Local community theater group Bonzi Productions has been going strong in Rockford for the past 10 years. Hundreds of individuals from Rockford and the surrounding areas have participated in their shows.
Co-run by Director Michele M. Bonzi and Technical Director/Song Stylist Todd A. Bonzi, the Bonzis have provided high-quality theater at family affordable prices.
“It has given us such joy to have been able to offer theatrical opportunities to so many people” said Todd Bonzi. “We enjoy not only putting on a show, but teaching actors how to create characters and become the best that they can be. We have always lived by the mantra that everyone in a show is just as important and that we are all in this together.”
The Bonzi children, Ben, 21, and Samantha, 18, have grown up with theater; Sam cuddled up on Dad’s back at Starlight rehearsals so many years ago.
“It gives us a chance to be together as a family,” Michele Bonzi said. “I love directing and creating a show, but I love even more being with my family during this process.”
Todd Bonzi added, “It’s not always wine and roses, but we and our audiences are always happy with the end results.”
This summer, the Bonzis produced Annie Warbucks (part two of Annie) in June to standing ovations. In that show, Todd once again went bald to play the role of Daddy Warbucks.
Now, the group presents the classic comedy Guys & Dolls, opening this weekend, July 18-20, at the Rockford Lutheran High School Performing Arts Centre. The whole family is involved with this one, as Sam stars as the Salvationist Sarah Brown, Ben portrays Todd’s old role of the crap-shooting Nathan Detroit, Michele cameos as General Cartwright, head of the Salvation Army, and Todd gets to sing one last time to his daughter before she heads off to college as Arvide, Sarah’s grandfather.
“This is a great show,” said Todd Bonzi. “But it will also be the toughest, as we lose our little Samantha in August to Western Illinois University’s musical theater program. We will miss her deeply.”
Guys & Dolls runs Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. All seats are reserved, so call (815) 877-9551, ext. 140, to order tickets, or simply buy them at the door.
From the July 16-22, 2014, issue