(Sarasota, FL) — Florida Studio Theatre’s Mainstage season starts off in Brighton, England. The BROADWAY HIT One Man, Two Guvnors opens in the Gompertz Theatre on November 20, 2015. Having received 7 Tony nominations, this clever comedy complete with mobsters, murders, and mishaps, was written by Richard Bean, based on Carlo Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters. Subscriptions for all four shows can be purchased for as little as $59 online at FloridaStudioTheatre.org, by phone at (941) 366-9000, or by visiting the Box Office.
Welcome to swingin’ England. Francis Henshall, a disarming and doltish man, finds himself employed by a local gangster and a notorious criminal. While desperately trying to prevent discovery of his dual employment, inspired insanity, high-low antics, and nimble wordplay ensue – all backed by live musicians paying homage to rockabilly and a certain Fab Four.
Taking the reins of FST’s production and making his FST Directorial debut is Joseph Discher. Discher’s previous credits include Butler, at Barrington Stage Company and also New Jersey Repertory Theatre. He has also directed several productions at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey including
Our Town, Of Mice and Men, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night.
Discher shares his excitement to be leading this cast of 12 actors stating, “My training and background for the past twenty years has largely been directing Shakespeare and the classics. So I come with great excitement to One Man, Two Guvnors, which is a superb update of a classic Italian commedia play The Servant of Two Masters–with a knowledge and love of that comic style. I have a great affinity toward comedy, and love all forms from Shakespeare to Moliere to Shaw, from Charlie Chaplin to Monty Python to Seinfeld. One Man, Two Guvnors is an adaptation of one of the great comedies, and it’s updated in such a joyous, zany, and yet artful way. It is a wonderful confluence of comic styles. It moves effortlessly from high-brow to low-brow comedy. From brilliant wit and wordplay, to bathroom and bawdy humor. It has romantic comedy, physical gags, and elements of farce. To top it all off, there is wonderful music that ranges from skiffle music to 1960s British Invasion.”
A huge hit in London’s West End, The New York Times calls it “A runaway hit in London. ‘One Man’ is, both satanic and seraphic, dirty-minded and utterly innocent.” The NY Post says it, “Leaves no comic stone unturned.” Entertainment Weekly says, “You’ll know smart hilarity when you’re guffawing at it.”
All guffawing aside, these actors must take on the challenge of not only delivering the perfect punchline, but doing so while maneuvering through quick changes, mistaken identities, and the occasional spit take. In the middle of all the mayhem is Francis Henshall. Making his FST acting debut playing this sympathetic, stumbling servant is Connor Carew. Carew’s previous credits include
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar, and The Taming of the Shrew. Carew describes his approach to such a demanding role stating, “There’s a lot of trust that goes in. Trusting yourself, your training/experience, your cast, the director. It can be hard envisioning that trust sitting on your couch running lines, but after the first read we just had, it’s been terrifically reaffirmed. Physically, I’ve done a lot of clown work and even some commedia dell’ arte work. So you trust those tools are there to inform your work again when you need them. And stretching, always more stretching. I haven’t had too much of a drop off in physical ability with age, but definitely an increase in morning-after pain and recovery time. So I’m sure Sarasota will be seeing an uptick in Epsom Salt and Icy Hot purchases.”
“When I think of approaching this play, I think of one of Francis’ lines,” said Discher. “In the second scene he says: ‘You got to concentrate, ain’t ya, with two jobs.’ I take comedy very seriously, and I think we have two equally important jobs: to be real, and to play. I believe that the best comedy (and the best theatre) comes from being very specific and playing the reality of the situation–the high stakes circumstances of the scene. That is balanced with our other job, to quite literally, play. Comedy is at its best when we embrace a sense of playful, inventive abandon, and combine that with specificity and reality. Otherwise, in a play with outrageous situations like One Man, Two Guvnors, it becomes easy to let the silliness run away with you, and then nothing means anything anymore, the stakes are gone. So we remind ourselves: what is this scene about? What is the event of the scene? What does the character want? We make that real on stage, and then we exaggerate it.”
Returning to FST are company members Vanessa Morosco from the hit show Dancing Lessons and Andy Prosky from this past summer’s Over the River and Through the Woods. Playing the role of Gareth is Zach Shotwell. Shotwell first began at FST as an acting apprentice. He now graces the Gompertz stage to join his fellow cast mates on this joyfully jolting journey through Brighton, England. Shotwell speaks to his excitement of performing on the Mainstage stating, “I have to say that having the ability to build connections and a reputation through FST’s apprentice program was extremely valuable. There is a very clear sense of accomplishment being able to work first as an apprentice and return for a mainstage show. Couple that with the outstanding theatre and arts community that Sarasota possesses makes it difficult to imagine being able to achieve something similar elsewhere.”
Making their FST debuts are actors Tommy Crawford, Lawrence Evans, Wilbur Edwin Henry, Amy Hutchins, Christina King, Montgomery Sutton, and Teddy Yudain.
One Man, Two Guvnors opens on November 20, 2015 in the Gompertz Theatre. Enjoy this smart, silly satire complete with Skiffle band, clumsy servants, crazy criminals, and more. Subscriptions for all four shows can be purchased for as little as $59, online at FloridaStudioTheatre.org, by phone at
(941) 366-9000 or by visiting the Box Office.
About Florida Studio Theatre
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 then acquired the former Woman’s Club building, becoming the first permanent venue. Shortly after Producing Artistic Director, 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 venues: the Keating Theatre, the Gompertz Theatre, the Parisian style Goldstein Cabaret, the 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.