"I'm always reading plays," said Luzzi, who has been in charge of the North Bergen Players for the last two decades. "I try to find the right play that would fit our cast, the size of the theater, and the interest of the community."
Luzzi said that when she started reading Tim Kelly's "The Face on the Ballroom Floor" over the summer, she knew that she had a winner.
"I was absolutely hysterical while reading it," Luzzi said. "It just hit me the right way. I knew while I was reading it that we just had to do this play."
The play is a takeoff, a total spoof of 1880s comedies that were made famous by "Oil Can Harry," who was featured in many comedies of the time.
"The men all had mustaches and there was always an evil villain," Luzzi said. "Then, the true American hero comes in to save the day. They were old-time comedies, and this show is a takeoff of that era, although it was written in modern times."
The North Bergen Players' production of "The Face on the Ballroom Floor" will open Friday night, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m. at the North Bergen Players' Community Theatre, located directly adjacent to the North Bergen Free Public Library on Bergenline Avenue.
The show will run for two weekends, Nov. 12 through 14 and Nov. 19 through 21, with the Friday and Saturday shows beginning at 8 p.m. and the Sunday shows beginning at 5 p.m.
Luzzi said that once she introduced the farcical comedy to the cast, the laughs became a regular part of rehearsal.
"We were laughing as we read along," Luzzi said. "Everyone was cracking up in rehearsal. It was hard to get the work done. They all asked, 'How will we keep a straight face in doing this?' It really is a fun play, a funny show."
The cast agrees.
"Comedy is all timing," said North Bergen Players veteran Carol Galla. "This has been a lot of fun. It's almost slapstick comedy. We have a large cast [almost 20 people] and we're really having a lot of fun. I hope the audience laughs, because if they don't laugh, we're in trouble. But I really think this farce, this spoof, will get the people to laugh."
Galla, a long-time North Bergen resident, has been a part of the North Bergen Players since the inception 19 years ago. Galla, a former dancer and performer, was the resident choreographer for the group for many years and has recently decided to become a member of the regular cast. She's playing Theda Swansong, a music and voice teacher, who is "a bit uppity," according to Galla.
"It's a strong character," Galla said. "It's what I'd like to be in real life."
While the cast features veterans of the North Bergen Players, it also has some newcomers as well, actors like Rich Fusco, who has called North Bergen home for the last 10 years, but never knew about the North Bergen Players.
"I met one of the members, Diane Taylor, while walking my dog in the park," Fusco said. "We started talking about acting and I told her that I hadn't done anything since high school, but I wanted to get back into it."
So Fusco, who works in the human resources department at the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, joined the group in September and has never looked back.
"It's been an exciting and wonderful thing for me," Fusco said. "I'm having so much fun. I never realized how much I really missed it. It's been 20 years and I wonder why I didn't keep it up. I've had more fun in the last two months than I've had in recent years. I can go to the theater and be someone else and not have to worry about being myself.
Added Fusco, "The object with this show is to make people laugh, and I think we're doing a good job."
Galla said that she just gets such a kick out of performing on stage.
"I'll continue to do it until my memory totally goes blank," Galla said. "It makes me happy."
Hopefully, "The Face on the Ballroom Floor" will make the residents of North Bergen happy as well.
"I'm really excited about the show," said Luzzi, who will once again serve as director for a North Bergen Players' production. "Tim Kelly is a prolific playwright in community theater. He's known all over the country. I'm just happy we're getting a chance to do it as well."
The North Bergen Players' production of "The Face on the Ballroom Floor" will be performed Nov. 12 through 14 and Nov. 19 through 21 at the North Bergen Players' Community Theatre on Bergenline Avenue, directly next door to the North Bergen Free Public Library. Show times are 8 p.m. for the Friday and Saturday performances and 5 p.m. for the Sunday performances. Tickets are $10 each for general admission seating. For ticket reservations and other information, call the North Bergen Players at (201) 854-6246 or (201) 854-7074. Tickets are already selling and there is limited seating.