What do you get when you mix the Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s artistic director, Bo Thorp, with one of its most talented actors, Dirk Lumbard in one play?
In the case of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, it looks to be a touching,yet humorous comedy that is sure to set your mind thinking and the town talking.
Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, directed by John Hardy, is a touching and human comedy about a formidable retired woman, Lily Harrison (Thorp), who hires an acerbic dance instructor, Michael Minetti (Lumbard), to give her private dance lessons —one per week for six weeks — in her gulf-front condo in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida.
The duo of Thorp and Lumbard are sure to make theatre magic on the stage. The two who have worked together in a number of productions, most recently Peter Pan, have a great chemistry between them, which Hardy believes stems from their friendship and professional respect for their craft.
“They know each other so well,” said Hardy. “It’s so much fun to watch them work and discover these characters. We’ve been working together for about a week, but in rehearsal time that’s about six months. Everyone I run into in town absolutely loves them and can’t wait to see the show.”
The play, while centered around dancing is really the story of two very different, lonely people, who, when thrown together develop a rich friendship. What begins as an antagonistic relationship blossoms into an intimate friendship as these two people from very different backgrounds reveal their secrets, fears, and joys while dancing the Swing, Tango, Waltz, Foxtrot, Cha-Cha, and Contemporary Dance.
Hardy said that for many, the dancing will be a draw, noting that Lumbard explains not only the history, but the mechanics to the dances throughout the play. But he cautions that this is not a musical.
“The dancing is what brings them together,” he said. “They are two people who seem to have nothing in common, but when thrown together, they find out that they have more in common than they initially thought.”
The character portrayed by Lumbard is gay, and Thorp’s character is the widow of a minister. That’s the starting point of their differences, but also where they come together and learn to overcome their outward differences and discover an unlikely but profound connection. By the final lesson, Lily shares with Michael her most closely guarded secret and he shares with her his greatest gifts, his loyalty and compassion.
The production is a comedy with music and dance, but it also addresses the serious issues of ageism and intolerance. There is adult content and language, so leave the children at home.
On Thursday, April 22 following the performance, there will be a special event – Champagne and Dancing Anyone? Bring your dance chose and join Lumbard and the cast for an after party with food, champagne and dancing on the stage. Reception Tickets are $7.
Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks runs April 16-May 2. The Box Office for the public opens April 12 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $12 Preview; $17– Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturday matinees, Sunday matinees & Sunday evenings; $17– Fridays; $23 – Saturday evenings. Show times are 8:15 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sunday evening. Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. CFRT’s traditional discounts of $1 are available for seniors 55 and older, students 18 and under and active duty military and their dependants on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturday matine