FST to Present 2014 RICHARD AND BETTY BURDICK NEW PLAY READING SERIES, 4/28-5/10

FST to Present 2014 RICHARD AND BETTY BURDICK NEW PLAY READING SERIES, 4/28-5/10

Florida Studio Theatre announces its annual Richard and Betty Burdick New Play Reading Series, which will present three new plays by contemporary American playwrights. The series will take place in the Keating Theatre on Monday, April 28 at 7:00pm, Monday, May 5 at 7:00pm, and Saturday, May 10 at 2:00pm, and is part of FST's Sarasota Festival of New Plays. Tickets for the series are 3 plays for $25, or individual play readings for $10. Additionally, FRIENDS of FST can purchase a subscription for all 3 plays for $15. They may be purchased by calling the FST Box Office at (941) 366-9000 or by visiting www.floridastudiotheatre.org.

This series begins on Monday, April 28 with DANCING LESSONS by Mark St. Germain, who brought you THE BEST OF ENEMIES and FREUD'S LAST SESSION. DANCING LESSONS tells the story of Ever, an autistic professor, learning to dance from his neighbor Senga, a recently injured Broadway dancer. Both find love and acceptance and take lessons from each other in overcoming their hindrances.

Next will be Rich Orloff's CHATTING WITH THE TEA PARTY. Orloff, an accomplished comedic playwright, goes on a journey to understand "just who these Tea Party people are." He crosses America interviewing every member of the Tea Party he can find to compose this documentary play. He pokes fun at both sides of the spectrum in creating this engrossing theatrical experience.

The final play of the series is FOR THE AGES. What does it really mean to "get old?" Florida Studio Theatre and American Records have come together to create a new play that examines the good, bad, difficult, and humorous aspects of aging. Based on over one hundred hours of interviews with Sarasota community members, FOR THE AGES will serve as a catalyst for conversation, understanding, and social change.

Each reading will be followed by a talkback with the playwright where audience members have the opportunity to provide feedback. This series gives audiences the opportunity to be a part of the development and creation of exciting potential new plays here at FST.

Associate Artist Jason Cannon describes FST's process of preparation stating, "The Burdick Series is simply one of the most exciting parts of the New Play Festival. After digging through literally hundreds of new plays each year, we choose three that we cannot wait to share with our audience. The flurry of activity required is intense: bringing in playwrights and actors, rehearsing, rewriting, re-rehearsing, reading for our eager audience, and then propelling the development process with talkbacks to benefit the playwright. But this intensity-which serves our mission, our audience, and the playwrights-results in excitement and discoveries that are truly the lifeblood of our theatre. Every play that we now consider a classic was once new and nervously awaiting its premiere. The Burdick Series exists to continue transforming the 'new' into 'known'."

Mark St. Germain has written the plays Camping With Henry and Tom (Outer Critics Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award), Out of Gas on Lover's Leap, Forgiving Typhoid Mary (Time Magazine's "Year's Ten Best'), Ears on a Beetle, The Best of Enemies, and Freud's Last Session, currently playing at FST. Television credits include Writer and Creative Consultant for The Cosby Show, Life Stories, and Dick Wolf's Crime and Punishment. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Writer's Guild East, and a board member of the Barrington Stage Company.

Rich Orloff is based in New York City, but his work frequently takes him all over the nation. He is lovingly billed as "one of the most popular unknown playwrights in the country." His full-length plays include Big Boys, Domestic Tranquility, Love Happens, Guy Stuff, Foreign Affairs, Veronica's Position, and Romantic Fools. Orloff has also written over 75 short plays and a dozen one-acts. His short works have been published in eight volumes through Playscripts, Inc.

KJ Sanchez is an Artistic Associate at Cincinnati Playhouse, where this season she has directed Seven Spots on the Sun by Martin Zimmerman and Joan, the Girl of Arc by Darrah Cloud. As a playwright, she has been produced at Asolo Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Two River Theater Company, Baltimore's CENTERSTAGE, Round House Theatre, Washington Ensemble Theatre, Cornerstone and off-Broadway at Urban Stages and HERE Arts Center. Recent directing credits include The Diary of Anne Frank and Noises Off at Milwaukee Rep, and Quiara Alegria Hudes' Water by the Spoonful at Studio Theatre in DC. KJ is founder/ CEO of American Records, and her play, ReEntry (co-author, director and producer) has been seen at theaters across the country as well as at over 30 military bases and hospitals. She is the voice of many characters in the cartoons Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go! She is a former member of Anne Bogart's SITI Company, a Fox Fellow, the 2012 Douglass Waollop Fellow, an Albert Award nominee and an NEA CDP for directors recipient.

Emily Ackerman is the co-author, with KJ Sanchez, of ReEntry, a multi-media theater piece about coming home from war that is taken entirely from interviews with members of the Marine Corps and their families. Ms. Ackerman is also an Associate Artist with The Civilians, an award winning company that specializes in interview based theatre. With The Civilians: This Beautiful City (Original Collaborator/Performer), Gone Missing, and developmental workshops of Shadow of Himself by Neal Bell. Other collaborative writing/per­formance work includes The Charlotte Cushman Project, The People's Temple, and Four Short Plays, Four Big Ideas with KJ Sanchez (commissioned by Grant Makers in the Arts for the Council on Foundations National Conference). Performance credits include: Stray, Precious Little, Well, Clean Alternatives, The Constant Wife, Ghosts, The Seagull, Twelfth Night, Love's Labours Lost, The Skin of our Teeth, Romeo & Juliet, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Medea, St. Joan, The Entertainer, The Weir, and the world premiere of Kissing the Witch.

The Sarasota Festival of New Plays seeks to provide a forum for playwrights of all ages to develop plays that can be fruitfully produced. From our Young Playwrights to our emerging adult playwrights and seasoned play-writing veterans, the Sarasota Festival of New Plays seeks to broaden the breadth and depth of thought in American theatre by encouraging people of all ages and all perspectives to write plays. New Play Development is the lifeblood of FST. It is a year-round activity that is fully integrated with each of the theatre's other programs. FST's approach to new play development focuses on the continued life of the work. Aside from presenting world premieres, FST frequently provides plays with their second, third or fourth productions. For example, in the 2009 Sarasota Festival of New Plays, FST provided Black Pearl Sings! with its 3rd production. Black Pearl Sings! has gone on to many productions, becoming one of the most produced plays in the country in 2010. In addition, in 2010, in partnership with the National New Play Network, FST presented the rolling world premiere of Shotgun by John Biguenet.

Known as Sarasota's Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company eventually settled down into a permanent home, acquiring the former Woman's Club building - now renamed the Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American Theatre, presenting contemporary theatre in its five theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the renovated Gompertz Theatre, the Goldstein Cabaret, the John C. Court Cabaret, and Bowne's Lab Theatre.

Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience. Under Richard Hopkins, Artistic Director and CEO, FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world. As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.

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