Finding love at ‘a certain age’: Azuay Community Theatre presents romantic comedy July 5 and 6

Jun 29, 2023 | 1 comment

Bob Fry, left, and Bruno Moreno.

By John Olson

Is it ever too late for love?

80-year-old New Jersey widower Ralph Bellini doesn’t think so.

In ACT’s The Last Romance, Ralph spots the attractive Carol in a dog park on one of his daily walks. And the chase is on.

Ralph becomes determined to meet Carol, strikes up a conversation with her then encounters some unexpected obstacles. She’s from a different social sphere and is also suspicious of someone who would hang out in a dog park when he doesn’t have a dog. On top of that, his over-protective and jealous sister, Rose, hilariously interferes.

Left to right: Jan Carrier, Bob Fry, Patrice Diaz.

To see the show
Find out what happens next in Ralphs’ pursuit of his desires in the comedy The Last Romance, presented by Azuay Community Theatre in the 85 seat Sala Carrasco on the second floor of Cuenca’s Casa de la Cultura on July 5 and 6, for two performances only. Tickets $15 at www.actseats.com

Famous romantic comedy playwright
The Last Romance was written by Joe DiPietro, Tony Award winning playwright of the Broadway musical Memphis, is known for his keen observations on relationships. His musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change was billed as “Everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit,” and its insights on love and relationships were resonant enough to make it the second longest running, off-Broadway musical in history.

Praise for The Last Romance
The comedy premiered at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in 2012, starring Marion Ross of the TV series Happy Days, DiPietro. The show turns on his skills of observation about love among those of ‘tercera edad.” vintage. Variety praised the play, saying “DiPietro indulges in no corny byplay about Medicare, piles, grandchildren or death. Instead, we’re treated to mature give and take between once-married, twice-shy grownups wondering whether to take one last plunge.”

Bob Fry, left, and Jan Carrier.

Experienced cast and crew and director
ACT veteran actor Bob Fry, who participated in over 100 theater productions in the US before moving to Cuenca eight years ago, plays the energetic and playful Ralph, a character who has been described in reviews as having an “odd charisma” and “playful nature,” and whose “blunt yet innocuous come-ons are seen as the product of the constantly ticking clock.” His love interest, Carol, is played by Patrice Diaz, a newcomer to ACT who is a professional actor, director and theatrical entrepreneur with 30 years of stage experience and who studied under the legendary acting instructor Sanford Meisner. In the role of Ralph’s sister Rose is Cuenca newcomer, actor and director, Jan Carrier, previous member of The Boquete Community Players Theater in Boquete Panama. Cuencano Bruno Morales performed in ACT’s 2022 It’s A Wonderful Life and appears as the character simply called “The Young Man” who introduces a charming layer of operatic musicality as well as a glimpse at a younger Ralph.

The Last Romance is directed by Rick Snyder, a Cuenca expat of 6 years who has directed, acted in and crewed for many plays since joining the 100-year-old Theatre of Western Springs in suburban Chicago in the fourth grade.

Bob Fry, left, and Patrice Diaz.

The production features a set designed by noted Cuenca artist, Catalina Carrasco, with costumes by Terri Nichols. Michael Phillips is Lighting Designer and Don Trammel is Sound Designer. Props are by Stage Manager, Dorothy Peck, ably assisted by Stevan Bell.

ACT’s Story
Azuay Community Theatre has been producing live theater in English for over 12 years ago, performing in various locations around Cuenca including previously La Casa de La Cultura’s Sala de Carrasco on C. Luis Cordero, by Parque Calderon. The company’s 2022-23 season of five plays, which began in September 2022, will conclude in August with Trumbo: Red, White and Blacklisted, which will play Friday, August 25 at 4 pm and Saturday August 26 at 2 pm in the same location.

Wrap-up
The Last Romance will be performed on Wednesday, July 5 at 4 pm and Thursday, July 6 at 2 pm in the Sala de Carrasco of the Casa de la Cultura, 7-22 Luis Cordero, just south of Parque Calderon. Advance reservations are recommended as only 85 seats are available for each performance. Tickets can be purchased online at www.actseats.com or reserved by email (actseats@gmail.com)

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