• Interview with Steve Dorff

    5-10-16 Interview

    5-9-16 Steve Dorff was hearing music in his head in his crib before he knew that it was music he was hearing. He could play rings around his older sister by the time he was four. His first – and only – piano teacher thought he was “unteachable,” but actually he needed to teach himself; to express what he heard instinctively. And what he heard instinctively would lead him to an extraordinarily successful career as a composer, arranger, orchestrator and conductor – all with no formal training. Listen to Steve tell the story of how he ingeniously taught himself to write complicated musical phrases, hear one of his hit songs and two songs from the score of Josephine, which he co-wrote with longtime collaborator John Bettis. And come to the Asolo Repertory Theater to see the premier performance of the soon to be Broadway Musical Josephine.

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  • Interview with Ana Maria Larson

    5-2-16 Interview

    5-2-16 Actor Ana Maria Larson was born and raised in Colombia. After completing her training she spent 15 years appearing in soap operas, commercials and the plays. In order to give her 8 year old son a chance at a better life she immigrated to West Palm Beach FL. There was little opportunity to work as an actor so, although it broke her heart, she gave up acting and became a hairdresser. Ironically the pastor of her church recognizing her acting experience, tapped her to create a theater ministry. Soon Ana Maria found herself writing, producing and acting in the plays that would make the points the pastor wished to convey to his congregation. Ana Maria is relatively new to the Sarasota area and has landed her first role. She is Molly in the Players Theatre production of The Smell of the Kill by Michele Lowe. The Smell of the Kill features 3 female actors; the sophisticated Nicki played by Carrie McQueen, the conventional Debra played by Pamela Hopkins and the ditzy Molly played by Ana Maria. As Molly, Ana Maria brings a sparkling sauciness to the role, her speedy speech pattern and Spanish accent give the role of Molly added punch. It’s a pleasure to welcome this sparkling new addition to our theater community. Don’t miss The Smell of the Kill – Ana Maria is only one of the delightful surprised you will find when you do.

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  • Interview with Taurean Blacque

    4-26-16 Interview

    4-26-16 Actor Taurean Blacque is most famous for playing Detective Neal Washington on the 1980s NBC drama Hill Street Blues, for which he was nominated for an Emmy. He received the 1985 NAACP Image Award for his role in a production of Amen and had a long and extensive film, TV and movie career, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Listen to this extraordinary man talk about his truly unique life; how and why he didn’t discover acting till he was 30 years old and how, once having discovered it, he pursued it relentlessly. Hear him tell of his fight against the discrimination which declared he could not adopt a child because he was “male, single and black,” and how it lead to his remarkable adoption of 11 at risk children, making him the role model for such adoptions and causing President George W Bush to tap him as Spokesman for Adoption. But most of all come and see him play the iconic role of Hoke alongside Carolyn Michel and Kraig Swartz the West Coast Black Theater production of Driving Miss Daisy.




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  • Memorial for Jim Noble

    4-19-16 Interview 

    James Noble was devoted to his older brother who desperately wanted to be an actor, but who died heroically in the world War ll. Jim also served in the Navy during the war and, after returning, decided to be the actor his brother never had the chance to be. Listen to him tell the touching and remarkable story of the ironic way he discovered his own destiny – that of being an actor. Jim became a member of the Actors Studio where he studied with Lee Strasberg. He began his stage career in the 1949 Broadway production of “The Velvet Glove.” He is best known for his portrayal of the absent-minded Gov. Gatling on the hit 1980s ABC sitcom “Benson,” which ran for seven seasons and as John Hancock in the musical “1776” and the Rev. John Witherspoon in its1972 movie adaptation. Listen to him talk about the ironic way in which he got these roles – although admittedly – “he can’t sing.” Jim never stopped working and when I interviewed him – he was 92 – he was an active member of The Theater Artists Workshop in Norwalk CN, and looking forward to doing a production of Love Letters with actress E Katherine Kerr,

    Jim’s theater credits included A Far Country, a hit drama about Sigmund Freud which starred Stephen Hill and Kim Stanley .Electra, Night of the Dunce, The Rimers of Eldritch, The Death of the Well-Loved Boy, Trainer Dean Liepolt and Company, A Scent of Flowers, The Long Christmas Dinner and The Vienna Notes.

    His TV credits included episodes of “The Love Boat,” “Perfect Strangers,” “Law & Order,” and the soap operas “One Life to Live,” “Another World,” “The Brighter Day,” “As the World Turns,” “The Doctors” and “A World Apart.” He also appeared in the films “One Summer Love” (1976), “10” (1979), “Promises in the Dark” (1979), “Being There” (1979), “Airplane II: The Sequel” (1982), “A Tiger’s Tale” (1987), “Paramedics” (1988) and “Chances Are” (1989).

