Theater Group Draws Unexpected Talent
Father-daughter team one of the shows’ highlights
John Randazzo, left, tries his hand at conducting
during his role as choir director Simon Stimpson in Batavia Theatre
Project’s production of OUR TOWN.
Although he didn’t audition and never expected to take the stage again, John Randazzo, of Summerside, has the unique opportunity to act alongside his daughter in Batavia Theatre Project’s inaugural season.
John dropped his daughter, Anna, off at the first read-through and, because all roles had not yet been cast, was asked to stay and read. Batavia Theatre Project directors were so impressed with his read-through they offered him a role. “I usually only see the finished product. I drop Anna off and pick her up. Out of sheer luck I was asked to read along and ultimately asked to stay. This has been a treat,” he said.
Anna, who is entering her senior year at Glen Este High School, will be performing two lead roles this season — Hermia in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Emily in “Our Town.” She hopes to pursue a career in the performing arts. “It is thrilling for me to see her at work. This is what she is passionate about, and I have gotten to have a glimpse of the process,” her father said.
John will be taking the stage for the first time since his high school play in 1984. He plays Hermia’s father in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as well as Simon Stimpson, the repressed choir director, in “Our Town.”
“The role of Emily is really having more of an emotional impact on me,” described John. “Even though I play Anna’s father in “Midsummer,” it is a comedy. At the last “Our Town” rehearsal, I teared up a bit when she had her final breakdown. And I reacted when she was in the white wedding dress. That was kind of a moment for me. That is probably going to wallop her mother, too.”
John said, above all, it has been a pleasure to see his daughter go through the rehearsal process and to be impressed with her ability and skill. “I’ve always been encouraging
her, but now I know she may have a future in the performing arts. I was always hoping for it, but now I’ve gotten a little bit of a confirmation on it,” he added.
Batavia Theatre Project directors Laura Haskell and Sarah Plummer were blown away by Anna’s audition and have been surprised and excited by John’s work on the two plays. “Both John and Anna bring vibrant energy to rehearsals and give other actors the responses and reactions they need to grow in their roles,” said Haskell.
John Randazzo, originally from New York City, has lived in Clermont County with his wife Beth, of Louisville, Ky., for more than 15 years. They have five children.
Performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Sycamore Park are free: Aug. 1, 2, 7, and 16 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 3 and 17 at 2 p.m. Please bring a lawn chair or blanket to enjoy the show.
Tickets for Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” which opens Aug. 8, may be purchased at the theater Box Office, located in the old water treatment plant at 61 Lou Darbro Place, or online at http://www.bataviatheatreproject.com. A full performance schedule for Our Town is also available online.
Batavia Theatre Project strives to work with the community to bring high-quality live theatre to Clermont County and enrich our local arts culture while enhancing tourism and patronage of existing local businesses.