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Gennaro Cerulli gets personal with the audience in a number during a musical performance at Teatro Bolivar in downtown Naples, Italy on Wednesday night. Donations from the show were going to families of firefighters who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Gennaro Cerulli gets personal with the audience in a number during a musical performance at Teatro Bolivar in downtown Naples, Italy on Wednesday night. Donations from the show were going to families of firefighters who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. (Lisa M. Novak / S&S)

NAPLES, Italy — A musical show performed here the day after Christmas raised more than $1,400 in donations for families of firefighters who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

“I knew that the Naples Community Theater did events on base, so I asked if they would like to help organize an off-base event for both Americans and Italians,” said Charlie DiPalma, Morale, Welfare and Recreation entertainment coordinator. “It gave the (American) community a chance to reach out to the Italian community.”

The theme for the variety show was “Come Together! A Musical Collaboration” and featured diverse musical styles including country, easy listening, rock and pop — American and Italian — as well as Broadway show tunes.

The idea was conceived only two weeks before the event. The owner of Teatro Bolivar, in downtown Naples, offered his theater to be used for a holiday show that would be free to the public, while collecting donations for the firefighters’ families. The small theater was full for the event, which lasted almost three hours and featured about 25 cast members.

Putting on such a show was a challenge, said singer Z. Kekuewa, who works as the Information Technology Department director at Naval Support Activity, Naples.

“It was difficult because it was the holiday season and many people were gone,” said Kekuewa. “Trying to set up rehearsal times in the theater and doing sound checks was a challenge. But we had the whole gamut of different personnel from the base performing, as well as several Italian performers.”

Three of Naples’ most famous pop singers — Ida Rendano, Francesco Boccia and Luigi Libra — were on hand for the evening. They performed three songs, which the Italian members of the audience knew quite well.

In addition, members of Il Calicanto Dance Studio performed to pop and Latin music. The grand finale featured all the cast members singing “We Are Family.”

More than 250 people, including Italians and Americans, attended the event. The donations from the event will be donated to the firefighters’ families on behalf of Teatro Bolivar.

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