Saturday March 15 2008

I arrived at the Tampa Airport at 1:15 Thursday after an easy flight. The Company Manager, a delightful woman Melody Mora, met me at the airport and we drove back to Sarasota. Florida Studio Theatre takes up 2 blocks and is a stones throw from the Marina. Everything here is pastel colored as opposed to the varying shades of black & grey in New York City. It was 75 degrees and humid. I was given a tour of FST’s complex, which consists of 2 administration buildings one of which houses all the design & production departments, and 3 separate Theaters. The main theatre The Keating houses Jewtopia until Mar 28 when we move in the Gompertz across the street to continue our extension. The European Cabaret, which is there now closes on the 27th. The Keating is a charming 173 stadium seat theatre, and the lobby & dining area are rustic with some old money shabby chic attitude. Florida Studio Theatre has the largest subscription base than ANY other theatre in Florida state… wow! They also have many youth & educational programs and receives a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). Quite a reputable organization.

My housing is in a cute 1920’s pink 3-bedroom bungalow 1 block from the water, and 4 blocks from the theatre. We cannot get Internet access at the house, but there is free Internet a few blocks away at the Whole Foods Complex. I purchased TMobile Hot-Spot for Starbucks, but Murphy’s Law… the closest starbucks does not carry it. Argh! So they will be very familiar with me at Whole Foods.
It’s not bad I guess, I can go there during the daytime, sit outside under the shade in the nice sun but humid weather. I’ll have to check at the theatre & see if they have any access I can use.
One roommate is in European Cabaret & will be leaving in 3 weeks. The other just arrived a few days before me & is in the next mainstage production The Miamians. Both nice guys.
After taking care of all the “other” stuff: going over the contract, payroll, meeting wardrobe, I then met with Jon the Stage Manager, and the stage crew. A nice bunch of guys & gals, all offering to assist me in any way they could. I will be watching every performance thru Sunday and after Thursday night’s performance, I fell in love with the show. Basically it’s about 2 guys who grew up together & meet 16 years later as they approach 30. The Jewish guy wants to date a Jewish gal but can’t get one. The Gentile guy wants to date a Jewish gal & always gets one but want to be more Jewish. So they decide to help each other, teaching the other to be more “Jewish” & helping the other to get more dates. It contains every stereotypical Jewish idiosyncrasy that exists; you must be able to laugh with it, in order to enjoy it otherwise you might be insulted.

After the show I met the cast & was given a really nice welcome. I met the actor that plays the Jewish guy at the call backs & he said he was hoping it was me who was replacing the other actor. I’m glad he was cast, really nice guy. The rest of the cast is very warm & welcoming, most are from NYC. So I get to watch 6 performances, Monday is off (for them, but I will be clawing at my lines and blocking notes), and Tuesday morning we will have a “put in”, which is basically my one & only dress rehearsal onstage and with the cast. And Tuesday evening is my first performance. The stage manager Jon has been very helpful with integrating me into the cast, and he will be my director, as the original director has already left. So many people have offered to run lines with me, including the gentleman I’m replacing.

After tonight’s performance I attended a “Talk Back” FST has after every performance that is not on a 2-performance day. A therapist is the facilitator to speak to audience members that attend as well as cast members. (for the actors they are not mandatory for every performance, but we are encouraged to attend a couple each week, so there is always an actors present) Tonight was small considering Jewtopia is playing to capacity at every performance, and the 2 couples that stayed were nice & just kvelling over how much they loved the production & how it touched parts of their lives.

Today I will be going to wardrobe at 1PM for a fitting of my costumes & watch the 2 performances tonight.

So until the next entry….
“If music be the food of love, play on. I can’t remember if that’s Marlowe or Bacon”.
Quoted from “Your Own Thing” Off-Broadway rock musical version of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” circa 1973

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