Taste of Sunrise performances begin Friday, Oct. 7

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Joe Ronan and Justin Zenchuk

Center Stage Theatre actors Justin Zenchuk of Shelton and Joe Ronan of West Haven have a lot in common. Not only do the two 25 year-olds both stand well over six feet tall and share a love for theatre, but when The Taste of Sunrise opens at the Shelton theatre on Friday, Oct. 7 the two men will be playing the same role.

Ronan portrays Tuc, the play’s deaf central character, and Zenchuk will shadow Ronan as the voice of Tuc.

“They have had to work so closely together that the two of them have been kind of attached at the hip since we started rehearsing five weeks ago,” said Center Stage Artistic Director Gary Scarpa.

Zenchuk explained, “Being the voice of a deaf actor has been eye opening. I have learned so much about how to communicate in sign, and, in the process, I have grown as an actor and as a person.”

Ronan has only the highest praise for Zenchuk.

“He’s a great guy, and I am really enjoying working with him. I think we make a great team on the stage,” said Ronan.

“I’ve kind of marveled at how the two guys are able to communicate,” said Scarpa.

But Zenchuk explains, “In the play, one of the characters says, ‘we built ourselves a talking way,’ and that is what Joe and I have done. We just talk to each other. He reads my lips and I understand all of his gestures. Somehow, we connect, and we totally get each other. I trust him and he trusts me!”

This will be Ronan’s third appearance at Center Stage, after having played Tuc in last season’s Mother Hicks and then appearing in A Center Stage Christmas. Zenchuk, on the other hand, has grown up at Center Stage, first appearing there in his freshman year of high school and having played many roles at the theatre through the years.

Scarpa concludes, “Not only are these two young men talented, but they are also remarkable human beings. Our production rides on their broad shoulders, and I know that their performances are going to really move our audiences!”

Center Stage Theatre is located at 54 Grove Street in Shelton. Performances of The Taste of Sunrise will take place at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from Oct. 7 through Oct. 22, with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees on Oct. 9, 16, and 23, and at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20. Tickets: $25 for adults and $10 for students and deaf patrons, and may be purchased by calling the Center Stage box office at 203-225-6079 or by visiting www.centerstageshelton.org

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