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Sedona Arts Center: I Do! I Do!

Something unique is happening at the Charles W. Raison Theatre at the Sedona Arts Center: two theatre companies are collaborating to present the poignant yet funny musical comedy, I DO! I DO! , thru the weekends of May 18-21 and May 25-28.

Last fall, Noel Schwartz of the Jerome Center for the Performing Arts met with the Sedona Arts Center's Community Theatre Committee and they agreed to merge their two theatres in a musical production to be presented first in Jerome, followed by three weekend runs at the Sedona Arts Center.

"This is really a coming home event for the actors, the director and the musical director," said Bobbi Leahy, producer of the Sedona production.
Debbie Winslow and Mike Gilbert, stars and only performers in the play, have both been seen on the Sedona Arts Center's stage, most recently in Pump Boys and Dinettes. In addition, the director, Schwartz, directed and choreographed many musicals at the Sedona Arts Center, while Dean Spotts, the Musical Director, directed his original musical, "Medium Rare - A Sedona Roast" at S.A.C. in September of 1998, to sell out audiences.

I DO! I DO! is the musical story of a marriage. The show begins with Michael and Agnes (played by Gilbert and Winslow) on their wedding day and traces their life together over a period of 50 years until the day they leave their house to the next pair of newlyweds.

According to director Schwartz, "This show is wonderfully universal, just like marriage. Every couple who enters marriage for the duration, 'til death do us part,' will identify with the musical's episodes - wedding night jitters, raising a family, negotiating mid-life crises, quarrelling, reconciling, and growing old together. The play runs the gamut of emotions, the audience laughs and sheds tears during each poignant performance. "

Leahy agreed to produce the Sedona performances because "I knew it was a 'win-win' production," she said. "When you combine the talents of four professional theatre people like Noel Schwartz, Dean Spotts, Debbie Winslow and Mike Gilbert you are bound to have a winning production."

Schwartz danced in the original Broadway productions of Damn Yankees and West Side Story. He also played and danced the role of Pancho, a Mexican bandit, in We Take the Town, starring Robert Preston. In addition, he danced and sang in musical revues with Bert Lahr, Dick Van Dyke and Nancy Walker. This talented director and dancer came to Sedona with his wife, Gloria, and began directing shows for Southwest Theatre and the Sedona Arts Center, before they moved to Jerome to start the Jerome Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets for I Do! I Do!, are available at the Sedona Arts Center, 282-3809.

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