Starlite Players introduces casts and new play for “Thank You—I Think”; Four comedies will be presented on Nov. 10-11-12-13 in the Starlite Room; Performing arts company focuses on new work from around the world, presented by theater professionals from the Tampa Bay area

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Starlite Players introduces casts and new play for “Thank You—I Think”;

Four comedies will be presented on Nov. 10-11-12-13 in the Starlite Room


Performing arts company focuses on new work from around the world, presented by theater professionals from the Tampa Bay area



SARASOTA, FL: Starlite Players again presents respected area performers for “Thank You—I Think,” a collection of four short comedies that laugh at life’s twists and surprises. In keeping with the theme of surprises, the performing arts company has slated the world premiere of a new play, “Slip and Fall” by Scott Mullen, a Christmas-themed play that replaces an earlier selection. The comedies will be staged on Thursday through Saturday, November 10-11-12, at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, November 13, at 6:30 p.m. in the casual, intimate theater upstairs at the Starlite Room (, 1001 Cocoanut Avenue. The November show includes the 61st production by Starlite Players since its debut in July 2015. The theater company stages an evening of comedies for one weekend each month, year-round, with a break in December for the holidays. It will resume its regular monthly schedule on January 19-22, 2017 with  “Looking Back, Looking Ahead.”


Starlite Players is the only performing arts company in the area, and one of the few in the nation, that stages new work consistently. Its focus is on talented theater artists from the Tampa Bay area, although it has recently broadened its script selection process to include playwrights from around the world according to Jo Morello, founder and producing artistic director. “We’ve been proud to present work by authors from Canada, Australia and New Zealand along with talented regional authors,” Morello said.


A reading committee evaluates scripts through blind submissions (with author names removed). “Our readers are solid theater professionals who consistently spot quality, sometimes choosing more than one play by the same playwright. It’s not unusual for them to choose award-winning scripts,” Morello said, “or to choose work by the same authors time and again.” Last month Starlite Players staged yet another play by Jack Gilhooley, Morello’s husband, and at times has produced work by Morello as well. “Our plays were chosen through blind submissions,” along with all the others,” she said. Starlite Players has also produced at least two plays each by Marvin Albert, Richard J. Budin, Stephen Cooper, Nicole Cunningham, Philip W. Hall, and Irene L. Pynne.


This month they welcome back two other playwrights whose work they’ve staged before: Scott Mullen, author of “Slip and Fall,” also wrote “Potential” (a love triangle on a ferry/July 2016) and “Next” (a couple find love in the afterlife/September 2016) and Cary Pepper, author of “Dolly Gets Her Shot,” who also wrote “Gram Scams” (a scammer pretends to be a grandson in trouble/June 2016) and “Mark My Worms” (a director and his cast have to stage a play exactly as written, typos and all/August 2016). Many of the Starlite Players’ productions have been multi-award winners and numerous productions have been world premieres, Morello said. (For a list of all the plays produced by Starlite Players, see


The November plays are:


  • “Slip and Fall” by Scott Mullen; directed by Melliss Swenson. Frank (Richard LeVene) and Mary (Jenny Aldrich Walker) are stunned to find Santa Claus (Don Walker) sprawled on their floor after falling. Things grow even stranger when Santa reveals his love for Mary and a job offer for Frank. (Although this play has been booked by two other theatres for productions in December, Starlite Players presents the world premiere.) Photo: Melliss Swenson


  • “Dolly Gets Her Shot” by Cary Pepper; directed by Mark Woodland. In the  trendy “Dolly” restaurant, Sam (Alan Kitty) and Jake (Rick Kopp), two self-important, rough-edged movie producers, argue over who has the best first act, who has the best ending for their film—only to discover that their blasé server, Ken (Philip Troyer), has all the answers. Photo: Mark Woodland


  • “Close Encounter” by Robin Pond; directed by Ren Pearson. Jack (Jean-Paul Monde) makes an internet date through the “Close Encounters” website with unexpected results. Jill (Grace Vitale) is far different than he expected. His gorgeous, other-worldly date introduces him to other-worldly pleasures with a simple touch to his neck—but in return she requires much more than he wants to give. If he yields, can he live with the consequences? (Eight previous productions of this audience-pleasing comedy.) Photo: Ren Pearson


  • Frisking Happy Gaylord by Les Hunter; directed by Melliss Swenson. Charlie (David Meyersburg) tries to turn himself in to Lt. Friske (John Durkin), but his murder confession is so outlandish, his weapon so imaginary and his behavior so bizarre that Lt. Friske sends him away. Then a phone call from Molly (Samantha Centerbar) makes him question his decision. (World premiere)



Tickets are $17.50 and include the four comedies as well as a 15% discount on an optional pre- or post-show dinner at The Starlite Room. For show tickets and information:, [email protected], and 941.587.8290 (1 p.m. to 5 p.m.) Also see the Starlite Players Facebook page. For dinner reservations: 941.702.5613. (Please note the spelling of “Starlite.”)



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