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FSU/Asolo Conservatory's Dog Days Theatre to Kick Off with RELATIVELY SPEAKING

FSU/Asolo Conservatory's Dog Days Theatre to Kick Off with RELATIVELY SPEAKING

FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training kicks off the inaugural season of Dog Days Theatre, a new theater project offering smart, contemporary works just light enough for the dog days of summer, with Tony Award and Laurence Olivier Award-winning British playwright Alan Ayckbourn's bright and brassy comedy RELATIVELY SPEAKING.

Directed by former FSU/Asolo Conservatory acting professor Brendon Fox, the play previews on Tuesday, July 11 and on Wednesday, July 12 at 7:30pm. Press opening is Thursday, July 13 at 8pm and the production runs through Sunday, July 30 in the Cook Theatre, located in the FSU Center for Performing Arts.

Ginny loves Greg and Greg loves Ginny But before the young lovers can take their relationship to the next level, Ginny is determined to retrieve some compromising letters from her much older and very-much married former flame, Phillip. Under the guise of visiting her parents, Ginny sets out to confront Phillip, but Greg, in hopes of meeting and wooing his potential in-laws, surprises Ginny with a visit. Confusion and hilarity swiftly ensue in this beautifully crafted milestone of British theatre.

"Alan Ayckbourn is truly one of the best contemporary comic playwrights, and RELATIVELY SPEAKING was his first successful play," said Greg Leaming, Director of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. "It's a bright, funny, brilliantly crafted, utterly charming piece that offers four wonderful characters caught up in a series of mistaken identities while also lightly touching on the price of sexual freedom. It's the perfect play to start off our new theatrical venture, using the talents of an incredibly talented production team, two terrific actors from around the country, and two graduates from our program."

Director Brendon Fox's work has been seen across the country, including at the Cleveland Play House, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Old Globe, Texas Shakespeare Festival, and more. He has also work-shopped new plays at the JAW New Play Festival at Portland Center Stage, New Harmony Project and Asolo Rep's Unplugged New Play Festival.

"Ayckbourn takes a simple misunderstanding - a young man thinks his girlfriend's older ex-lover and his unsuspecting wife are her parents - and spins sharp, witty comedy out of it," said Director Brendon Fox. "As the lies and half-truths snowball, part of the fun of the play is tracking who knows what at any one moment. We can all relate to a moment when a 'little white lie' seems like the easiest solution to a problem, and Ayckbourn uses this impulse of ours and takes it to a hilarious extreme."

In RELATIVELY SPEAKING, Julia Gibson takes on the role of Shelia, a sweetly goodhearted and wildly naive housewife. Ms. Gibson has appeared on Broadway in works such as Uncle Vanya, and in major roles at the Roundabout Theatre Company, Circle in the Square, Manhattan Theatre Club, the Goodman, American Conservatory Theater, and more. David Kortemeier plays Shelia's philandering husband, Philip. His credits include principal roles at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, the Great Lakes Theater, Drury Lane Theatre and more.

Recent FSU/Asolo Conservatory graduates Kelly ElizaBeth Smith and Wyatt C. McNeil take on the roles of young and complicated lovers Ginny and Greg. At Asolo Rep, Ms. Smith portrayed Alexandra Giddens in Tony winner Frank Galati's celebrated production of The Little Foxes (2017). and was in the ensemble of Robert Schenkkan's The Great Society (2017). Mr. McNeil appeared in The Great Society, and the acclaimed Peter Amster-helmed Born Yesterday during the 2016-17 season at Asolo Rep.

Playwright Alan Ayckbourn has penned 81 plays, which have been translated into more than 35 languages and performed throughout the world. In addition to RELATIVELY SPEAKING, his prominent works include How the Other Half Lives, Absurd Person Singular, and A Chorus of Disapproval. Ayckbourn is the first British Playwright to receive the Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards.

(In order of appearance)

Greg................................................WYATT C. McNEIL

Ginny....................................KELLY ElizaBeth Smith

Philip.........................................David Kortemeier*

Sheila................................................Julia Gibson*

*Members of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.


