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Nov 01

North Trail's Asolo Rep Theatre Receives Grant

Posted by ntadmin in Sarasota Arts , North Trail , Asolo Rep

Asolo Rep Receives $100,000 Grant from Barancik Foundation

Asolo Repertory Theatre has announced that it is the recipient of a $100,000 grant from the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. The grant will provide key support for Asolo Rep's 2018-19 season, which kicks off in November with The Music Man, directed by Tony nominee Jeff Calhoun and starring Broadway song and dance man Noah Racey. It will also support Asolo Rep's Access to the Arts Programs: Main Stages and the annual fall Shakespeare tour. Main Stages provides area students with the opportunity to see a world-class production at Asolo Rep. Through the fall Shakespeare tour, live theatre is brought to the students at schools and community venues throughout Florida. Both Main Stages and tour performances are supplemented with teaching artist-guided workshops, study guides and other materials to enhance students' experience before and after the performance. The Barancik Foundation grant will also help to underwrite the cost of the annual FSU/A solo Conservatory for Actor Training London Study Program. Each summer, the rising third-year Conservatory MFA students spend six weeks in London. When they return from this enriching training, they become the acting company for the annual Shakespeare tour and then join Asolo Rep's main stage acting company for repertory season.

Original article published October 30, 2018, by SRQ Daily.

Sep 24

North Trail's Asolo Rep Unveils New Website

Posted by ntadmin in North Trail , Asolo Repertory Theatre , Asolo Rep

Asolo Repertory Theatre Unveils New Website

Asolo Repertory Theatre has proudly launched a new, completely redesigned website. As the theatre embarks on its 60th season, this new website is designed to provide patrons with a much-improved, intuitive web experience. The newly designed site features a streamlined ticket-buying platform, with an easy-to-read and navigate calendar feature. This is particularly helpful given Asolo Rep's rotating repertory producing model, with up to three plays rotating on and off the Mertz stage, two often on the same day, throughout the season and another production running in the Cook Theatre in April. The website will also offer behind-the-scenes content, including video, photos, casting, and insight into the world of each play to enrich patrons' experience in the theatre. Learning more about the theater's various outreach programs has also been simplified, with an easy-to-navigate drop-down menu highlighting ways to engage beyond the stage. 

Jan 13

North Trail's Asolo Rep Stages an Epic Conclusion

Posted by ntadmin in Stage , North Trail , Asolo Rep

Asolo Rep Stages An Epic Conclusion
Philip Lederer,

Following the success of last season’s All The Way, Asolo Repertory Theatre continues playwright Robert Shenkkan’s chronicling of Lyndon B. Johnson’s tumultuous presidency with the sequel, The Great Society, opening tonight. To produce both had been “a dream,” says Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards, but it was the enthusiastic reaction to All The Way, which sold out to standing room only, that convinced him it was not only possible but the right course to take for the final season of the American Character Project. “We should see this amazing historical story to its conclusion,” he says. “It would feel like unfinished business if we didn’t do The Great Society.”

Whereas All The Way focused on Johnson’s ascension to the presidency after John F. Kennedy’s assassination and his ensuing triumph in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and securing the Democratic nomination for president, The Great Society looks at Johnson’s decidedly less triumphant second term. Embroiled in both the Vietnam War and the War on Poverty, an embattled Johnson struggles to pass ambitious social programs and realize his “Great Society,” as the various political forces that surround him angle for their own agendas. A compelling drama that raises, among others, questions of race relations in America, the role of the federal government and the justness of war, The Great Society is “a play with amazing contemporary pertinence as well as historical significance,” says Edwards.

Oct 24

North Trail's Asolo Rep Opens New Season

Posted by ntadmin in North Trail , North Tamiami Trail , Asolo Rep

The Asolo Repertory will open its 2014-15 season in November and continue its series exploring the American Character with a production of the 1949 Tony Award-winning musical South Pacific. Known as much for its musical score and story as it is for its progressive social awareness, the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic has brought great talent to town, including Kelly Felthous, previously Glinda in the Wicked national tour, as Nellie Forbush and Anthony Festa, who recently starred in a West End production of West Side Story, as Lt. Joseph Cable.

Loretta Ables-Sayre also returns as Bloody Mary, the role she played in the Lincoln Center revival for which she received a Tony nomination.

Preceded by 1776 in 2012 and Show Boat in 2013, South Pacific brings the American Character series up to World War II and America’s struggle with racism in a changing world. Actor Ben Davis returns to the series after last season’s Show Boat, as does director Rob Ruggiero, who feels the show to be a fitting addition.

Sep 24

North Trail's Asolo Rep Partners With Seasons 52

Posted by ntadmin in North Trail Events , North Trail , Asolo Rep

Asolo Repertory Theatre announced a partnership with the new Seasons 52 restaurant in The Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota, set to officially open on Thursday, Oct. 16. Seasons 52 selected Asolo Rep as its charity partner and will present the theater with a $2,500 check on Wednesday, Oct. 15 at a special pre-opening luncheon hosted for Asolo Rep's patrons at the restaurant.

Original article published September 24, 2014, by SRQ Daily.

