Florida Studio Theatre will be hosting a “Sixties Shindig” on February 22 at 5pm in the Hegner Theatre Wing; This groovy gathering celebrates FST’s ongoing campaign to support the Kretzmer Artist Residence Project and the presentation of this year’s Jon Spelman Award to Ernie Kretzmer

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(Sarasota, FL) —Florida Studio Theatre will be hosting a “Sixties Shindig” on February 22 at 5pm in the Hegner Theatre Wing. This groovy gathering celebrates FST’s ongoing campaign to support the Kretzmer Artist Residence Project and the presentation of this year’s Jon Spelman Award to Ernie Kretzmer. The Sixties Shindig will bring together invited guests to join them in “havin’ a gas” and taking in groovy live entertainment reminiscent of Laugh In comedy and various musical acts. The event will culminate in a seated dinner in the Court Cabaret, Bowne’s Lab, and Green Room Café. Tickets are $250 per person with proceeds supporting the ongoing work of FST. To reserve a seat, please call Steve Turrisi, Development Associate at (941)-366-0932.

Named after FST’s founder, and the theatre’s highest honor, The Spelman Award will be presented to Ernie to commemorate his lead gift to the Kretzmer Artist Residence Project and his long-standing commitment to the theatre, in loving memory of his wife Alisa Kretzmer.

Having attended Florida Studio Theatre for over 20 years, Ernie and Alisa’s commitment to FST and the performing arts at large was recently realized in a tremendous way contributing the lead gift to the Kretzmer Artist Residence Project. Five new townhouses will house twenty visiting artists and interns, providing them with safe, accessible housing close to the theatre in downtown Sarasota and contributing to the revitalization of the Rosemary District as a whole.

Ernie reflects on his history with FST stating, “We first discovered Florida Studio Theater in the early 90’s and knew that we had found something special. Each season we learned more about FST and that blossomed into today’s wonderful relationship. The Spelman Award is special in that it symbolizes the culmination of our achievements with FST. Speaking for my late wife, Alisa, and myself, we are proud to have supported its endeavors and pleased to have received great theater in return. We grew to love Florida Studio Theater, because it is open and down to earth, without pretentiousness. It’s the kind of theater that reaches the people of this community — more so than many other arts organizations. I would describe FST as uncommonly intimate, well-articulated theater, and that’s why I have continued to lend it my hearty support – in Alisa’s memory. It’s a perfect window on the contemporary scene.”

Producing Artistic Director, Richard Hopkins added, “As we celebrate our accomplishments of the past, we will also celebrate the generosity of the present. We will honor Ernie and Alisa for their genuine support and selfless gifts to FST over the years. It is because of their generous gift that we will soon begin construction on the Kretzmer Artist Residence Project. Ernie invests more than just monetary support in his giving. He understands the depth and breadth of FST’s mission. This year’s Sixties Shindig will be a time to truly celebrate Ernie and Alisa as well as the continued growth and evolution of FST.”

Leading the gala committee is Scott Anderson of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and
long-time FST supporter, Marie Kropp. A retro evening full of fun, punctuated by sincere gratitude to Ernie Kretzmer for all he has done, the Sixties Shindig will take place in FST’s Hegner Theatre Wing at 5pm on February 22. The event will feature the presentation of The Spelman Award, live entertainment, and a seated dinner to round out this celebration of FST’s Kretzmer Artist Residence Project and the support it has already received. Tickets are $250 per person with proceeds supporting the ongoing work of FST. To reserve a seat, please call Steve Turrisi, Development Associate at (941)-366-0932.

About Florida Studio Theatre

Known as Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Artist Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company then acquired the former Woman’s Club building, becoming the first permanent venue. Shortly after Richard Hopkins arrived, the building was purchased and 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 five theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the Gompertz Theatre, the Parisian style Goldstein Cabaret and John C. Court Cabaret, and Bowne’s Lab Theatre. 

Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience.  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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