MARIE J. KILKER, Ph.D… Advocating for the Arts… Into 2017

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MARIE J. KILKER, Ph.D………… Advocating for the Arts…….Into 2017

ASOLO REP conducts its regular repertory schedule after a successful GUYS AND DOLLS throughout last December, when it filled seats for a season opener like never before. It picks up on last year’s emphasis on LBJ and takes him through THE GREAT SOCIETY, starting January 17. A week later Asolo Rep stages THE ORIGINALIST about a Supreme Court Justice. It won’t be until mid-February until the usual first three of the season plays will come onstage. (They used to come on three Fridays in a row.) Another change: David Breitbarth is the only holdover from what has for years been an Asolo Rep Company regular group each season. Lots of weeping may occur when it’s realized that the other long time company stalwart, Doug Jones, is absent, just as it did last year when Carolyn Michel was missed.

COUPLES ARE REUNITING at the start of the year backstage and we get to see the good results on stages. Being in STALKING THE BOGEYMAN at Florida Studio Theatre allowed Kate Hampton to reunite off stage with husband David Breitbarth at home in Sarasota. She’s been busy in and about stages and TV in her New York home, but it’s been a while since the couple has acted at the same time in the same city. He must have been proud of Kate in the different role from those she played when they first met at Asolo Rep. Another couple who will be together “after the show” will be Eric Hissom, who’s acting at Asolo Rep, and his wife Angel, who’s raising funds for FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training.

WELCOME BACK, Stage III series at Florida Studio Theatre! The comeback STALKING THE BOGEYMAN showed how effective a piece of Performance of Literature (in this case a narrated and dramatized story) can be. Such performances in colleges and universities—usually through Speech Departments—used to be taught as and called Oral Interpretation of Literature. It took many forms from recitation of poems to the kind of dramatized narratives and even letters and interviews that are prevalent today.

FROST/NIXON also presents some oral interpreting. Peter Ivanov directs it, though, as a memory play at Venice Theatre. Like FST, Venice Theatre has all sorts of theater going on, from big musicals to dramas to the special performances of guest artists. And Manatee Players are doing the same! They are truly the great community theaters in Sarasota County and Bradenton. Be sure to look up their offerings in Anything Arts.

LA MUSICA is already selling tickets for its new season, which begins April 3 with concerts at Sarasota Opera House (after, I hope, leaving a season of full houses for Sarasota Opera, in which I especially hope to see DIALOGUE OF THE CARMELITES, which I once almost directed as a play). Tickets for La Musica are available at its web site and will be also available at the Opera House box office on March 27.

LA MUSICA mourns the death last year of John Hunter, a stalwart volunteer for many seasons. John also loved Circus Sarasota. Contributions in his name to either group would be appropriate.

YVONNE DOLLARD is another arts supporter who passed away with nary a mention. I remember her particularly for her press relations in behalf of the former Theater Works in Sarasota (in what is now FST’s Gompertz). Yvonne had a vital career as a singer and was the widow of Martin Green, star of the Gilbert and Sullivan company. Not long after she retired here, she hostessed a TW performance at Selby Garden that revitalized the company for a while. Later she was involved in the Music Archive at Selby Library.

GOOD TO SEE KIM COOL back to regular reviewing and reporting for the Venice Gondolier. She was at Asolo Rep’s opening of the dramatic season looking chipper after her operation, rehabilitation, and new regimen. Missed Natalie Gundrum, though. Always a contributor, not just of funds but also of volunteer effort, she is now trying out living with assistance. Let’s hope she regains her strength and will be seen at a dessert or punch table at an Asolo play opening in the future. Or at least being able to see the play itself.

SARA SOLO is the guaranteed short performance series at Crocker Memorial Church for the last weekend in January and the first in February. It’s always interesting to see how varied solo performances can be.

SHORT PERFORMANCES we’re wishing will make a comeback are those one-act comedies Jo Morello produced for us with her STARLITE PLAYERS. She needs a place that’s central, affordable, and where performances can take place from Thursday to Sunday. A place that is not too big and serves drinks and food would be ideal to preserve the convivial atmosphere Starlite Players has been known for. Any ideas? Any way to promote an ideal place to invite her in?

IRENE HERMAN has retired from her writing—mainly arts and restaurant coverage—for a local magazine. Through the years Irene has been a performer both in community theater shows and as a solo singer in many outlets. At one time, she and Richard Storm did an act emulating Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Irene had a popular radio show when she first came to Sarasota and later appeared on a local TV spot. Irene was my partner as a critic for THIS MONTH ON STAGE published in NYC. She reviewed local community theaters and some opera and ballet; I did the latter and professional theaters. I could not have had a better colleague! Irene isn’t taking it easy now but helping her sweet husband Ken as he battles a nasty illness.

CARA HERMAN keeps up her mom Irene’s tradition by performing throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties. She’s also on staff at Venice Theatre, where she was just honored for her work.

SAD NEWS about the demise of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. All the more reason to promote Circus Sarasota and its next programs. Keep watching for its news.

URBANITE continues its edgy shows and can still use donations to help the theater fund seats for students. You can also help by donating the wine they offer patrons (who donate accordingly) or, as I have done, wine substitutes like grape juice for people who can’t drink alcohol. See you there?

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