CLOWNS LIKE ME Comes to the Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for Performing Arts

Performances run May 18-28, 2023.

By: Mar. 24, 2023
CLOWNS LIKE ME Comes to the Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for Performing Arts

In his world premiere, one-man show "Clowns Like Me," Sarasota actor and storyteller Scott Ehrenpreis will be telling his humorous and profound story of living with mental illness to a Sarasota audience this May.

"Clowns Like Me" will debut at the Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for Performing Arts on May 18-28, 2023. Tickets are $20 and are on sale at

"Clowns Like Me" reveals the enlightening, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting true story of Ehrenpreis' personal journey as he struggles against OCD, bipolar disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, social anxiety and depression. Ultimately, Ehrenpreis reveals that being on stage gives him the power, even for just a couple hours, to step into the light and leave the shadows of his mental health struggles behind.

Audiences are in for a performance that will make them laugh, cry and leave thinking differently about the stigmas tied to mental health.

This will be the first production by Lifeline Productions, which is led by Ehrenpreis' father, Joel Ehrenpreis, and Jason Cannon, chief creative officer. Lifeline Productions formed last year with a mission to present artistic programs, including theatrical, artistic and musical performances, to foster a broader awareness about those who struggle with mental illness.

"We want to use the power of storytelling to take you inside the minds of those who struggle with mental health disorders and offer an enlightening and entertaining experience that leaves you walking away feeling differently about mental illness," said Ehrenpreis' father, Joel.

The debut of "Clowns Like Me" comes as the nation is struggling with a mental health crisis. The American Psychological Association's 2022 COVID-19 Practitioner Impact Study, released in November 2022, showed the demand for mental health treatment, including for anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse, continued to increase for the third consecutive year. An estimated 6 in 10 practitioners reported they no longer have openings for new patients, while on average, psychologists are being contacted every month by more than 15 potential new patients seeking care.

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Ehrenpreis' personal struggles with his blend of mental illnesses and disorders have not held him back in his career. He earned a B.F.A. in performance from Ohio University. He is currently performing as part of the ensemble cast in "Network" at the Florida Studio Theatre. He has appeared in several theater performances, including as Ben Silverman in "The Sunshine Boys," as Ed Schwartz in "The Front Page," and as Paul Singer in "Moon Over Buffalo." He also has appeared on several television series, including as Jim in "South Beach Tow" (TruTV), as a CIA officer in "Burn Notice" (USA Network) and as Isaac Anders in "Anastasia Avenue" (a web series). His film credits include lead roles in "I am a White Blood Cell," "The Actor," and "Mr. Smiller."

Organizations like Michael Saunders & Company, Hoyt Architects, NAMI Sarasota and Manatee Counties Inc., the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Compeer Sarasota are some of the many partners and supporters of the "Clowns Like Me" show.

During the formation of "Clowns Like Me," there have been several readings of the script in the months leading up to the debut performance to gain audience feedback. Here are a few of the comments that Lifeline Productions received:

"To say we were blown away would be an understatement. The reading was an emotional, enlightening eye-opening experience which we found most educational about mental health. Having a son who has emotional issues this play hit very close to home and made us aware of this situation which has become a nationwide problem. This play should be seen by everyone whose family shares this problem as well as anyone who is concerned with this growing issue. Amazingly well done, sensitive and compassionate, it will appeal to everyone who is concerned with the mental health condition of our country," said Larry and Sheree Zaslavsky.

"I was deeply moved by the severe internal and emotional struggle that a person with a mental health issue faces. This becomes a reality for the audience because of the outstanding performance of this young man. If this performance helps only one other person or one family who is struggling, then it will be a great step forward. It offers hope and understanding for everyone involved," said Susan Loesel.

"My wife and I have had very little exposure to mental illness. The reading of 'Clowns Like Me' gave us a more insight into the life challenges of a person suffering from Aspergers, as no amount of reading, lecturing or discussion did or could ever provide. Our minds and hearts were awakened to this illness. This play not only will educate and stimulate all who see it, but Scott dramatically and most importantly represents all those who suffer from mental illness. Be ready to cry for this production is a very emotional yet fortunate experience for those who are stricken with mental illness, their families, and all other spectators," said Dale Menard.

"The reading that I attended of "Clowns Like Me" had deep impact. Aside from the authenticity of the story which was told with humor, humility and a pure honesty, it was hard to leave the room without knowing that we all know someone who has been impacted by mental health issues, and that the reality is we can all see a bit of ourselves in Scott's story. Scott is brave and wonderful, and truly generous in including us all in what goes on in his mind and heart," said Nelle Miller.

For more information about "Clowns Like Me" or to purchase tickets, visit


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