The Prima Donnettes to Open Florida Studio Theatre's Cabaret Season, 10/23

Kicking off the Cabaret season at FST is THE PRIMA DONNETTES, developed by FST Artistic Director Richard Hopkins and Jim Prosser. It will open in Florida Studio Theatre's John C. Court Cabaret on Wednesday, October 23, 2013. Subscriptions for all three shows can be purchased for as little as $35 and up to $49. Single tickets range from $18-$36. Subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased online at http://FloridaStudioTheatre.org, by phone at (941) 366-9000 or by visiting the Box Office.

Beginning in the 50s, female singing groups such as The Shirelles, The Vandellas, and The Dixie Cups began to break onto the popular airwaves. By the 60s and 70s female solo artists such as Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield and Diana Ross had brought women to the forefront of the American stage. From the era of hula hoops and drive-ins to the fight for equal rights these women provided the soundtrack for the hopes and dreams of women everywhere. Featuring songs such as: "Mama Said," "One Fine Day" and "Natural Woman."

Artistic Director, Richard Hopkins further described the show as "a fun loving nod to the strides women have made in the past decades."

Following in the footsteps of these women is Jannie Jones, a returning company member of FST. Jones explains her connection with the music of this show saying "I was not exposed to many of these songs until my college years. I had heard Ain't No Mountain High Enough in high school. I loved it because it was romantic & my friends and I would lip sync & make up our own choreography. Mama Said was sung among my peers and I immediately connected with that as I was raised by a single parent." Jones further commented on this music stating, "It has given me complete joy and reminds me of when music was pure & sweet."

THE PRIMA DONNETTES also features returning company members Liz Power and Sue Haefner, along with new company member Erin McGrath. Liz Power previously appeared in FST's By Gershwin and Reel Music. Among Susan Haefner's past FST productions are Oleanna and Starting Here, Starting Now. Gracing the FST stage for the first time, McGrath's previous roles include a National Tour of Hairspray, High Society and Grease at Center Stage and White Noise at the Royal George Theatre in Chicago.

Director, Dennis Courtney, describes the show stating, "THE PRIMA DONNETTES is not only a celebration of the iconic and heart filled music of the girl groups of the 1950s and 1960s, but is also a tribute to and reflection of the influence of women and their music. In the 1950s, the reactive voice and roles of women tended to be defined by the men they loved and society at large. As women continued to own their power, there was a tremendous shift in perspective in the 1960s. Their roles, not only in love and relationships, but in all areas became more proactive, unique and powerful as they began to define their own choices and demand the respect they deserve."When asked about the creative process behind this show, Hopkins stated, "THE PRIMA DONNETTES was inspired by FST's highly successful production featuring the fictional guy group we called The Wanderers. The audiences loved it! I thought, wow, can we do the same thing with the girl groups of the 1950's and forward. Two things became quickly apparent: First was the interesting and colorful character of the women who formed the girl groups. Second was how the music became the sound track to the women's movement of the last half of the century. Without ever being preachy, the music tracks the revolution and the evolution of women's rights during this period of intense change."

In the words of Martha Reeves of The Vandellas, "It was a time for people to forget who they are and just get with each other to be happy and loving and dance and rejoice."

THE PRIMA DONNETTES opens in the John C. Court Cabaret on Wednesday, October 23, 2013. Subscriptions for all three shows can be purchased for as little as $35 and up to $49. Single tickets range from $18-$36. Subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased online at FloridaStudioTheatre.org, by phone at (941) 366-9000 or by visiting the Box Office.


Related Articles

St. Petersburg THEATER Stories | Shows


From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...