Florida Studio Theatre’s Summer Mainstage Season kicks off with the charming jukebox musical, Burt & Me, the touching and uplifting production of The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, and the Rolling World Premiere of Doublewide

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FST announces the 2017 summer mainstage season

(Sarasota, FL)—Florida Studio Theatre’s Summer Mainstage Season kicks off with the charming jukebox musical, Burt & Me, the touching and uplifting production of The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, and the Rolling World Premiere of Doublewide. The season opens on June 2 and runs through August 20 in the Keating and Gompertz Theatres. A subscription to all three shows can be purchased for as little as $39. All subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased at the FST Box Office in person or by calling (941) 366-9000 or online at www.FloridaStudioTheatre.org.

The sincere songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David provide the soundtrack in the coming of age musical, Burt & Me, FST’s first Summer Mainstage production. “Broadway World says it’s “Brilliant” and it “Sparkles.” Joe and Lacey, high school sweethearts, shared the love of basketball and music. When college separated them, history couldn’t overcome geography. After meeting years later, Joe comes up with an elaborate scheme to get Lacey back in this jukebox musical. Featuring songs such as “Raindrops Keep Falling On Your Head,” “I Say A Little Prayer,” and “Wishing And Hoping.” “This jukebox musical contextualizes these songs in a fresh new way so you’re hearing them as if it was the first time,” said Producing Artistic Director, Richard Hopkins. “People often don’t realize how prolific Burt Bacharach was and how much he actually composed.” Burt & Me will be directed by Jason Cannon. With Book by Larry McKenna and Music and Lyrics by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, will play in the Gompertz Theatre from June 2 to June 18.

Second in the season is The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey by James Lecesne. The New York Times calls it a ”Superlative solo show” with “Distinctive characters.” Directed by Kate Alexander, in this AWARD WINNING SOUTHEASTERN REGIONAL PREMIERE, tenacious and flamboyant 14 year-old Leonard Pelkey disappears. A small town New Jersey detective slowly unravels the mystery, portraying over a dozen eccentric characters along the way. A luminous force of nature whose magic is only truly felt once he is gone, the town’s citizens question how they live, who they love, and what they leave behind. The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey will be playing in the Keating Theatre from July 5 through August 6.

Play the tour de force role of the detective will be returning FST company member, Jeffrey Plunkett. Plunkett describes his preparation for this demanding and dynamic role. “I’m doing an hour of cardio every day. The play is populated with real ‘characters. I’m going through the Rolodex of my memories to pinpoint any of the wonderful characters I’ve encountered, what odd, idiosyncratic things that made them, indeed, memorable. I know these people. I spent much of my childhood on the Jersey Shore in a town very much like this one, where being different was an affront to some kind of predetermined order. Except that on every corner of every block, in that very small town, in the very vivid recesses of my memory, I can still see someone who transcended their fear, the fear of the town, characters possessed of a largesse, a courage, a brightness. I’m busy summoning saints.” Hopkins adds, “Leonard brings out the best in everybody he meets.”

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Closing out the Summer Mainstage Season in the Gompertz Theatre is the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, Doublewide, by Stephen Spotswood. Jim Starkey’s American Dream is a modest one: to replace the family’s doublewide trailer with a comfy house his daughter can inherit. His family’s aspirations, though, may be shaped by forces and desires beyond his control. Doublewide is a heartfelt and resonant comedy about a blue-collar family’s elusive dreams, and just how far they will go to hold on to them… and to each other. Directed by Jason Cannon, Doublewide will be playing in the Gompertz Theatre from August 2 to August 20. According to Hopkins, “It’s a play written about blue-collar life from a perspective you don’t normally see on stage.”

All three shows of the Summer Mainstage Season, Burt & Me, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, and Doublewide will be presented at FST’s Keating or Gompertz Theatre. Single tickets range from $36-39. A subscription for all three shows can be purchased for as little as $39. All subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased at the FST Box Office in person or by calling (941) 366-9000 or online at www.FloridaStudioTheatre.org.

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 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 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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