1. Tell us a little bit about the show and your role.
GODSPELL is a musical that brings hope and love by using the parables based on the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus teaches the others fundamentals on how to love our fellow neighbor through-out the show. In Godspel, Jesus is not the normal “Jesus” that you are familiar with. He is more of a ring-leader of this group of people, teaching them in a very youthful, charismatic manner.
2. What attracted you to this show/role in particular?
The community. This show brings the actors together to form a bond of trust and hope so we can then come together to build a better community than we already have on the first coast. This show reminds the audience how and why to give love and to accept it.
3. How is Godspell different from other musicals?
I think Bradley Akers put it best, to really get an understanding of this show, the actors in particular have to think about each parable as its own play. There's not just one clear story and objective for the characters during the show, but small objectives for each parable. Those objectives usually involve learning something.
4. What is special about this production’s take on the show?
The great thing about Godspell is that you really have a lot of artistic and conceptual freedom. We (the ensemble) are entering this word as ourselves, but knowingly performing a show in this abandoned vaudeville house. It's interesting to see how many different routes someone could take this show.
5. What has been the most challenging part of this process? The most rewarding?
Staying vocally healthy. This show does not have scenes, We are on stage from curtain call to intermission. So our voices don’t really get a break through-out the duration of the show. Its been a process for sure.
With just a few days until opening night for Martin McDonagh's twisted tale, A Behanding in Spokane, PBTS bloggers wanted to chat with some members of the cast. One of those being Kasi Walters, an actress who holds her own as the only female in this wildly talented cast. PBTS blogger Sadie La Manna sat down with Walters, who is no stranger to the Studio Stage, and discussed what brought this talent back for more! Check it out!
1. Where have audiences seen you on the PBTS stage?
I've worked with many talented folks at Players on quite a few productions. Some of them include, BUG, in which I was honored for Best Actress in a play in 2012. I was also involved in Olive and the Bitter Herbs, Tommy, The Lonesome West and Al Letson's Crumbs, among others.
2. What made you want to get back involved in theatre?
Pretty much, the stars aligned and brought me to a place in my life where I COULD get back involved. Theatre is the biggest love of my life and being on stage is my favorite thing EVER! Simple as that.
3. What attracted you to this show/role in paticular?
In all honesty, I really just wanted any way to get back on stage. I also thought it would be great to work with Stephanie again. As far as Marilyn goes, I knew she'd be a blast to bring to life.
4. What has been the most challenging part of this process? The most rewarding?
Most challenging: Many of my lines are similar and happen sporadically. I just want to get it right. Most rewarding: Knowing that we have a show on our hands.
5. Describe A Behanding in Spokane in three words.
Shameless. Foul. Fun.
As our 50th Season begins, so does the fall semester of our outstanding Performing Arts Studio! Whether you choose an introductory or in-depth experience, the Performing Arts Studio provides a unique opportunity for students to utilize their imaginations in group and solo settings, expressing themselves in wonderful and unexpected ways. PBTS Blogger Sadie La Manna, wanted to find out more about the dedicated instructors that inspire our students, so she sat down with Educational Director Gary Baker.
1. When did you begin your education in theatre?
I was a very shy child and it wasn't until my Junior year of high school that I found the passion for theatre. From that year on I've been learning as much as possible about as many theatre genres as possible.
2. When did you begin your residency at PBTS and classes do you teach at The Performing Arts Studio?
I've been working for PBTS for about 7 years on and off doing everything from cleaning the theatre, building sets, painting, helping with makeup for shows and teaching. As of right now I teach all of the Middle School, High School and Adult Acting and improvisation classes and camps.
3. Why do you believe theatre education is important for students?
Theatre Education is important because it gives the students a safe place where they can try out new things and not be afraid to fail. If they do fail, they can quickly learn from the experience and apply that to future projects. This process is helpful in real life as well. You learn how to pick yourself up and move forward in a different direction.
4. What would you say to kids who are interested in theatre, but might be a little nervous to start?
Theatre is all about playing. Don't think of it as acting in front of an audience, think of it as telling a story through play.
5. What’s next for The Performing Arts Studio?
We're hoping to grow the program to include different types of classes that aren't necessarily offered in the Jacksonville area.
Opening night for AIDA is close at hand, and PBTS Bloggers wanted to get to know the infamous love triangle a little better. We sat down with Keri Hicks, Devin Reardon and Sadie La Manna (a fellow PBTS blogger) to get the scoop on these three dynamic characters. Check it out!