    His movie credits included “Being There”  (1979), “10” (1979), “Airplane ll: the Sequel,” (1982)

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  • Interview with AK Murhbatah

    4-12-16 Audio Interview

    AK Murhbatah discovered his desire to and delight in performing by the time he was six years old. You can still hear the joy his second grade self-felt at being singled out to be the “Imp who saved Christmas.” But his father didn’t approve and it took a very long time for him to stake a claim to himself, and be what he always knew he was – an actor. Listen to this charming, unguarded man talk about his round-about journey to his destination and come see the results in his standout performance as– Dr. Martin Luther King in All the Way and Dr. John Prentice in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner currently playing at the Asolo Repertory Theatre.

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  • Interview with Louisa Flannigan

    4-5-16 Audio Interview

    Louisa Flannigan was destined to be a performer but she had to travel a haphazard path to realize it. She fell in love with modern dance as a child but believed, as her family and extended community believed, that a career in dance couldn’t support you. She soon realized that majoring in elementary education was a mistake and became an art major. Still it took a serendipitous series of events to show her what she was meant to do. Listen to Louisa tell the story of how her fear of water is responsible for her finding what was so very definitely her destiny.

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  • Interview with Annie Morrison

    3-29-16 Audio Interview

    Multi-talented actor, singer, dance, writer, producer and advocate Annie Morrison’s, career includes standout Broadway and Cabaret performances. She won The 2010 John Ringling Towers Fund Award and the Best Actress Award at the 2012 United Solo Festival for her one woman show which inspired her to join with Blake Walton and David Coyle to create Sarasolo – a one person solo festival in Sarasota FL. She has also won the Theatre World Award©, a Drama Desk Award© Nomination, the Drama-Logue, SAMMY, HANDY and Sarasota Magazine Awards and a Best Plays Citation. Listen to this one of a kind talent talk about her early life, her commitment to creativity in all of its forms, collaboration instead of competition and encouraging creative humans wherever she finds them. And come see her in the Freefall theatre production of Sondheim on Sondheim. Also hear her singing a cut from the original cast album of Sondheim’s Broadway musical; Merrily We Roll Along in which she originated the role of Mary Flynn.

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  • Interview with Cecil Washington Jr.

    3-22-16 Interview

    Actor, dancer, singer Cecil Washington Jr. and his middle school friends were fooling around with a video camera, pretending to act out a movie. When Cecil saw himself on film he was hooked. The feeling in his body told him that this was what he was meant to do. But since he was skilled in math and science and his parents wanted him to be a doctor – he put his dream of being an actor aside. In college (while majoring in pre-health) he happened to see a call for auditions for a show – Cecil got that same feeling in his body and although he’d had no training went to audition. Listen to Cecil tell the story of that audition; of his re discovered his need to perform and the startling surprise discovery of gifts he hadn’t known he had. Finally Cecil accepted his destiny and changed his major. Come see the result of his powerful belief in what he was meant to do as he stars as Sam Cooke in the West Coast Black Theater Troupe’s production of Sam Cooke Story.

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  • Interview with Barry Pearl

    3-15-16 Audio Interview

    Barry Pearl believes he was born to perform. He was singing, telling jokes and mimicking as a toddler. As the youngest boy in tap class, little Barry and the youngest girl performed for a large audience and Barry was “bitten.” He began to get roles in an adult company and was playing the Duke of York in a production with Roy Scheider when he was 9 years old. He got his first role on Broadway, that of Randolph McAfee in Bye Bye Birdie, when he was 11. And has been an actor ever since. Listen to Barry describe the “woo woo” way his life progressed: the unexpected way he became a director and the irony of having lost a role on a TV show just in time to be cast in the movie version of Grease. Currently Barry lives and works as an actor, director and teacher in Los Angeles. He has just finished a production of the musical 13 and will open a production of Camp Rock for Panic Productions at the NoHo Arts theatre in North Hollywood on May 6th.You can also see Barry as Stan Weaver (the producer for National Bandstand) in GREASE: LIVE which will air on March 27th on FOX.

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  • Interview with George Tynan Crowley

    March 8 Audio Interview

    George Tynan Crowley had a mystical experience at the age of 7 when he spontaneously volunteered to read the prayer at communion and knew that he was meant to “speak out.” From then on he followed this path to speak out by becoming a versatile, talented actor, director, writer, and producer. Listen to this charming, articulate man talk about his work in theater and film, his belief in the power of theater to transform lives and his personal philosophy of life. Come see his powerful performance in the meaningful and beautiful play, Outside Mullingar, currently running at Florida Studio Theater and listen to Sharon Leslie’s review of the play.

