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Player’s Circle receives donation of piano

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Nov 11, 2020


A North Fort Myers resident had such a great time at a recent show at the Players Circle Theater that he decided to give back to them.

Dick Burany presented the Players Circle Theatre and Performing Arts Center at the Shell Factory with an unexpected surprise donation on its opening weekend as it transformed itself from a 180-theater to a 76-seat nightclub.

The surprise happened during the theater’s second night of performances by comedian RC Smith, when producers Carrie Lund and Robert Cacioppo greeted the audience in the beginning of the evening.

They spoke about buying a baby grand piano so they could present the Danny Sinoff Jazz Trio the following week on an acoustical instrument and not an electric keyboard. Lund asked if anyone in the audience would be interested in sponsoring this purchase.

Burany went up to them after the show, and even though he did not know either Carrie or Robert, he said he would purchase the piano for them.

“We asked on the first night and asked again the next night and this man who I had never met before came up to Carrie and said he would pay for the piano,” Cacioppo said.

That ended up being the “profit they made during the first two weeks, as the first two weeks were a break even proposition.

Dick was introduced to Players Circle Theatre by his girlfriend, Sheri Weitner, who volunteered as an usher in the theater’s inaugural season.

Last weekend, the piano was used by Sinoff, and Burany was there to see the show.

Attempts to reach Burany were not successful.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been a tough time for the arts, and the Players Circle has been especially hit hard. Its inaugural season was cut short midstream when the pandemic started.

Last month, the space was transformed into a 76-seat elegant nightclub with social distancing, temperatures taken at the door, rigorous cleaning procedures to keep the space in use, and offering, in a safe way, first class entertainment.

The nightclub version of Players Circle offers table seating, a full liquor bar, and a new gourmet menu available during shows.

Cacioppo said he expects to be in nightclub mode for the next year as the pandemic runs its course. There will be a production “The Lifespan of a Fact” in January, but it will be with a three-person cast

“It’s going to be a while until the pandemic is over and a vaccine is found before we can do theater the way the place was intended for,” Cacioppo said.

For more information go to PlayersCircleTheater.com or call 1-239-800-3292.