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Dog Days Theatre Presents Orton's WHAT THE BUTLER SAW

Dog Days Theatre begins its second season with Joe Orton's farce What the Butler Saw, playing July 12 through 29 in the Cook Theatre at FSU Center for Performing Arts in Sarasota. Single tickets are $30, or a season ticket package-paired with Dog Days Theatre's August production of The Turn of the Screw-is available for $55. What the Butler Saw is made possible with support from The Observer, Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax Services, The Exchange, and WUSF Public Media, and is presented by FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training.

On an unassuming day, Geraldine Barclay interviews to be a secretary for the eminent psychiatrist Dr. Prentice. The doctor's true motives are quickly revealed, though, when Prentice begins to seduce Geraldine into sexual activity. The scheme is unknowingly foiled by the arrival of Mrs. Prentice, and then further complicated by a blackmailing hotel page, a blustering government inspector, and a hapless police sergeant; sending the small psychiatric office into a hectic maelstrom of slamming doors, mistaken identities, cross-dressing, and sharp banter.

"What the Butler Saw is a brilliant piece of farce and a scathing indictment the culture of free love that was coming into bloom when the play was first written," says Greg Leaming, Director of What the Butler and Producer of Dog Days Theatre. "It is witty, acerbic, and brilliantly-crafted. Joe Orton took the sex farce and turned it on its ears with this incredible play."

Dog Days Theatre is a special initiative of FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, where current students in the program are able to work alongside Conservatory graduates and professional actors from around the country. Plays are presented in the Cook Theatre in the FSU Center for Performing Arts: an intimate 161-seat theater which showcases strong production design and the craft of the actor.

What the Butler Saw will feature performances David Kortemeier (previously seen in last year's Relatively Speaking), FSU/Asolo Conservatory graduates Nolan Hennelly, Wes Tolman, and Summer Dawn Wallace (also Founder and co-Artistic Director of Urbanite Theatre), local actor Ned Averill-Snell, and second-year FSU/Asolo Conservatory student Jillian Cicalese.

Tickets for What the Butler Saw are $30 for matinee and evening performances. A two-show season package-paired with The Turn of the Screw in August-is available for $55. Discounted preview performances are scheduled for July 10 and 11. Tickets for opening night on July 12 are $40 and include a post-show reception. To purchase tickets, call (941) 351-8000 or 1-800-361-8388, visit, or visit the Asolo Repertory Theatre Box Office at 5555 North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The box office closes at 5:00 p.m. when there are no evening performances, and phone reservations close one hour before all performances.

Casting for What the Butler Saw

Dr. Prentice: David Kortemeier

Geraldine Barclay: Jillian Cicalese

Mrs. Prentice: Summer Dawn Wallace

Nicholas Beckett: Nolan Hennelly

Dr. Rance: Ned Averill-Snell

Sergeant Match: Wes Tolman

John Kingsley Orton was born in Leicester in 1933. After winning a scholarship to Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1951, he met Kenneth Halliwell, an actor and writer seven years his senior. Halliwell would become Orton's friend, mentor, lover and, eventually, his murderer. Between 1964 and 1967, Joe Orton contributed to an exciting working class culture that swept through the nation. A promiscuous and openly gay man at a time when homosexuality was actively persecuted by the police, Orton was the rising star of an "alternative British intelligentsia." His first stage play, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, was a huge success while his second, Loot, won the coveted Evening Standard award for Best Play. What the Butler Saw is easily his more successful work and is considered a contemporary classic. In 1967, while the play was being considered for production, Halliwell, now suffering from severe depression, murdered Orton before killing himself. In his short but prolific career, Joe Orton amused audiences with his scandalous black comedies that made religion, sex, and death outrageously funny.

Greg Leaming (Producer, Dog Days Theatre; Conservatory Director, FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training; Associate Artistic Director, Asolo Repertory Theatre) has directed for Asolo Rep his own translation/adaptation of Anything to Declare? as well as Ah, Wilderness!, Hearts, The Imaginary Invalid, The Play's the Thing, Boeing Boeing, The Game's Afoot, Other Desert Cities, Good People, and the world premiere of Jason Wells' Men of Tortuga. For the Conservatory, he has directed Oedipus, The Real Inspector Hound, The Actor's Nightmare, The Water Engine, The School for Lies, Twelfth Night, Cloud Nine, Two Gentleman of Verona, Pericles, Blue Window, Murder by Poe, and The Mystery Plays. He was the Director of Artistic Programming for Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT, as well as Acting Artistic Director for the 2001-2002 season. There he directed, among others, the world premieres of Going Native, Abstract Expression, The Third Army, Syncopation, and An Infinite Ache. Other credits include numerous productions around the country, including the world premieres of Losing Father's Body, Church of the Sole Survivor, Jeffrey Hatcher's The Turn of the Screw, as well as many other productions at Portland Stage Company, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Philadelphia Drama Guild, Clarence Brown Theatre Company, Stage West, Shakespeare Sedona, Southwest Shakespeare, and Banyan Theatre Company. His adaptation/translation of Pierre Feydeau's Le Dindon titled The Patsy premiered at the Resident Ensemble Players in Delaware in 2015 and was published in the spring of 2018.

The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training is a celebrated three-year graduate program culminating in a Master of Fine Arts degree. For more than 40 years, tens of thousands of actors from across the continent have auditioned for admission. A maximum of 12 students are admitted each year. In their second year, the students perform in the Cook Theatre, a 161-seat space designed to create an intimate experience for the audience and actors. Third-year students are seen on the Mertz Stage working with the Asolo Repertory Theatre's professional actors in exciting and significant roles.

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