June 19th, 2024

MHHT Mambo Italiano to hit the stage in early May

By ANNA SMITH on April 10, 2024.

MHMT volunteer actors go through a scene during rehearsals for Mambo Italiano.--News Photo Anna Smith

asmith@medicinehatnews.com

With less than a month until opening night, the cast of Medicine Hat Musical Theatre’s Mambo Italiano are nearly ready to bring a heartfelt, and still very socially relevant, story to the playhouse stage.

The story is one director Travis Boser feels will resonate with many people in the community, whether they themselves identify as a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, or know someone who does.

“The story is about Angelo, and Nino, who are two young Italian-Canadian fellows that in the early 2000s are in love with each other, but in the closet,” said Boser. “Angelo wants to come out and Nino is not ready for it. Angelo inadvertently just kind of blurts it out one day and so then this play is kind of about the fallout of that and how the families react, and how the relationship is impacted by one person coming out and outing the other person in the process.”

The story has a lot of big emotions, says actress Loretta Lutz, who plays family matriarch Maria. She says the play is very character driven, and likely to spur on discussion between audience members on the car ride home.

“It’s very funny, it’s very heartwarming. There are angry moments and very touching moments where you might need to bring a Kleenex,” said Lutz. “It’s got a little bit of everything for everybody.”

Everything has come together well, said Lutz, who was quick to praise Boser for his directing skills and how he helps the cast get into character and create an energy to keep them there.

The sentiment was echoed by actor Noah Smith, who is taking on the role of Angelo for his first foray into acting within MHMT. While he hasn’t previously spent much time pondering the reality of gay Italians, he says the cast and the story work together to create an “interesting perspective.”

Tickets for the show are already more than 50 per cent sold out, which Boser is truly honoured by. He added that as the show is not as well known as some performances the playhouse has put on, he was somewhat unsure of how it would sell, but he’s deeply pleased by the results.

The show does have a parental advisory warning for some heavy and adult themes, but Boser feels it’s something that will resonate with all audiences, from teenagers to senior citizens, and he hopes it can generate some connection and acceptance where there has been a lack of in recent years as a society.

“Statistically we all know someone who is either out or struggling to be out, or we don’t know for sure what their identity is but they’re struggling behind the scenes. And so it’s relevant to everyone who’s going to come see it,” said Boser. “And it’s just fun. The show is often compared to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it’s a similar kind of feel. There’s definitely still tickets available, but they are going fast. So I recommend getting them sooner rather than later.”

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