Starlite Players postpone January show, take an intermission following loss of space
Sarasota, FL: Starlite Players have postponed the previously scheduled January show, “Looking Back, Looking Ahead,” while the performing arts company takes time off to do the same, according to founder and producing artistic director Jo Morello. The lively troupe presented short comedies for one long weekend each month on the second floor of the Starlite Room, a downtown Sarasota restaurant, since its debut in July 2015.
The restaurant had donated space for rehearsals and performances. Two other sponsors—the Jazz Club of Sarasota and Aviva—and donors also contributed, as did actors, directors and tech crew who worked for only a stipend, along with a small cadre of volunteers. “We also had support from our audiences and the media,” Morello said, “but now it’s tourist season.. The restaurant can no longer host us and other venues are booked—and costly. For that reason we’re postponing the show that was scheduled to run from Jan. 19-22.”
Looking back, Morello recounted the history of Starlite Players. “I’m proud to say that we produced 61 new plays since our debut. We fulfilled our mission, to build a community among Tampa Bay theatre professionals and also between our artists and audiences. We staged fresh, new, award-winning plays by playwrights from here and around the world, using some of the area’s best actors and technical personnel. As a token of respect for their time and talent, we also insisted that everyone be paid, even though compensation was small. And thanks to so many in-kind contributions, we always operated in the black,” Morello said.
Although less than 1.5 years old, Starlite Players have already received favorable national coverage twice in The Dramatist, published by Dramatists Guild of America, and international coverage in The Eugene O’Neill Review, published by the Eugene O’Neill International Society.
Looking ahead, the picture is less clear. “We don’t know what the future holds. We’re looking for an affordable, year-round home where we can rehearse and perform every month, or perhaps every other month,” Morello said, “but we’ll need to find a space quickly, before the talented members of our company move on to other commitments.”
“We built a faithful audience and consistently received positive critical response. We’re grateful to the many people who helped make it happen, who had fun with us on our grand adventure,” Morello said. “Now we’ll take our bow as the curtain falls. Time will tell whether it’s just the end of the first act or the final curtain.”
For more information about Starlite Players, including a colorful history of the plays they’ve presented, visit www.starliteplayers.com.