by Music Director Keith Thompson and fun tap-dancing choreography by Karen Molnar Danni. It's a very entertaining night at the theatre.”

The original 1962 Broadway production of Little Me starred Sid Caesar, with music by the legendary composer Cy Coleman (Sweet Charity, City of Angels) and choreography by Bob Fosse. Its appeal and success inspired several revivals and multiple Tony Award nominations. A 1998 Broadway revival starred Martin Short in the multiple male roles and earned Short the 1999 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.

Lauren Culver has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Millikin University. In addition to her many roles in musical productions throughout the U.S., she says she is “thrilled to be part of the magic at Universal Studios.” She recently made her directing debut with New Gen Theatrical's Twelfth Night, in Orlando.

Adolpho Blaire grew up in Maryland, outside of D.C., and studied acting, singing and dancing throughout his growing years, ultimately earning his Bachelors of Fine Arts at Shenandoah Conservatory. Just prior to arriving in Naples for Little Me, he played Mr. Fezziwig in Scrooge, the Musical, in Wisconsin. Following Little Me, he will choreograph Gypsy at Music Theatre Wichita in Kansas.

Little Me will be directed by Mark Danni. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on March 7-10 and 14-17, 2024, and at 2 p.m. on March 9-10 and 16-17.

Tickets are $50, $65 and $85, depending on seat selection.