Marie Kilker Backstage Bytes, May 2014
It’s almost time for McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre to get going in its new digs on Ringling Blvd., so I was glad to note a few of the final shows at the North Trail Plaza. There was Keith Alberstadt, who’s been big on TV, featured on David Letterman’s show and writing for SNL. I’m happy to say his act at McCurdy’s was clean and fairly funny; sad to say he often talked with his head down and couldn’t always be heard in back rows. The locals who preceded him were more savvy about the acoustics, I guess, because they came out loud and clear…and funnier! Black Diamond Burlesque gals, used to playing McCurdy’s, gave it their best and promised to be back…at the new location, of course.
Almost-empty North Trail Plaza will be filled for three years by sound stages for filming by Ringling College of Art and Design. There’s a new Flea Market in the works too. But more’s needed, especially since the mall could be a key to the re-development of the area. A small theater should be able to make a go of it. There’s plenty of parking.
Mystery novelist Bill Carrigan, his agent reports, now has his latest books available on Kindle. Sarasotan Bill, whom I just met, retired as a science writer and editor but put his talents at same to work on fiction. I especially like his MANIC and THE PARACHUTE PLANT, though I don’t have Kindle and could just get them as real books on Amazon. Selby LIbrary has them too, if one doesn’t mind waiting a bit for them.
Remember when I mentioned the lack of women as authors, actresses, directors in the new program at American Stage in Tampa? Well, freeFall Theatre, also of Tampa, is going to have Sarasota’s own star Ann Morrison in INTO THE WOODS coming up this fall. But the final show of the new season, MAME, will star a man in drag! Who was that who said the history of theater is one of males cross-dressing?
Beth Duda, who once was publicist for Florida Studio Theatre and regular actress for the defunct Golden Apple, continues—as she has for many years–as education director for FST. She’s been doing a special project with grades 3, 4, and 5 students at Brentwood Elementary. Based on their training in performing arts and linking with their classroom social studies, they’ll be presenting a May 6 performance at the school. I like to “follow” Brentwood because my grandsons spent their first primary grades there and loved it. One of them, Storm, just graduated from Georgia U. with high honors in science.
Have you heard of the new Sarasota World Affairs Council? It’s a recently established non-profit aimed at people interested in what the title says. Lynne Partington, vice-president of programming, will be happy to welcome you in the Council’s digs at New College. She’s scheduled some excellent lecturers.
Arun Bhagwat is either following me around or vice-versa, meaning we shared food, drink, and conversation more than once last month. “Musical Journeys with Arun” are available for special occasions and private parties for individuals and organizations. Arum offerrs accordion, keyboard, and vocals. His website is arumsmusic.com. You can plan with him to hear his music at 941-351-1251 or [email protected].
If you’re a volunteer at Venice Theatre, you can buy a special entrance to ELEPHANT MAN for this Sunday, May 4, matinee at 2, for only $5. Then you’re invited to a special Volunteer Party at 8 p.m., with or without the preceding show.
Sarasota Opera may not be onstage for the summer but Sarasota Opera Guild has something going each month…their 2014 Summer Salon Luncheons. To start off, Cheryl Losey, harpist, and Abraham Feder, cellist, will present solos and duets at The Frances, 1289 N. Palm Ave., on June 12. The gathering starts at 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch and then the performance, at a cost of $35 per attendee. More info: [email protected]. Or call Karen Lezzi at 941-378-5617 before June 8 to reserve.
I always thought the Lifelong Learning Academy was a program of USFSM, I guess because its headquarters are on the campus of University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. Janna Overstreet, executive director, set me straight. Not-for-credit courses—36 of them!– are being offered throughout summer session at USFSM, Kobernich-Anchin-Benderson in Sarasota and Westminster Tower and Shores in Bradenton. For registration or other info, call 941-359-4296. No, it’s not too early to inquire about fall either. These courses are a way to learn without worrying about requirements for grades.
The press preview of HERO The Musical was so impressive that I’m sure it will be enjoyable at Asolo Rep, starting Friday, the 2nd. See you at a performance then or before the month is out?
Fond farewell to Catey Brannan who’s off to the West Coast. She’ll be missed by FST Improv and the Lazy Fairy troupes and their audiences. Also by lots of area kids, since her “day job” here was as a pediatric nurse.
I liked BUBBLING BROWN SUGAR at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe very much but missed listing in the program of composers and lyricists of the show’s songs. I can’t remember which one had lyrics by Louis Mitchell, brother of the show’s author Loften Mitchell. Lou taught English at University of Scranton, where my husband Jim taught French. We spent the first six months of our married life in Scranton, and Lou once had me lecture two of his classes on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins (my master’s thesis subject). Lou gave us our first post-honeymoon dinner. He was a great cook! Also a pianist of note and holder of a Ph.D. In English (18th century literature specialty), though blind. He collected tea pots, and when Jim and I lived in France in ’72-73, he asked if I could find him an antique one. I did, sent it to him, and received a letter of thanks detailing how beautiful it was. He made me see better what he actually could not.