Sarasota News Events:
FST ANNOUNCES THE LINEUP FOR ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON
(Sarasota, FL) – Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is proud to announce the lineup for its 50th Anniversary Season, featuring a four-show Winter Mainstage Series and a three-show Winter Cabaret Series. The Mainstage Series features a hit Broadway musical, a moving and comedic portrait of a family, a Florida Premiere, and a play with original music by Sugarland’s Kristian Bush. The Cabaret Series features three new musical revues celebrating the lyric poets of the 20th and 21st centuries. A season schedule at a glance follows this release.
“For our 50th Anniversary Season, we’ve put together a bold and ambitious lineup of shows filled with radical humanity,” said Richard Hopkins, FST’s Producing Artistic Director. “On the Mainstage, we’re producing a diverse selection of new plays, Broadway hits, original works, and familiar tales that illuminate the universal themes of our lives. In the Cabaret, we’re presenting three original music revues celebrating the brilliant lyric poets and top comedic songwriters of the 20th and 21st centuries.”
Called “Seriously funny” and “Delightful” by TheaterMania, Little Shop of Horrors kicks off FST’s 2023-24 Winter Mainstage Series on November 15 in FST’s Gompertz Theatre. In this hit Broadway sci-fi musical, a meek flower shop assistant named Seymour Krelborn discovers a new breed of plant, which he names “Audrey II” after his coworker crush. Audrey II turns out to be a saucy, R&B-singing carnivore that promises Seymour fame and fortune on one condition: Seymour must feed it blood. Soon, Seymour uncovers Audrey II’s out-of-this world origins and its man-eating appetite for global domination. With Book & Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Music by Alan Menken, Little Shop of Horrors has been entertaining audiences around the world for more than 40 years.
Next on the Mainstage is the Regional Premiere of Pictures From Home by Sharr White, which was adapted from the acclaimed photo memoir of the same name by Larry Sultan. From 1983-1992, Sultan interviewed and photographed his parents, which he mixed with stills from home videos to create a photobook that reflected on who his parents were—on and off camera. This dramatic comedy examines the mercurial nature of familial bonds and will begin playing December 13 in FST’s Keating Theatre.
Following this heartfelt comedy is The Lehman Trilogy, a five-time Tony Award-winning drama by Stefano Massini and adapted by Ben Power. The play opens in 1844, with Henry Lehman arriving in New York City from Germany, envisioning a fresh start in the unfamiliar land of opportunity. He is soon joined by his two brothers, Emanuel and Mayer, and an epic story of one family’s pursuit of the “American Dream” begins. 163 years later, the company the three brothers founded dramatically crumbles into bankruptcy, sparking the largest financial crisis in human history. Performed by just three actors, The Lehman Trilogy will begin playing January 31 in FST’s Gompertz Theatre.
“It’s a brilliantly written play that covers a huge swath of American history,” said Hopkins. “You get to follow a family from the day that the first Lehman brother steps foot on American soil to the calamitous ending of the family’s business, over a century later. You get to see how three generations of this family became part of the melting pot that is America.”
FST’s 50th Mainstage Series comes to a close with the Florida Premiere of Troubadour, a musical by Janece Shaffer with original music by Sugarland’s Kristian Bush. Set in Nashville in 1951, this heartfelt musical follows country music legend Billy Mason, who is on the eve of his retirement and is unsure if his soft-spoken son, Joe, will step into the spotlight and carry on his legacy. But when Joe meets an unlikely pair—a budding songwriter and a rodeo tailor on a mission—a revolution is born, and country music is changed forever. A Florida Premiere, Troubadour will run in FST’s Gompertz Theatre starting April 3.
In the Cabaret, FST presents two original musical revues celebrating the lyric poets of the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, along with a new Cabaret paying tribute to some of the best comedic songwriters of the past century.
Opening FST’s Winter Cabaret Series is Up on the Roof, a delightful new music revue celebrating the legendary songwriting teams—like Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and Burt Bacharach and Hal David—who helped create the iconic “Brill Sound.” During the 1950s and ‘60s these artists worked in Manhattan’s Brill Building, churning out hit after hit for groups like The Drifters, The Shirelles, and The Monkees. Featuring such songs as “A Teenager in Love,” “One Fine Day,” “Walk on By,” and “River Deep, Mountain High,” Up on the Roof will begin playing September 27 in FST’s Court Cabaret.
“These songwriters had a massive impact on the future of music, even if they didn’t know it at the time,” said Rebecca Hopkins, FST’s Managing Director and Lead Developer of Up on the Roof. “When these writers were at the Brill Building, they knew they were working in a machine-like environment cranking out hit after hit, but they didn’t think that their creations were going to last. But here we are, over 60 years later, and these songs are still part of popular culture. Ultimately, what these legendary writing duos were creating was what became pop music.”
Next in the Cabaret Series is Take it to the Limit, which will play in FST’s Goldstein Cabaret starting November 29, 2023. With hits by such iconic musicians as The Allman Brothers Band, The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Fleetwood Mac, this original musical revue tells the story of lessons learned from hard knocks and lively living. Take it to the Limit is a tribute to the Rock & Roll rebels of the 1970s who skillfully fused folk, country, and R&B to create a fresh, new sound. This new Cabaret features classics like “When Will I Be Loved,” “Ramblin’ Man,” “Landslide,” and “Hotel California,” which will be brought to life by a cast of actor-musicians.
