Marie J. Kilker, Ph.D….BACKSTAGE BYTES for Spring–Summer 2019
SARASOTA OPERA may be between “seasons” but that hasn’t stopped it from continuing to polish its Diamond Anniversary. It has dance, song, and lots of movies scheduled throughout the summer, so keep checking its web site if you’re around and want to see filmed operas and other classics along with an occasional live performance.
THE SUFFRAGIST PROJECT: Celebrating 100 Years of the Woman’s Right to Vote had a rousing launch at Florida Studio Theatre in mid-April. Project Director Kate Alexander promises a full year of events in Sarasota and Manatee Counties from here on. Participating in the project will be 23 confirmed partners in media, education, libraries, businesses, special exhibitions, etc. Before greetings from FST head Richard Hopkins and then Kate’s formal announcement I was sitting by guest of honor Charlayne Hunter-Gault, who borrowed my program to see where she’d be fitting into the festivities. Of course, she was a wonderful inspiration for starting the project as she has been for many with her journalism through the decades since accomplishing the harrowing feat of getting her degree in that subject in 1963.
THE FIRST PERFORMANCE OF THE SUFFRAGIST PROJECT brought readings and acting from Ariel Blue (as Sojurner Truth, very different from her WBTT roles), Kim Crow, Carolyn Michel, and Alicia Taylor Tomarsko. Also introduced was the Chair of the FST Forums Steering Committee, Chief Judge Charles E. Williams. The one person on the program but missing from acting, Katherine Michelle Tanner, rushed in as the audience was leaving. I spoke with her and found out she’d been called to the side of a relative who was ill and she was too late to get onstage. But she intends to be available for project events in the future.
SONIA FUENTES, a free lance writer, definitely a feminist and also a vegan, is a woman whose work I had read. But I never met her before she sat next to me at The Suffragist Project launch. I will be looking carefully for what she writes from here on, as she is a person with interesting opinions. You look too and form your opinions!
FANS AND SUPPORTERS OF FLORIDA STUDIO THEATRE Wendy and Bob Grady gave some extra special support to FST’s Write-a-Play program. They sponsored sending a lesson and engagement with it up to a school in New Jersey. That adds to the impressive number of young students that program has reached.
SPEAKING OF REACHING PEOPLE, Bob Trissolini told me that his TV messages on Hepititis C have had audiences of over 100,000. Even if many of them have often heard his urgings to be tested, he’s bound to have had a lot of hits along with the misses. Good work, Bob!
LYNN BERNFIELD has more than her podcast for you to listen to. She has a new audio-book out called WHEN YOU CAN YOU WILL. It’s also available at Bookstore One in Sarasota.
ELLEN MANDEL of New York, whose music was background for plays at Asolo Rep a decade or so ago, has a new CD out. (I have reviewed on Amazon two of her recordings of music to accompany poems.) I SO LIKED SPRING, the new CD features Ellen’s music sung by Jessica Crandell to poems by Thomas Hardy, William Butler Yeats, Charlotte Mew, Shakespeare, and Glyn Maxwell. You might want to inquire about getting one from Amazon or write to[email protected].
THE PHILADELPHIA ARTISTS’ COLLECTIVE, co-led by FSU/Asolo Conservatory alumnus Damon Bonetti regularly features his acting and that of other Conservatory alums. Check them out online, if you’ll be in Philly and want to see familiar faces. Their venues change, or else I’d list one here instead of the online referral.
DID YOU LIKE WEST COAST BLACK THEATRE TROUPE’s tribute to Aretha Franklin? It was scheduled before Aretha’s death but seemed quite appropriate to honor her memory. Perhaps Nate Jacobs will consider doing something by Ntozake Shange, who recently died. I personally love her FOR COLORED GIRLS (etc), but she’s done others. I met her when she came to the college where I was teaching in St. Louis, predominantly historically African-American. That’s where she held her press conference when she visited the city for a professional stint. I liked that.
CAROLE KLEINBERG is back in her director’s role with LOVE, LOST, AND WHAT I WORE at The Players to kick off its summer program.
AT THE PLAYERS with his Two Chairs Company, Elliot Raines has directed his much-loved playwright’s A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE (by Arthur Miller), which won’t be the last production at The Players in Sarasota as originally planned. Elliot’s venture wasn’t announced as early as it might have been, because he had to feel fully recovered from bypass surgery. So glad he’s up and at ’em again!
MAY BRINGS THEATRE ODYSSEY and its 10-minute play contest winners to the Cook Theatre in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, from the 9thto the 11th. Special award should be given to Don Walker, the super organizer of this contest and the upcoming later program of one-act play contest winners.
AMERICAN THEATRE CRITICS ASSOCIATION will be having its annual conference in Winston-Salem this July, and Jay Handleman is the Conference Chairman! Everyone who was at the conference he chaired here ten years ago still tells me how good that was, so there’s a lot of anticipation that Jay will repeat his good work. If only he can get the needed cooperation! I hope so.