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TheatreZone's magical history.

 

Every theatre company has an interesting history and TheatreZone is no exception. TheatreZone is Collier County's professional Equity Regional Theatre Company, bringing the "Lost Treasures of Broadway" to Southwest Florida audiences.

 
 

Community School Of Naples.

 

After living in New York City and working on Broadway, Mark Danni was offered a position to start a theatre program at The Community School of Naples (CSN).  It was February 2002.  Mark negotiated with CSN that he would accept the offer with the condition that the school allow him to start a professional regional theatre company that would be in residence at CSN’s G&L Theatre. In May 2002, Mark and his wife, a professional choreographer, Karen Molnar, moved to Naples, Florida.

 
 

TheatreZone not-for-profit corporation.

 

By 2005 Mark Danni successfully established a theatre program for CSN and this paved the way for him to create TheatreZone, not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation.  According to Danni, “Most regional theatres are nonprofit, as are symphony orchestras.  It is very difficult to keep tickets affordable and make enough money to cover the cost of running one of these organizations.  Being able to give tax deductions to donors for the contributions both monetary and non monetary helps us.” 

 
 

Actors' Equity Association Contract.

 
Actors' Equity Association, Small Professional Theatre ContractWith the corporation in place Founding Managing Director Larry Goodsight  began the process of obtaining a Small Professional Theatres Contract with the Actors’ Equity Association (the professional actors’ union). An association with Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) is an integral part of a theatre company’s ability to insure quality, acquire the best actors and to gain respect in the industry.

 

Mr. Danni was convinced that securing a contract with Actors’ Equity Association would assist in validating TheatreZone as a regional theater, he notes: “Professionalism in every field is the realm of those who have found their true calling.  Whether it’s medicine, law, engineering, music or theatre, professionals don’t just display talent; they further their natural gifts by dedicating themselves to years of study with the most knowledgeable and experienced teachers.  Often they go through arduous apprenticeships as they hone their craft.”

 

Professional theatre works the same way. To become a member of Equity an actor has to be hired by a professional theatre which means that the actor has to have demonstrated their skills, talent, and training to be attractive to a professional theatre. An Equity theatre company provides national exposure through the acting communities trade magazine’s and papers as well as the regional theatre trade magazine’s which circulate nation wide with primary locations in New York City, Los Angeles and in London and Canada. Finally, Danni adds: “An Equity theatre is an important cultural and economic part of the community.  It has been proven that small businesses and revitalization flourish around Equity theatres.”


For more information about Actors’ Equity Association, visit: www.actorsequity.org

 
 

TheatreZone's inaugural season opens with Mack and Mabel March 16, 2006.

 

Gary Sandy, as Mack SennettMark Danni was a fan of Gary Sandy (WKRP in Cincinnati) and approached him about starring in their first production.  When Gary agreed, Mark looked for a show that would best showcase Gary’s talents.  Mr. Danni always liked Jerry Herman's Mack & Mabel and the starring role of Mack Sennett seemed perfect for Gary.  The show needed to be reworked and Mr. Danni was able to get in contact with Jerry Herman who allowed Mark to rework the show with his blessing.

 

Maxine Ginsberg of the Naples Daily News wrote: “There’s a new kid on the local theatrical block by the name of TheatreZone. The new arrival strutted its stuff for the first time Thursday night with its production of “Mack & Mabel”…The 250seat auditorium has been constructed with an amphitheater style slope that ensures a good view of the stage from every seat. The cozy space helps establish intimacy with the actors and boosts the audience’s involvement with the play. The production delighted the audience, as might be expected. Theater lovers always appreciate good material well presented.”

 
 

TheatreZone presents World Premiere Production of Miracle in Rwanda February 9, 2007.

 

As TheatreZone’s inaugural season came to a close, Mark Danni met Leslie Lewis Sword, an actress who had moved to Naples from NYC. Serendipitously, Leslie Lewis Sword moved into a house directly behind Mr. Danni’s home and he asked her to audition for TheatreZone's upcoming season.  At her audition, Leslie asked if she could do five minutes of material from a one woman show she had the rights to about a woman who survived the Rwandan holocaust by hiding in a bathroom with seven other women for 90 days. 

 

Mr. Danni was riveted and met with Leslie about having TheatreZone present the world premiere of this work. Miracle in Rwanda’s world premiere took place February 9, 2007, and this theatrical piece will always have attached to it "Originally produced at TheatreZone, Naples, FL, Mark Danni, Artistic Director."  Following its premiere at TheatreZone, the show moved to New York for one month, and will open in Edinburgh in August.  Please click here for more information about Miracle in Rwanda and its world tour. 

Immaculee Ilibagiza, Mark Danni and Leslie Lewis Sword  (left-right)
Immaculee Ilibagiza, author of "Left To Tell”, Mark Danni, and Leslie Lewis Sword celebrate Miracle in Rwanda’s Opening Night
 
 

TheatreZone readies for the close of their second season and the Story Goes On.

 
In June 2007, TheatreZone presents BACK TO BACHARACH AND DAVID, starring Jim Badger, Leslie Lewis Sword, Katlyn Campbell and Meg Pryor. While audiences will be entertained by favorite songs like Walk on By, What The World Needs Now Is Love, Alfie, Close To You, This Guy's In Love With You, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, and  I'll Never Fall In Love Again, Mr. Danni and his entire Board of Directors continue to fulfill their mission statement.
 

Most importantly, they strive to Provide opportunities for student education and collaboration and to this end Mr. Danni comments: “The students at the Community School of Naples and other area high schools have benefited by having the celebrities and other actors involved in TheatreZone productions work and talk with the students about the entertainment business. Our backstage crew is partially comprised of students who get to work on a professional show.  Four students have performed onstage in productions and one student, Jeremy Goodman, has worked as a musician in the pit.  Two alumni have been involved in productions and one has received her Equity Card from TheatreZone.  Another student who graduates June 1, 2007, was made an Equity Stage Manager by TheatreZone and so impressed the Miracle In Rwanda world tour production staff that they are taking him to Edinburgh with them.”

Nancy Dussault and Mark Danni
Nancy Dussault speaks
with CSN’s students…
 
 
 

TheatreZone
13275 Livingston Rd.

Naples, FL 34109


888-ZONE-FLA
(1-888-966-3352)

**TheatreZone’s Site Header ~ Pictured: Christina Alexander, Larry Alexander, Jane Badger, Adolpho Blaire, Katlyn Campbell, Mark Chandler, Charleene Closshey, Dana Cohen, Nicole Corris, Bryon Dement, Georgia Engel, Olli Haaskivi, Robert Hildreth, Ryan James, Alex Jorth, Megan Jimenez, Brigid Kegel, Kara Konken, Dan Lamey, Dawn Lebrecht, Troy Lewis, Andrea McArdle, Donna McKechnie, Eddie Mekka, Paige Miles, Karen Molnar, Natale Pirotta, Aaron Reeder, Victoria Regan, Molly Anne Ross, Vera Samuels, Daniel Schwab, Gary Simpson, Kimberly Dawn Smith, Joseph Strickland, Nicolette Sweeney, Gerritt Vandermeer, Courtney Whittamore, Julie Woods-Robinson, Megan Yelaney **

 
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