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Regional Premiere of EXHIBITS IN THE ZOO Opens ThinkTank's Play Fest This Friday

The show opens this Friday, August 12th, at Stageworks Theatre. 

Regional Premiere of EXHIBITS IN THE ZOO Opens ThinkTank's Play Fest This Friday

'Mendel is a boy who holds to hope, even during the German occupation of his home city in Warsaw, Poland. When Mendel finds a German soldier's camera a new world is unlocked for him.' This is the tagline for ThinkTank Theatre's Regional Premiere production of 'Exhibits at the Zoo', by Matt Harmon. The show opens this Friday, August 12th, at Stageworks Theatre. Exhibits at the Zoo' was a Showcase Finalist at ThinkTank's 2021 International TYA Playwright's Festival. The show received a staged reading in the festival featuring local professional talent, and included a talkback with the playwright, Matt Harmon. The play has also received the Distinguished Achievement Award at the 2019 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The regional premier production will run August 12th-21st with a preview on August 11th and a Relaxed Performance on August 13th at 3:00pm. There will be a talkback with the Playwright and cast after the evening performance on the 12th.

The cast includes Tampa favorites and ThinkTank veterans Landon Green (Eli) and Colleen Cherry (Beggar). Another area favorite, Kaylie Horowitz (Liba), will be making her ThinkTank debut. The play also features former ThinkTank Young Artists' Ensemble member Jake Perez (Mendel), now a freshman at the University of Central Florida in addition to a number of current YAE company members: Brilee Gold (Shlomit), Jadon Milne (Shmuel),Noah Perez (Soldier/Ensemble/Mendel Understudy) and Sofia Pickford (Ensemble). The show is directed by Kara Gold-Harris.

'Exhibits at the Zoo' follows Mendel, an imaginative, bright boy that finds joy in the most unlikely places. The only thing keeping this joy contained is the German Occupation of his home city in Warsaw, Poland. When Mendel finds a German soldier's camera while begging in the Plac, a new world is unlocked for him where he sees things as he wishes to see them. However, his parents know this camera, coupled with Mendel's inability to produce vocalized sound, make him a target. As Mendel, his parents, and everyone around them grapple with the dangers of imagination under persecution, Mendel refuses to let his dreams be crushed.

In researching the historical context of the piece, ThinkTank artist's working on the show toured the Florida Holocaust Museum and also took part in a traditional Shabbat dinner hosted by Stageworks Theatre and Brandy Gold and the Tampa JCCs and Federation.

"EXHIBITS IN THE ZOO is a touching play which introduces audiences of all ages to the atrocities of the Holocaust in a delicate and meaningful way," says director, Kara Gold-Harris. "Our main character's longing for, and discovery of, a new form of self-expression, along with the love and heartache experienced within familial life, are universal themes that can be related to by one and all, regardless of age, race, or religion."

ThinkTank Producing Artistic Director, Georgia Mallory Guy, said, "This is the year we get to see our festival fully realized. We started with over 300 play submissions, open to playwrights, internationally, from January to March. Those plays were then narrowed down by our reading panel to two plays for this year's Festival Showcase - The Most Epic Awesomest Superhero Movie Ever by Matt Henderson and Star Stuff by Kimberlee Stone. Exhibits in the Zoo was one of our Showcase Finalists from 2022. Our goal with this festival is to provide playwrights the means for regional, perhaps world, premieres for their play here with our Tampa Bay Theatre Community and Audiences. We're one of only two professional TYA Play Festivals in that nation that I know of, and the only one to offer a full production for one of our Festival Showcase Finalists."

As a part of our vision to provide a theatrical experience that welcomes everyone, we plan to offer Relaxed Performances for all of our Main Stage Productions. For these shows, we'll adjust various elements to ensure that audience members with sensory based sensitivities can join us!!! Our relaxed performances are open to everyone and are especially crafted to enhance the show-going experience for members of our special needs community, families with younger children, and any theatre goer who might enjoy a more relaxed show experience!

Tickets for 'Exhibits in the Zoo' and the other readings that will be part of the 2022 TYA Playwrights Festival can be found at https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2190743®id=101&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Fstageworkstheatre.org%2Fthinktank-playwrights-festival%2F?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1 or by calling 813.374.2416. Student and Group Pricing is available. Consider purchasing a Festival Pass to see 'Exhibits in the Zoo' and get preferred seating to our 2022 Festival Showcase Finalist Readings, 'The Most Awesomest Epic Superhero Movie Ever' by Matthew Henderson on August 14th and 'Star Stuff' by Kimberlee Stone on August 20th

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