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April 19, 2012

Musical, moving portrait of fishermen's wives

A musical called "Six Pairs of Hands" and presented by the Regis College Theatre Company will debut Friday night at The Cape Ann Theater, also known as The Annie, at 1 Washington St.

And in coming to Gloucester, the presentation is returning to its roots — the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association.

The musical was created by Wendy Lement and her Regis students, based on oral histories obtained from interviewing members of the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association, founded in 1969.

"The original musical honors the extraordinary lives and the political battles waged and won by these courageous women," said Lement in a prepared statement. There will be five performances in Gloucester, following a run at the Casey Theatre at Regis College in Weston where the cast received a standing ovation.

"They put their heart and soul into this production," said Nina Groppo, a member of the Gloucester Fisheremen's Wives since 1978. "It's very moving."

The students came to Gloucester where they interviewed fishermen's wives, including association president Angela Sanfilippo and vice president Sefatia Romeo.

"They asked what was it like growing up, and how does it feel to be the wife of a fishermen and so on," said Groppo, who serves on the association's board of directors. "I think they got this vision and transformed these interviews into this production."

Sanfilippo said she was humbled by their desire to stage a story about their lives.

"The Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association always dreamed of having their story told in a play," she said. "To be a musical is even better.

"We hope that our message of commitment and hard work carries far and wide across the globe," she said. "The same issues that we have been battling for the last 41 years are being fought all around the world."

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