BRENDON FOX (Director) is a director, teacher, adapter and producer who has worked around the country at a number of prominent regional theaters, universities and training programs. Regional directing credits include: Baskerville, Cleveland Play House / Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; The Pitmen Painters, American Stage; Reborning, Urbanite Theatre, Peter and the Starcatcher, PlayMakers Repertory Company; Angels in America (Parts One and Two), PlayMakers Repertory Company; Shipwrecked!, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Much Ado About Nothing with Dana Delany, The Old Globe; Opus, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Portland Center Stage, Peninsula Players, L.A. Theatre Works; The Learned Ladies, Texas Shakespeare Festival; Two Gentlemen of Verona, Houston Shakespeare Festival; Lobby Hero and The Aliens, FSU/Asolo Rep; Love's Labors Lost, Academy of Classical Acting; Private Lives and The Prisoner of Second Avenue (LATW National Tours); As You Like It, Weston Theatre Company. He has work-shopped new plays at the JAW New Play Festival at Portland Center Stage, New Harmony Project and Asolo Rep's Unplugged New Play Festival. His next project is Major Barbara in Maryland. Brendon has served as an NEA Panelist, and is an Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance at Washington College, Maryland. Prior to that he was the Assistant Professor of 2nd Year Acting at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. He holds a BS in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and an MFA in Directing from UCLA. His website is

Julia Gibson* (Sheila) has performed on Broadway and major theatres in NYC and throughout the country. TV/Film work includes: Michael Clayton, Changing Lanes, Blue Bloods, Law & Order and Law & Order: CI, Spin City and One Life to Live. She also works as a voice artist, having narrated over 150 audio books. She is currently a company member of PlayMakers Rep. and teaches Graduate Acting at the University of North Carolina.

David Kortemeier* (Phillip) Regional work includes principal roles at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, the Great Lakes Theatre Festival in Cleveland, Drury Lane Theatre and Fox Valley Repertory in Chicago, four seasons with Indiana Festival Theatre in Bloomington, eleven seasons at the Clarence Brown Theatre in Knoxville, TN and 13 seasons with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival in Bloomington. David is a faculty member at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington and a proud member of Actors' Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA.

WYATT C. McNEIL (Greg) recently graduated from The FSU/Asolo Conservatory with his M.F.A. in acting and is thrilled to appear once more on the Cook Stage. Previous credits include Laertes, Hamlet; Bellhop, Born Yesterday; Ensemble, The Great Society (Asolo Rep), Alcippe, The Liar; Donalbain, Macbeth (FSU/Asolo Conservatory); Alan Strang, Equus; Dr. Givings, The Vibrator Play (Westminster College). Post Relatively Speaking he will call Los Angeles home.

KELLY ElizaBeth Smith (Ginny) is thrilled to be a part of the Dog Day's inaugural season. She is a recent graduate of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. Credits from this past season at the Asolo include Alexandra in The Little Foxes, the ensemble of The Great Society as well as an understudy for Guys & Dolls and Beatsville. She would like to thank her incredible sponsors, George Cole and Judy Zuckerberg, Ken and Peggy Abt, and Eva Slane.

Performance times: 7:30pm | Tuesday previews; 7:30pm | Wednesdays & Thursdays; 8pm | Fridays; 2pm & 8pm | Saturdays; and 2pm | Sunday. Single tickets for Dog Days Theatre's summer season are $28 and two-play packages can be purchased for just $45.

The Tuesday, July 11 preview performance of RELATIVELY SPEAKING is a special "Pay What You Can Performance," offering tickets at whatever price patrons can afford when purchased the day of the performance, at a minimum of $3 per seat.

Tickets are available now by calling 941.351.8000, visiting, or visiting the Asolo Repertory Theatre Box Office, located at 5555 North Tamiami Trail in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. Summer box office hours are Monday-Friday 10am-5pm.

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 35 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 Rep's professional actors in exciting and significant roles.

For more information, visit

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