(Sarasota, FL) —Due to popular demand, Florida Studio Theatre announces the extension of its second Winter Mainstage show, Butler. The production is now extended through March 5, 2016 in the Keating Theatre. Subscriptions for all three Mainstage shows can be purchased for as little as $45. Single tickets range from $36-$39. Tickets may be purchased online at FloridaStudioTheatre.org, by phone at (941) 366-9000, or by visiting the Box Office.
The critics have raved over Richard Strand’s Butler. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune says the show is “Vibrant, energetic” with a “Deep sense of humanity.” Sarasota Magazine calls it “A delight” with “Clever wordplay and comic escalations.” The Observer also weighs in describing it as “A war of words and wit” that is “Strikingly original.” Total Theater says “This play’s got everything.” Audiences agree calling it a, “Great show,” “Very entertaining,” and “Wonderful.”
This extension of Butler allows extra opportunity for audiences to see the production, but also the chance for the actors to really get to know the characters they are portraying. Cast member Shane Taylor continues to discover an even deeper understanding of slave Shepard Mallory stating, ”I think what sticks out most for me over this last month or so in regard to my character, is the idea that Shepard Mallory isn’t only fighting for his freedom and equality. The reason he has come to ‘demand’ sanctuary at Fort Monroe is directly tied to the love he has for his wife. He does not want to be separated from her, and is willing to risk everything to make sure that doesn’t happen. This desire to remain connected to her is what propels my entire journey through our play. In Shepard’s mind, it’s a love story.”
Fellow cast member playing the role of the man historically known as the Beast, Eric Hoffmann also explains his evolution with General Butler. “After a month in this guy’s uniform and speaking Richard Strand’s words I’ve found a fellow I really like – Smart, witty, acerbic, passionate, and driven. He’s got a mean streak and doesn’t suffer fools. He’s also playful and for all his principled behavior, still flawed in many ways.. The words lead me. I really enjoy playing him every night. Audiences have been responding very vocally and seem to love finishing our lines for us. There are a few they joyfully see coming and are clearly engaged. And that’s part of the success of it as a play. It’s human and engaging and illuminates a fascinating moment in history in a very entertaining way.”
Exploring the play’s themes of race and equality, FST will once again be the center of a community-wide conversation with the Dialogues on Diversity Series. With multiple panel discussions, an online forum, and several other community events throughout the run of the production, this community conversation is supported by over 25 community partners. The online forum is accessible at www.fst-blog.com.
Butler, a production of history, humor, and heart must close on March 5, 2016. Subscriptions for all three Mainstage shows can be purchased for as little as $45. Single tickets range from $36-$39. Subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased online at FloridaStudioTheatre.org, by phone at (941) 366-9000 or by visiting the Box Office.
About Florida Studio Theatre
Known as Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Artist 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 Producing Artistic Director 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.