SEE PERFORMANCES NOW: Shelton High graduate directs Center Stage play
Editor's note: The production schedule has been shifted back one week due to a cast member's injury. Performances will now begin April 17 and end May 3; the Thursday show remains April 23.
When Scott R. Brill was a Shelton High School sophomore in the early 1980s, he shared with his English teacher in a writing assignment that he loved musical theater.
His teacher was Gary Scarpa, and thus was the beginning of a future in the theater.
“I called Scott up to my desk after class and seized the opportunity to get Scott involved as a performer on the stage, encouraging him to try out for the Drama Club spring musical,” said Scarpa, co-founder of Center Stage Theatre with his wife Francesca.
Ironically, when audition time came around, Brill did not try out.
While Brill had seen lots of Broadway shows with his parents as a youth, he said, “I was very shy in high school and although loved seeing theater, I wasn’t quite sure yet that I wanted to be on stage myself.”
A year later, Brill did audition and was cast in "The King and I" at Shelton High, and then in his senior year he performed in "The Mikado."
“I had to discover the performer inside me and the Scarpas helped me find that in my life,” he said.
Began directing plays in college
Brill went on to earn a master’s degree in theater directing. While in college, he would perform in Scarpa-directed productions in the summers with the Youth CONNection. He also acted in, and directed, productions at the two colleges he attended.
After the Scarpas opened Center Stage, Brill found his way back to Shelton and performed in "The Man Who Came to Dinner" and in "Big River." In 2014, he directed "The Importance of Being Earnest" at Center Stage.
“Working at Center Stage feels like coming home again and being with family,” said Brill, thanking the Scarpas for being so encouraging and inspiring to him and countless other youths through the years.
A madcap comedy
Brill will be the guest director for Center Stage’s production of "Lend Me a Tenor" by Ken Ludwig, which opens April 10.
The 1989 Broadway hit is a madcap comedy that takes place in 1934 as the Cleveland Grand Opera company prepares to welcome world-famous tenor Tito Morelli for a sold-out, one-night-only performance.
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It’s all downhill from there. What transpires is an hilarious farce full of mistaken identity, slamming doors, and bawdy humor.
“With its fast-paced action, interplay between characters and hilarious dialogue, 'Lend me a Tenor' provides both the director and actors involved a chance to hone their skills and to shine creatively,” Brill said.
Performance times and tickets
"Lend Me a Tenor" will run through April 26. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m., and a 7 p.m. performance Thursday April 23.
Purchase tickets, at $25 for adults and $10 for students, at 203-225-6079 or www.centerstageshelton.org. The nonprofit Center StageTheatre is at 54 Grove St. in Shelton (the former Lafayette School complex).