Asolo Rep’s Ground Floor presents a staged reading of
Dancing in the Blue Light
(SARASOTA, FLA) — Asolo Repertory Theatre’s new work development program, Ground Floor, will present a free staged reading of the play, Dancing in the Blue Light, conceived by Tomé Cousin and Monteze Freeland and written by Monteze Freeland on Monday, May 26, at 2:00 p.m., in the Asolo Rep Rehearsal Hall.
As the records spin in an underground club in 1960s Baltimore, a close-knit group of Black, same-gender-loving men and women meet once a week to drink, flirt and dance. In this small bubble, they are seemingly free of the pressures of the larger world, but past and present traumas haunt them, limiting their abilities to truly connect. With the streets above becoming increasingly unsafe, this small community must decide how far they will go to ensure their own survival.
“We are so excited that Tomé Cousin and Monteze Freeland are joining us for this year’s Ground Floor reading,” said Céline Rosenthal, Asolo Rep’s Associate Artistic Director. “Dancing in the Blue Light is a bold play that mixes heart-wrenching, naturalistic writing with soaring moments of music and dance. It’s an honor to be working with Monteze and Tomé to develop this important new work.”
Cousin, who will direct the reading, is a renowned director, choreographer and author who has won numerous awards and commissions for his work in musical theater, ballet, film and art installations. He has received recognition from organizations such as the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
The writer of the play, Freeland, is a Baltimore-based multidisciplinary artist who excels in acting, directing, writing, producing and teaching. He is the current Co-Artistic Director of City Theatre Company, was named Person of the Year for Theatre in 2021 by City Paper and Performer of the Year in 2017 by the Post-Gazette. Freeland’s directing credits include various productions at City Theatre, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, Prime Stage Theater, CLO Summer Academy and Pittsburgh Public Theater.
This reading is the second event in Ground Floor’s new Muriel O’Neil American Heritage Commission Series, which is set to commission three plays by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) playwrights and directors over the next three years, made possible by a generous $75,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.
ABOUT GROUND FLOOR
Officially launched in the 2019-2020 season, Asolo Rep’s Ground Floor is a place for artists to try new stories, characters and forms, as well as a place for audiences to see promising work in some of its earliest stages. Specifically focused on amplifying untapped stories from Black, Indigenous, MENA, Latinx, AAPI, LGBTQIA+, disabled and neurodivergent playwrights and creators, the program also gives audience members a chance to glimpse the future of Asolo Rep programming.
ABOUT ASOLO REP
Now in its 64th season, Asolo Repertory Theatre is recognized as one of the premier professional theatres in America and one of the largest in the Southeastern United States. One of the few select theatres in the nation that performs in true rotating repertory, Asolo Rep’s highly skilled acting company and extensive craftsmanship bring to life this unique performance method that gives audiences the opportunity to see multiple productions in the span of a few days. Asolo Rep presents up to 10 productions each season including contemporary and classic works and provocative musical theatre experiences. A theatre district in and of itself, Asolo Rep is committed to expanding its reach into the community, furthering its collaboration with the best theatre artists working in the industry today and cultivating new artists through its affiliation with the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele, Asolo Rep’s ambitious theatrical offerings and ground-breaking education and community programming engage audiences and ensure its lasting legacy for future generations. Visit asolorep.org to learn more.