TAMPA – She’s worked as an actress, a producer and a director for most of her life, but Annie Cerillo is taking on a project of a different hue at the Carrollwood Cultural Center.
For while she will hold the title of director for the center’s production of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Nile,” from March 21 to 30, it won’t be your typical stage play. Instead, Cerillo will be trying to replicate a 1940s radio show, set in a radio studio, before a live audience. Tickets are still available.
A veteran actor in television and movies, she likes taking on challenges. She’s a native New Yorker who moved to Tampa after spending time acting in Los Angeles. She enjoyed being an actress, and it was lucrative, but she said she was looking for another challenge.
“Doing commercials was very lucrative and I did a lot of them, but I guess I fell into a teaching mode,” Cerillo said. “I started teaching and it was fun.”
Cerillo stumbled into her role as director. She meant to contact the Carrollwood Players theater group and somehow got hocked up with the CCC. It was a mistake, she said, but after talking with the CCC, she sent a resume and it all started coming together.
A Christie fan herself, the book the play is based on, “Death on the Nile” was written in 1937 and adapted by the author for the stage in 1944. The concept of the play is unique. She had to cast people for their voices as much as for their acting prowess. She needed various voice styles, and that proved to be a problem early in the production.
“I needed younger voices who could also sound older and older voices that could sound young,” Cerillo said. “We were looking more from a radio standpoint than a stage standpoint. This started as a regular play but it turned into a radio play on stage. We still need to put together some sound effects, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.”
There will be three acts with one intermission. Cerillo said she has no idea what to expect, but she knows how she wants it to all turn out.
“Agatha Christie is the mother of all crime writers,” Cerillo said. “We have to do this right. I thought when we came up with this concept that it sounded like a cool idea. I can do this. We have to make sure to add the humor.”
There won’t be any answers until the curtain falls next week, and time is short, especially for someone taking on a new project, but Cerillo said she’s nervous and excited at the same time.
“We are going to get it all together,” she said. “It’s always fun to try something new.”
For ticket information, call (813) 269-1310.