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  • Interview with David Breitbarth and Doug Jones

    March 1, 2016 Audio Interview

    Talented and versatile actors David Breitbarth and Doug Jones, both long time members of the The Asolo Repertory Theatre Co are currently appearing in Eugene O’Neil’s comedy Ah Wilderness, listen to these serious professionals talk about their lives and their work. And Listen to Sharon Leslie’s review of Ah Wilderness.

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  • Interview with Summer Dawn Wallace

    2-23-16 Audio Interview

    Summer Dawn Wallace discovered acting at four years old. Listen to the sweet story of how little Summer learned that a person could be anything she wanted to be. For example, every day she pretended to be a different animal, and if that day’s animal was a cat, little Summer refused to eat at the table insisting that her mother feed her on the floor. This began a lifelong commitment to creating alternate realities for herself and her audiences culminating, with co-founder Brendan Ragan in the creation of the Urbanite Theater, Sarasota’s newest and most unique theater company. In a very short time The Urbanite has proved Brendan and Summer right – that they are clearly filling a need in the community, is borne out by their swift and remarkable success.

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  • Interview with Johnny Epstien

    2-16-16 Audio Interview

    Johnny Epstein has had a long career as a Shakespearian Player and acting teacher. Although he knew from age 7 that he was comfortable on stage – when he spontaneously ad-libbed to cover a fellow student missed cue – it was a series of unplanned and unintended actions and comments that lead him to realize that acting was his career. To help him overcome a fear of water his parents sent him to Tuffs Magic Circle summer day camp because campers were encouraged to swim and, by the way, spent the mornings doing theater. Johnny spent 3 years there enjoying doing plays but did not think of acting as a “profession.” Following his first performance in a Shakespeare play (As You Like it) the shop teacher a “plain man with little exposure to Shakespeare” said “I saw that As You Like it – you’re a great actor – is this going to be your profession” This was the first time Johnny considered of acting as a profession. Listen to this knowledgeable, articulate  man describe the ironic way he got his first role on Broadway and talk about his life, the work of acting, and the upcoming production of Macbeth – performed by his class of 2nd year graduate students at the FSU Conservatory for Acting Training.

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  • Audio Interview with Robert Douglas

    2-9-16 Interview

    Robert Douglas fell in love with acting when, at 8 years old, he saw a production of Raisin in the Sun. He identified so strongly with the character of Walter Lee Younger that began to inhabit the character of Walter Lee and believe that it was his job “to tell Walter Lee’s story. “ And when he saw Lady Sings the Blues he researched and fell in love with Billie Holliday’s music. These events lead him to pursue the world of characters and stories. Listen to this passionate, articulate man talk about his journey. If you saw him in the Westcoast Black Theater Troupe’s production of The Whipping Man – you already know how talented an actor he is. Come and get another opportunity to see him at work in the WBTT production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

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  • Interview with Emily Sophia Knapp

    2-2-16 Audio Interview

    Having accompanied her mother to rehearsals when she produced West Side Story for a local theater group, nine year old Emily Sophia Knapp feel in love with the theater and when she saw her friend in a 50 kid production she knew that was what she wanted to do. But Emily has many interests and she didn’t want to miss out on anything. At Harvard she pursued independent research but found it too solitary and so she went to England to study acting. She sent a letter to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival asking for an audition and spent 2 years living the actor’s life in NY until OSF finally responded, gave her an audition and offered her a position. It was during her two years as an actor at the festival that she discovered an interest in everything about “how plays get produced;” she learned to write grants and developed a software program for the festival. It was there that she also began to direct, becoming assistant director for the earliest productions of All the Way – which she is currently directing for the Asolo Repertory Theatre Company. Listen to this exuberant, flexible, charming woman talk about her unusual path and hear Sharon Leslie’s review of All the Way.

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  • Interview with Soprano Rebecca Caine

    1-26-16 Audio Interview

    Internationally known Soprano and versatile actor Rebecca Caine’s life had a rocky start. When her parents separated her mother took Rebecca and her younger sister out of school and relocated them in London. When Mom and younger sister returned to Dad, Rebecca remained in London. When at 17 she unexpectedly left the Guild Hall School she was alone, without friends or family. But talent and tenacity helped her endure and overcome sadness, loneliness, and depression. Then she was surprisingly picked to create the role of Cosette in the Royal Shakespeare Company premier production of Les Miserables and to originate the role of Christine in Phantom of the Opera. Since then her career has included Opera, Musical Theater and Cabaret. And now luckily for us she is staring in her very first “straight play,” as The Diva in Living on Love at the Asolo Repetory Theater Company. Living on Love by playwright Joe DiPietro is a glorious confection. Genius director Peter Amster found every laugh in this piece and invented many of his own, Karl Hamilton as The Maestro is amazing – especially if you saw him as a very different character – Sen Hubert Humphrey in All the Way. But the star of this piece is the sparkling Rebecca Caine, come to support this courageous and talented woman – or just come to have a roaring good time.

