Come Pay Your Respects to The Cemetery Club

Tampa’s oldest theatre performs play about friendship, love and loss
By: Carrollwood Players Theatre
Cemetery Club cast rehearses at Carrollwood Players Theatre.
Cemetery Club cast rehearses at Carrollwood Players Theatre.
TAMPA, Fla. - May 30, 2014 - PRLog -- Debuting June 13 and running through June 28, 2014, Carrollwood Player Theatre, 4333 Gunn Highway,   presents Ivan Menchell's bittersweet comedy, The Cemetery Club. It is the story of three widows and longtime friends who are in a different stage of healing and moving on with their lives. Once a month Doris, Ida and Lucille meet to pay their respects to their husbands, who are all buried in the same cemetery.

“Expect a lot of laughter and a little bit of tears,” said actress MaryAnn Bardi. “My character Lucille is flamboyant, sassy, man crazy and looking for a good time. But underneath it all I feel she is a women who has been hurt badly by a man she loved.”

MaryAnn worked behind the scenes before stepping into her first role at Carrollwood Players Theatre in 1996, “My Daughter she wanted to be an actress and she audition for a show for CPT.  I started working behind the scenes and before you knew it I was hooked. I made my acting debut and I have never looked back. “

This is Bardi’s second time playing Lucille and it has an especially poignant meaning to her, “I'm dedicating the show to the Actresses who played Ida (Bucky Barclay) and Doris (Helene Brennan) the first time around. They were both great women and helped me enormously during the run of the show because I had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery the week before tech week.  These women showed the true meaning of friendship and really brought Ida, Doris and Lucille to life.”

Director Frank Stinehour who started at the theatre as a stage manager of Cabaret in 2007 said, “This show is not about a religion or about traditions like some may think it is about. It is about the relationship of three longtime friends and the sharing of their stories and how they each contribute to each other’s life. You will fall in love each of the women and everyone will relate to one or all of them in many ways.”

Produced by Ann Lehman, the cast also features Karyn Lorenzetti as Ida who is ready to venture back into the dating pool, Judith Sachs as Doris who is devoted to her deceased husband with no interest in finding new love and Jen Hall as Mildred, a younger widow and potential love interest for the only man in the show.

“The only male in the cast is Ron Forth who plays Sam, a loveable shop owner from New York looking for a relationship that will help fill the emptiness that was left by the loss of his wife at an early age,” explained Frank.

Stinehour’s goal is to make the audience feel like they are not watching a play, but becoming part of it.

“I enjoy directing shows that have a good story and keep the audience’s attention.  I have a passion for movies and cinematography and often mix light and song within the story. I also borrow film techniques and styles and add them to the flow of the show. My saying is reacting is the best ability that an actor can have. It is not all about the lines and movement but do you feel that this is really happening.”

The nonprofit Carrollwood Players Theatre is Tampa’s oldest theatre, having been in the community since 1981. It features nine plays per season, One Act Weekend, Black Coffee staged readings, Carrollwood Idol, Theatre by Young People, Life Amplified variety showcase, and improv troupe Nine and Numb.

“There is something for every taste,” said Stinehour. “We are also one of the last theatres to cater to the seniors in the area and we want our seniors to know that they are appreciated and not just another ticket. We take the time to get to know you and try to make your experience one that you will feel at home and want to come back again and again.”

Though they offer online payments and reservations at their website, Frank explained that he understood that a senior citizen may not want that or have the ability to go online.

Tickets are also available by cash or check at the door and the lobby is set up with comfortable couches and furniture, giving guests an opportunity to relax and talk with friends before the show and at intermission.

“Our only goal besides providing the best and most wallet-friendly entertainment possible – we make you feel like a person, not a number,” he said.

The Cemetery Club is 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday night and 3 p.m. Sunday. Advance tickets are available at or at the box office for $ $18.00 regular ticket and $15.00 senior/student and military.

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Carrollwood Players Theatre
Tags:Community Theatre, Volunteer, Carrollwood, Performance, Tampa Events
Industry:Entertainment, Non-profit
Location:Tampa - Florida - United States
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