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A bit of Broadway in Fort Salem

Broadway actor stars in theater's last summer production

"George M. Cohan Tonight!" is the last summer production for Fort Salem Theater in Washington County.

"George M. Cohan Tonight!" is the last summer production for Fort Salem Theater in Washington County. Submitted photo

— “I became very accustomed to the hours. I had days free most of the time and worked at night because I was a swing and I was usually in rehearsals two days a week, so I had a bit of a harder schedule than some of the other cast members,” said Raposa.

There’s really only one show that Raposa wanted to do, but didn’t.

“I would have loved to play Tobias in Sweeney Todd,” said Raposa. “I’m pretty relentless. If there’s a show that I wanted to do and a character I wanted to do and if I didn’t have the goods to play the character, I’d go out and learn them. I learned how to flip off walls and was trained as a gymnast.”

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Jim Raposa starred in Broadway productions of "Cats" and "The Lion King."

He said he’s excited to portray Cohan, a major entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and producer.

“It’s a one-man show and it’s 90 minutes from start to finish where we condense the life of George M. Cohan who really broke through the barriers and created the first true triple threat,” said Raposa. “It’s just a fun show; dancing, singing, acting. You’ll laugh a little, cry a little and go out humming songs that everyone knows.”

Cohan and Raposa’s lives mirror one another’s, in a way.

“What I find so compelling about the story is that he was told he wouldn’t be able to do it; wouldn’t be able to do this, do that … he took charge of his own career, which is very similar to what we face in this industry,” said Raposa. “I find a real connection with him … I feel very fortunate to be able to portray him.”

Raposa said he has no plans to return to Broadway because teaching has become his passion.

“I feel I get a chance to give back and affect lives like my life was affected by teachers I had in high school and college,” said Raposa. “Growing up my parents were like ‘You must get a job that is safe” … I kind of went ‘I gotta do what I love to do’ and I feel we also offer many students a safe place to be creative.”

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