FST to Welcome Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Gilbert King, 2/26

FST to Welcome Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Gilbert King, 2/26

Florida Studio Theatre will welcome Pulitzer Prize Winning Author Gilbert King for a discussion of his book Devil in the Grove, and its relation to the themes present in the production of THURGOOD. As an addition to FST's panel discussions, it will take place on February 26 from 5:30-6:45pm in the Keating Theatre. This event is free admission and reservations are required. Please RSVP by phone at (941) 366-9000 or by visiting the Box Office. Go to www.floridastudiotheatre.org for more information.

FST's production of THURGOOD has created an unparalleled community outreach of events surrounding the themes in this play. King speaks to the impact of this show stating, "As someone who has spent years researching and writing about the early civil rights movement in this country, I think THURGOOD does a magnificent job of shining a spotlight on one of the most dynamic and indispensable Americans of the 20th century."

To assure that all have equal opportunity to see THURGOOD, FST has also created a "Pay What You Can Evening" performance of THURGOOD on February 27 at 8pm. As a true testament to the success of the show and the excitement of audiences, this performance is already sold out. Director Kate Alexander speaks to the audience enthusiasm over the community response stating, "This has been a watershed year on our work with the community outreach. Without fanfare, people came flooding forth to participate from every walk of life. Some, came to challenge us like Dr. Lisa Merritt and ask 'Can we have a pay what you can night for people who can never afford to attend anywhere?' Others stepped up to the plate immediately and funded it. Some came to offer support, like Pulitzer Prize Winning Author of Devil in the Grove, Gilbert King who will be speaking here on THURGOOD. It is an exhilarating time-from the grass roots level to our finest authors - community engagement - where everyone has stake and voice in this theatre. It is what good theatre is all about and I am exhilarated."

In a recent interview with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Montae Russell, who plays THURGOOD Marshall in the production spoke about his experience in this role stating, "The role is extremely demanding because you're playing protagonist and your adversary and other people. I had to give them equal weight," Russell said. "I couldn't slight this person for that person because you're taking the audience on a journey with you and they have to know these people."

FST is partnering with over 25 organizations to explore the themes presented in the production of THURGOOD. Community partners include Bookstore 1 Sarasota, Charlayne Hunter Gault, Diversity Committee of the Sarasota Bar Association, Embracing Our Differences, The Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Genesis Health Services, Inc., Pulitzer Prize winning author Gilbert King, Howard Club of Southwest Florida, Howard University, Author, Jeffrey LaHurd, Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, Judge Durand Adams, Manatee Educational Television, Multicultural Health Institute, New College of Florida, , Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota Branch NAACP, Manatee NAACP, Sarasota County Libraries, Sarasota County Schools, Sarasota Ministerial Association, The Honorable Charles E. Williams, Judge 12th Judicial Circuit, Vice Mayor Willie Shaw, County Commissioner Carolyn Mason, The Honorable Larry Eger, Public Defender 12th Circuit Court, The Harry Leopold Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, The Manatee/Sarasota Democratic Black Caucus of Florida and the Women's Resource Center.

In addition to the book discussion at FST, King will also be giving a talk and book signing at the Selby Library on February 24th. This event will be sponsored by local writer Liz Coursen of the Sarasota Authors Connection, in conjunction with the Friends of the Selby Public Library and the Historical Society of Sarasota, County. Both of these events will serve as an exciting platform for King as well as local community members to discuss and reflect on the issues that THURGOOD brings into focus.

King sums up his upcoming visit to Sarasota stating, "I could not be more honored to be in Sarasota to share in this community effort by recognizing and celebrating the heroic life and work of THURGOOD Marshall, and I know, like everyone else in the audience, I'll get chills once I'm there to see the curtain rise on this inspirational production."

FST will welcome Pulitzer Prize Winning Author, Gilbert King for a discussion of his book Devil in the Grove, and its relation to the themes present in the production of THURGOOD. The discussion will take place on February 26 from 5:30-6:45pm in the Keating Theatre. This event is free admission and reservations are required. Please RSVP by phone at (941) 366-9000 or by visiting the Box Office. Go to www.floridastudiotheatre.org for more information. You can follow the THURGOOD online forum at www.fst-blog.com.

About Florida Studio Theatre: 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 Goldstein Cabaret, the renovated Gompertz Theatre, the John C. Court Cabaret and the new 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.

THURGOOD Partnering Events:

Panel Discussions: 5:30pm - 6:45pm in the Keating Theatre

Discussion #1: January 16 - The Impact of the Civil Rights Movement on Today's America
(SOLD OUT)

· Discussion #2: January 23 - We are not where we were, how do we get back; The relationship between the African-Americans and the Jews through today

· Discussion #3: February 26 - Pulitzer Prize Winning Author, Gilbert King will be speaking on the themes of his book Devil in the Grove.

· Discussion #4: February 27 - A Tale of Two Cities: A vivid oral history of Sarasota's Civil Rights culminating in the community question "Where do we go From Here?"

Additional Supporting Events:

· Pulitzer Prize Winning Author Gilbert King will be visiting Sarasota on February 26. A discussion will be held on his book, Devil in the Grove, with the Honorable Judge Charles E. Williams on the themes that arise within.

· The Sarasota Ministerial Association along with the interfaith community is coming together in the month of February to speak on the imperative themes of racism and civil rights through "Speaking Racism from Our Pulpits."

· Ringling College of Art & Design with Chaplain John W. Walker, Jr. will be teaching diversity through local college training sessions.

· Montae Russell will being holding post-show discussions every Tuesday and Thursday immediately after the evening performances.

· The Harry Leopold Fund of the Community Foundation in accordance with The Education Foundation of Sarasota County is funding 1,500 high school students to see special matinee performances.

· Embracing our Differences is donating all bussing for high-school performances.

· The Diversity Committee of the Sarasota Bar Association under the direction of the Honorable Judge Charles E. Williams is going into the classrooms for pre-performance workshops to prepare them for the play and the themes it presents.

· METV in association with Judge Williams and Judge Durand Adams will be creating a film for the classroom workshops and also documenting the FST panel discussions.

· Howard Tevlowitz of The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee is sponsoring the production, the panel discussions, and also a children's interactive program about racial acceptance.

· The Multicultural Health Institute and Genesis Health Services. Inc will hold a Health Fair on January 20 tying in Civil Rights with modern day Health Rights.

· Special Events to be announced by the following organizations: Sarasota NAACP, Manatee NAACP, The Manatee/Sarasota Democratic Black Caucus of Florida, Howard University, The Diversity Association of the Sarasota Bar Association, The Women's Resource Center, Howard Club of Southwest Manatee, and New College of Florida.

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