CenterStage at the Jewish Community Center

I don’t know much about CenterStage, a company whose name begins appearing in the archives¬† in the late 1960s.

Many of the clippings involve the controversy that surrounded the 1972 production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

The show’s stars, Hope Silvestri and Steve Schemmel, were dropped from the cast two weeks before opening. Since both were popular performers, the papers jumped on the story.

The reason for the dismissals was never made clear. Hope told the Arizona Republic that she had asked director Michael Lancy to postpone the show for personal reasons and she thought he had agreed to the request.

Then she got her pink slip.

Steve told the Republic reporter that he had agreed to continue in the play without Hope. Then the director announced Steve had left the show to do another play.

Not true, Steve said.

“Lancy said that if he couldn’t do the show with the two of us, then he wouldn’t do it. We had no discussions of characterizations in our first rehearsals and his blocking made me a little bit nervous.”

Steve said that, despite what was announced, he did not leave to do a production of Child’s Play. “It’s a good show,” he said, “but it’s no Virginia Wolfe.”

There was some happy news regarding the production.¬† A press release said the actors who replaced Hope and Steve – Angela Giron and Jimmie Wright – were to be married on stage after a performance. But even that turned out to be wrong. Angela, now living in Great Britain, says the ceremony didn’t happen.