Florida Studio Theatre Returns to Full Production This Summer

Productions include Sophie Tucker: The Last of the Red Hot Mamas, the NNPN Rolling World Premiere of My Lord, What a Night and more.

By: May. 03, 2021
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Florida Studio Theatre Returns to Full Production This Summer

Florida Studio Theatre is moving forward with its plans to return to full production with one change to its original Summer Season lineup first announced in December 2020. FST's Summer Season will feature a three-show Mainstage Series and a three-show Cabaret Series running June through October. On the Mainstage, FST will present two contemporary plays as well as one of the most successful shows in FST history that all celebrate the strength and resilience of the human spirit. In the Cabaret, some of the country's top Cabaret artists bring the music of Jerry Lee Lewis, Michael Bublé, and the Jukebox to life. A Season schedule at a glance follows this release.

FST was one of the first performing arts venues in the area to reopen for live, limited capacity indoor performances this spring. Now, the theatre continues its proven track record of providing safe and successful live theatre by expanding its offerings this summer.

Florida Studio Theatre opens its Summer Mainstage Series on June 2 with one of the most popular shows FST has produced to-date, Sophie Tucker: The Last of the Red Hot Mamas, featuring FST favorite Kathy Halenda. Created by Halenda along with the late Venice-based playwright Jack Fournier, Sophie Tucker tells the thrilling story of the legendary trend-setter who made waves in the first half of the 20th century with her dynamic performances of comedic and bawdy songs. With over 20 of Tucker's best known songs, like "The Lady is a Tramp," "Give My Regards to Broadway," and "Some of These Days," this sizzling show will run in FST's Gompertz Theatre.

"Sophie Tucker is one of the biggest shows in FST history," said Rebecca Hopkins, FST's Managing Director. "Kathy Halenda is a powerhouse and is beloved by our Sarasota community. It's definitely the right time to bring her back as we begin to return to 'normal.'"

Originally, the theatre planned to produce Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story in this Series-opening slot. However, due to the cast size, along with current health and safety recommendations, it became clear that FST would not be able to mount the best possible production of Buddy at this time. The theatre does have plans to produce Buddy at some point in the future. In the meantime, FST is thrilled to launch the Season with an FST favorite, Sophie Tucker.

"I am delighted to bring Sophie back 'home' after all these years!" shared Halenda, who played Tucker in both FST's 2000 and 2012 productions of the show. "Creating this show was such a labor of love, and after almost a decade, it's finally time for Sophie to make a return visit to her 'birthplace.'"

Next up on FST's Mainstage is the NNPN Rolling World Premiere of My Lord, What a Night by Deborah Brevoort, an award-winning writer and a member of FST's Playwright Collective. Based on actual events, this insightful new play offers a rare glimpse into real-life struggles faced by two 20th century icons: Albert Einstein and Marian Anderson. Called "Stunning" and "Provocative" by BroadwayWorld, this historical drama begins playing in FST's Keating Theatre Wednesday, June 30, 2021.

"My Lord, What a Night inspires the audience to higher thought and action," said Richard Hopkins, FST's Producing Artistic Director. "The play describes the meeting of two wonderful characters, both of whom are inspirational historical figures. Even though they were very different people from very different backgrounds, they were able to help the other."

Bringing FST's 2021 Summer Mainstage Series to a close is Rounding Third by Richard Dresser, an Off-Broadway comedy exploring fatherhood, friendship, and what it means to truly win. Rounding Third follows Don and Michael, two Little League coaches who battle over everything from character-building to shoelaces to misfired pop-flies. Called "Stellar" and "Hilarious" by Variety, this heartwarming two-hander begins playing in FST's Gompertz Theatre Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

In the Cabaret, FST will present the ultimate tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis: Great Balls of Fire. Created by Jason Cohen and Michael Schiralli, Great Balls of Fire brings the ivory-smashing superstar back to life, featuring "Good Golly, Miss Molly," "Shake, Rattle, and Roll," and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." This electrifying act will play in FST's Court Cabaret beginning Tuesday, June 15, 2021.

Next up in the Cabaret is Shades of Bublé: A Three-Man Tribute to Michael Bublé, a high-energy concert event highlighting the swinging standards and pop hits of "The Modern Sinatra." Since the show's sold-out debut in 2015, Shades of Bublé has entertained audiences across the country with exciting three-part harmonies, smooth choreography, and sophisticated charm. Featuring songs like "Feeling Good," "Moondance," and "Home," Shades of Bublé will play in FST's Goldstein Cabaret starting Tuesday, July 13, 2021.

FST's 2021 Summer Cabaret Series concludes with an all-new show from Sarasota's favorite swing-era territory band, The Swingaroos. A jazzy new music revue, Jukebox Saturday Night features some of The Jukebox's greatest hits: "Get Your Kicks On Route 66," "Heart and Soul," and "There's No Business Like Show Business." Jukebox Saturday Night will play in FST's Bowne's Lab beginning Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

All shows will be for limited capacity audiences and will operate, and update, within accordance all federal, state, and local safety recommendations. FST has taken additional measures-including, but not limited to, installing MERV-13 air filters in all campus A/C units-to ensure the safety of its patrons, guest artists, and staff. The full list of actions that FST is taking can be found at FloridaStudioTheatre.org.