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Arts & Entertainment Franklin tenor to perform with Highlands Cashiers Players

Robert Helma of Franklin will portray the Young Man in HCP’s “The Last Romance.”Franklin resident Robert Helma will be singing the role of the Young Man in “The Last Romance,” the romantic comedy of the Highlands Cashiers Players on stage at Highlands PAC June 6-9 and 13-16.

“Having a fine tenor voice for the Young Man is important for this play,” said director Ralph Stevens. Co-director David Milford agreed, adding, “We’re very fortunate to have Robert as part of the cast.” Helma is a music education major in the vocal department at Western Carolina University (WCU). He auditioned for the role of the Young Man last November and was cast immediately.

“I’m excited about this show,” Helma said. “My character embodies the lifelong love of opera that drives the lead character, Ralph Bellini.”

“The Last Romance” is the story of widower Ralph Bellini (David Milford) who decides to take a second chance on love with Carol Reynolds (Becky Schilling) when he sees her in a dog park. The cast also includes Bellini’s cranky sister, Rose (Shirley Williams). The fast-paced play is filled with funny and poignant dialogue for audience members ages 12 to 102.

John Williams, who has created many sound designs over the years for HCP, is musical director for “The Last Romance.”

“The short operatic pieces add so much to this play,” Williams said.

As an added feature, HCP audiences will be the first to hear a hauntingly beautiful duet by the Young Man and Bellini.

Williams composed the duet to fit lyrics written by David Milford for this show.

Helma is a 2009 graduate of Franklin High School. He serves as the Minister of Music at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and works at The Hungry Bear restaurant. The Last Romance is the 4th and final play in the 2012-2013 HCP Season. Show dates are June 6-9 and 13-16 at Highlands Performing Arts Center, 507 Chestnut Street. Performances start at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. For tickets and more information, call (828)526-8084. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Submitted by Becky Schilling


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