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Les Misérables. Then, in the next two weeks, he went back to see it two more times. “I became a huge fan of it all — it’s intensely smart and awesome, but even if you like slapstick, there’s something there for you.” Rapson, who figures he’s died onstage about 2,700 times, says playing eight characters is physically demanding, with so many rapid-fire costume changes, some of which must be completed in less than a minute. “But it also calls upon every tool I have in my comedy tool belt,” he adds. “From Buster Keaton to Peter Sellers to Bart Simpson.” He portrays, among others, the dotty Rev. Lord D’Ezekial, the formidable Lady Hyacinth, the grumbling Lord Adalbert and the enthusiastic Henry, a beekeeper who falls for Monty, leading to one of the show’s funniest musical numbers, “Better With a Man.” It all makes sense in the context of the play. Monty, a dashing cad, knows nothing 66

artsLife | WINTER 2016

of his relationship to the highborn D’Ysquiths. Then he discovers that his recently deceased mother, who married beneath her station, was a banished family member. A friend informs him that eight relatives, none of whom he has ever met, stand in the way of him and what he perceives as his proper place in society — as the ninth Earl of Highhurst. What follows is a series of, shall we say, unfortunate accidents, romantic intrigue and boisterous songs reminiscent of 19th-century English music halls — as well as a memorable night of theater. Following are the remaining FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando™ shows:  Disney’s The Little Mermaid (March 7-12, 2017). Based on a Hans Christian Andersen fantasy and the classic animated film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid remains a swimmingly beautiful love story for all ages. Plucky Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daugh-

Photo by Joan Marcus

In Matilda — The Musical, a precocious little girl whose gifts include telekinesis finds a mentor and a kindred spirit in her teacher, Miss Honey. Both are oppressed, but ultimately prevail over their tormentors. The show has been showered with awards, including four Tonys.

artsLife Winter 2016  
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