SaraSolo Festival 2016 sets schedule – Tickets on sale now; Exciting national and international solo artists to perform January 23-January 31, 2016

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December 26, 2015                              

SaraSolo Festival 2016 sets schedule – Tickets on sale now!
Exciting national and international solo artists to perform in January

SARASOTA, FL — After a warmly received 2015 inaugural season, the SaraSolo Festival returns in January 2016 with an eclectic mix of solo performances by compelling national and international artists. The Festival runs Jan 23-24 and Jan 30-31 at the historic Crocker Memorial Church.  For tickets and more information go to

“I perform in festivals all around the world, and am proud to count SaraSolo as one of them,” says Bill Bowers, a renowned Solo Artist who received rave reviews last year.  “It is an excellent festival with an enthusiastic, supportive audience – even in its first season.  Just think, in five years SaraSolo easily could be one of the top festivals in the country!”

The 2016 Festival will offer an array of 16 delightful and provocative 45-90 minute performances — musicals, cabaret, comedies, performance art, dance, and improv as well as historical, biographical and poetic plays.

Extraordinary performers include local Sarasota favorites Carolyn Michel and Christine Alexander; multi-disciplinary artists trained in Italy, Australia, and Mexico; a psychotherapist and playwright; artists who create and perform original shows throughout the country; Equity actors and Broadway pros.  Music and dance performances showcase fingerpicking guitar, story-telling with piano, and solo women dance artists from around the country.

“These solo flights were a lot of fun. We can’t wait until the next SaraSolo festival takes off.”
– Marty Fugate, Longboat Key Observer

Last year’s popular “Betwixt” series of workshops will return during the week between the weekend shows, offering training to develop and hone the performance skills of novices and professionals. SaraSolo Festival artists will teach the arts of cabaret singing; solo performance writing; story telling; stage presence and more.

SaraSolo is presented by Gotta Van Productions, an independent non-profit theatre company created by Ann Morrison, Blake Walton, and David Coyle, which is dedicated to the development and presentation of solo performances and new small-cast plays that illuminate the human condition, especially that of those who are perceived as “other than.”

Gotta Van believes in affordable theatre (in traditional and non-traditional spaces) that supports diversity, collaboration, and the transformative power of intimate theatre for both artists and audiences.  Gotta Van’s venues include festivals, fringe theatre, educational outreach, flash mobs, video, and online media.

Gotta Van Artistic Director Ann Morrison and Associate Artistic Director Blake Walton are award winners in the world’s largest solo performance festival, The United Solo Festival in NYC.###

Join Us

We would like you to be informed, become involved and be a part of our performances and events.

  • Announcing

    SaraSolo 2016

    January 23-January 31, 2016

    Performances will be held at

    Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th St, Sarasota, FL

    with “Betwixt Week” events at various other venues.

    Saturday 1/23 & Sunday 1/24

    Performances at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm

    Monday 1/25 through Friday 1/29

    “Betwixt Week” during which we will hold workshops, master classes, demonstrations and discussions.

    Saturday 1/30 & Sunday 1/31

    Performances at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm

    Tickets are on sale now! click “Buy Tickets” below

  • Buy Tickets

    SaraSolo 2016 Performances

    1/23, 1/24, 1/30 & 1/31

  • Our Exciting list of Performers

    For tickets, click on the link where indicated or go to “Buy Tickets” above.


    Saturday Jan 23, @1pm

    Christine Alexander

    Next… (a completely improvised one-woman show)

    Improvisation / All but children

    Join Christine Alexander, Sarasota’s Queen of Improv, as she presents a one-woman show as a radio host. She will use the audience as her “callers” looking for advice. Who knows what will happen? Not you, not the callers, – and certainly not Christine.

    Saturday Jan 23, @3pm

    Sola (Group of 6)

    SOLA: An Evening of Solo Dances by Women

    Dance / All

    This performance by the group called Sola showcases the work of 6 female dance artists from around the country. Utilizing text, video projection, and pure physicality, the works come together to create a performance that celebrates intergenerational approaches to art.

    Saturday Jan 23, @5pm

    Lisa Seldin Dontzin / Cookie Harlin, Director

    Fairytale Facts

    Comic Play / All

    An autobiographical piece born from an actor’s

    nightmare. It examines beauty and aging through the

    perspective of always being a stepsister and never being


    Saturday Jan 23, @7pm

    Carolyn Michel / Howard Millman, Director

    Women I Have Loved

    Play / All

    A pastiche of favorite characters Carolyn has played

    through the years, with excerpts featuring Dorothy Parker, Rose, Bev, Trudy, Ann Landers, and other wonderful characters (both real and fictional) whom she has grown to love – key visits on her journey as

    a character actress.

    Sunday Jan 24, @1pm

    Irene Garibay Sanchez

    Soft Body Under the Bones of the Bed

    Performance Art / adult

    This work explores the elements that compose our physicality and materiality, characterized by a slimy and tender sheet of bacterial cellulose. Interactions with this quasi-skin brought Irene to contemplate the process of fermentation and to relate this process to our constantly developing existence.

