SaraSolo Festival 2017 Returns to Sarasota for Third Season
The 2017 SaraSolo Festival, the third annual celebration of theatre and solo artists returns to Sarasota over two weekends, January 28 & 29 and February 4 & 5, 2017. As one of Sarasota's newest and most exciting arts festivals, performances are again at Sarasota's Pioneer Park historic site venue, the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street, Sarasota FL 34236. Additionally, a NEW event venue, The Starlite Room, the cabaret and live music restaurant at 1001 Cocoanut Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236 is the location for the NEW SaraSolo After Hours, with adult's only main stage performances on January 28, 29 and February 4 at 9:30pm.
The popular "Betwixt Week" events will return for 5 weekday evenings between performance weekends (1/30- 2/3) offering workshops and performances upstairs at The Starlite Room. Ann Morrison's Vocal Performance Master Class and Blake Walton's Solo Playwriting Workshop will be joined by three "Flying Solo" artists works-in-progress performances on Friday, February 3, at 7:00pm at The Starlite Room.
For tickets, complete schedule of performances, times and dates, workshop registration go to www.SaraSolo.org. Or to contact the SaraSolo Festival, email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also performers may be added and those listed are subject to change.
Artistic Director Ann Morrison said, "We are so proud to present SaraSolo's third year. We have expanded beautifully, with more out of town performers and getting a second venue at the Starlite Room. Also new for 2017 is SaraSolo's connection and outreach between performers and Sarasota and Manatee County organizations such as Manatee Children's Services, the American Cancer Society, and Planned Parenthood."
This year the SaraSolo Festival will showcase an eclectic mix of 45-90 minute solo performances by 22 national and International Artists - featuring music, dance, cabaret, comedy, performance art, stand-up, storytelling, as well as historical, biographical and poetic plays.
Eleven performers are new to Sarasota stages including:
--Joseph Galata, a Roma gypsy artist from Nevada who weaves a storytelling mixture of music, ethnic dance and Eastern European cuisine in Starlight! Starbright! I wish I was a star tonight;
-- Heather Massie, a New York actor who finds resonance in Golden Age actress and scientist, Hedy: The Life and Inventions of Hedy Lamarr; Recently performed at the United Solo Festival in NYC.
--NY writer/actor Valarie David brings her award winning The Pink Hulk: A One Woman's Journey To Find The Superhero Within about her hilarious and moving journey as a cancer survivor;
--NY actress, singer, writer Adelaide Mestre shares her Cuban American upbringing in an artistic family in Top Drawer: Dysfunction and Redemption from Park Avenue to Havana;
--New York actor and stand-up comedian Stephen K. Davis shares where humor comes from in The Birth of Humor, tells life stories of a gay boy growing up in the south juxtaposed with his stand-up comedy act;
--Miami native and NY actor Stephen Powell tell s a man's journey and course correction in midlife in A Stopping Place; Stephen was just awarded the 'Be2st Storytelling Show' at the 2016 United Solo Festival in NYC. ;
--NY actor, director, poet, playwright, artist Timothy McCown Reynolds plays a man with multiple psychological disorders finding courage to meet his parents for dinner in Syndrome, in a play performed off Broadway, written by collaborators Rob Urbinati, Kirk Wood Bromley, and Joshua Lewis Berg;
--North Carolina storyteller, musician, actress, writer Frannie Oates brings her journey from Southern Belle to Tribal wanna-be in Sassafras-Skin.
--NY based theater, TV actress, Beth Dzuricky is back in Sarasota (filmmaker at Sarasota's 2014 Through Women's Eyes Film Festival); this time performing her play, Bed Beth and Beyond, an uncommonly honest and personal story of transformation in drama and spiritual comedy.
--NY actor, playwright, health disaster survivor of 27 surgeries, peer counselor, Amy Oestreicher brings her Broadway World nominated one woman, autobiographical musical, Gutless and Grateful, which explores how she found her spirit healing with determination and finding her inner 'hunger' for life through 'gutsiness', gratitude, and an overabundance of humor.
Tampa Bay artists participating in the SaraSolo Festival include:
--Radio/TV personality Lori Shannon with her Superwoman Died Tonight exploration of myth of the Strong Black Woman;
--St. Petersburg Opera and jazz chanteuse Paula Broadwater sings and talks her way through You Are What you Think.
Local Sarasota area artists include:
--Sharon Ohrenstein who's Golden Roads takes Golda Meir from Pinsk to Prime Minister of Israel;
--Sarasota and Starlite Room favorite jazz pianist Michael Royal's Freeplay shows and asks how do you make it up as you go along?;
Returning SaraSolo artists back for 2017 include:
--Royal Academy, Broadway, and now Sarasota actor Alan Brasington brings a new work, Words From the Heart, about a boy attempting to belong in a strange world;
--Actress, speaker and storyteller Kaylene McCaw brings her character Our Lady Melody to provide us with life tech support in Guidance On Demand; Kaylene was recently awarded a 2016-2017 John Ringling Towers Fund grant for literary arts by the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County.
--Sarasota actor Jan Wallace brings a new work, Shirley and Me about her relationship over the years with the beloved theater/movie character 'Shirley Valentine' (a not so young working class Liverpool lady who just takes off on holiday to Greece sans husband).
Three performances are designated presentations of new works-in-progress from SaraSolo's 'Flying Solo' artists-in-training who have developed their performance piece with SaraSolo Festival Co-Artistic Directors, Ann Morrison and Blake Walton, and others. This year's Flyers are Steve McAllister's "The Cowboy Cabaret"; Gabrielle Lennon's "Touch Me Real" and Anne Foley Alper's "Mother Load and More."
New this year as part of the regular festival lineup will be performances at SaraSolo After Hours, presented at 9:30 pm in partner venue The Starlite Room, at 1001 Cocoanut Ave. This new addition to the festival will feature three exciting performances by Paula Broadwater on Jan. 28, Lori D. Shannon on Jan. 29, and Stephen K. Davis on Feb. 4; including cabaret, stand-up and spoken word with cabaret style seating. Reservations for dinner before the performance can be made at The Starlite Room 941-702-5613. Performance tickets at www.sarasolo.org .
SaraSolo is the brainchild of Gotta Van Productions, Inc. a 501(C) (3) non-profit corporation. Gotta Van believes in affordable theatre, in traditional and non-traditional spaces, that supports diversity, collaboration, and the transformative power of intimate theatre for both artists and audiences. Gotta Van's venues include festivals, fringe theatre, educational outreach, video, and online media. Gotta Van Artistic Director Ann Morrison and Associate Artistic Director Blake Walton are award winners in the world's largest solo performance festival, The United Solo Festival in NYC.
What some people have said about the SaraSolo Festival experience--
"I perform in festivals all around the world, and am proud to count SaraSolo as one of them," says Bill Bowers, a renowned Solo Artist who received rave reviews last year. "It is an excellent festival with an enthusiastic, supportive audience- even in its first season. Just think, in five years SaraSolo easily could be one of the top festivals in the country!"
"These solo flights were a lot of fun. We can't wait until the next SaraSolo festival takes off." - Marty Fugate, Longboat Key Observer