Catch a Dream with newlywed Erica Sample in The Marvelous Wonderettes at The Naples Players
Let’s catch a dream! L-O-V-E: that spells love! Recently, Erica Sample, cast as Suzy in The Marvelous Wonderettes, had her dream wedding with volunteer and box office associate, Adam Fasano. Not only did the two meet and become friends here at The Naples Players (TNP), but their wedding featured lots of regulars as bridesmaids, groomsmen, and even the officiant!
Originally a KidzAct performer, Erica Sample now volunteers as a performer, assists director/choreographer Dawn Lebrecht Fornara on adult shows, and directs and choreographs children’s productions. When Adam Fasano first walked into her life – and TNP – in 2017, he was auditioning for The Music Man and Erica was teaching the dance combination. “He caught my eye because he’s a really great dancer. At the end of the audition, he came up to me and shook my hand and said ‘thank you’ and I was impressed with his manners!”
Adam and Erica were just friends for the year that followed. Adam recalls always trying to engage her in conversation – “I thought she didn’t like me.” Little did he know, Erica had a crush on him the whole time. Despite traveling back and forth from New York City, and being a snowbird at the time, Adam would frequently check in on her.
When he returned to Naples the following season, he was auditioning for Guys and Dolls and she was performing in White Christmas. “After auditions, I was sticking around to hang out with her and the staff were saying, ‘Adam you can go home, you’re good.’” She then invited him to see her in White Christmas and things took a turn!
“An older gentleman and I were on the waitlist for tickets that night and I remember he told me it was the only night he could see the show. We were waiting by the box office and they called my name for a ticket,” says Adam, “I was about to give him my ticket because I knew it was the only opportunity for him to go and this gentleman put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Enjoy your show.’” This kind act from a stranger changed the course of history for Adam and Erica. “If he didn’t show up I would have shut him out and not trusted him. Essentially, that night we started dating,” says Erica.
Before popping the question in real life, Erica and Adam played opposite each other in Mamma Mia! as Sophie and Sky. “Dawn said, ‘You guys are dating and you have no chemistry.’ Sophie and Sky are totally in love and we just weren’t there yet so we were a bit awkward! We were also trying to concentrate on learning the show instead of being in the moment,” remembers Erica, “It was really fun as he was staying for the summer instead of going back to NYC so we were excited. It brought us closer – it was a really special show. Those castmates will be at our real wedding because we were so close.”
Fast forward to now and Erica says, “There’s a lot of side stories to tell when talking about our proposal! I love Dawn and Charlie (Charles Fornara, the Music Director of The Marvelous Wonderettes)’s backyard so much, so Adam was waiting for me there after Something Rotten! Teen auditions. My mom and I also own an animal rescue and one of Dawn and Charlie’s neighbors called about rescuing kittens. I had no idea Adam was waiting for me so I went to go talk to the neighbor and it took longer than expected. Charlie came by to get me saying to me “She would’ve talked to you forever and ever!” I went back to their house and we took the dogs for a walk to their ‘fairy garden.’ I was not looking cute at all – no makeup, leggings, and my hair in a bun.”
Finally, back on track with the secret plan, the gang headed toward the garden where Adam was waiting (for what seemed like an eternity). Erica says, “he came out from behind a tree with a rose and said some wonderful things and it’s all a blur after that! Our song was playing and he got down on one knee.”
She said ‘yes!’ and all of us at TNP could not be happier for this special couple. Erica says, “If it wasn’t for this place, we would not have met, become friends, and gotten to know each other.” Adam adds, “I feel like this place gives people a chance. I struggled with a lot of relationships before Erica. TNP opened the door for me to fall in love again. You’re surrounded by love everywhere you go here – specifically with Dawn and Charlie, but from the whole TNP family as well.”
Congratulations, Erica and Adam, on your wedding! Due to overwhelming demand, The Marvelous Wonderettes was extended by an additional week. From November 9 – November 26, 2023, performances are Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm. There will be no performance on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 23rd. Instead, there will be an additional performance on Tuesday, November 21st at 7:30 pm. The Marvelous Wonderettes will be performed offsite at Naples United Church of Christ in Beverly Hall while The Naples Players’ historic 5th Ave S building undergoes a $20 million renovation. General tickets are $49, and season ticket holders are offered a price of $39. Tickets include entry to the 4th Annual Trees and Teas Festival in McSpadden Hall. Those interested can visit NaplesPlayers.org anytime or call the TNP Box Office at (239)263-7990.