1. Tell us a little bit about Aida.
Kerri: In its simplest form, the Nubian princess Aida is captured by the Egyptians and their captain, Radames. Although he is betrothed to the Egyptian Princess Amneris, Aida and Radames fall in love which then causes a series of rocky events.
Sadie: Aida is a story about falling in love, but it is much more than that. It’s truly a story about the many facets of love and how hard it actually is to follow your heart, knowing there might be negative repercussions.
Devin: Also the difference about Aida from other love stories is that it offers a take on this story through the eyes of a strong willed, quick witted, and golden hearted woman. And not only that but it explores the minds of the other characters so well that it weaves a quilt-like story patching together these character's best and worst qualities,
2. In a few words could each of you describe your character and what challenges they face?
Kerri: Aida is every woman. She's a lover, a daughter and a leader to many. This story shows what happens when these hats don't mesh well. In this story we see Aida forced to decide between her past and her future.
Devin: Radames is a warrior. His struggle is to find something worthwhile to believe in. And though he has a fickle mind and starts the story with little awareness of life's more fragile moments, through his love (and disdain) for Aida he discovers what life's true meaning is: fighting for what you love no matter what the cost.
Sadie: Amneris is surprisingly complex. When we first see her interacting with Aida and other Egyptians she comes off as very superficial and carefree. Her main challenge is breaking down that exterior and discovering who she is and what she truly cares about, outside of the fashion and fads.
3. What personally connects you to your character?
Kerri: Aida and I share a sense of responsibility and duty to those around us, sometimes to a fault.
Devin: I've learned so much about myself and my craft during this process, and the same thing happens to Radames. As he follows his heart, he ends up falling down a rabbit hole that bangs and bruises him, but leaves him more mindful as a human being than he ever was before.
Sadie: I too went on a journey of personal growth with my character, Amneris. Things she first thought she cared about weren’t really all that important to her. But discovering how to live and be satisfied with herself was, and that resonates a lot in my personal life.
4. What do you think AIDA will offer to audiences?
Devin: Of course, Elton John's music and the timeless story of Aida create a gut-wrenching production that audiences can bring their entire families to. The amount of love we bring to it as a cast and crew is palpable and can be felt by everyone in the theatre. I don't know if it's magic, but for some reason this show always bewitches audiences and artists alike.
Kerri: Aida is a love story that can relate to anyone. It surrounds three lovers who are in search of more than just a human connection. Their journey of self-discovery pits them in the face of their deepest fears and forces them to become more than what they are
Sadie: Like Kerri said, many if not all of the characters go on a personal journey. Whether it’s discovering new love, having to become a leader, fighting for what you want, or finding out who you are, there is something that every audience member can relate to and say “Yeah, I know what that feels like.” It’s something very rare.
Mr. Burns A Post-Electric Play's opening night is quickly approaching and with that we wanted to touch base with some of the faces that will appear on the stage. One of those faces will be Josh Waller, who was last seen on the Mainstage at PBTS in Angels in America. PBTS Blogger Sadie La Manna sat down with the actor to discuss his upcoming role in this post-electric tale. Take a peek!
1. Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric…can you describe what the title really means in terms of a description of the show?
The play is about how Americans entertain and sustain when the lights go out forever.
2. What attracted you to this play?
I read the play over a year ago and was first struck by its originality and how different it was from anything I’d ever read. I fell in love with the script immediately, and that love has only grown as we’ve gotten further into the rehearsal process.
3. Can you describe your role(s)?
My character is Gibson, who joins our group of survivors late in the first scene. He ultimately teaches the group how to use pop culture for fun and eventually for profit.
4. What has been the most challenging part of this process as an actor?
There is quite a bit of music in the show and as a musician who knows their way around a traditional musical, this music was extremely difficult!
5. In one sentence, describe what audiences might get from watching this show.
Audiences are going to get a truly entertaining evening at the theatre and will see a show unlike anything they’ve ever seen before!
There are many incredible and immensely fun ways to get involved at YOUR Beaches theatre!
Volunteers are the backbone of Players by the Sea, the bow of the ship and the air that keeps the heart pumping. The actors you see onstage, the technicians you don't see, the front of house staff greeting you or pouring your drink before the show, the ones who paint the sets and bring them to life are ALL volunteers.
Our doors are always open to those wanting to get involved, whether it is an individual holding a Masters Degree in Theatre or an individual who always wanted to give back or get involved. We have a place for you!
Check out the many ways you can get involved here at Players by the Sea!
BACKSTAGE. ANY EXPERIENCE LEVEL.
