Florida Rep Opens Newest Play From A.R. Gurney, BLACK TIE

March 22
11:01 AM 2012

Florida Rep Opens Newest Play From A.R. Gurney, BLACK TIE

Florida Rep Opens Newest Play from A.R. Gurney, BLACK TIE!

Florida Repertory Theatre announced the opening of Black Tie, a BRAND-NEW comedy from A.R. Gurney, author of Florida Rep’s nationally acclaimed Sylvia. Making its regional premiere at Florida Rep after a successful 2011 Off-Broadway run, The New York Times called Black Tie one of Gurney’s "most enjoyable plays…a gratifying, engaging, touching comedy."

Black Tie is an intelligently witty comedy about balancing long-held family traditions in a changing world, and plays April 3-22 with three nearly sold-out discounted preview performances on April 3, 4, and 5.

"If you can remember being in a wedding or if you've ever thrown one or if you can even just remember your sister getting married, then you know that you can never underestimate the stress involved with planning a wedding," said Associate Artistic Director and the play's director, Chris Clavelli, "and that is why everyone can relate to Black Tie in some way. It is very funny, very honest, and I know that audiences will really enjoy it."

Black Tie offers a sharply humorous look at a family in distress trying to organize a destination wedding in the Adirondacks. The father of the groom simply wants to make a memorable toast, but instead must defend the time-honored ways of his WASP (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant) heritage to his son and the bride-to-be. Cultures clash when a surprise guest threatens to throw convention out the window, and we see that balancing the old way with the new may prove too messy for a black tie affair. The generation gap has never been funnier than in Gurney's newest play.

The production stars Florida Rep regulars Peter Thomasson, Carrie Lund, Adam Jones and Hallie Wage, and making his Florida Rep debut with Black Tie, veteran actor Michael Shelle. Thomasson and Lund were seen earlier this season in Rumors and It's a Wonderful Life, and Lund also appeared most recently in this season's Bedroom Farce and Florida Rep's nationally acclaimed God of Carnage.

Mr. Jones is also a familiar face at Florida Rep, and was seen most recently in last season's King o' the Moon and in 2010's nationally acclaimed You Can't Take It with You. An acting intern with the company this season, Hallie Wage last appeared in It's a Wonderful Life, and is currently touring with Florida Rep's Children's Theatre Series.

A veteran of regional and New York stages, Michael Shelle makes his Florida Rep debut in Black Tie, and comes to Fort Myers from New York having previously appeared in the first national tour of Titanic and the international tour of Camelot with Richard Harris.

Associate Artistic Director, Chris Clavelli (The Santaland Diaries, Alone Together), directs the production, and is joined by an expert team of designers, including set designer Ray Recht (Sylvia), lighting designer Kate Smith (King o' the Moon), costume designer Judith Skyles (The Year of Magical Thinking), sound designer Tim Cobb (It’s a Wonderful Life), and production stage manager, Amy L. Massari (Tru).

"I know audiences will enjoy this intelligent and, in many ways, touching comedy," Clavelli went on, "it is a play about family relationships, growing up and moving on, about traditions. The whole meaning of 'black tie' is so rich and deep and wonderful… the fact is it’s a beautiful thing. It means manners, courtesy, good conversation, dances and joie de vive."

Regular performances are Tues. - Sat. at 8pm, with matinees on Wed., Sun., and selected Saturdays at 2pm with a 7pm twilight performance on Sun., Apr. 8.

Single tickets are now on sale through the box office at 239-332-4488, online at floridarep.org, and are $45/$40 and $25/$20 for discounted previews. Subscribe now for the 2012-2013 Season. Subscriptions offer the best savings, and packages start as low as $207 for 9 shows.

Florida Repertory Theatre performs in the Historic Arcade Theatre on Bay St. between Jackson & Hendry with ample free parking in the Fort Myers River District.



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Beau Higgins Currently spending his time between New York and Florida, Beau was born to a theatrical family in Brooklyn. He studied drama at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute and at HB Studios. He studied theater singing with Julia Sperratore and Helen Gallagher. Beau later taught drama at the Lincoln Center Square for the Arts. It was at this time Beau began working with the Theater Development Fund and helped found New York's famed HALF PRICE TICKET BOOTH. Early in his career, Beau was screen tested and contracted for Warner Brothers. He co-hosted, an early cable variety series on Manhattan's Teleprompter channel. At this time he directed the Johnny Specca musical, SEX IS..? at the Lincoln Center Library Theater. Beau has performed Off-Broadway in FAT FELL DOWN, The Comic Strip Theater's LITTLE LULU AND THE INVISIBLE INK and WILL THE REAL ZOOPERMAN PLEASE STAND UP. Around the country he has delighted audiences with his performances in ANYTHING GOES, THE APPLE TREE, GUYS & DOLLS, and HELLZAPOPPIN! He sang for New York audiences at such cabarets as The Duplex and Upstairs at the Downstairs. He has had numerous television appearances but is most proud to have been a winning contestant on the game shows JACKPOT and THE $20,000 PYRAMID.


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