Over the last several years, Southwest Florida has produced people of remarkable talent, some of whom have ended up on the national stage—most recently, Lazaro Arbos on this season’s American Idol.
There is another entertainer on the rise who is poised to take Broadway by storm—Alexandrea Tocco (video below).
As I have often mentioned, Bob and I have had the privilege of being a part of Gulfshore Playhouse and knowing its founder and producing artistic director, Kristen Coury, since the very beginning. Coury had the opportunity to be one of the judges at a singing competition several years ago; one of the contestants was the 15-year-old Tocco, then a Cape Coral resident. She announced that her choice, which was from a Broadway show Coury knows well (The Girl in 14G). Because the song is difficult, she thought this young woman did not have a chance to pull it off. Not only did Tocco perform the song perfectly, she won the competition and totally blind-sided everyone who witnessed her performance. From that point on, Coury knew Tocco had a bright future in show business and wanted to help her achieve her dream of one day performing on Broadway. And so she went to work.
In 2006, Coury had an ambitious plan to produce a musical. One of the main reasons it was challenging was the difficulty in finding an available stage big enough to carry off what she wanted to accomplish. So, she decided to present the show, titled Romeo & Juliet Redefined, outdoors on the stage in Cambier Park. And who would be the stars of the show? Coury tapped Chris Peluso for Romeo, an amazing talent from New York who had already performed in some of the biggest hits on the Great White Way, Wicked and Damn Yankees among them. And to Coury, no one could play Juliet except this young, budding talent, Alexandrea Tocco. The production in Cambier Park was a smash hit, with standing ovations for each performance. And many more folks were astounded at the talent Tocco brought to this demanding role.
Coury was not done with Tocco yet—not even close. The young actress/singer needed to get beyond Southwest Florida to expand her experience, so her goal was to attend Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, a high school targeting talented young people. The school was expensive and Tocco’s family was unable to foot the entire bill. So, Coury, along with other friends, put together cocktail parties around the Naples area and Tocco gave a performance during each one. Nearly every attendee wanted to be a part of giving her a chance to move forward in her career and it was not long before she was winging her way to the academy. Her entire tuition had been taken care of by the generous folks who had witnessed her amazing talent.
Later, Tocco went on to the New York University Tisch School of the Arts on another scholarship, finishing her formal education with a bachelor of arts degree from NYU. She currently lives in New York full-time, and has a talent agency that represents her as she auditions and awaits her big break. Coury brought Tocco back to Southwest Florida last week to perform in Gulfshore Playhouse’s Bubbles, Baubles & Broadway gala. As always, Tocco wowed the audience, which was moved to its feet for a rousing standing ovation and exclamations of “Brava!”
Watch for the name Alexandrea Tocco in the media. It has been such a pleasure to know her and to watch her star rise, and we cannot wait to see her name in lights.