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Performing Art
Jack Paul Rabito in "Give 'Em Hell, Harry." Courtesy photo
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Apr. 25, 2012 8 years ago

Scene & Heard

by: Heidi Kurpiela Contributing Writer

+ One-man Truman play shoots from the lip
You gotta love a play with a title that tells it like it is.

“Give ’Em Hell, Harry,” a one-man show about President Harry S. Truman, is stirring up such excitement in South Florida that the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Mo., has gotten wind of the production and requested to bring it to the president’s hometown.

Lucky for Sarasota, the show’s creators, Venice actor Jack Paul Rabito and Port Charlotte director/producer Larry McGee, will present the two-act play at 2 p.m. May 6, at the Cook Theatre at the FSU enter for the Performing Arts.

You’ll probably never meet more ardent Truman fans than Rabito and McGee, who named their Whistlestop Productions after Truman’s 1948 whistle stop train campaign.

The men spent months rehearsing the drama, which chronicles the life and politics of the folksy 33rd president, in McGee’s garage before taking it on the road. Let’s just say the buck stops with Rabito and McGee.

For tickets, call 359-0099, Ext. 101.

+ Actor veers off Sesame Street, arrives in Sarasota
I’ve interviewed a lot of people for this newspaper, including Yoko Ono and Jared from Subway. Yes, I know, the cornerstones of our society.

Yet it was Emilio Delgado, an actor whose name might not sound familiar, but whose face should, for some of you, conjure up warm and fuzzy childhood memories.

For 41 years, Delgado has played lovable Fix-It Shop owner Luis on “Sesame Street.” I grew up watching him rub elbows with Big Bird. I even remember the episode in which he and Maria got married. (It was so romantic. Elmo was the ring bearer.)

So you can imagine my delight when I learned he was performing in “Hamlet, Prince of Cuba” at the Asolo Repertory Theatre.

The 71-year-old actor, who’s still a member of the “Sesame Street” cast, got his start in theater.

When I spoke to him last week about his return to the stage in Michael Donald Edwards’ Cuban-flavored “Hamlet,” he said he jumped at the opportunity to play Claudius.

“Theater is my first love,” Delgado says. “It’s the most immediate process for an actor. There’s nothing like it.”
Yeah, but there’s also nothing like “Sesame Street.”

“For an actor to have a day job for 42 years is pretty good,” Delgado says. “It’s been a beautiful project.”
Of course, this quote wasn’t enough for me. I needed more. I needed to know if the Cookie Monster had cavities or if Oscar The Grouch was actually cheerful or if Kermit the Frog was a diva. (For these answers and more I suggest you check out my Q&A on

Delgado will host a free bilingual Early Stages program for children ages six and under, at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 28, in the Asolo Rep Rehearsal Hall at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. Enter through the stage door at the back of the building. For more information, call 351-8000 or visit

+ 10-Minute playwright keeps it short and sweet
In keeping with the spirit of Theatre Odyssey’s 10-Minute Play Festival, I’ll make this blurb short and sweet.

On Sunday, April 8, Longboat Key resident Stephen Cooper won the annual competition with his juicy “Confessions a Deux,” a story about two Catholic priests who learn via the church confessional that they’re sleeping with the same woman.

Directed by Melliss Kenworthy, the play bested seven other works, including this year’s honorable mention, “The Visitor” by Arthur Keyser, proving that drama in the Catholic church make for good gossip –– and good theater.

‘Oliver!’: The kids are cute. The songs are classic. The gruel is good and actor Steve Dawson is virtually unrecognizable as the hideous Fagin. Grab the family and head to The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre for the final performances of “Oliver,” starring Stevie Romeo as the scrappy title character. The musical runs through May 6. If you can’t afford a ticket, pick someone’s pocket. For more information, call 366-5454 or visit

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