Review Greenbelt News Review July 4, 2013
Botticelli Cruise at Greenbelt
by Carol Griffith
Two attractive people meet on a cruise
and fall in love: Not a particularly exciting plot line. But in the hands of Anthony Gallo and the Seventh Street Playhouse,
in their latest play now showing at the Greenbelt Arts Center, that seemingly innocent premise
is just the beginning of a twisting, turning, roller coaster of a play.
“The Botticelli Cruise” is the fourth of Gallo’s intelligent and
entertaining, dramatic and detailed plays to be performed at GAC. The talented screenwriter and librettist has written 14
dramatic plays, some of which have been performed in New York as well as widely throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington,
D.C. Tarpley Long is excellent as the flighty and free-spirited Boo, a passenger on the cruise.
Concerned only with getting her next gin and tonic, Boo divulges almost nothing of
her life story or, until the end of the play, her reason for being on the cruise. Bernard Phillips, the passenger who falls
in love with Boo, is a complete enigma. Even his name is a puzzle – it’s a shortened version, he tells Boo, of
his real name. In some of the funnier scenes, he claims to be the real author of the cheesy self-help books that Boo adores.
Boo swoons as he quotes verbatim from the latest book. But did he really write the books?
PatMartin returns to the GAC stage and lends his immense talents to the role of Bernard.
Adding to the mystery are the captain of the ship and the everpresent, overly
friendly waiter. Are they what they seem to be? David Weaver, also returning toGAC in this role with his usual outstanding
talent, seems to be having a lot of fun as the captain. Jonathan Gadsden, newcomer to the Greenbelt
stage, is perfect as the waiter with a secret.
Rounding out the cast and providing
some steadiness to counterbalance the other characters are Annette Landers and
Muriel McNair as fellow cruise passengers. Fresh from roles in the recent “Big
River” production, the talents they showed there aren’t fully
used in this play but they provide excellent support.
Is the play a study of how we all put on faces and tell stories to the world, hiding
ourselves within? Is it a Christian allegory with a Christ-like tragic character? You be the judge.
“The Botticelli Cruise” will play on the Friday and Saturday evenings
of July 5 and
6 at 8 p.m. There will be a Sunday matinee on July 7 at 2 p.m. Reservations may be
made through the box office at 301- 441-8770 or at the Greenbelt Arts Center at 123 Centerway, located beneath the Co-op supermarket
Congratulations are in order! Seventh Street Playhouse Board
member Robert Trifiletti was filmed
in the 2012 Academy Award nominated film “Best Short Documentary”
God is the Bigger Elvis, a film about Mother Dolores Hart. She is Prioress of the
Benedictine Abbey of
Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut
and she has a new claim to fame: Oscar nominee.
This short documentary
film about her journey from Hollywood starlet to cloistered Catholic nun, received an Academy
Award nomination for best short documentary film. Running 37 minutes long, God is the Bigger Elvis was directed
by Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson, and is one of five nominees in the Documentary
Short Film category. The documentary will be aired on HBO in April. Robert has maintained a forty-two year friendship with Mother
Dolores, corresponding and visiting the Abbey regularly.
Dolores Hart is an
Catholic nun and former Broadway and Hollywood actress. Nominated for a Tony in 1959, she made 10 films in 5 years, playing opposite Stephen
Hamilton and Robert
Wagner, having made her movie debut with Elvis
Presley in Loving
You (1957) . Miss Hart at that time gave up an engagement and a movie contract to enter a longer lasting relationship
and contract. She took her final vows in 1970 and chants in Latin eight times a day. She has also taken the lead in raising
awareness for peripheral idiopathic neuropathy disorder, a neurological disorder that afflicts many Americans, including herself.
adeptly produced Margherita at the Harvard Club of Boston on Commonwealth Avenue in 2009. Seventh Street Playhouse Actors Helen Mary Ball (Margherita),
James Howard (Benito Mussolini), Brian Doyle(James Bullock) Julian Ball (Narrator), and I were graciously hosted by Bob and
Maria at their beautiful Newton Center home and what superb Italian Cuisine! And
his wife Maria(Lombardo) was just appointed Chairman,
Board of Trustees of the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation!!
Robert will be attending
the Academy Award Ceremonies on February 26 for the fifth consecutive year. Impressive indeed!
We (Eastern Market
Studios) have nearly completed the shooting of our first film Charleston Revisited,
based on my stage play of the same name. Director Roland Branford Gomez, Cinematographer Albert Liesegang, Editor Matt Lolich,
Actors Bonnie Jourdan, Colin Davies, Jan Forbes, Mellicent Singham and the entire cast and crew will be rooting for “God
is the Greater Elvis” while having our own dreams of grandeur.
