Lenzi, Paul

60 minutes.
Owen, Thomas L.
Transcription available:
Blue Apple Players
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Interview Number(s):
Paul Lenzi was born in New Jersey but moved at eleven to Grassy Key, Florida where his parents managed a restaurant that had been started by his maternal grandparents. He was graduated from high school in 1966 on Marathon Key where he played in a dance band but had limited exposure to the performing arts. While enrolled at Miami-Dade Community College, he performed at Pirates World before studying Theater at Florida State University. Returning to Miami, he worked in public relations at the Coconut Grove Playhouse—performing on the side in a production at the Southeast Florida Shakespeare Festival-- before joining Doug Ramey’s Shakespeare in the Park in Louisville, Kentucky that included tours to small towns across the state. Along with his new wife, Louisvillian Geraldine Ann Snyder, the couple then moved to Miami where Geraldine unhappily for a time sewed convertible automobile tops and Paul worked in public relations at the Miami Philharmonic. Paul joined the new Players Repertory Theater, south Florida’s first equity house, where as box office manager he was invited to perform in some productions. Finally, both Paul and Geraldine were invited to be part of a new high-energy troupe called The Flee Circus, that performed high-quality children’s theater especially for schools. When that company ran into financial problems, Paul and Geraldine returned to Louisville where they were hired by the Louisville Children’s Theater (now State One) to develop new musical programming for pre-schoolers while Paul ultimately became executive director. Feeling squelched, in 1976, the couple broke away to form the Blue Apple Players continuing for a time a weekly children’s program on WAVE-TV. Blue Apple, for the first decade, operated on a “for profit” business model, performing locally and regionally for children sometimes in large halls or occasionally developing a didactic performance for a corporation. After becoming a non-profit, the theater company focused exclusively on creating musicals on cutting-edge social topics for Kentucky school groups. Mr. Lenzi closes the interview with a discussion of Blue Apple’s merger in 2015 with the Walden Theatre to form the Commonwealth Theatre.
Children's theater--Kentucky--Louisville, Theater -- Kentucky -- Louisville