Florida Studio Theatre Opens 2012 WRITE A PLAY Program with THE FROG PRINCE, 9/25

Florida Studio Theatre's WRITE A PLAY season begins with the notion that "everyone has the potential for greatness" in the World Premiere children's play, THE FROG PRINCE adapted by local playwrights Beth Duda and Adam Ratner and directed by FST's Associate Director, Kate Alexander. Performances begin in the Gompertz Theatre on Tuesday, September 25 and will play through November to more than 11,000 students from Sarasota and Manatee County schools.

Autumn mornings at Florida Studio Theatre begin with the sound of hundreds of young children clambering off of school buses and entering the renovated Gompertz theatre for the new adaptation of THE FROG PRINCE. This presentation lights the path for young writers of the future, inspiring them to write plays of their own for submission in FST's annual Young Playwright's Festival in the spring.

Amaryllis, a spoiled but beautiful princess is forced to deal with her shortcomings when she encounters a down to earth Frog with an amazing secret. Playwrights Beth Duda and Adam Ratner tell the tale with mirth, magic and mayhem. FST's THE FROG PRINCE shows the importance of a humble spirit, unwavering integrity, genuine love for others and even takes on the serious issue of bullying. As students join the exciting characters on their journey they will learn necessary life lessons, be exposed to the art of live theatre and be inspired to create plays of their own.

Director Kate Alexander says, "THE FROG PRINCE tells the classic story of a Frog and a Princess, with a fresh new take on the timeless tale. With humor and aplomb, the audience is treated to fresh new characters and a thoroughly modern princess, Amaryllis, has her own short comings which makes her recognizable to all of us. Yet deep in the center of this play, the universal truth of our communal need to recognize authenticity over artifice shines brightly."

Ms. Duda and Mr. Ratner collaborated on last year's Jack and The Enchanted Beanstalk and 2010's Pinocchio. The playwriting duo, which calls Florida Studio Theatre their artistic home, are dedicated to presenting dynamic new work for young audiences with the world premieres right here at FST.

THE FROG PRINCE cast will be the FST debut of members of the 12-13 Acting Apprentice Company. This includes Patrick Jackson as King Arciform; Rachel Collins as The Duquesa/Fern; Cindy De La Cruz as Princess Amaryllis; Lyle Uttley as Prince Proteus/Frotee. The production's creative team consists of Scenic Design by Marcella Beckwith, Costume Design by Krissy Sneshkoff, Lighting Design by production management intern Kate DeWall, and Sound Design by production intern Tom Korp.

THE FROG PRINCE will begin September 25 in the Gompertz Theatre, and play Monday through Friday at 9:45am, 11:00am, and 12:15pm. Tickets are $6 and can be purchased through FST's WRITE A PLAY Manager, Jennie Cole, at 941.366.9797.

Since 1991, WRITE A PLAY, an arts-in-education initiative, has introduced thousands of students to professional theatre and provided them with the skills and motivation to create original plays. High energy, interactive performances, workshops and long-term residencies inspire children's creativity, bolster their communication and literary skills, and instill in them an appreciation of the arts. Students are encouraged to write from their own point of view and in doing so, they create diverse plays such as No War Can Tear Our Love Apart, a touching tale of the love between a father and daughter, and Oh La La! Jasper and Hedgy Get Married, an absurdist tale of a friendly ghost and his darling hedgehog.

Now in its 21st year, the WRITE A PLAY program reaches over 55,000 students each year in Florida, Scotland, Russia and Israel. Since the inception of WRITE A PLAY, this unique program has impacted more than one million children. Teaching children to write, FST's WRITE A PLAY program has not only inspired young creative minds, it has also increased reading and writing scores in the program's participants.

The core of the WRITE A PLAY program is its three-play series: THE FROG PRINCE sets the example of a well-made play; the PLAYMAKERS Tour: Imagination Celebration, travels across the state of Florida during the winter months teaching children to write plays; and UNDER SIX: The Land of Yes!, the compilation of winning plays submitted to FST's Young Playwrights Festival.

The WRITE A PLAY year culminates with a celebration of all the young playwrights' hard work and creativity with the Young Playwrights Festival in May. Last year, more than 40 winning playwrights, ages 7-17, over 400 of their guests including 30 educators traveled from around Florida and as far away as Dunfermline, Scotland to view a special presentation of their original plays and receive their awards. Some came from big sprawling campuses with hundreds of students and others came from small one-room schools. Many came from big cities and some from small towns.

Known as Sarasota's Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company eventually settled down into a permanent home, acquiring the former Woman's Club building – now renamed the Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American Theatre, presenting Contemporary Theatre in its three theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the Goldstein Cabaret and its newest space, the Gompertz Theatre.

Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience. Under Richard Hopkins, Artistic Director and CEO, FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world. As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.

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