HARVARD MEETS VANDERGRIFT
Notes of Concern…
HARVARD MEETS VANDERGRIFT
I grew up in a small western Pennsylvania town named Vandergrift. It was
a beautiful little community perhaps best known for its winding streets, beautiful trees, and notoriety as a “workers
paradise” written about by the famous Ida Tarbell.
It is not my intention to discuss my hometown other than to
recommend those interested in some exciting history related to management and labor “dances” during the Steel
Age and the eventual transformation of people and communities when that industry began to fail, would be well advised to read
anything about Vandergrift, Pennsylvania they can find.
A number of famous and accomplished people had their origins
in Vandergrift. There was Angelo Donghia, the famous interior decorator who, among other things, dressed the luxury liner
S.S. France; Martieri of Rome, a couturier whose designs were sought by the famous and whose collections were featured on
runways around the world; William J. Perry, U.S. Secretary of Defense and so many others.
It was my pleasure to encounter
another of those who would make this list of famous natives of Vandergrift, Tony Gallo.
Anthony E. Gallo is a resident
of Washington, DC and a gifted playwright. One of his more famous plays, in fact, is titled “Vandergrift” and
has been showcased in many venues around the world.
However, I encountered Tony Gallo at the venerable Harvard Club
in Boston, Massachusetts last week. Gallo was offering a reading of his play Margherita within the walls of a very historic
place. I had shared with Tony that I would try to attend this event, but was unsure when we last talked that I could.
summary provided to those in attendance described the play this way:
“This historically- based two-act drama
examines the 25 year relationship between Margherita Sarfatti and Benito Mussolini between 1911 and 1936. The play takes place
during a three-day encounter in 1939. Margherita, the most influential woman in Il Duce’s life, is trying to leave the
country when her former lover knocks at the door. She is well aware of what he wants. He knows what she wants. “
entered the club and found my way to the hall where a beautifully prepared tea and coffee and juices had been set out for
the attendees. The club is very classy, heavy with beautiful woodwork, and the oil paintings of famous Americans hanging on
the wall looking down at those that visit.
I took a seat on a leather sofa and watched the action. It was a quiet group,
seemingly representative of those who love history and plays and have an Italian connection as The Italian Center of New York
City and their Boston Office was the sponsor of this event.
Margherita requires four players to handle the six roles.
For this reading the Playwright had secured the services of four really gifted players: Helenmary Ball as Margherita, James
Howard as Benito Mussolini, Brian Doyle as James Bullock and also as Major Klemmer, and Julian Ball as both the Narrator and
Howard was especially effective as Benito Mussolini. His face is very familiar, as he has played a variety of
character roles on television and in film.
I observed Tony “working the room” and greeting all the
guests. He is a polished, friendly and engaging fellow. When he got to me and started talking I could see recognition begin
to cross his face. With a “my God its you”, he embraced me and welcomed me over and over.
I was glad to
see someone from Vandergrift. Someone from Vandergrift was pleased to see another native. Both of us were standing inside
the Harvard club acting, well, like a bunch of western Pennsylvanians! And both of us knew what it meant to be at The Harvard
Club on this particular day for two guys from a little town further from Harvard and Cambridge than the miles would suggest.
a brief period, we had discussed most of my relatives, with a special mention of my aunt, Hazel Orr, who had been principal
of Tony’s school in the Vandergrift Heights. We talked also of my cousin Virginia Young (Putty) who had been a classmate
of Tony’s and we ventured into a discussion of Chiefs of Police Mike Calizzi and Dwight Johnston (another uncle of mine).
talked of how much help Renny Clawson of Vandergrift had been and of how they hoped to do a play about his ancestor Jim Whitworth
(an important player in Vandergrift history) in the future. We talked about Bob Johnston, retired independent school headmaster
and I provided Tony with Bob’s contact information.
Tony understands networking and he is an excellent communicator.
My guess is that he was communicating with Bob Johnston before the week was out.
Lest it seem we totally ignored all
those gathered for Margherita, I should say all of this nostalgia occurred in about a ten-minute break and then it was back
to work for Tony. He had important guests to greet, introductions to make, and a panel discussion to anticipate.
afternoon ended with a panel on Mussolini’s Italy in which our Tony Gallo was one of three panelists. The other two
being Allan C. Brownfield, a nationally syndicated columnist and Robert Trifiletti, executive director of The Italian Center.