Bob Weintraub takes credit for Keith Urban’s career.
Sixteen years ago, Weintraub, who now lives in Bradenton and performs with Manatee Players, was an actor in California. One day he got a call asking if he wanted a day’s work as a “featured extra.” It turned out an unknown country singer was shooting a video for songs called “But For the Grace of God.” It had a verse about a rich old man. In the video, Weintraub played the old man, getting out of a BMW and walking down the street past Urban.
When it was over, Weintraub collected his check for $125 and shook hands with Urban. He wished him luck with his career.
When Weintraub got home, his wife asked him the name of the singer who was doing the video. Weintraub couldn’t remember.
“But for the Grace of God” turned out to be Urban’s first big hit. Urban headlined a concert at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Friday.
“Now he’s married to Nicole Kidman and he’s a big star,” Weintraub said. “And it’s all because I wished him luck with his career.”
A knight at the opera
Italy’s newest knight lives in Sarasota.
Maestro Victor DeRenzi, artistic director and principal conductor of Sarasota Opera, has been named a Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy (Cavaliere dell’ordine della Stella d’Italia) by the Italian government. It’s given to people who have helped spread Italian culture throughout the world. In DeRenzi’s case, it was awarded specifically because of his leadership in Sarasota Opera’s Verdi Cycle that came to a close March 20.
It took 28 years for DeRenzi and the Sarasota Opera to complete the Verdi Cycle. The Sarasota Opera became the only company in the world to ever perform everything that Verdi wrote for performance, and DeRenzi conducted every note.
The Italian consul in Miami, Gloria Marina Bellelli, officially made DeRenzi a knight at the Italian National Day Celebration in Miami on June 1.
Besides the title, DeRenzi was awarded two medals — one that he can wear to black-tie events, the other for everyday use.
If it’s done well, “Underneath the Lintel” is an unforgettable theater experience. Glen Berger’s 2001 drama employs just one actor — it can be a man or woman — playing a Dutch librarian. The librarian has come across a book that was anonymously returned, 113 years overdue. The librarian becomes intrigued with discovering the book’s history. The deeper the librarian digs, the deeper the mystery becomes. It leads across Europe and across the centuries, eventually leading to the time of Christ and insights into Christian mythology.
Berger’s story and storytelling are riveting, and should appeal to Christians and non-Christians equally.
The Glenridge Performing Arts Center is staging “Underneath the Lintel,” directed by Peter Ivanov and starring Jeremy Guerero, for four performances beginning June 23. Curtain is at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $22.50. The Glenridge Performing Arts Center is at 7333 Scotland Way, Sarasota. Call 941-552-5325 or go to gpactix.com.