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BWW Feature: Dezart Performs' INVASION OF PRIVACY Heads To Florida

Dezart Performs' award winning production of "Invasion of Privacy" will be produced in Florida June 18-15 in the 606-seat Fine Arts Hall at Santa Fe College in Gainesville. Dezart presented the West Coast Premiere of the thought-provoking drama by Larry Parr, about a painful and dramatic episode in the life of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "The Yearling." It was mounted because it had been chosen the Audience Favorite of the previous year's Play Reading Festival. The drama is set in Florida's "alligator country," where Rawlins had settled after her novel's enormous success, and not far from where playwright Parr lives and works today. And now, after its huge success in California, "Invasion of Privacy" heads to Florida, taking part of the Dezart Performs production with it.

Directing the Florida production will be Judith Chapman, who brought the show so powerfully to life in Palm Springs that she won the 2014 Desert Star Award as Best Director of a Drama. (Chapman is known to millions through her role as Gloria Bardwell on "The Young and the Restless" and many other soap operas. In 2007 she received the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle Award. She has also created and performed two one-woman shows, The Belle of Amherst," about another famed author, Emily Dickinson, and "Vivien," about actress Vivien Leigh.)

The Gainesville production will feature three award-winning actors from the Dezart Performs production: Gina Bikales (winner, Best Actress in a Drama, Desert Star Award 2014) as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings; Yo Younger (winner, Best Supporting Actress in a Drama, Desert Star Award 2014) as young female lawyer Kate Walton and Corbett Brattin as the older, seasoned lawyer Sigsbee Scruggs.

The real-life events of "Invasion of Privacy took place in the l940s, when Rawlings was riding high on her success as an author, having won the Pulitzer for "The Yearling," and having won many honorary degrees. After the publication of her nonfiction book, "Cross Creek," about her friends and neighbors in the little Florida community of that name, much to her surprise, her friend and neighbor, Zelma Cason, sued her for invasion of privacy. The ensuing lawsuit that played out in l946 in backwoods Florida was alternately hilarious and profound, as it pitted the right to privacy against the constitutional promise of free speech.

It was through Chapman that the Florida production of "Invasion of Privacy" came about. In the spring of 2014, she was performing her one-woman show, "Vivien" at Santa Fe College when the college invited her to come back as a guest director. She proposed bringing "Invasion" to the college in 2015, an idea the college readily accepted. It is producing the play as part of their Master Artist Series.

"Not many directors get to direct an award-winning production on the west coast, then mount another production, with several of the award-winning actors and several new actors, on the east coast-I am doubly honored" Chapman said. "And to mount that production in the town where this landmark case and moving story took place, when a man's moonshine was nobody's business and a woman lawyer was ridiculous, is phenomenal.

"This bi-coastal production of "Invasion of Privacy" could not have happened without the vision of Dezart Performs," Chapman concluded.

For his part, Shaw said: "I am thrilled for Judith and so many of our original cast members for the opportunity to bring their Dezart Performs experience of "Invasion of Privacy" to a new production. The West Coast premiere on our stage was a very special production. I can't wait to see where they take it this time around."

For more information about Dezart Performs and the upcoming 2015/2016 season, go to www.dezartperforms.org or call (760) 322-0179.


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