‘Around the World’ highlights Sister Cities Ambassadors, local talent

‘Around the World’ highlights Sister Cities Ambassadors, local talent
Laura Case, who plays Diva Eva, practices “La Vie en Rose” for her performance in “Around the World, the Musical” with accompaniment from Jerry Odling on accordion. Photo by Rachel Stine

CARLSBAD — “Someone once told me, you don’t move to San Diego, you’re chosen,” said Joanne Brouk, sitting in her Carlsbad home.

Minutes away from actors and musicians and costume masters swarming in, she sips a cup of coffee as her black Pomeranian Keana flops about on her lap.

“And I always loved that quote, you know, because I think it’s just the best place on Earth,” she said.

For the second time, Brouk has put her love for the city she calls home in an original play for the Carlsbad Sister Cities Ambassadors (CSCA) third annual fundraiser.

Her first play, “Who Put the bad in Carlsbad?” raised funds for the CSCA in 2012. The CSCA strives to encourage cultural exchange between Carlsbad and its sister cities, Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic and Futtsu in Japan, through visits between government officials and high school students.

For her latest venture, Brouk crafted a tale about Diva Eva and her protégé traveling the world in a magic sailing ship to find love and a new sister city for Carlsbad. The production incorporates performances by local a cappella group Singchronicity.

Though nervous in the final days before “Around the World, the Musical” debuts, she smiles so wide that the corners of her mouth almost touch the pearl earrings on each of her ears while talking about writing and producing the musical.

“I am very fortunate, my last play was a success. I don’t know what you do if you fail,” Brouk said, laughing as she quickly knocked on wood to avert bad luck.

Before she could continue, the cast and crew start to arrive and rehearsal began. Her living room became littered with crowns, lacy dresses, portraits of a man in a kilt, and other stray props.

The house was soon flooded with the sounds of Laura Case, who plays Diva Eva, singing “La Vie en Rose” and Jerry Odling accompanying her on accordion.

Pausing between renditions, Case expressed how glad she was to work on an original piece that promotes the CSCA.

“What’s neat about a project like this is you are developing the characters and developing the project,” she said about contributing to a new musical. “It’s really fun to watch something you’ve never seen or heard before come together with everybody’s different personalities and different input.”

Case added that it is an extra bonus that the musical also will educate audiences about the CSCA.

“The Carlsbad Sister Cities Ambassadors program is a phenomenal program and needs all of the support it can get,” she said.

“We have a love affair with Carlsbad, all of us do,” added Tom Hersant, the president of CSCA and an actor in the musical. “It’s a delight to contribute to the international part of our city.”

“Any person who has had these international connections grows in ways you cannot even imagine… Your perspective is widened,” he said.

“Around the World, the Musical” will be performed Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Schulman Auditorium at the Carlsbad Dove Library. For information about tickets, visit carlsbadambassadors.us.

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