May 02

The Asolo Repertory Theatre features "Hero: The Musical"

Posted by ntadmin in North Tamiami Trail , Asolo Rep

At 28 years old, the main charcter of Hero: The Musical, the latest production from Asolo Repertory Theatre, still lives in his father’s house, works at his father’s store and remains too afraid to pursue his professional or romantic dreams. Trapped in the Milwaukee malaise with no discernible way out—except maybe the superheroes who grace the glossy pages of his graphic novels—Hero is forced to find his own superpower and move forward. Fresh off of its 2012 debut at the Marriott Theatre in Chicago, Hero is a charming, funny and surprisingly moving tale of courage and growing up in the modern world. For creator Aaron Thielen, artistic director at the Chicago Marriott, the idea grew naturally from his own extensive stay in Milwaukee, including a particular house/store combo he recalls vividly. “It’s a whole world in one little plot of land,” said Thielen. “I knew it’d be great as a shop and the questions just started coming. Who embodies this comic shop?” Thielen began filling out his imaginary comic book store with the people he remembered from the old days and tapped musician/composer Michael Mahler to write music and lyrics. Roughly three years later, Hero was ready for Chicago. But good enough for Chicago doesn’t mean good enough for Sarasota, and Thielen and Mahler spent the time elapsed tweaking, trimming and rewriting both music and book for Hero’s Sarasota debut. “I really feel like it’s strong storytelling and it’s the story that Mike and I wanted to tell,” said Thielen. “I feel like this production is going to be stronger than any before.” For Brian Sears, who took a leave of absence from the Broadway production of the hit Book of Mormon for Hero, landing the lead role of Hero was a delight. “I read it and I was blown away by the script even though I hadn’t heard any of the music,” said Sears. “He’s such a well-written character and it’s rare to have a character my age who’s written with such complexity.” Sears was also impressed by the quality of the music and arrangements when he finally heard them. “If it’s done right, it comes from a place that’s real,” said Sears. “None of these songs come out of nowhere; every note is written specifically because we can’t put across what we mean with just words.” Characters and subplots came and went throughout the course of Hero’s development, but Thielen never strayed from his core idea that every person, like the superheroes who make up our modern mythology, has their own superpower. “I do believe we all have our own special gift,” said Thielen. “The question is whether you embrace who you are and try to use your superpower to help the world.” Directed by Asolo Rep’s David H. Bell and with Broadway performer Laurie Veldheer and Hero veteran Don Forston rounding out the cast, Hero: The Musical opens today, May 2, 8pm at the Asolo Rep.

Original article published May 2, 2014 by SRQ Daily.

Apr 09

USFSM Partners With Asolo Conservatory For Acting Training

Posted by ntadmin in USFSM , North Tamiami Trail , Asolo Rep

USF Sarasota-Manatee recently signed a unique memo of understanding with the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training which will allow Masters of Fine Arts students to serve as “courtesy faculty” instructors in the USFSM General Education program. Beginning in the fall, USFSM students will benefit from an enriched theatre appreciation course with opportunities to witness productions in development and interact with various artists at the Asolo. Through this collaboration, third year advanced MFA students will also expand their skill sets and augment their résumés with college teaching experience.  The agreement is for a period of two years.

“USFSM is thrilled to have a partnership with the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training whereby third-year MFA students will teach the Introduction to Theatre course as part of our curriculum,” said Jane Rose, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.  “Our students will experience a uniquely rich version of this course, which introduces theatre as a collaborative art and profession. In addition to being taught by advanced MFA actors, they will have multiple opportunities to see plays, tour backstage areas and converse with various artists as they witness the production process first hand.”

Greg Leaming, director of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory training program looks forward to adding undergraduate teaching experience to his students’ already impressive résumés. “The partnership with USFSM allows the Conservatory to build into the training program this important skill set, making our students highly marketable in this extremely competitive business,” Leaming said. He also expects that the partnership will deliver a greater degree of exposure and awareness of theater in general, and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory in specific. It will showcase Leaming’s internationally renowned actor training program and the work being done on the Cook and Mertz stages  to a highly desirable young audience—the student body of USFSM. “What has been up to now one of the best kept secrets here in the community of Sarasota will now be a very well-known and highly laudable fact.” Leaming predicts.

Jul 01

Broadway Star Performing at North Trail's Asolo Rep Theatre

Posted by in North Trail , North Tamiami Trail , Asolo Rep

Mary Testa doesn’t need an entourage. The vibrant, two-time Tony-nominated Broadway star can undeniably stand on her credits alone. Testa’s resume boasts a list of impressive titles; On the Town, 42nd Street, Xanadu, Guys and Dolls, Chicago, Marie Christine, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Rink, Marilyn, Barnum (Off Broadway credits include Queen of the Mist, Vagina Monologues, Tricks the Devil Taught Me, Judith of Bethulia and In Trousers) and she’s in town in a one woman show My Brilliant Divorce currently running at the Asolo Rep Theatre.

“It is great to be doing this play here with Asolo Rep. The theatre and the creative team is at the top of their game. How exciting for Sarasota, to be only the second American community to see it. That’s a special experience.” And as adored as the award-winning performer is in this culturally quaint and charming oasis, Testa reciprocates the fondness. “Sarasota is such a beautiful community, from the geography to the people," she said. "I love being close to the water. The coastline is gorgeous. And the laid-back, friendly vibe makes the whole experience of being a newcomer here wonderful. I find Sarasota to be a very comfortable and relaxing place to be.” My Brilliant Divorce is at the Asolo Rep Theatre (5555 N. Tamiami Trail) until July 14.