    Sunday Jan 24, @3pm

    Becca McCoy / James Weaver, Pianist

    The Pearl in the Hogwaller

    Cabaret / all

    Becca went from being a working actor in urban Chicago to moving sight-unseen to rural Palatka, Florida (population 10,000), as a stay-at-home mom. She repurposes existing songs into a fresh cabaret context that illustrates the universal theme of “Bloom Where You’re Planted.”

    Sunday Jan 24, @5pm

    Stevie Coyle

    Mythos, Pathos, Nash & Jung, or “How I Survived The Great Folk

    Music Scare of 1961.”

    Music & story / all

    A singer-songwriter, granted, but minus the itchily self-revelatory lyrics and squishy major-7th chords. Stevie’s act has been described as “Chet Atkins, Jorma Kaukonen and John Hartford play mumbledy-peg with Ken Nordine, Dan Hicks, and René Descartes in Dave Barry’s back yard.” You’ll just have to see for yourself.

    Sunday Jan 24, @7pm

    Wayne Hosford

    New York States of Mind

    Music & Story / All

    A journey to, at, and from New York – but not quite therapy. It features working with Billy Roy, composer and accompanist, who helped Wayne on his journey from pop to Broadway. He has appeared with such greats as Christine Andreas, Len Cariou, Ann Hampton Callaway, Michael Feinstein, Dorothy Loudon, Marilyn Maye, Jay Mohr, and Neil Sedaka. He has accompanied Brent Barrett, Brian Bedford, Faith Hill, Cloris Leachman, Margaret Whiting, and the legendary Julie Wilson.




    Saturday Jan 30, @1pm

    Zach Dorn

    An Excruciatingly Ordinary Toy Theater Show

    Performance Art / Teen, Adult

    Zach weaves journal entries into peculiar tales by manipulating digital cameras through toy-sized streets filled with paper puppets. A lonely puppeteer stalks the child of two notorious celebrities; a three-foot ghost plagues an eight-year-old boy’s fragile psyche; and an opera-singing landlord refuses to return a security deposit. These stories will explode onto the stage in this modern exploration of Toy Theater.

    Saturday Jan 30, @3pm

    Vanessa Webb

    The Regina Monologues

    Historical & Improvisation / All

    Birthed from her final thesis project, this piece manages to combine two of Vanessa’s favorite things: Elizabethan history and audience interaction. Be welcomed to an intimate evening with Queen Elizabeth Regina Gloriana, Queen of England, Ireland, Wales and the Colony of Virginia in the New World. Elizabeth sets the record

    straight on subjects that have titillated a curious public for centuries. Be prepared to laugh (and maybe even participate) as The Regina Monologues recall the life, loves and “virginity” of this most intriguing of Tudors.

    Saturday Jan 30, @5pm

    Alan Brasington

    The Poem of My Life

    Poetic Play / All

    This Royal Academy of Dramatic Art-trained actor will present a before-birth journey through the looking glass to boyhood and manhood with doubt and wonder.

    Saturday Jan 30, @7pm

    Aja Niesenson / Michael Aman, Director

    5 Years Later

    Cabaret / All

    A burgeoning jazz singer revisits Bologna, Italy, where she began her career and left behind an Italian man: one American Girl; one Mammoni (mama’s boy); and a sexy jazz club. It’s one spicy meatball.

    2014 United Solo Festival Award Winner

    Sunday Jan 31, @1pm

    Flying Solo Returns

    Todd Berrien, Kaylene McCaw, Lori Shannon, and Jan Wallace

    Various / All

    Four writer/performers present works that are in the “development” stage. Some of these deeply personal pieces had their beginnings at the 2015 Festival. Each will be honed in a workshop during the Betwixt Week and then take flight in front of a first audience who will see and hear excerpts from the minds and hearts of Todd Berrien, Kaylene McCaw, Lori Shannon, and Jan Wallace.

    Sunday Jan 31, @3pm

    Lynne Bernfield / Pam Wiley, Director

    Bashert – Some Things Are Meant To Be

    Autobiographical Musical / All

    Do you believe in magic, kismet, karma, miracles? Don’t decide until you have seen this one-woman original musical, filled with stories of things which shouldn’t have happened – but did.

    Sunday Jan 31, @5pm

    Jenny Aldrich / Don Walker, Director

    Lillian: Memoirs & Moments

    Biographic play / teen, adult

    “Everyone’s memory is tricky and mine’s a little trickier than most.” – Lillian Hellman the American dramatist and screenwriter. Renowned for her success as a playwright on Broadway, she was also well-known for her left-wing sympathies and political activism and as the lover of author Dashiell Hammett.

    Sunday Jan 31, @7pm

    Clara Francesca / Timothy Reynolds, Director

    Mrs. Marx

    Play / all

    “I’m Jenny Marx. I was born on February 12th 1814 and married the ardent poet and philosopher Karl Heinrich Marx. We had a seven-year engagement, seven children, and shared everything – except whom we could love.” Karl has taken a mistress. Jenny is lost – inside the body of a male, inside the body of a female, inside the body of who she once was. This is a hyper-comic historic piece exploring theatricality of subverted selves, with dark humor underlying it.

