Florida Studio Theatre announces its annual Richard and Betty Burdick New Play Reading Series, which will present three new staged readings by contemporary American playwrights; Saturday, April 25 at 2:00pm, Saturday, May 2 at 2:00pm, and Saturday, May 9 at 2:00pm

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FST presents

annual Richard and Betty Burdick NEW PLAY READING series

as part of the Sarasota Festival of New Plays

(Sarasota, FL) –Florida Studio Theatre announces its annual Richard and Betty Burdick New Play Reading Series, which will present three new staged readings by contemporary American playwrights. The series will take place in the Keating Theatre on Saturday, April 25 at 2:00pm, Saturday, May 2 at 2:00pm, and Saturday, May 9 at 2:00pm, and is part of FST’s Sarasota Festival of New Plays. Tickets for the series are 3 staged readings for $25, or individual readings for $10. Additionally, FRIENDS of FST can purchase a subscription for all 3 staged readings for $15. They may be purchased by calling the FST Box Office at (941) 366-9000 or by visiting floridastudiotheatre.org.

FST’s Associate Artist Jason Cannon describes the unique nature of this series stating, “FST’s commitment to new work manifests most tangibly in our annual Burdick Reading Series.
We spend months talking with playwrights and investing in the development of their newest work. The shows we choose to present in this Festival are strongly considered for our Mainstage.
Dancing Lessons was presented in the Burdick Reading Series last season and went on to be a big hit for us this season. That decision was due in large part to the audience response and feedback during the Burdick reading.”

This series begins on Saturday, April 25 with Sans Merci by Johnna Adams. Sans Merci is the story of an idealistic young woman who is a crippled survivor of attempted murder by South American revolutionaries. When she is visited by the conservative mother of the other attack victim, the two dance slowly through their grief. Truths are uncovered about what brought these two attack victims together, and why they undertook their humanitarian missions that led to that fateful day.

Next will be Uncanny Valley by Thomas Gibbons. Claire, a neuroscientist, has spent her life building artificial humans and attempting to balance her unstable relationship with her husband. Gibbons creates a touching story about friendship, personal interaction, and what it really means to be “human.”

The final play of the series is The Sparkley Clean Funeral Singers by Lori Fischer and Don Chaffer. Cut to small town America with a quirky country singing duo of sisters. After losing their recording contracts and having nothing left to work toward, they move home to help their father run his dry cleaning business. With a recent rise of deaths in the community, in comes Pastor Phil to request their services as funeral singers. Lori Fischer creates sentimental and comical characters full of perseverance held together by a single thread – life or death.



Each reading is followed by a talkback with the playwright where audience members have the unique opportunity to provide feedback. This series gives audiences the opportunity to be a part of the development and creation of exciting potential new plays here at FST.


Johnna Adams received a Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Citation in April 2013 for her play Gidion’s Knot. She is the 2011 recipient of the Princess Grace Award and a 2012 Finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award. Gidion’s Knot was published in the December 2012 edition of American Theatre Magazine. The Contemporary American Theatre Festival premiered Gidion’s Knot in Shepherdtown, WV, in summer of 2012 and twelve regional productions are planned around the country for the 2013-14 season, including productions at InterAct Theatre (Philadelphia), Profiles (Chicago), Kitchen Dog (Dallas), Stages (Houston) and Furious Theatre Company (Los Angeles).

Thomas Gibbons is playwright-in-residence at InterAct Theatre Company in Philadelphia, which has premiered eight of his plays: Pretending to America, 6221, Axis Sally, Black Russian, Bee-luther-hatchee, Permanent Collection, A House With No Walls, and Silverhill. He is the recipient of seven playwriting fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Roger L. Stevens Award from The Fund for New American Plays, the Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwriting Award, the NAACP Theatre Award, two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding New Play, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

Lori Fischer is the “2008 New York University Harry Kondoleon Graduate Award in Playwriting” recipient and a 2008-09 Dramatists Guild Fellow. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed musical Barbara’s Blue Kitchen, which played Off-Broadway at The Lamb’s Theatre in 2006 and was published by Samuel French in 2007. Lori received her M.F.A. from the N.Y.U. Dramatic Writing Department in 2008. Currently, Lori teaches writing at NYU. For more information go to www.lorifischer.net

Don Chaffer(www.waterdeep.com). Musical Theater: composer/lyricist/book co-writer Son of A Gun (workshops: O’Neill National Music Theater Conference, Playwrights Horizons- Drama League New Directors New Works Grant; Joe’s Pub. produced by Firebone Theater 2012)
The Sparkley Clean Funeral Singers (Richard Rogers Award Finalist, Eugene O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference Semi-finalist, produced at Capital Rep) Musical Theater awards: for Son of a Gun, Georgia Bogardus Holof Lyricist award. Television: Private Practice, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill.




The Sarasota Festival of New Plays seeks to provide a forum for playwrights of all ages to develop plays that can be fruitfully produced. From our Young Playwrights to our emerging adult playwrights and seasoned play-writing veterans, the Sarasota Festival of New Plays seeks to broaden the breadth and depth of thought in American theatre by encouraging people of all ages and all perspectives to write plays. New Play Development is the lifeblood of FST. It is a year-round activity that is fully integrated with each of the theatre’s other programs. FST’s approach to new play development focuses on the continued life of the work. Aside from presenting world premieres, FST frequently provides plays with their second, third or fourth productions. For example, in the 2009 Sarasota Festival of New Plays, FST provided Black Pearl Sings! with its 3rd production. Black Pearl Sings! has gone on to many productions, becoming one of the most produced plays in the country in 2010. In addition, in 2010, in partnership with the National New Play Network, FST presented the rolling world premiere of Shotgun by John Biguenet.

About Florida Studio Theatre

Known as Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by 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 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.



HAIRSPRAY – November 12 – January 11

DANCING LESSONS – December 10 – February 27

FLY – February 4 – April 4

CHAPATTI – April 8 – May 30




WITH THE PRIMA DONNETTES – October 22 – February 5

AMERICAN PIE – December 31 – April 23





OUT OF BOUNDS MATCH UP – October 18 – January 3



RAP-Punzel – September 23 – November 14


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