|Lakeland Players cozy up to the piano bar for latest show|
|Written by Dan Plutchak|
|Thursday, 13 October 2011 13:17|
Some of the cast members of “I Love Piano Bars 2” gather around pianist and lounge singer Joy Smith. The musical review opens Friday with special guests Wayne and Kathleen Messmer.
(Read the full story in the e-edition HERE.)
ELKHORN — Wayne Messer, who sings the National Anthem at Chicago Cubs and Blackhawk games, will be a guest performer during Lakeland Players opening weekend of “I Love Piano Bars 2.”
Original music written by Joy Smith also will take the spotlight during the musical review. Opening night is Friday, Oct. 14 at the Walworth County Performing Arts Center in Elkhorn.
Smith, who winters in Florida, has extended her stay in the Lake Geneva area just for this production. She plays piano at Mar’s Resort in Lake Geneva during the summers, which is how she met many of the people in the Lakeland Players. It’s how the theater company secured Messmer and his wife Kathleen for the opening weekend.
“He comes in and likes to sing at the piano bar,” said Smith.
“I’ve played here for 24 summers, and I’ll be here a couple more weeks just for this production. We did it once before, but this has new songs in it and this cast is different,” said Smith.
She’s hoping for good weather since she lives in a summer cottage with no insulation. No matter the weather outside, however, the inside of the performing arts center is sure to heat up with this musical review.
Linda Kouzes, co-founder of Lakeland Players, is looking forward to it. She’ll be singing a song written for her, “Linda’s Song,” and a duet, “My Golden Years Aren’t Golden Anymore,” with Tim Nehs.
“It’s hysterical, it really is,” said Kouzes, of Smith’s song. “She (Smith) sings the middle part and it’s just great — she’s such a talent.”
“David Whitney directed and he’s great with the choreography and he’s added a lot of tap dancing to this production,” Smith said. “He’s actually the one that asked Wayne if he do it.”
Whitney, who now lives in the Lake Geneva area, has been involved in theatre for many years and also has danced professionally. He’s been directing at Lakeland Players since he got involved with a production of “Oliver.”
“When you get involved with theater people, you get lots of friends,” Whitney said. “Plus I knew quite a few people from the Dance Factory in Delavan where I teach.”
But Whitney thinks this group of people and this musical review is special.
“Joy is a good friend of mine and she wrote all this music and we wanted to put in on stage,” he said. “Wayne loves all of her music and he learned a bunch of the songs so he could sing them at Mars. So, I asked him if he wanted to do the review, and he said, ‘for sure.’ His wife Kathleen will sing too. It’s going to be great.”
The cast includes 24 singers and dancers, and the review will feature 35 original songs by Smith.
“Apart from George Cohen’s four songs, I wrote everything else,” Smith said. “We’re ending with a big patriotic extravaganza.”