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Actor marks 100th production with Centre Theatre's 'Music Man'

July 05, 2003

48 HOURS

Mario Di Gregorio is a member of a big, happy family -- the Glendale

Centre Theatre family.

His appearance as Mayor Shinn in the theater's current production

of Meredith Willson's "The Music Man" marks his 100th play as an actor with the company.

"He has also directed at least 30 or 40 shows since 1961," said

Tim Dietlein, executive producer of the theater.

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When it comes to performing community theater, Di Gregorio said,

few can compete.

"We have nice dressing rooms, the directors are good and we have

good plays," he said. "I've worked with other companies that have

good plays but the facility is a mess. You might be dressing in an

alley or a room with 50 other people."

The actors form longtime friendships as well, Di Gregorio added.

"The people are very pleasant -- they are like a family, and new

people are welcomed in with open arms," he said.

A lot of child actors who started their careers at Centre Theatre

have gone on to work in television and on the stage, he said.

Working as a director has also been a rewarding experience. Di

Gregorio has been involved in the process for choosing the plays for

its Glendale audiences, which means looking for material with no

swearing, smoking or drinking.

"Tim (Dietlein) likes to keep a family atmosphere, so we try to

keep material as clean as possible so the audience won't be nervous

about bringing their children," he said.

The production team pretty much agrees on the shows, and if things

need to be taken out, it is done without hurting the play.

A retired film editor, Di Gregorio now works full time in the

theater's costume shop during the day and performs in plays at night.

The costume shop has some 60,000 costumes to rent.

In "The Music Man," Di Gregorio joins Charlotte Carpenter in the

lead female role and her real-life husband Bill Lewis plays her love

interest.

"I'm playing the mayor -- it's such a wonderfully pompous role,"

he said. "The mayor believes he is in control of everything and he

isn't. He's the guy you love to hate."

"The Music Man" continues through July 12. Tickets range from $14

to $17. For reservations, call 244-8481. Glendale Centre Theatre is

at 324 N. Orange St., Glendale.

SPECIAL EVENTS

BANDS PLAY FOR MONTROSE BLOCK PARTY

The Turner Trio brings its brand of clean-edged bebop jazz to the

second annual Block Party from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday in the

Montrose Shopping Park in the 2300 block of Honolulu Avenue,

Montrose.

The group, led by local bassist Russ Turner, will have its debut

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