Deck Crew: Usually for larger scale musicals or plays with a number of locations and moving parts, the Deck Crew is responsible for quickly transitioning from world to world during the show. This includes any number of duties: sweeping the stage before the show, setting the props, getting the props from actor to actor, helping with quick costume changes, conducting scene changes during the show.
Light Board/Sound Board Operators: Pure magic! Our Light & Sound Board Operators run the show, executing the light cues and sound cues to help create the magic of the world in the play. Depending on the process, the Operators may take their cues from the Stage Manager or they may run the show themselves. Other duties include turning on the light & sound boards, conducting channel checks, rehearsing cues with the crew to ensure safe and efficient transitions.
Set Construction/Fabrication/Dressing/Painting: For those individuals who like to work with their hands, use power tools, paint or decorate - this is the position for you! Depending on the schedule for the show, these volunteers come in a couple of Saturday's prior to the Tech Week to help fabricate the physical world of the play.
Make Up Artist: For those individuals who LOVE to do make up or who know a thing or two about stage make up - this is the position for you! Occasionally, we will do a show that requires a certain style of make up (EX. Young Frankenstein's Monster make up or Reefer Madness's comic book style make up) or just heavier make up. This artist is an immense help to the cast.
PRODUCTION TEAM. ADVANCED EXPERIENCE LEVEL.
Stage Management: Stage Managers are communication central. Juggling communication between all of the various technical and artistic departments of a production, Stage Managers assist to bring the Director's vision to life logistically. Once the show opens, it's the Stage Manager's ship. From calling light and sound cues to sweeping the stage to making sure actors are ready to go - the Stage Manager is a vitally appreciated role in a production.
(Assistant Stage Manager are ALWAYS welcome to learn the ropes!)
Costume Designer: Have a knack for fashion? Have an interest in period style clothing? Have experience in Costume Design? Costumes play a key role in the development of character and weave in and out of the conceptual mind of the Director. Costume Designers at PBTS have access to our Costume Shop, equipped with a sewing machine and accessories/possibilities galore!
(Assistant Costume Designers are ALWAYS welcome to learn the ropes!)
Sound Designer: The Sound Design for any production is a complex world. Sound Designers must have the mind and research capabilities to find the right sounds for the world of the play and then determine how the sound levels can affect the mood of the performance. A general knowledge of Sound Boards, Music Extension Files, Speaker Input & Output is preferred.
(Assistant Sound Designers are ALWAYS welcome to learn the ropes!)
Lighting Designer: The Lighting Design for any production is an integral part of creating the world of the play. Lighting Designers at PBTS start from the very beginning, weaving their concepts with the Director's vision and concepts to create a color palette, textures, moods, motifs and patterns. From there, with the assist of Technical Director EXTRAORDINAIRE Jim Wiggins, the Lighting Designer will hang and focus the lighting instruments to ensure full visibility, provide special lighting for special moments as requested by the director and split the stage into balanced (or unbalanced) zones to achieve different lighting effects. A strong knowledge of lighting theory and technology, equipment and terminology is highly preferred.
(Assistant Lighting Designers are ALWAYS welcome to learn the ropes!)
Properties Master/Mistress: The Properties Master/Mistress are charged with sourcing hand and furniture props for the production. Properties Master/Mistress spend time researching the right time period, region, etc. to ensure that we our standard of professional production quality is matched with appropriate props.
(Assistant Properties Master/Mistresses are ALWAYS welcome to learn the ropes!)
FRONT OF HOUSE. ANY EXPERIENCE LEVEL.
Front of House staff receive a free ticket to that evening's performance.
Concessions Staff: Bar volunteers are responsible for pouring drinks for patrons if they wish to have a beer, wine, soda or water before the show AND at intermission. The Bar volunteers are also responsible helping to pick up any trash and programs left in the theatre immediately following the performance when the house is cleared.
Volunteering is fun at Players by the Sea! Our doors are always open for you to get involved. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email Bradley Akers (Associate Director) at email@example.com or Joe Schwarz (Executive Director) at firstname.lastname@example.org for Backstage/Production Team volunteering opportunities. For Front of House volunteer options, please email Sadie La Manna (Box Office Manager) at email@example.com.
We hope to hear from you soon!
With the opening of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike approaching,
the PBTS bloggers wanted to touch base with some of our talented actors who will be gracing the stage next week. One of those actors is Rob Banks, a familiar face on the PBTS stage who has stunned with his powerful voice and left audiences in stitches with his comedic timing. Sadie La Manna sat down with Rob to chat about his experience in his latest production. Take a look below!
