Starlite Players announces plays for February 18-19-20-21;
Reprises four 2015 productions; skips March, sets dates for April/May, June and July
SARASOTA, FL: Starlite Players is taking a step—and a short look—back with its February show, “Free Sprits,” which will reprise four “favorite” comedies from its 2015 season. This “Best of Starlite Players” collection runs on Thursday through Saturday, February 18-20, at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, February 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the casual, intimate theater upstairs at The Starlite Room (starlitesrq.com), 1001 Cocoanut Avenue. All four plays are presented every evening. The encore productions are:
- THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES by Marvin Albert; director: Don Walker. Betty (Jenny Aldrich Walker) and Max (Chuck Conlon) chat on a bench outside their senior living facility when a policeman (Brian Keys) stops to check on them. Their memories are failing but other parts are working quite well, thank you–and they know exactly what they want, despite comments from others.
- BREAKING HARVARD by Nicole Cunningham; director: Mark Woodland. Persuasive parents (Tyler Yurckonis, Nancy Denton) try to convince the dean (Michael Kinsey) that their son is worthy of admission to Harvard and they have a hefty income to seal the deal, although it’s from a most unusual occupation.
- WE’RE HAVING A BABY by Irene L. Pynn; director: Jamie Lee Butrum. Their OB-GYN doctor (Michael Kinsey) learns that a young husband and wife (Rik Robertson and Jamie Lee Butrum) want a baby in the worst way—and that may be how they’ll get one.
- CONFESSIONS A DEUX by Stephen Cooper; director: Mark Woodland. Father Shannon (Brian Keys) hears his first confession but the penitent is his new superior, Father Gregory (Don Walker). As they hear one another’s confessions, over time they discover way too much in common—all involving the same parishioner.
Starlite Players stages an evening of short, unpublished comedies for one weekend each month and has produced 25 plays since its debut in July 2015. The troupe skipped December and will also skip March, two of the busiest months for many in this community and also for The Starlite Room, the restaurant that provides space for the shows. After “Free Spirits,” the troupe will present its next sets of comedies on April 28-May 1, June 9-12 and July 14-17.
“We focus on theater professionals from the Tampa Bay area and are delighted with their exceptional talent,” said Jo Morello, founder and producing artistic director. “In February, for example, we’ll present three actors who are currently performing in ‘All the Way’ at Asolo Rep, as well as other gifted actors, directors and tech crews with extensive credits locally and often nationally.”
The decision to mount encore presentations resulted from requests by both new and regular patrons. “More than half of our January audiences were first-timers with Starlite Players,” Morello said. “The snowbirds had flown back to their Florida nests after Thanksgiving, missing all of our previous productions, and some asked about the plays they hadn’t seen. At the same time, a number of regular patrons have also asked for encores, either because they were away, we were sold out, or they just wanted to see certain plays again,” she said.
The nimble troupe met after the close of its January show to consider the requests while setting dates for upcoming shows. Of eight audience favorites from the 21 plays produced in 2015 they chose four, basing the decision in part on availability of original directors and actors. As a result, each play will have either the original director, original cast or both. Morello said, “Although these are encore productions, the nature of live theatre means that every performance will be fresh. Our decision involves some risk but Starlite Players has been adventurous since its inception. As for the snowbirds, I guess we could call ‘Free Spirits’ our ‘Snowbird Special,’” she said.
Tickets at $17.50 include the four plays, credit card fees and a 15% discount on an optional pre- or post-show dinner at The Starlite Room. For show tickets and information: www.starliteplayers.com, [email protected], and 941.587.8290 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Also see the Starlite Players Facebook page. For dinner reservations: 941.702.5613. (Please note the spelling of “STARLITE.”)
Starlite Players is new performing arts company that presents evenings of short comedies for one weekend each month. Formed in June 2015, the company features the finest of local talent. Starlite Players presented its first show in July and has produced 25 short plays to date. Jo Morello is the producer through her company Jo Morello, Inc. The Starlite Room donates space for performances and rehearsals and the Jazz Club of Sarasota also provides sponsorship.