Call them the “Dynamic Duo”, call them actors who love their roles, call them fun-loving thespians who want to keep an audience happy. But more than that, call Center Players and make your reservations to see I Do! I Do! Husbands and significant others, make a big hit with that special lady by presenting her with tickets as the best Valentine gift ever.
There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the talent of Anthony Greco and Yvette Cataneo who have both garnered rave reviews in their own right in numerous productions at Freehold’s resident theater in the past several years, but explode with energy and excitement as husband and wife in Center Players’ current production I Do! I Do! The two-act musical comedy, with book & lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt, celebrates the fifty-year story of Agnes and Michael from the day they marry until decades later when they reflect on their life together.
It’s appealing from the first song, the ebullient “Together Forever”, the first song of many over the evening. Most of the songs are not those easily recognized, but their dual rendition of “My Cup Runneth Over” is an absolute scene stealer. Cataneo, a Freehold resident, holds a master’s degree in vocal performance, and is comfortable and outstanding on the stage. While Greco, a Center Players board member, shows that he takes ease sliding from his offstage roles as Producer & Designer of this production to acting onstage. But the variety and complexity of the songs in I Do! I Do! shows the magnificent range and expression the actors pour into each note depicting every emotion from love and happiness to anger and annoyance. Together their voices create a perfect marriage in harmony.
One of the charms of Center Playhouse is its diminutive size, and actors like Cataneo and Greco shine in such an arena. Both are expressive and appealing in their facial expressions, often telling the story in physical expressions as well as voice. You can see the tears in Cataneo’s eyes, the shock in Greco’s face, and the obvious joy they both take in acting.
The love scenes are sensational, but it’s the frenzied wildness of their frustrated anger scenes that bring the audience to stillness in appreciation. Each must take a serious dose of energy pills before coming on stage, not only because of their constant activity, their full time in front of the audience, but also because of their frequent costume changes. Kudos must also go to Director Janet Lynn Spahr (who directed both of these actors in last season’s How the Other Half Loves) who has once again created a magnificent setting and a means for the play to have so much action in a single setting. Blended with the talent of musical director Robert Sammond and choreographer Monica Vermeulen, (yes, there are even some dances in this musical) I Do! I Do! is one of the best of so many outstanding presentations at Center Players.
I Do! I Do! is on stage at Center Playhouse, located at 35 South Street, Freehold, through February 24th with performances on Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM AND a special added Saturday matinee on February 23rd at 2:00 PM. Seating is extremely limited and few tickets remain to this fabulous production so call the box office at (732) 462-9093 immediately. Think of making it a memorable occasion by adding dinner at one of downtown Freehold’s fine eateries that promise to serve you a relaxing and delicious dinner and get you out on in time for the performance. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I can’t think of a better gift of love!
by Muriel J. Smith