  • “Betwixt” Week

    Providing educational, informative, and interactive workshops and events between Festival weekends.


    Starlite Lounge, 1001 Cocoanut Ave, corner of 10th Street

    Sunnyside Café, 4900 North Tamiami Trail

    World Bites Kafe, 2805 North Tamiami Trail
    Roskamp Building, 1226 North Tamiami Trail, corner of 12th Street


    to [email protected]

    with “Betwixt” in the subject line.

    Please indicate:

    the date, time, and location of the event and the number of tickets you would like.

    We will email you a confirmation.

    All events $10 cash per person at the door.

    Monday, Jan 25, 7-10pm at Starlite Lounge

    With ease and humor, Ann Morrison and Wayne Hosford* conduct a Master Class in the art of vocal performance for cabaret. Participants are invited to bring sheet music for a song they would like to work with and/or learn by simply observing others in the process. Either way, both long-time pros with decades of experience have a considerable amount of knowledge to impart. And there might even be some “ah-ha!” moments along with some very good singing!

    RSVP indicating whether you would like to either sing or observe.

    *Wayne Hosford also Performs Sun, Jan 24 at 7pm

    Monday, Jan 25, 7-10pm at Sunnyside Café


    Stevie Coyle* invites musicians and audience alike to bring guitars to his lively Finger-Picking Guitar Master Class. Beer, wine, Hungarian goulash and salads will be available for purchase. Get ready for some great coaching and fine music and most likely a spirited jam session!

    RSVP indicating whether you would like to either play or observe.

    *Stevie Coyle also performs Sun, Jan 24 at 5pm

    Hear stevie at:

    Tuesday, Jan 26, 7-10pm at World Bites Kafe

    SPECIAL MASTER CLASS for Flying Solo Artists

    The Flying Solo Artists*, each of whom have a work-in-progress, will be guided by Ann Morrison and Blake Walton to bring their written pieces “from the page to the stage.” This Master Class will give observers a chance to see collaborators in a creative process and give the actor/writers a safe and supportive first audience before performing as part of the Festival.

    *Todd Berrien, Kaylene McCaw, Lori Shannon, and Jan Wallace perform Sun, Jan 31 at 1pm

    Wednesday, Jan 27, 7-10pm at Roskamp Bldg.


    “That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It” is the title and essence of the workshop facilitated by Blake Walton in which he encourages participants to find and tell the stories of their own lives. All participants will take part in a series of fun and sometimes enlightening writing exercises delving into and mining past and immediate memories. Some participants might finish with a base on which they can build an autobiographical play. Those who wish to, will read and perform excerpts from their creations at an informal showcase on Friday, January 29th (see below)

    Thursday, Jan 28, 7-10pm at Roskamp Bldg.


    Alan Brasington* takes all participants through a history of movement in theater with both demonstration and full involvement. For performers and non-performers, the practical skills taught here are useful for the stage but also for public life where walking into a room and commanding attention can make all the difference in the world. There might be some self-discovery and certainly some lively fun will be had.

    Full participation. Come dressed in comfortable clothing and ready to move.

    *also performs Saturday, January 30 @ 5pm

    Friday, Jan 29, 7-10pm at Roskamp Bldg.


    Blake Walton hosts participants from the solo playwriting workshop held on Wednesday. They will read and perform excerpts from writings begun in that session. Audience members will be the first to get a taste of fresh voices that, most likely, will be funny and touching and performers will have a chance to be heard, some for the first time. Three participants from the workshop held last year are performing in the “Flying Solo” slot Sunday January 31 @1pm

  • Who We Are

    Gotta Van Productions, Inc. is a nonprofit independent theater company dedicated to developing and presenting solo and small cast plays in traditional and non-traditional venues.

    The Team

    Ann Morrison, Artistic Director

    Ann Morrison, Artistic Director

    David A. Coyle, Managing Director

    Blake Walton, Associate Artistic Director




    SaraSolo 2015, the inaugural season of the SaraSolo Festival,

    celebrating the solo performer in a variety of artistic forms.

    SaraSolo 2015 is a project conceived by Gotta Van Productions, Inc., in collaboration with the United Solo Festival in New York.



    Artistic Director Ann Morrison and Associate Artistic Director Blake Walton of Gotta Van Productions are members of the United Solo Academy in New York were encouraged to start a version of the United Solo Festival to be presented in the Gulf Coast area, with a dream of expanding it in the future to include a retreat for solo artists to develop and hone their craft with other like-minded artists.



    In our inaugural season we have invited a select group of participants from around Florida and the United Solo Festival in NY to present their shows in the old historical Crocker Memorial Church in Sarasota, FL. The old church is now a part of the Sarasota Historical Society.


    Plus, what we have named the “Betwixt Week” occurs between the two weekends of Solo Performances at the Festival. Taking place at various other venues, it provides a series of lectures, master classes, and other experiences designed for those who are interested in honing their knowledge of and experience with solo performing.




    “Click” on the picture for more info




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