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HomeArtGreatest Love Stories Competition: Matt & Bethany Romeo

Greatest Love Stories Competition: Matt & Bethany Romeo

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Wherefore art thou, Romeos? Why—they are right here in Hernando County, and in celebration of Valentine’s Day, they are ready to share their divine love story with the community.

It is often said that life imitates art; this is definitely the case with Matt and Bethany Romeo of Brooksville, a couple that shares a deep love for the theatrical arts—and for each other.

This married couple is set to take the stage together this spring when—in a definite case of typecasting—they portray a newlywed pair in the Live Oak Theatre production of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”

“We play Benjamin and Dorcus. We initially auditioned for different characters but have enjoyed taking on these funny roles together,” Bethany said. “We love playing a couple! I feel that our connection can be really authentic on stage since it’s a real connection off stage.”

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The couple is also celebrating the expansion of their theatrical troupe, as they have one son, one-year-old MJ, and are expecting a baby girl in June.

Matt and Bethany are both veterans of the dramatic arts, sharing a lifelong passion for performing. “I grew up performing. I started dancing when I was three and started acting classes at the age of four. I began doing musicals at eight years old and caught the ‘theatre bug,’ so they say,” said Bethany. “My parents encouraged me to do film as well, and I was a part of the Cima Talent Agency for eight years. I continued to do theatre through high school and went on to study musical theater at Seton Hill University for two years. Most recently, I have been taking private voice lessons with Mr. Scott Tilson at All About Music. I did my first show at Live Oak in 2021, where I played the role of Cinderella in ‘Into the Woods.’ I was so excited to find a family-friendly theatre company. I have also been in ‘Newsies’ and ‘The Sound of Music’ at Live Oak.”

“I started doing professional theatre in elementary school and went on to perform as a soloist around the state starting in my middle school years,” said Matt. “From there, I ventured into where my passion lay in acting for film, having the opportunity to study alongside working actors for many years. Having filled my life with 11 years of dance classes and film work, the performing arts were all that I knew. Since starting a family, it has been a pleasure to rekindle this love for performing with my wife. Live Oak has been a great opportunity to perform in a family-friendly setting.”

It was Bethany’s aunt who originally set the stage for romance. Bethany shared, “My aunt introduced us. She had known Matt his whole life and thought we had a lot in common. She knew we both loved performing and shared the same beliefs.”

“I was invited to a Bible study at the house of a family friend. Little did I know, her niece was in town, whom she had planned for me to meet,” said Matt. “She was in Florida for vacation during that time, after which she moved here, and the rest is history.”

Bethany and Matt found from the start that they had much in common. “My first impression of Matt was that he was very mature, intelligent and chivalrous,” said Bethany. “There was immediate compatibility between us. We have shared the stage one other time as Jack and Katherine in ‘Newsies’ at Live Oak in 2022.”

“Bethany was very humble and engaging, and I was surprised at all of the passions we shared in common, as if we lived the same life in different locations,” said Matt. “We were most recently Katherine and Jack in ‘Newsies’ at Live Oak Theatre.”

The couple was married in January 2022 at the White Chapel and Harbor Hall in Palm Harbor. “Having a shared hobby and passion for the arts brings us closer in many ways,” said Bethany. “As parents of a toddler, it can be difficult at times to find time for each other and for things we both enjoy. Theater gives us an artistic outlet while also providing us an opportunity to have fun together.”

“Theater allows us to spend quality time together creating something that we both love,” Matt agreed. “It gives us the time we need to enjoy each other’s company and to also encourage each other in our talents.”

The couple has high hopes for the future, both on and offstage. “We don’t know where the Lord will lead us. As of now, we love being parents. That is our main passion,” said Bethany. “We pray for an opportunity in some kind of ministry. We plan to continue to pursue using our gifts to glorify the Lord. We are thankful for the outlet we have at the Live Oak Theatre and hope to have more opportunities there.”

Matt and Bethany Romeo won’t be the only married couple sharing the stage when “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” is performed this March.

“Lexi Rossiter, who plays Liza and is the choreographer (formerly Allocco), is married to Kaiden (Adam and the co-director),” said Vince Vanni, spokesman of Live Oak Theatre. “Lenia Staley, who plays Ruth, is married to Ben Staley (co-director; he doesn’t play one of the characters this time, but in ‘Sound of Music,’ they were Liesl and Rolf).”

“I’m so grateful to get this opportunity to co-direct this show!” said Ben Staley. “This is a musical my family and I would watch together when I was younger, and I’ve always loved it. We’re only a few weeks into rehearsals, and this cast is doing amazing! Every single person is full of energy and life, and they are having so much fun and working so hard! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every rehearsal watching this cast work. From scenes like the hoedown dance to songs like ‘Wonderful Day,’ ‘Sobbin’ Women,’ and the ‘Suitor’s Lament,’ this cast is fantastic, and I’m so excited for opening night!”

“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” staged in collaboration with the Luke 1248 Foundation, opens on March 8th for ten performances over three weekends at Live Oak Theatre. All performances are at the Carol and Frank Morsani Center for the Arts, 21030 Cortez Boulevard, Brooksville. The Friday and Saturday evening shows are at 7:30 p.m.; the Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2:30 p.m. “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” in collaboration with the Luke 1248 Foundation, opens on March 8th for 11 performances over three weekends. There will be an additional matinee on March 9 due to popular demand.

Doors open approximately 30 minutes before showtime. To reserve seating, go to https://liveoaktheatre.square.site/, email [email protected], or call 352-593-0027.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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