The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 25, 2013

Husband-wife team bringing music of Gershwins to Enid

By Jeff Mullin, Senior Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — A husband and wife team brought to Enid by the Air Force are in turn bringing to town the work of one of the most storied sibling duos in the world of entertainment.

Tech. Sgt. David Weaver, a budget analyst with 71st Operations Group at Vance Air Force Base, and his wife, Roberta Stephens Satori, through their production group Tzigane Arts Productions, will present “Words and Music with George and Ira Gershwin,” at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Gaslight Theatre, 221 N. Independence. Tickets are $10 each and are available by calling (580) 540-8888 or (580) 747-9495.

Earlier this year the pair produced “Words and Music with Rogers and Hammerstein,” and this time will present the works of the brother duo responsible for such classic tunes as “I Got Rhythm,” “Embraceable You,” “Strike Up the Band” and “Fascinating Rhythm.”

The couple formed the production company in 2003, and have produced shows in Kansas, New Jersey, Italy and now Enid.

Their first venture was bringing Broadway star Matt Bogart, who has starred in shows such as “Jersey Boys,” “Aida” and “Miss Saigon,” to perform in Wichita, Kan.

They said their goal is not to compete with other local entertainment options, but to supplement them, Weaver said.

“Everywhere we go we pick it up and we embrace the community and we integrate ourselves into the community and use the local talent,” Weaver said.

Besides Weaver and Satori, the cast of “Words and Music with George and Ira Gershwin,” includes a number of local performers, including Janet Jones, Tary Davis, Terri Galer, Lenita Krejci, Chuck Lipps, Rick Hill and Jim Breyley, as well as another member of Team Vance, Capt. Manuela Peters.

“We’ve been lucky everywhere we’ve gone just to find talent,”  Weaver said.

“Some of the folks who are part of this production are just phenomenal,” Satori said.

They didn’t have to look far to find Peters, a T-6 instructor pilot and chief of the Vance command post.

“Luckily, the rehearsal schedule has been very flexible and it hasn’t been terribly intense,” she said.

Peters, whose parents both are musicians, has been involved with theater since she was 8. She chose to attend the Air Force Academy rather than study musical theater at Notre Dame.

“I did theater the whole time I was there,” she said, but had to put her performing on hold while she went through pilot training at Laughlin AFB, Texas. “I’ve only been here a year, so this has really been my first opportunity to do anything. But I’m really grateful for the opportunity. I love Gershwin, so when David approached me about it I was really excited about it.”

Satori is the vocalist of the duo, while Weaver is the dancer. He jokes that she has been singing “since the womb,” while he spent two years with Tops In Blue, the Air Force’s elite touring performance ensemble, toured with national companies of “A Chorus Line” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and currently is a principal dancer with Ballet Wichita.

“We make a great balance that way, because whatever I’m not seeing, he is,” Satori said.

Finding time to prepare for the show has not been easy for Weaver, especially given the fact Weaver is taking two classes in pursuit of a master’s degree, as well as dealing with the end of the Air Force fiscal year next week, teaching dance at Dance Works of Enid and his weekend work with Ballet Wichita. On top of that, the same group performing the Gershwin show presented the entertainment at the annual Air Force Ball last Saturday.

“Right now we have no idea where the time is coming from,” Satori said.

The show will offer a look at the lives of the Gershwin brothers, sons of Russian immigrants, as well as presenting a sampling of their extensive song catalog. Some of the music will be familiar, Weaver said, some won’t.

“We pick songs that are not very well-known to educate the people,” Weaver said.

An example is a song titled “Freud, Jung and Adler,” which was cut from a show before it even opened. It normally is sung by three men, but here will be performed by three women.

“We’re kind of twisting it up a little,” Weaver said.

“We open the show with background about Ira and George,” said Satori, “kind of speak to the audience and give them information about how it all began.”

Weaver will deploy soon, but the pair plans to resume its words-and- music series of tributes to modern composers after he returns next August.