Mark A. Marple

University Center Club

For nearly a decade, my better three quarters, my wife Tracy, has been the General Manager of the University Center Club at Doak Campbell Stadium at the Florida State University. It has been a second home to our son Logan and as a Member of the Club, I have gotten to meet and know so many wonderful people.

One of these is Andy Miller, CEO & President of the Seminole Boosters. I met him early on at a Bilitnekoff Awards dinner. We talked about theatre and how Andy wanted someone to hang some lights on the poles he had in the ceilings of the ballroom and do a show. Well it wasn't very much later that I wrote and cast "Broadway Memories".

"Broadway Memories" had 27 numbers from 19 different Broadway shows and it was my first chance to work with a brilliant theatre man, David Jones.
There is very little in theatre that this man hasn't done. He has run theatres, 
was lighting designer for several of my shows, choreographed even more
and has the work ethic to match his knowledge. He also starred in
"Broadway Memories".




I wrote the "USO Tribute Show" in the late 1990's as I had an opportunity to
work on a "Make A Wish" with Bob Hope more than a decade and half earlier. A fellow Buckeye, he was the epitome of kindness and it was with some of his fellow actors that the Hollywood Canteen and the USO were created. This was a tribute to him and those entertainers.

 

With the leadership of FSU President T.K. Wetherell (who played General Patton) and the marvelous talent at FSU School of Theatre, I re-worked the show to fit with the actors I cast. A 5 1/2 ton battleship set was designed by Ken Verdugo and with David Jones lights and choreography, Zach Cramer's sound design and Mike Dunn at WFSU T.V. and Krishna at Unique Video Creations, it all came together. They transformed the FSU Flying High Circus tent into a theatre.

It wouldn't have happened without the grace and drive of Donna McHugh who I swear the Energizer Bunny couldn't keep up with. We had 172 people working on the show and that didn't include cast, crew and musicians. It raised tens of thousands of dollars for the College of Music, the School of Theatre and the Flying High Circus. Just click on the video below for highlights!

 


"Bingo the Musical"
was a fun show that the audience actually gets to play
bingo and win prizes. It starts in a hurricane with three women who go
play bingo every Friday night for years. The set was brought in from California and it was a props heavy show but was definitely a crowd pleaser. We did a special fundraiser the opening weekend for Tallahassee Little Theatre.
Just click on the video below for highlights!

 


I was approached by Gail Rossier to be on the board of Directors of the
Character & Heritage Institute. Gail was the founder and also a graduate of the FSU Film School and is a dear friend. As a fundraiser I wrote "Rock 'N the Ages" which took songs from 1950 to 1969 with Casey Kasem as the emcee. From Rosemary Clooney and Roy Orbison to Bobby Darin and the Temptations,
this was a fun New Year's Eve! Just click on the video below for highlights! 

The following New Year's Eve for our fundraiser, I wrote "A Tribute to the Ed Sullivan Show". It mixed old T.V. clips with live performers, many who had appeared in the previous year's "Rock 'N the Ages" plus some newcomers.
My son, Logan, played the keyboards and sang as Richard Carpenter. My wife played the finale on keyboards (her degree from the University of Akron is in the organ) and was my Music Director. I sang as Bobby Hatfield from the
Righteous Brothers so it was truly a family affair!
Just click on the video below for highlights!




"Midlife the Crisis Musical" had its share of rough spots in the beginning.
We lost some cast members mid-rehearsals but picked up the marvelous
talent of Michael Varde. Whether it is film or on stage, he shines.
Just click on the video below for highlights!

The multi-talented David Jones asked me to produce
"Pump Boys and Dinettes" which he directed and it was a smash success!
Just click on the video below for highlights!

"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" was first mounted at my old theatre American Stage Company in Teaneck. It is a marvelous show with one of the longest runs Off-Broadway in history. Some compare it to Saturday Night L:ive to music, although I think it rises even above that. The music and writing is some of the best I have ever worked with. I did expand the cast to six from four and added a vaudeville feel to it with sign people, in specific characters, coming out between skits to introduce the next number. One of my all time favorite shows, even over those I have written. This also was the catalyst for FSU President, T.K. Wetherell (and his fabulous wife Ginger) taking us out to dinner and discussing producing a patriotic show on Friday nights prior to home football games

.

 
Tallahassee Comunity College did a wonderful production of "The Complete
Works of William Shakespeare" and in it starred Michael Varde. I was looking
for a show to open at the University Center Club and then take to St. James Bay Golf Resort and the Jacksonville University Club. I recast the show with Michael and Kyle Davis and my son Logan. It was a smash and we toured it. It was
so successful that they booked "The Complete History of America abridged"
which we mounted several months later. Just click on the video
below for highlights!



Ability 1st is a wonderful not-for-profit organization that helps those with
disabilities. Dr. Carrie
Sandahl is a close friend who was on the Board
of Directors and she asked me to meet with the ED, Judith Barrett,
regarding a fundraiser. In our meeting I brought up the idea of having a
"First Evening of Comedy" and utilize comedians with disabilities.
On the T.V. show "Last Comic Standing" Josh Blue was the winner and
inspired my idea. His motto is that he put the cerebral in Cerebral Palsy.
I spoke with his agent and got him booked. Then I spoke with the
marvelous David Roche, the inspirational humorist who resides in
British Columbia, Canada, has a facial disfigurement and the biggest
heart of anyone I have known. Finally, we booked Terry Galloway,
a local comedian who at the time was deaf. She since has recovered
her hearing but hasn't lost a beat of her impeccable comedic timing.

These three comedians had the place in stiches. A side note was that
Josh had missed his connecting flight in Atlanta and I had a limo pick
him up at the Atlanta airport and drive him to the University Club
(a little over a 4 hour trip). He arrived just before 9:00pm and I gave
him a sandwich and a beer and five minutes later he walked on stage.
This was a terrific night for a wonderful organization!
Just click on the video below for highlights!


Curtains For A Cause was a fundraiser I created to help my friends Erwin & Stephanie Jackson to bring awareness and funding to find a cure for Dystonia, a disease that afflicted their son, Brian. The first year I directed "The Complete History of America abridged" and with matching gifts we raised roughly $27,000.00. The next year I directed "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" and with the Jackson's generous donation, we topped that by over $100,000.00. We are scheduled to produce "Curtains..." for the next nine years with a new musical per year so anyone interested in auditions or working on the show go to: www.CurtainsForACause.com.
 
Curtains For A Cause


Curtains For A Cause in 2014 was "Forbidden Broadway" and in 2015 it was "Are We There Yet?"
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