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Harlequin Theatre Presents 'Gianni Schicchi'

DATE: 02-26-2003

The dead walk among us. Poets visit hell. A con artist scams mourning relatives, in a bid to steal a fortune from the church.

It's a world of crime, scandal, and wealthy families falling apart.

And it's all played for laughs, in the comedy Gianni Schicchi, coming to the Cayuga Community College theatre March 13-15 and March 20-22.

The college's award-winning Harlequin Productions company will present the northeastern United States premiere of the new play by John Morogiello, a wild blend of "bawdy jokes, high-flyin' slapstick comedy, and nonstop 100-mph action" (Leonard Hughes, Washington Post).

Set in 14th century Florence, the show recounts the misdeeds of the scoundrel Gianni Schicchi. He has been condemned to Dante's Inferno for conniving with a bereaved family to snatch their patriarch's bequest away from the church. As the farce unfolds, almost all the characters except Schicchi's own daughter, Lauretta, and her true love, Rinuccio, prove to be world-class schemers in their own right.

A farce in the tradition of Italian commedia dell'arte, the show is loosely based on Puccini's one-act opera by the same name and its libretto by Giovacchino Forzano.

The cast includes Jason Manning as Gianni Schicchi, Melissa Ely as Zita, Adam Smith as Gherrardo, Ann LoTurco as Nella, Nathan Carlton as Rinuccio, Brian Chalupnicki as Marco, Michael Salter as Betto, Jennifer Star Gladle as Lorretta, Brady Andalora as Virgil, Aaron Capozzi as Dante, Jim Byrne as the Doctor, and Valerie Snyder as Buoso.

The show is directed by Robert Frame, with Melissa Gaffney as stage manager. Designers are Virginia Fennesy, sets; Brad McLean, lights; and Allison Day, costumes.

All performances begin at 8:00 p.m. General admission tickets are $4 ($1 for Cayuga Community College students), and will be available at the door. Additional information on the production is available at 255-1743, ext. 2340, or framer@cayuga-cc.edu.

Harlequin Productions has received numerous awards from the Theatre Association of New York State and the American College Theater Festival.