Local playwright presents musical with Broadway star


If you’re looking for a little something extra to fill your weekend evening void, the 7th Annual Free Summer Theater Festival at Bear Trap Dunes, presented by Carl M. Freeman Foundation, could be exactly what you need.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, July 12, 13 and 14, guests can enjoy an outside presentation of “Coconut Road,” a musical written by local playwright Harold Schmidt, who has also served as director of human resources for the Freeman Foundation.

“We have a fabulous cast this year,” said Schmidt. Leading man and director Carl Anthony Tramon depicts the fundamentally spiritual Cinderella story of a hobo living among the railway cars in the time of the Depression.

Tramon, a highly acclaimed actor, has performed on Broadway in the production of “Peter Pan” and “Rags” and was nominated for Best Actor in a Broadway National Tour by the League of New York Theatres and Producers for his tour of “Fame.” He’s also had appearance on television shows such as “Growing Pains,” “Saved by the Bell” and “Saturday Night Live,” and in countless nationwide television commercials.

Two other cast members, Jessica and Jordan O’Brien, are preparing for their upcoming national tour with “Gypsy.”

“[Going on a national tour is] one of the first parts of making it big on Broadway,” said Schmidt. “I’m pleased with what an impressive group we have. It’s packed with talent.”

For casting, Schmidt returned to several actors he worked with when he presented last year’s Free Theater production, “Einstein’s Breakfast.” Over the course of the past 20 years, Schmidt has written six plays and two musicals, and has managed to keep things running at an impressive pace.

“Sometimes it takes a lot longer before you get a musical like this to the stage,” he said. “Everything’s been moving fast and furious, though. It’s a lot of fun.”

A technical rehearsal was run prior to the premier, though Schmidt noted that you never know what will happen with live theater.

“Anything is possible,” he said, “but that’s what makes it so exciting. What you see is what you get with a live production.”

Schmidt has been with the Freeman Foundation for 10 years, and credits most of his accomplishments to the foundation, which has given him the opportunity to practice his artistic avenues.

“Everyone’s really made this special for the communities,” Schmidt said. “Ever since I came on board, they made this part of my job, and the whole foundation’s really given people a great life.”

“Coconut Road” will be presented in the Village of Bear Trap Dunes from July 12 through July 14, starting at 7:30 each evening, at the outdoor amphitheater. Guests are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets early enough to get a spot, as more than 1,500 residents and visitors attended last year’s free Summer Theater Festival.

In addition, free theater workshops, provided by the actors and directors, and will be available to children of all ages, from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Pavilion at Bear Trap. For more information, call (302) 436-3097.