FST Welcomes Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Gilbert King Tonight

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 tonight, 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."

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