In the Aug. 13 Virginia Weekly, a photograph accompanying an article on a Lubber Run Park production of "Fiorello" failed to credit the photographer. The photographer was David M. Meltzer. (Published 8/ 27/87)
Lubber Run Park, on the sloping hill of a quiet Arlington neighborhood, plays host this weekend to three shows of "Fiorello," a musical based on the political ascent of Fiorello LaGuardia to mayor of New York.
The musical, which is open to the public with no admission charge, is produced by the Arlington Players, along with the Arlington County Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Affairs' Division of Cultural Affairs.
The Arlington Players' production caps the Lubber Run season with the most popular and complicated event of the summer. Presenting "Fiorello" involves the effort of more than 80 community actors, artists and technicians, all of whom have donated their time. They work happily under the adversity of outdoor conditions.
And their work does not go unappreciated. Last weekend, all three performances played to large crowds, filling the 900 bleacher seats and overflowing into the lawn area. It was impossible to find a parking space for blocks around at showtime.
Producing a show on an unprotected outdoor stage will always present problems, according to Dixie Kennett, producer of "Fiorello." One challenge is "getting a set that works artistically and can come down in a matter of moments in the event of rain," said Kennett, a 10-year veteran of community theater in Arlington. "The ideal is to get the set down in 10 minutes."
But the difficulties don't faze her. "I happen to be one of those people who don't mind working in the park," she said. "It's very gratifying to play in the park where you get people who bring their children, and you can see their eyes light up."
Among the participants in "Fiorello" are Ned Muffley, music director, former conductor of the Navy Band and veteran of the podium at the Boston Pops, and Gloria Dugan, who returned from her Barbados home to direct the show.
While performances at Lubber Run are offered free to the public, many of the performers are paid. Norma Kaplan, supervisor of the Division of Cultural Affairs, said the Lubber Run series attempts to provide a more professional program than is commonly offered in community parks. Her office draws on the local business community, including the Gannett Foundation/Gannett Co. Inc. and J.C. Penney, to defray the cost of the higher caliber performances.
This weekend, for the final run of "Fiorello," Phil Alperson will portray the title role. Alperson brings personal experience to the role because, in everyday life, he is a staff assistant to another politician, Rep. Esteban E. Torres (D-Calif.).
When the lights go out Sunday night, the park, after hosting more than two dozen evenings of musical and theatrical entertainment this summer, will be turned back to the birds and the children who play there -- until next summer when it comes alive again with another series of performances.