Hermitage Artist Retreat is hosting a play reading of a new work-in-progress on Monday, May 19th at 6:30 pm

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May 13, 2014

Contact Lisa Rubinstein, LDR Creative Inc., 941-373-3803 or [email protected]



The Hermitage Artist Retreat is hosting a play reading of a new work-in-progress on Monday, May 19th at 6:30 pm. Descent is a musical theater piece which has sprung from a collaboration by two Hermitage fellows, Composers Eve Beglarian and Phil Kline, with a book by P.J. Griffith and Ruthie Stephens, and additional lyrics by Donna Di Novelli. Beglarian, currently in residence at the Hermitage, was the first recipient of the Greenfield Prize in Music, awarded in 2009. Stephens has been appearing throughout the season in Florida Studio Theatre’s (FST) Too Darn Hot. The reading will be held outside on the Hermitage grounds, and visitors are advised to bring their own chairs and any refreshments that they would like to enjoy. This will be the first public reading of this musical theater piece, which will be followed by time for a Q & A and feedback from the audience. The event is FREE.

“It’s a rare opportunity for the public to be summoned this early in the process,” remarked Bruce E. Rodgers, Hermitage executive director. “Eve and Ruthie are very excited for the opportunity to preview the work, as it is so far. With this much talent, it’s bound to be an entertaining evening.”

Descent is set in 1938, two weeks after a celebrity woman pilot crash lands a small plane on an uninhabited island in the Pacific, with her alcoholic co-pilot. During this time of introspection, she recalls her distant relationship with her husband/manager and her torrid affair with a free-spirited showgirl. The piece unfolds in story and song, with scenes that take place both on the ground and in the air.

Visitors to the Hermitage will experience the first part of the musical, four scenes with songs, in and around the property’s Banyan Grove. It will be performed by four actors currently appearing at Florida Studio Theater: Ruthie Stephens, Derrick Cobey and Stephen Hope from Too Darn Hot and Faith Sandberg from Tom Jones. Stephen Hope will also be the director of the reading. The story line of Descent is for adults only and not suitable for children.

“Sarasota is a particularly resonant place to be developing this project,” continued Beglarian. “Not only because of the unfailing support of the Hermitage, but also because of the ongoing history of the circus arts here in town.” 

Any changes due to weather will be made by 3:00 pm on Monday. Information will be available through the Hermitage Facebook page, Twitter feed or by telephoning 941-475-2098.

“We think this will be another sensational event that only the Hermitage can provide,” continued Rodgers. “We look forward to seeing you there.”

The Hermitage is a not-for-profit artist retreat located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood, FL. It invites accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for residencies on its beachfront historic campus. Artists are asked to contribute two services to the community during their stay and as a result, Hermitage artists touch thousands of Gulf Coast community residents with unique and inspiring programs each year. In addition, the Hermitage awards and administers the prestigious Greenfield Prize, an annual $30,000 commission for a new work of art, rotating among three disciplines: visual art, music and drama. The Hermitage also partners with the Aspen Music Festival and School to award the annual Hermitage Prize to a composition student during the Festival. For more information about The Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 941-475-2098 or visit the website at www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

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