FST’s Winter Cabaret Series culminates with The Flip Side, which begins playing in FST’s Court Cabaret February 7, 2024. This revitalized revue celebrates the absurdity of life through sardonic, ironic, and witty songs with sophisticated lyrics that tell the story of moronic characters. Featuring songs like “I’m My Own Grandpa,” “The Ballad of Sigmund Freud,” “Still Gonna Die,” and “Killed by a Coconut,” The Flip Side reveals the present state of our world—the good, the bad, and the funny.
With its mission to make theatre accessible to as many people as possible, FST offers all four Mainstage shows for as little as $69, and all three Cabarets for as little as $49. Subscriptions are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000.
SEASON AT A GLANCE
Little Shop of Horrors
Book & Lyrics by Howard Ashman
Music by Alan Menken
November 15, 2023 – January 7, 2024, in FST’s Gompertz Theatre
A hapless flower shop assistant, Seymour stumbles across a new breed of plant, which he names ‘Audrey II’ after his coworker crush. The saucy, R&B-singing carnivore promises Seymour unending fame and fortune with one condition: he must keep feeding it BLOOD. Seymour soon discovers Audrey II’s out-of-this-world origins and its man-eating appetite for global domination.
Pictures From Home
By Sharr White
Based on the photo memoir “Pictures From Home” by Larry Sultan
December 13, 2023 – February 18, 2024, in FST’s Keating Theatre
REGIONAL PREMIERE. A moving and comedic portrait of a mother, a father, and the son who photographed their lives. Drawing inspiration from Larry Sultan’s celebrated photo memoir, Pictures From Home will evoke recollections of childhood, parenthood, and the ever-changing nature of familial bonds. Can we ever really know our parents?
The Lehman Trilogy
By Stefano Massini
Adapted by Ben Power
January 31 – March 24, 2024 in FST’s Gompertz Theatre
Winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Play, The Lehman Trilogy is the story of a family and a company that changed the world. In 1844, a Bavarian youth stands upon a New York dock, envisioning a fresh start in the unfamiliar land of opportunity. Accompanied by his two brothers, an American saga unfolds. 163 years down the line, the company they founded – Lehman Brothers – dramatically crumbles into bankruptcy, sparking the largest financial crisis in human history.
Story by Janece Shaffer
With Original Music Kristian Bush
April 3 – May 19, 2024 in FST’s Gompertz Theatre
FLORIDA PREMIERE. It’s 1951 in Nashville. Country music legend Billy Mason is on the eve of his retirement. Can his soft-spoken son, Joe, step into the spotlight and carry on his legacy? When Joe joins forces with an unlikely pair—a budding songwriter and a rodeo tailor on a mission—a revolution is born, and country music is changed forever. Featuring music by Sugarland’s Kristian Bush.
Up on the Roof
By Rebecca Hopkins and Richard Hopkins
Musical Arrangements by Jim Prosser
Additional Support by Sarah Durham
September 27, 2023 – February 4, 2024 in FST’s Court Cabaret
In the 1950s and ‘60s, chart-topping songs burst out of Midtown Manhattan. The Brill Building stood at the center of it all. The iconic ‘Brill Sound’ produced legendary songwriting teams like Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, as well as Burt Bacharach and Hal David, who churned out hit after hit. Featuring songs like “A Teenager in Love,” “One Fine Day,” “Walk on By,” “River Deep Mountain High,” and many more.
Take It to the Limit
By Richard Hopkins, Rebecca Hopkins, and Sarah Durham
November 29, 2023 – April 7, 2024 in FST’s Goldstein Cabaret
A tribute to the music of the 1970s Rock & Roll rebels, who skillfully fused folk, country, and R&B to create a fresh, new sound. With hits by iconic musicians like The Allman Brothers Band, The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Fleetwood Mac, this guitar musical revue tells the story of lessons learned from hard knocks and lively living. Featuring songs such as “When Will I Be Loved,” “Ramblin’ Man,” “Landslide,” and “Hotel California.”
The Flip Side
By Rebecca Hopkins and Richard Hopkins
Musical Arrangements by Jim Prosser
February 4, 2024 – June 16, 2024 In FST’s Court Cabaret
Life is strange, and the people around us are even stranger. Sardonic, ironic, and even histrionic, these witty tunes are full of moronic characters and sophisticated lyrics that reveal the present state of our world—the good, the bad, and the funny. With songs like “I’m My Own Grandpa,” “The Ballad of Sigmund Freud,” “Still Gonna Die,” “Killed by a Coconut,” and others, this offbeat Cabaret pays tribute to some of the best comic songwriters of the 20th century.
About Florida Studio Theatre
Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is Sarasota’s contemporary theatre. Founded in 1973, FST has grown to a village of five theatres located in the heart of downtown Sarasota. Each theatre is small in size and large in impact— providing intimate and engaging settings for high-quality, professional performances.
Today, FST has established itself as a major force in American Theatre. FST is the largest subscription theatre in the state of Florida and among the largest in the country, serving more than 200,000 live attendees each year across its diverse programs: Mainstage, Cabaret, Stage III, Children’s Theatre, The FST School, and New Play Development.
Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to as many people as possible. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins, FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world. Hip and historical, entertaining and challenging, we are where everyone is welcome to engage in the art of theatre.