PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES, AT THE HOP and More Make Up FST's 2014 Summer Season

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PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES, AT THE HOP and More Make Up FST's 2014 Summer Season

Florida Studio Theatre presents an exciting new Summer Mainstage and Cabaret Season. The Mainstage kicks off with the foot-stomping musical Pump Boys and Dinettes, the humorous and inspirational drama Becoming Dr. Ruth, and the thought-provoking Taking Shakespeare. The Summer Cabaret Season will consist of At The Hop, by America's Premiere Doo-Wop group, The Alley Cats, Clearly Invisible: Magic Up Close with Carl Seiger, and Somewhere Over the Rose, The Songs and Stories of Judy Garland and Bette Midler.

The Summer Mainstage Season opens today, June 4 and plays through August 24 in the Keating and Gompertz Theatres (Downtown Sarasota). A subscription to all three plays can be purchased for as little as $39. The Summer Sidekicks Cabaret Season opens June 10 and plays through August 31 in the John C. Court Cabaret. A subscription to all three shows can be purchased for as little as $39. All subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased at the FST Box Office in person or by calling (941) 366-9000 or online at www.FloridaStudioTheatre.org.

The 2014 Summer Mainstage Season kicks off in the Gompertz with Pump Boys and Dinettes, created by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann. This will be the second production of the show at FST with Jason Edwards returning for the second time to direct. The pump boys sell high octane fuel on North Carolina's Highway 57 and the sassy dinettes run the Double Cupp diner next door. Between changing tires and baking pies, the gang performs a rousing, down-home mix of country western, rock 'n' roll, and blues in this charming tale of friendship, romance, and life's simple pleasures. Returning from a very successful run of Poems, Prayers, and Promises is Sarah Hund. Hund speaks to her anticipation of joining this show. "I am very excited to get started on Pump Boys and Dinettes. I've been wanting to do that show for such a long time. I'm glad I'm finally getting the chance to do it. I'm also happy to have a few more months in Sarasota. This town has really grown on me. And not just the amazing beaches. Sarasota has such a supportive arts community that I haven't experienced anywhere else." Pump Boys and Dinettes will be playing in the Gompertz Theatre from June 4 to June 29.

Second in the season is Becoming Dr. Ruth by Mark St. Germain. Becoming Dr. Ruth provides audiences with an intimate look at the heroic and intriguing journey of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, from Nazi Germany to America's most famous therapist. Becoming Dr. Ruth will be playing in the Keating Theatre from June 25 to July 24. This show will be directed by FST's Associate Director, Kate Alexander, who previously directed Freud's Last Session. Artistic Director, Richard Hopkins, expanded on the show stating, "This woman wasn't always this cute little cherub we remember from TV. She had a tremendous life. She has been fearless in pursuit of improving herself." The show will star returning FST actress Susan Greenhill. Her previous FST productions include Dinner with Friends and Shirley Valentine.

Closing out the Summer Mainstage Season in the Gompertz Theatre is the U.S. premiere of Taking Shakespeare by John Murrell. Who appreciates Shakespeare anymore? Murph sure doesn't, and seeks out an older Shakespeare scholar, to bring the Bard's words to life. This enchanting, eccentric journey creates a beautiful dichotomy between Shakespeare's verse and today's language. Is it possible for this avid video-game lover to love Shakespeare? Taking Shakespeare will be playing in the Gompertz Theatre from July 23 to August 17. FST's Associate Director, Kate Alexander will be starring in this production.

All three shows of the Summer Mainstage Season - Pump Boys and Dinettes, Becoming Dr. Ruth and Taking Shakespeare - will be presented at FST's Keating or Gompertz Theatre. Single tickets range from $34 - $44. A subscription for all three shows can be purchased for as little as $39.

Opening the Summer Cabaret Series is At The Hop by America's Premiere Doo-Wop group, The Alley Cats. This dynamic a cappella group entertains with a spontaneous humor and refreshing contemporary style of song. Celebrating their 25th anniversary, The Alley Cats are a perfect blend of musical talent and comic timing. Featuring songs such as "Life Could Be a Dream," "Rock 'N' Roll Is Here To Stay," and "Duke Of Earl." Hopkins elaborates further stating, "What we're trying to do is bring folks in who are different than the work we usually do, for our audience to learn and grow from." At The Hop will be playing in the Court Cabaret from June 10 to July 6.

Next in the season following this dynamic Doo-Wop sensation will be the returning accomplished showman, Carl Seiger, in Clearly Invisible: Magic Up Close with Carl Seiger. Seiger performs sleight of hand magic up close, inviting audiences to see what's up his sleeve. Join a consummate showman for a night of illusion and pure entertainment. Clearly Invisible: Magic Up Close with Carl Seiger will be playing in the Court Cabaret from July 8 to August 3.

Rounding out the Summer Cabaret Series is Somewhere Over the Rose, The Songs and Stories Of Judy Garland and Bette Midler . FST pays tribute to the iconic songs of Judy Garland and Bette Midler as they come alive in Kathy Halenda's memorable performance. Featuring songs: "Singin' In The Rain," "From a Distance," and "Wind Beneath My Wings." Having previously appeared in FST's productions such as Brassy Broads, Sophie Tucker: Last of the Red Hot Mamas, Dirty Blonde, Inspired Lunacy, and Shakespeare's Greatest Hits, audiences will once again be entertained by the powerhouse performer described as "A red hot mama" by the New York Daily News. Somewhere Over the Rose, The Songs and Stories Of Judy Garland and Bette Midler will be playing in the Court Cabaret from August 5 to August 31.

Halenda speaks to the anticipation of her return to FST stating, "After having performed in about fifteen shows at the Florida Studio Theatre since 1988, I always feel like I'm 'coming home' whenever I play breezy, balmy Sarasota. I am so delighted to come back with this show about two of my childhood icons, Judy Garland and Bette Midler. I hope the audiences will be able to immerse themselves in the uplifting, haunting songs and the real, honest stories as well as the strengths, vulnerabilities, similarities, and odd coincidences of these two women. I am proud to think that I have some things in common with Judy and Bette as well: passion, grit and sheer volume!"

All three shows of the Summer Cabaret Series - At The Hop by America's Premiere Doo-Wop group, The Alley Cats, Clearly Invisible: Magic Up Close with Carl Seiger, and Somewhere Over the Rose: The Songs and Stories Of Judy Garland and Bette Midler - will be presented at FST's John C. Court Cabaret. Single tickets range from $32 - $36. A subscription for all three shows can be purchased for as little as $39.

Both subscription tickets and single tickets may be purchased from the FST Box Office in person or by calling (941) 366-9000 or online at www.FloridaStudioTheatre.org.

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 the 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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