Florida – West by Dewey Davis-Thompson
West Florida footlights continue to shine at Stageworks, a DG affiliate theatre in Tampa. In April, Arthur Keyser’s play Before Steepletop was read to a handful of audience members including Heidi Walker. The reading was held on the standing set of Caridad Svich’s In the Time of the Butterflies, the first play to be presented in both English and Spanish in a major West Florida theatre.
The big news at American Stage is that Natalie Symons is to be their first playwright in residence. She says the idea got rolling after her play The Naming Tree ran at Urbanite Theatre in nearby Sarasota. Artistic Director Stephanie Gularte saw the production and felt she would be a good match. “It’s great to have a place to call home and I’m looking forward to the support of an organization like American Stage with so many resources. It’s vital for a playwright like me who is working on her fourth play.” The concept of an in-house playwright is something new to American Stage. Says Symons, “we are going to create this as we go.” Table readings will lead to a first public reading in the autumn and a workshop production in the spring. Innovative and welcoming, American Stage was the first local theatre to join Playwrights Welcome and even offers free admission to folks under twenty. Opening next month is Andrea Lepcio’s world premiere of Strait of Gibralter, which had a reading at American Stage in 2017 and was selected for a first full production, directed by Jim Sorensen.
Shawn Ryan shares these notes on DG members in the Naples neighborhood. Dramatists Guild member Frank Blocker is responsible for planning and producing the Stage It! 10-Minute Plays Competition at the Centers for the Arts, Bonita Springs. This is the second year of the competition with 206 entries from around the U.S., Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand. The ten finalist plays were produced on April 28 and 29. All authors were presented feedback from the judges in the form of a critique. With the success of the competition, the Center has decided to produce 10-minute plays every three months, beginning next year. Among the ten finalists are DG members: Jeff Dunne, A Lively Outfit; William Newkirk, Swans; and Brian Scanlan, The Bull of Queens. A publication by the Center also included Judd Lear Silverman, Decorum & On a Wing and a Prayer; S.L. Daniels, How’s Your First Day Going?; Ron Pantello, I’m Dead When I say I’m Dead; Lindsay Partain, Prayers in the Pines; Dan Borengasser, The Gospel According to Bowser; and Paul McCormick, The Windsor Con.
Louise Wigglesworth was one of three winning entries in the 2017 Naples Players One Act Play competition and was included in the 2018 An Evening of New Plays staged readings in January.
The Southwest Florida Stage Writers Group had its first table reading hosted by the Naples Players ETC Readers actors. Delvyn Case’s play Bicycle Built for Two was one of two plays read.
Tom Sivak’s one act opera Frankie & Gianni premiered at the Tampa Museum of Art. One week later, it was performed at Studio 620. He beamed “Three performances, three standing ovations!” The show is full of inside musical jokes, most of which everyone gets. Frankie sings, “You think you can lie to me, you think I don’t count, 2, 3, 4…” And there is another layer of jokes that only musicians and informed opera goers might get. As he lie dying, Gianni sings, regretfully, “I wish I could take it from the top. Where is that damned Da Capo?”
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