FST's Sarasota Festival Of New Plays

FST's Sarasota Festival Of New Plays

(GHOST-WRITER photo by Amy Steinmetz)


With the world premiere of Laughing Matters in the Goldstein Cabaret, FST officially embarks on the SARASOTA FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS. The festival is a dynamic event that gives continued life to the work of emerging playwrights, going beyond producing the world premiere. This year, FST produces the 20th annual festival. SARASOTA FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS attracted playwrights, actors, directors, and designers from around the country to produce the following components of the 2011 festival:

*GHOST-WRITER by Michael Hollinger in the Keating Theatre
*Laughing Matters (Head Writer: Rebecca Langford; Contributing Writers: Stephan DeGhelder, Bobby Mitchell, Jim Prosser, Adam Ratner; Additonal Material by: W. Joseph Matheson and Traci Kanaan)
* TWO JEWS WALK INTO A WAR... by Seth Rozin in the Gompertz Theatre
* THE LAND OF YES! (Winning plays from young playwrights aged 5-17.)
*THE RICHARD & BETTY BURDICK PLAY READING SERIES (Three new plays presented as staged readings)

The Sarasota Festival of New Plays seeks to provide a forum for playwrights of all ages to develop plays that can be fruitfully produced. From their Young Playwrights to their emerging adult playwrights and seasoned playwriting veterans, the Sarasota Festival of New Plays seeks to broaden the breadth and depth of thought in American theatre by encouraging people of all ages and all perspectives to write plays. New Play Development is the lifeblood of FST. It is a year-round activity that is fully integrated with each of the theatre's other programs. FST's approach to new play development focuses on the continued life of the work. Aside from presenting world premieres, FST frequently provides plays with their second, third or fourth productions. For example, in the 2009 Sarasota Festival of New Plays, FST provided Black Pearl Sings! with its 3rd production. Black Pearl Sings! has gone on to many productions, becoming one of the top 10 most produced plays in the U.S. in 2010. In addition, in 2010, in partnership with the National New Play Network, FST presented the rolling world premiere of Shotgun by John Biguenet.

Tickets to the events, plays, and performances can be purchased through the FST Box Office by calling (941) 366.9000, or by visiting the website at www.floridastudiotheatre.org.


April 1 - June 19 in the Goldstein Cabaret
Laughing Matters, the ultimate hit of the Goldstein Cabaret, is back and bigger than ever! Laughing Matters will parody national and local topics. From the new city commission to the new roundabouts, there's always something happening in Sarasota that we can all collectively laugh at. The show had preview performances on March 30 and 31, with opening night on Friday, April 1.

Laughing Matters was created and written by Rebecca Langford, with additional writing by Stephen DeGhelder, Jim Prosser, W. Joseph Matheson and Adam Ratner.


April 6 - June 4 in the Keating Theatre
Florida Studio Theatre will close its 2010/11 season with Michael Hollinger's intelligent new play, Ghost-Writer. FST produces the third production of Ghost-Writer. This production marks the second Hollinger production at FST, after the critically-acclaimed production of Opus during the 2008/09 season. Ghost-Writer opens on the Keating Theatre stage on April 6, 2011 and will run through June 4. Ghost-Writer is a mysterious tale of artistic creation and forbidden love. In early 20th century New York, novelist Franklin Woolsey dictates his latest book to his young secretary, Myra. As they work feverishly together on Franklin's latest transcript, they form a romantic and creative bond. Or do they? When their relationship is called into question, the devoted secretary must defend the truth as she sees it.


May 4 - May 15 in the Gompertz Theatre
Two Jews Walk Into A War... by Seth Rozin is part of FST's 20th annual SARASOTA FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS. It is also produced as part of the National New Play Network, an organization that FST works closely with to develop new plays and present world premieres of emerging playwrights. Inspired by a true story, Two Jews Walk into a War... is a witty and affecting play on the last two surviving Jews in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Taliban has destroyed the only existing Torah, so Ishaq and Zeblyan must join forces to regenerate the Jewish faith and reconstruct the sacred book. Their main obstacle - they can't stand each other! With comical bickering between the two men, can they pull off the impossible?


May 9, May 16, and May 23 in the Gompertz Theatre
The 2011 Richard and Betty Burdick Play Reading Series will cover a vast array of poignant topics, from recent ponzi schemes to varying degrees of reality. Florida Studio Theatre will present three new works of theatre by contemporary, American Playwrights on Monday nights in May: May 9, May 16, and May 23. Named after two longtime supporters of FST's New Play Development program, the reading series facilitates an exciting exchange between playwright and audience.

The staged reading series will be presented in a "bare bones" format: minimal set, props, and costume, book-in-hand, staged readings. The playwright will be in attendance, and a constructive workshop and talkbalk will take place afterward. Tickets to the Play Reading Series (all three staged readings) can be purchased through the FST Box Office, but are not on sale at this time. Below is the schedule of play readings.

Ponzi by Elaine Romero on Monday, May 9
A poignant new play about Greed, Identity, and Intrigue. This play has received a 2010 Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award from the Theatre Communications Group and will premiere at Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas, TX in May. In this unique situation, Romero will receive feedback from the reading at FST and will send rewrites directly to Dallas for the premiere. Interestingly, this play already has a Sarasota connection as Romero began writing the play while in residence at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in 2010.

South Beach Babylon by Michael McKeever on Monday, May 16
Commercialism vs. Artistic Integrity are at the center of this new comedy. Michael McKeever returns to FST after having his plays 37 Postcards produced in 2000 and The Miamians produced in 2008. McKeever is also familiar to the Richard and Betty Burdick Play Reading Series having had six plays read at FST over the past 12 years, the most recent being a reading of his play Hand of God in 2006.

Channel by Sarah Sander on Monday, May 23
A teenage girl filters her reality through television, not able to face the drama of her real life.
The final play is by emerging playwright Sarah Sander. Sander served as the NNPN Emerging Playwright in Residence during the 2009-2010 at Florida Studio Theatre. She wrote Channel while in residence at the theatre. The script went through numerous readings at FST enabling Sander to develop the piece.

THE LAND OF YES! Young Playwrights Festival
April 19 - May 14 in the Keating Theatre
Florida Studio Theatre's Young Playwrights Festival has achieved prominence, attracting thousands of young writers, their families, and teachers annually from throughout the State of Florida and internationally through a partnership with several of Sarasota's Sister Cities. The festival has also been featured in national publications and media such as "Good Morning America" and "American Theatre Magazine."

In conjunction with the SARASOTA FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS, YPF opens with a 7-week run of "Under Six," a world premiere production of an anthology of exemplary plays written by children in grades K-6, selected from the more than 3,500 that FST receives each year. Professional actors carefully weave together this collection of plays with reverence to the written word of its young creators, and approximately 11,000 students from Sarasota and Manatee Counties are bussed to the theatre to see the work of their peers. In addition, Honorable Mention and Young Playwrights Festival Day events bring more than 300 students, parents and educators from across the state to celebrate their achievements. A formal awards ceremony will occur on Saturday, May 14, and has featured prominent keynote speakers such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Edward Albee; Tony Award-winning playwright, John Guare; United States Representative, Katherine Harris; and Executive Director of Theatre Communications Group, Teresa Eyring.

Florida Studio Theatre

1241 North Palm Avenue

Sarasota, FL  34236


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