Florida Studio Theatre’s just announced 2019-20 mainstage season offers a variety of music, comedy and drama. But the common denominator, says producing artistic director Richard Hopkins, “is that every production of the season deals with human—not political issues—that touch all of our lives in one way or another.” It’s a line-up that “speaks from the heart.”
The season kicks off Nov. 6 in FST’s Gompertz Theatre with the Florida premiere of the Tony-nominated musical Bright Star, featuring a country-bluegrass score by comedian-musician Steve Martin and singer-songwriter Edie Brickell. Set against the backdrop of the American South in the 1940s, Bright Star tells the story of literary editor Alice Murphy and a young soldier just home from the war who wants to begin a writing career. There’s a back story for Alice, involving a past loss that impacts her still. Meredith Jones, who has starred in FST productions of Always...Patsy Cline and The Marvelous Wonderettes, returns to the FST stage as Alice. The show is set to run through Jan. 3.
Next up is Emmy nominee Jason Odell Williams’ cross-cultural romantic comedy Handle with Care. Young Israeli woman Ayelet, who speaks limited English, connects with Josh, an American man who’s also limited—in knowing how to talk to the opposite sex. The bilingual comedy begins Dec. 11 in the Keating Theatre and runs through March 8.
The next play in FST’s mainstage season recently ran on Broadway, starring Kerry Washington, Stephen Pasquale and Jeremy Jordan, and it’s written by Miami lawyer-playwright Christopher Demos-Brown. American Son focuses on an interracial couple looking for their missing teenage son at a Florida police station late one night, and it opens Jan. 22 to run through March 22 in the Gompertz.
A comedic drama by Matthew Lopez (The Whipping Man) closes out the mainstage season, April 1 through May 29. The Legend of Georgia McBride, in the Gompertz Theatre, is a light-hearted musical comedy involving an Elvis impersonator who loses his job when he’s replaced with a drag show. He starts to realize a lot about show business and himself during the course of the play.
Some well-known tunes by beloved musicians fill FST’s cabaret stages this season as well. Opening Sept. 25 in the Court Cabaret is That’s Amore!, celebrating Dean Martin as it takes a look at his career in comedy, TV, film and music. (Through Feb. 2.) That’s followed by a revised, updated version of Outlaws and Angels (Nov. 20-March 29), which features songs by such country legends as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton. (In the Goldstein Cabaret.) And the cabaret season will conclude with a brand-new music revue, Light My Fire, that celebrates the soundtrack of the 1960s with hits from songwriters including Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and the Beatles. Feb. 5-June 14 in the Court.
Also coming up in FST’s children’s programming this season: a new version of Pinocchio (Oct. 12-Nov. 2); a new version of Deck the Halls: A Holly Jolly Holiday (Nov. 30-Dec. 28); Tomas and the Library Lady, a two-actor version of a picture book by Mexican-American writer Pat Mora (Jan. 11-Feb. 22); and The Star That Could Not Twinkle & Other Winning Plays (March 28-April 18), the final showcase of FST’s Write a Play program featuring works by children in kindergarten through sixth grade.
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