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  • SaraSolo 2016 Interviews

    1-12-15 SaraSolo2016 Interviews

    Last year Annie Morrison, Blake Walton and David Coyle created a one person performance festival called SaraSolo. It was a huge success. This year it is back. SaraSolo 2016 brings a new crop of diverse, interesting and compelling performances. Carolyn Michel and Christine Alexander are two of those performers.

    Carolyn Michel is a staple in the Sarasota theater community. A brilliantly talented actress, she is one of the longest members of the Asolo Repertory Company who has performed at every virtually theater venue. She is bringing a pastiche of several of her favorite characters to SaraSolo2016. Come see her bring Dorothy Parker, Rose, Bev, Trudy, Ann Landers and others both real and fictional to life on Sat 1/23 at 7:00 pm.

    Christine Alexander is founding member of Florida Studio Theatre’s Improv Troupe, and the Lazy Fairie Improv Troupe. Christine has brought her infectious capacity to generate laughter to businesses, corporations, non-profits and regular people’s living rooms. At SaraSolo 2015 Christine brought the audience to their feet. Jay Handelman says of her “she keeps finding new ways to keep everyone laughing.” She’s bringing her improvisational magic to SaraSolo2016 on Sat 1/23 at 1:00 PM

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  • Interview with Dewayne Barrett

    1-5-16 Interview with Dewayne Barrett

    Dewayne Barrett knew he was a performer by the time he was four. He was encouraged by a family that recognized and enjoyed his talent – putting him on the kitchen table to do the popular dances and getting him on the Romper Room. Always able to mimic whatever movement he saw Dewayne was offered scholarships wherever he applied; first at the Georgia Ballet Company and the Atlanta Jazz Theater and later with Steps on Broadway. All through high school Dewayne studied dance, voice and acting and remarkably a choreographer saw him dance and offered him a job and a place to live in New York City and Dewayne has been working dancer, actor, choreographer, director ever since. Listen to this charming Southern boy talk about his extraordinary ride, and hear some of the iconic songs from A Chorus Line which he is currently directing and performing in for the Manatee Performing Arts Hall.

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  • Audio Interview with Ben Vereen

    11-17-2015 Audio Interview with Ben Vereeen

    Ben Vereen is an icon; star of stage and screen, he is an internationally known and loved performer. Although he was singing and dancing in church and entertaining at churches and hospitals by the time he was four, Ben had no aspirations to be a performer; he thought he was going into the military. It took a very perceptive school principal to insist that he try out for the school of performing arts, and another perceptive teacher to see though his “bad audition.” Listen to the ironic way life conspired to help him find his passion. And once having found it he grabbed on and hasn’t let go. His credits include Wicked, I’m not Rappaport, Chicago, Hair, Jelly’s Last Jam, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Christmas Carol and winning the Tony and Drama Desk awards for his performance in Bob Fosse’s Pippen. His movies include Idlewild, All That jazz, Sweet Charity, and Funny Lady. TV; How I Met Your Mother, Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, Law and Order, Criminal Intent, Armstrong. His latest film Time out of Mind costarring Richard Gere opened in September. He’s been inducted into both the Theater Hall of Fame and the Dance Hall of Fame. Hyper aware that his generation “failed to make good on its promise to create a safer more humane world,” Ben has re-imagined the iconic musical Hair and directed a very young cast at the Venice Theater in Venice FL in a production that will run Dec 13th. He hopes that by bringing this version to a current audience he will jump start a renewal of the spirit contained there. Listen to this serious, funny, self-deprecating, man talk about his life, his hopes for his version of Hair; and hear Sharon Leslie’s review as well as several songs from the show.

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  • Interview with Scott Kuiper and Kelly Elizabeth Smith

    11-10-15 Audio Interview

    Scott Kuiper and Kelly Elizabeth Smith are second year students at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for actor training appearing in in The Actor’s Nightmare and The Real Inspector Hound, which is currently running from 11/4-22 at the Cook Theater. Scott is the actor in The Actor’s Nightmare and Kelly, who plays several very different parts in Nightmare, has a leading role in Hound. Listen to these charming, passionate actors talk about the very different ways they each arrived at their chosen career. And hear Sharon Leslie’s review of The Actor’s Nightmare.

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