This Week at Florida Studio Theatre, August 3, 2015

Comment Off 4 Views
 This Week at Florida Studio Theatre                      August 3, 2015
Over the River and Through the Woods
The Influences of playwright, Joe DiPietro
Rita Rehn and Matthew DeCapua. Photo by Matthew Holler.

Faced with a life-changing career decision, Nick must navigate the scheming shenanigans of all four of his grandparents to make him stay in Over the River and Through the Woods, FST’s third Summer Mainstage production of the season. In a recent interview with playwright, Joe DiPietro (author of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; The Last Romance; and Broadway’s Memphis) he spoke of his writing process and how his background influenced this production.
Joe DiPietro has been writing plays for over 20 years. He writes about what speaks to him and is able to explore different genres. Before he became a playwright, DiPietro worked in advertising. He thought he would have to move to Los Angeles if he wanted to get a start in TV and Film as a writer. Though he thought that California was where he needed to get his big break, he decided to move to New York and began writing one act plays as a side job to his other various jobs in smaller venues. He began to write I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change simultaneously with Over the River and Through the Woods. Both had instant success off-Broadway and from there, DiPietro never had to leave New York.


DiPietro wrote Over the River and Through the Woods as a memory to his grandparents. Although the show is fictional, DiPietro grew up knowing all his grandparents, which he based the four characters on. Each of his grandparents in real life was a specific dramatic persona. Aida was based on his quieter grandmother who loved to cook and was great in the kitchen whereas his other grandmother was louder and demanding. Some of the lines in the script were also taken right out of his grandmothers’ mouths such as “Joseph, I want to you to meet a nice Italian girl and get married.”

Besides his grandparents’ influences, DiPietro wanted to write a show about people and the human experience. DiPietro commented “We all want love and life. So if you write truthfully from the inside out and those characters will leave a footprint. Then we can relate them years later. Who we are on the inside doesn’t change.”

Over the River and Through the Woods is HELD OVER BY POPULAR DEMAND through August 16 in the Gompertz Theatre. For more information and tickets, call the FST Box Office at (941) 366-9000 or by visit us online at

Old Enough to Know Better


Sally Bondi and Dan Higgs. Photo by FST.

How old is Old Enough to Know Better? FST explores this question and more in the inaugural Stage III Lab production of Old Enough To Know Better by FST and assembled by Jason Cannon. The production is NOW PLAYING in Bowne’s Lab.


After each reading, audience members are invited to stay after for a talkback session. Director of Old Enough to Know Better, Jason Cannon, spoke of one reaction during the first talkback session. “There was a great moment when the woman we had interviewed who marched 330 miles to Florida’s capital-and that story is included in the show-was pointed out by one of her friends.  The audience erupted into spontaneous applause!”


That sense of community has been very strong through the first performances, as well as in the talkbacks. The vast majority of the audience have stayed and shared their encouraging thoughts about the project and pointing out moments they appreciated and issues they’d like to hear more about.  Across the board the audience has wondered aloud whether FST would be able to get the production and the stories used within it to be presented to a younger audience. Cannon spoke in regards about these future plans. “Bigger picture there is an awareness of Sarasota being a very distinct and unique community in terms of the issues of aging, and that perhaps we can be a guide for other communities as our national population continues to transform.  On a personal level, it’s been gratifying and provocative how individuals seek me out even after the talkback and are eager to share their names, their contact info, their stories about their parents or kids or dreams.  When people feel they are truly being heard, transformative things can happen!”


Old Enough To Know Better runs in the Bowne’s Lab Theatre on select dates through August 16. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call our Box Office at (941) 366-9000 or visit us online at

Staff Profile – Patrick A. Jackson
Get to Know our WRITE A PLAY Coordinator


Patrick A. Jackson. Photo by Matthew Holler.

Patrick A. Jackson is an actor, playwright and teaching artist from Richmond, Virginia. He is an alumnus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA where he received his BA in Drama. Patrick has studied abroad in Oxford, UK with the British American Drama Academy.

Patrick started at FST over three years ago as a summer camp education intern. He grew in his position as an Acting Apprentice where he then was hired on full time as FST’s WRITE A PLAY Coordinator and Education Associate Artist. He is responsible for the oversight of all of the WRITE A PLAY Program, including two main stage productions, touring show and in school outreach workshops. He works with the FST School and education department as a teaching artist and is also a member of FST Improv.
Patrick is looking forward to another year with the WRITE A PLAY Program of stirring creative minds and inspiring youth to write their true selves onto a page and share it with the world. There are a few new elements from last season that the WRITE A PLAY Program is expanding on that he is most excited about. 

“To make theatre as affordable and accessible as possible…this mission statement point has resonated with me since day one. Everyone deserves to be exposed and enjoy art, whether it be the theatre, the symphony, dance or visually. We deserve to have our imaginations stirred, our beliefs affirmed and challenged and our beings warmed with the human truth. I stand by what FST works to do to make sure everything we do touches on this.”

– Patrick A. Jackson, WRITE A PLAY Coordinator

Check out what else is going on at FST!

click on the images below for more information
For more information, please call
the FST Box Office at (941) 366-9000
or visit us online at


Print Friendly

About the author

Editor of Media website.
Free Newsletter Updated Daily