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IN THE BOOK OF to Open at Florida Studio Theatre, 3/29

Florida Studio Theatre will open the absorbing new play, In the Book Of, by John Walch on Friday, March 29, 2013 at 8:00pm in the Gompertz Theatre. In the Book Of presents the story of an immigration debate which forces a community to examine the true meaning of family, friendship and the American way. Tickets for this thought-provoking show full of heart, truth and humor will be on sale through May19, 2013 and can be purchased by phone at (941) 366-9000, online at, or by visiting the Box Office.

Two women- Naomi, an army lieutenant, and Anisah, her Afghan translator-lose their husbands in the war. Once discharged, Naomi brings Anisah home with her to Mississippi, where things begin to unravel. Using the Old Testament's Book of Ruth as a loose framework for his story, Walch weaves together both women's stories in a humorous and captivating manner. Friendships are thrown into turmoil, families are fractured, and a city-wide political debate ensues. With the threat of deportation looming, everyone must examine the personal and political costs of their beliefs. FST's production will be the Florida premiere and is the second ever production of Walch's comedic drama after having appeared at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in January 2012. In the Book Of was previously presented at FST in last year's Burdick Reading Series.

FST's Associate Director Kate Alexander, who directs the production, says, "I love this play. It is funny, charming and meaningful. It has been called an 'immigrant play' but I believe that is far too narrow in scope for all that it encompasses. This play reflects America and all that this country promises. It explores the resilience of the nation - the ability of our national psyche to confront ourselves and the changing 'face' of America. It is the quirky story of loveable southern family thrust into a difficult situation, forced to challenge their own beliefs and the things they fear most. They are the mirror of all of us who gain strength from and are deeply driven by our religions, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds - but are also held back by our specific 'lenses' on the world that don't allow acceptance of the 'other.'"

FST's production features returning company members Rita Rehn, Graham Stewart Allen and David Perez-Ribada, along with new company members Farah Bala, Libya Pugh and Andy Prosky. Rehn appeared in FST's production of Sylvia, Allen returns to the Gompertz after last summer's Perfect Wedding, and Perez-Ribada previously performed in The Miamians and Boleros for the Disenchanted. New to FST, Farah Bala's credits include independent film in the US and India, Off-Broadway, and a touring one-woman show. Libya Pugh has appeared in various regional theatre productions as well as Law and Order: SVU and One Life to Live. Andy Prosky appeared in films such as Men in Black, Mrs. Doubtfire and Taking Woodstock and performed on Broadway in 2004's production of King Lear.

Kate Alexander previously directed The Columnist this season at FST in addition to countless other shows through the years. Scenic Design is by Tom Buderwitz and costume design is by Jeni Schaefer - both of whom are new to FST. Jeffrey Cady returns as Lighting Designer after having worked on this season's hit Smokey Joe's Café and in the previous FST productions of A Prefect Wedding and Shake, Rattle and Roll.

Tickets for In the Book Of will be on sale through May 19, 2013 and can be purchased by phone at (941) 366-9000, online at, or by visiting the Box Office at 1241 North Palm Avenue in downtown Sarasota.

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 four theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the Goldstein Cabaret, the Gompertz Theatre and the John C. Court Cabaret.

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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