Marie Kilker Backstage Bytes & Bows, March 2014
With web problems delaying this column, I’ve decided to make this month’s Bytes short and, I hope, sweet (even though I’m gradually eliminating Bows). The main difference in my new way of presenting tidbits of news and views from the Sarasota and Suncoast area is that I’m trying to present less news that contains or even depends on near-future dates. In journalism, there is nothing deader than yesterday’s news, and I’d like my remarks not to be in a funeral homesite. I apologize to the people and organizations that I thought I was writing future events about last month and especially January. Web site problems turned the events mainly into past ones. I take heart in at least bringing you and your organizations to the attention of readers—if not to attendance at your gatherings. Right now I am concentrating on people who are in the area’s cultural forefront, with dates being secondary, as I write.
BRAD WAGES is the new director of the Silver Foxes performers at Venice Theatre. For the Silver Foxes (each 60 or over years of age), Brad has also written a new script for their annual spring musical, which I hope will draw you by way of its country music theme. It’s set for March 20 to 24 at VT. Brad is also stage director for FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, JR., a cooperative venture by Ephiphany Cathedral School and Venice Theatre. The students are taught theater by Brad and show off their acquired skills at VT. FIDDLER is scheduled to be on the VT Mainstage on March 20 and 23.
AIMEE SICORA has joined Julia Mayes in issuing news releases for events in the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Julia’s partner-publicist for the last few years has been Ryan McCarthy. Their releases come almost daily, as you may have noticed on the don411.com website.
MARY LOU JOHNSON has placed for sale her new book, THE LURE OF LONGBOAT KEY, at significant places on the Key. It’s full of gorgeous photos as a fine art and covers scenes “Sunrise to Sunset” as the book’s subtitle proclaims. You will find the book at LBK’s Publix and UPS stores, Garden Argosy on St. Armand’s, most Longboat Key restaurants, and Coquillage on Main St. For web information, see MaryLouJohnsonPhotography.com.
NOAH RACEY has not yet brought his PULSE, introduced by Asolo Rep last year, to Broadway but Noah has in fact appeared there, dancing of course. On Feb. 24, Noah took part in a special Town Hall presentation entitled THE BROADWAY MUSICALS OF 1915-1939. It was the first of four shows that will altogether trace the development of the genre over 100 years, using 100 performers, right down to now. The second Town Hall show in the series is scheduled for March 31 and covers 1940 to 1964 musicals.
CARRIE SEIDMAN of the Herald-Tribune recently wrote a perceptive article about the lack of women ballet choreographers. (They have fared better in the area of modern dance.) But a look at American Stage’s next year’s season line-up of plays shows that only two actresses will appear in the casts! Could it be that there were just too many women in the present season closer (STEEL MAGNOLIAS) to please American Stage’s artistic director? BTW, I was in Tampa to see the final performance there of TWO TRAINS RUNNING by August Wilson. The theater has committed itself to perform a play a year from Wilson’s cycle of African American life in each decade of the 20th century.
COLE PORTER’s songs are not only popular with attendees at Florida Studio Theatre’s cabaret presentation of TOO DARN HOT, which is running at the Court through spring to summer! Porter has also had his music as part of such programs as Jennifer Sheehan and James Followell’s in the Artist Series concerts at the Historic Asolo . Coincidentally, HBO has been showing the fictionalized last movie biog of Porter in which a bit part was played by David Howard. Now David’s featured on stage in Asolo Rep’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH, adapted by Frank Galati and directed by Michael Donald Edwards.
MICHAEL DONALD EDWARDS has finally seen a long-cherished wish come true. He and Asolo Rep made the cover story in American Theatre, complete with pictures of Asolo Rep productions. A reprint of all is available in the lobby of FSU Center for the Performing Arts in a rack near the box office.
JIM SHIRLEY deserves special mention for his championing of the vote in Sarasota County for renewal of the 1% sales tax in support of arts and science education. Don’t let apathy over lack of much opposition keep you from voting, warns Jim, if you love what Sarasota achieves with the funds.
R.I.P. SID CAESAR. Anyone who saw him perform in any media will never forget that talented man. Here in Sarasota, he is especially grieved by Carolyn Michael, who appeared with him in SID CAESAR & COMPANY on Broadway in 1989.
TAHJA joined in learning an Irish step dance for the amusement of all at the Irish Tourist Authority’s lavish and persuasive travel promotion at Sarasota’s Ritz Carleton in February. So different from most of the dances Tahja teaches! Dances were only one of the many presentations of Irish attractions, of which food and drink were enjoyed by all in the present as well as in promises. Oh, for the days when I could drink an Irish coffee or an Irish Mist!
KRIS DANFORTH and SAM OSHEROFF, married FSU/Asolo Conservatory grads, are still on the faculty at University of West Florida—he as Visiting Assistant Professor of Acting; she as Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre. Sam became the new Artistic Director of Pensacola Shakespeare Theatre, overseeing its successful 2013 MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT’S DREAM.
KYLE TUROFF has been directing at Manatee Players, using former Golden Apple regulars. Whatever happened to PLATO?
Marie J. Kilker holds an interdisciplinary doctorate, Speech-Theatre, English, emphasizing dramatic literature in the Western World supported by theatre theory, history, criticism, and literary oral interpretation. She taught on all levels from second grade to graduate and adult education, administered nontraditional degree programs as an award-winning academic adviser, developed funded grant proposals and research, held editorships and moderated college publications, published in academic and popular outlets, led and contributed to panels, directed theatre and educational TV shows, founded a literary magazine. Since the ‘90s, she’s been a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and written criticism, reviews, and articles for Sarasota and national publications.