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Asolo Repertory Theatre Presents Community Performances of LOOKING FOR ITHACA: AN ODYSSEY

FREE community performances of this Asolo Rep On Tour production are scheduled at locations throughout the community in October and November.

Asolo Repertory Theatre Presents Community Performances of LOOKING FOR ITHACA: AN ODYSSEY

Asolo Rep presents an FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training Production of the new musical Looking for Ithaca: An Odyssey. The community will experience Homer's iconic characters like never before with this 45-minute, innovative interpretation of the classic tale that is suitable for families.

FREE community performances of this Asolo Rep On Tour production are scheduled at locations throughout the community in October and November, including the Sarasota Art Museum, The Green at University Town Center, Waterside Place at Lakewood Ranch, The Nest at Robinson Preserve and more. Most performances will include a pre-show art activity and a post-show talkback with the company. A full list of performances is below and available with more detail at asolorep.org/Ithaca.

"New work starts by looking out into the world and finding the stories that need telling," said playwright Jess Shoemaker. "We are always working to be in direct conversation with the audience. It is about them, it is for them, they made it possible."

Looking For Ithaca: An Odyssey is an imaginative retelling of Homer's classic "The Odyssey" - a journey of a family that has been fractured by war and unseen forces. The story is told through the eyes of a family fighting their way back to one another: Odysseus, a father whose yearning for his wife and child drives him to traverse the dangers hidden in the sea; Penelope, a mother protecting what's left of her home and her family; and Telemachus, a son embarking on an Odyssey of his own, looking to fill the shoes of an unknown father. They may return home, but that isn't where their journey ends.

Gaby Rodriguez, who directed last season's On Tour production of Much Ado About Nothing, developed Looking for Ithaca with Shoemaker and also directs.

"With this adaptation, we have reimagined a classic tale for our modern times by finding a hero in Odysseus' son Telemachus," Rodriguez said. "We hope that our audiences can embark on this journey of discovery and see themselves in some aspect of the story. I hope that the students and communities that see this production are encouraged to tell their own stories, to take classic tales that are 3,000 years old and rewrite them for our world today."

Looking for Ithaca Music Director Lizzie Hagstedt has created six original compositions for the musical, and the songs are performed by the entire cast. "I think this is a beautiful story of forgiveness and community," she said. "And I think there's nothing that expresses community more than coming together in song."

The Asolo Rep On Tour program creates innovative and accessible 45-minute adaptations of classic literature that travel into communities and schools throughout the state of Florida. In addition to the public performances, Looking for Ithaca will visit more than 25 schools this fall. With a focus on developing theatrical experiences and supporting materials that are exciting and responsive to audiences, these performances serve as an introduction to live theatre for first-time audiences while offering a new perspective on a classic story for seasoned theatregoers.

"There are so many stories worth telling," emphasized Rodriguez. "I hope this one serves as a reminder that every voice matters and we can all be the Homers of today."

Third-year FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training students make up The Acting Company for the touring production. The FSU/Asolo Conservatory is a three-year Master of Fine Arts graduate degree program that has consistently been named one of the top 10 actor training programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report. During the third year of their training, following the completion of the tour, Conservatory students join Asolo Rep's professional company of actors and perform in its mainstage season.




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