Tony Nominee Eddie Mekka to Star in XANADU at TheatreZone
Tony-nominated actor Eddie Mekka is returning to TheatreZone in October 2015 to star in Xanadu, the 2007 Broadway musical version of the cult 1980 film about a woman who makes dreams come true, today announced Artistic Director Mark Danni.
Mekka is well known to television audiences worldwide for his role as 'Carmine "The Big Ragu" Ragusa' on the hit ABC-TV sitcom "Laverne & Shirley," as Shirley's on-again/off-again love interest throughout the show's entire eight year run with actors Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams. He reunites with director Danni who first cast him in the iconic role of the Roman slave Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at TheatreZone in 2011. Mekka also headlined the non-profit theatre organization's inaugural fundraising gala the following year.
"I cast Eddie because he has such wonderful comedic timing and is funnier than anyone I know. He is perfect for the role of Danny in Xanadu," believes Danni. "He also has a wonderful singing voice and we all know he's really light on his feet -- a wonderful dancer. In fact, the first time he appeared on Laverne & Shirley, he danced across the screen," he continues. "I also felt that having Eddie (who is accomplished in the three mediums of theatre, TV and film) in the show would be an incredible resource for the FGCU students," he adds.
"As Danny Maguire, Eddie sings and dances the role of an aging musician, now a hard-nosed "all work and no play" businessman, who owns the theater he once built for his love, Kira, " explains Danni. "Maguire used to be a budding artist as a clarinet player, but has since let money and greed consume him as he became a real estate mogul," he adds. The role of Danny Macguire was the legendary actor and dancer Gene Kelley's final performance in the 1980 film version also starring Olivia Newton-John.
"I've been known to twinkle a toe or two," confides Mekka. "In fact, on the final "Laverne & Shirley" episode, Carmine rides off into the sunset, having achieved his dream of dancing on Broadway in Hair," he reminisces. Mekka also danced with Madonna in the film "A League of Their Own," and currently performs a song and dance nightclub act.
Xanadu is the second pairing of professional actors (members of the Actors Equity Association) with Florida Gulf Coast University's Bower School of Music and The Arts professors and students. TheatreZone resident choreographer Karen Molnar will choreograph Xanadu and Robin Frank (a FGCU faculty member) will music direct as well as play the piano.
Xanadu performs in the 90-seat Theatre Lab on the FGCU campus for 10-performances October 1 through October 10, 2015. Individual tickets to Xanadu cost $45 and $40 each. To purchase tickets, call (888) 966-5592 or visit on www.theatrezone-florida.com.