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ADVOCATING FOR THE ARTS…..End of Summer 2015…..….. by MARIE J. KILKER, PH.D.

THE STARLITE PLAYERS could not have been more successful than in its first two presentations. Even The Starlite Room owner Tyler Yurckonis got into the act upstairs of the restaurant with a starring role in “The Session” by Jack Gilhooley in the end of August show, THIS ISN’T WHAT I EXPECTED. That play was a highlight, eclipsed only by TALKBACK. It was the work of Jo Morello, Producing Artistic Director. Remember—all the plays produced are recommended from blank-submitted scripts by a team of readers, so Jo was competing with a slew of others. Lest you think The Starlite Players was a summer theater, realize that bills of plays have already been selected for fall. Four plays offering “A Different Perspective” will be on stage Sept. 10 to 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m. Then in October on the 8th to 10th at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m., there’ll be WISDOM OVER THE AGES delivered via four more plays. Jo Morello has a play scheduled each month, again chosen by a committee who didn’t know the plays were hers. Irene L. Pynn also comes up with a play in both September and October. I think it’s interesting that Starlite and its readers committee has chosen plays by women, a difference from what we see often at other theaters. For cash/check reservations, call 941-587-8290 from 10 a.m. To 6 p.m. daily. For credit card purchases, visit
WHAT REMAINS by Heather Jones, well directed by Daniel Greene, had the nurse of a dying woman conspiring with the owner of a vintage shop to get the woman’s treasures, saved over many decades, so they could sell them. But the appearance of a daughter and granddaughter might stop that. Murderous nurse Muriel (Madison Jones) brought a final solution to the problem to Annabeth (played mercenarily by Natalia Mock).
PETE’S PLACE by Betty Robinson turned out to be a kind of Purgatory tended as a barroom by Michael Kinsey’s Gabe. He has to explain to Mary Jo Johnson’s curious and indignant Verity that they’re awaiting a verdict whether they go to Pete’s or on a down elevator. Director Mark Woodland made the preposterous seem real.
THE SESSION, Jack Gilhooley’s presentation of an expensive hour between a psychiatrist (Natalia Mock) and her client (Tyler Yurckonis) started out devoted to his marital problems and then got problematic about the “doctor” and her solutions to what he poses. Daniel Greene directed for a maximum of suspense and a lot of sexy interaction between the characters as well.
TALKBACK by Jo Morello involved a meeting of the Cultural Center and Little Theatre in Stratford On Avon, England, in Elizabethan times to meet Will Shakespeare and perhaps do one of his plays. But the center head Elizabeethe (funny and commanding Carolyn Zaput) doesn’t know much about Will or his London reputation and is unsure of him, which nearly drives him (a very upset, animated David Downer) angry. To confuse him, intern Lady Jane (ditsy Madison Jones) runs a futuristic computer that makes havoc of an interview. All was hilarious done in iambic pentameter and was directed with punch by Tim Guerrieri.
TYLER YURCKONIS DESERVES CREDIT for backing The Starlite Players to the tune of no rent for use of the group’s space. His restaurant also serves excellent food and gives playgoers a 15% discount on both food and drinks before or after performances. He’s been helping other arts groups with discounts too, so please take advantage of his generosity. By the way, there’s a reason for The Starlite Players’ name being so spelled. When Tyler bought the Broadway Bar and Restaurant, the purchase included the large sign with lighted bulbs cascading downward bearing that name. Tyler is waiting to get enough rehab capital to change the letters on the sign instead of a much more expensive replacement of the whole thing. Starlite has the same number of letters as Broadway and so only each lit letter will need to be changed.
BANYAN THEATER REPORTS that “The Amish Project” did wonderful business. This theater never fails to do interesting work and deserves your support. Having The Cook as a venue is another reason to come in out of the summer heat. I also recommend continuing support for UrbaniteTheatre, with its edgy fare. How great that these theaters have plenty of parking space. The same is true of Manatee Players, which is doing a great job with “Cats”. I was not too happy with that play when I saw it in its first professional run decades ago. It seemed to capitalize on its set (then unusual) and, like so many Andrew Lloyd Weber shows, one major musical number (here “Memories”). But I thought the now defunct Golden Apple did a great job with “Cats” and now Manatee Players is giving it both production values and scope. Go see for yourself!
TWO HANDED THEATER did Tennessee Williams proud last year with his first bit hit. This year Elliot Raines is bringing “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” to The Players of Sarasota. With its crucial bedroom scenes, the play should be a natural for Two Handed Theater’s production style. Put it on your early September calendar.
THE ARTIST SERIES SEASON keeps getting bigger, so be sure to watch for its ads so you won’t miss booking this wonderful venture.
IN MEMORIAM: FRANK COLSON. Both wonderful artist and man, Frank will be missed. Condolences to his wife Diana and family. I would plead that there be a retrospective of Frank’s work to celebrate his accomplishments, as there was for Kevin Dean at Ringling College. Who will step up to open a gallery to a show of Frank Colson’s work?
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