1. Tell us about Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike?
What am I supposed to say here? It’s funny. It’s emotional. It’s a comedy about family and relationships with a hint of farce and a strong undercurrent of ennui. I think there’s someone for everyone in this cast whether it’s the dour angst of Sonia or the brash vibrancy of Masha. Between them sits Vanya; uncertain if he’s a participant in their drama or just the peacekeeper.
2. We last saw you on the stage as Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar, so what attracted you to performing in a straight play?
Well, there were 2 things that really attracted. The first was getting to work with Jason Collins again. He directed me in last year’s “The Fox on the Fairway” and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had on the Players stage. He has a great feel for comedy and general stagecraft. The second was the script itself. Christopher Durang provides us with characters that we feel we could know and then gives them completely believable dialogue.
3. Do you find musicals more challenging then straight plays, or vice versa?
Each presents different challenges and hurdles. I find it much easier to memorize a song but you can add more innuendo to a speech since you choose the rhythm and pitch. It really comes down to the character. And the cast and the crew and the story and everything else. If I must choose, I would say musicals only because they have a longer time commitment.
4. What surprised you during this particular process as an actor?
I can see a lot of this character in myself. I didn’t expect that. And how much different comedy feels when you’re the straight man. It’s not easier or harder; just different. Also, that my brain can still hold so many words in, hopefully, the right order.
5. Describe Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike in three words.
Honest, funny, Durang
As the second part of our Marching into Madness series, PBTS presents a special 3 night engagement of [title of show]. This production travels from the Limelight Theatre in St. Augustine, where it was staged this past August. Sadie LaManna sat down with the director (and actor) Christopher Pritchard, and talked about what PBTS audiences could expect.
1. Tell us a little bit about [title of show].
Jeff and Hunter, two struggling writers, hear about a new musical theatre festival. However, the deadline for submissions is a mere three weeks away. With nothing to lose, the pair decides to try to create something new with the help of their friends Susan, Heidi and Larry on the keyboard. With the cast in place, Jeff and Hunter begin a conversation about what to write about. Eventually, Jeff suggests they write about what to write about. They make a pact to write up until the festival’s deadline and dream about the show changing their lives. [title of show] follows Hunter, Jeff, and their friends on their journey through the gauntlet of creative self-expression. In the span of 90 minutes they write and perform their show at the festival and learn lessons about themselves as people, friends and artists.
2. Why act in and direct the show?
Because I am a gluten for punishment! No… but seriously this production started out as a crazy “what if…” I ran the idea by Beth Lambert, the Executive Director of Limelight Theatre, and she gave us the green light and the rest is history! I suppose part of me is really connected to the character of Jeff and I knew I wanted to play him but I really wanted to have a hand in shaping all of these characters and their relationships. But to take all of the credit for the direction of this piece would be a complete disservice to my amazing collaborators and actors on this piece Butler Robertson, Chloé Cordle and Ameena Mckenzie.
3. What was the most difficult part of tackling both roles, on and off the stage?
That is a great question and I don’t know if I could pinpoint the most difficult part. It is very difficult to look at the larger picture of a piece when you are onstage as a part of the piece. When we originally put it up at Limelight back in August it was a lot of me filming rehearsals and then going home and watching the tapes at night to take notes to give to the other actors. It’s also challenging to put aside my feelings for Jeff as the actor portraying him in order to figure out how he fits into the larger story we are trying to tell.
4. What has it been like presenting this show at festivals, most recently the 2014 Florida Theatre Conference?
It has been a whirlwind of elation and excitement. I am currently living and studying theatre in New York at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, so for both Florida Theatre Conference and Southeastern Theatre Conference we had very limited rehearsals before it was in front of the adjudicators. But it is so different than doing it at Limelight Theatre or PBTS because you have 80 minutes to put your set onstage, perform the piece, and take everything offstage. There is an adrenaline rush like no other when you are under that kind of time restraint. We really did have a wonderful time at both conferences and we received some very insightful and helpful feedback from the adjudicators so the PBTS audiences will being seeing the best performances we have given to date.
5. What are you hoping to offer the PBTS audiences?
What is so brilliant about this show is that there really truly is something in it for everyone. For those who are theatre know-it-alls, there are enough inside jokes to keep you laughing for days. But at the same time, those who are more casual theatre-goers, still find the characters relatable and the energy invigorating. At its core,[title of show] is about embracing your creativity. It’s about overcoming obstacles and loving yourself for who you are. It’s about being proud of your work whether you’re a theatre maker or an accountant; it’s a part of who you are.
PBTS's Marching into Madness comedic series is about to begin! To launch into the mania that will ensue, Communications Intern Sadie La Manna had a chat with Derek Coghlan, the writer and performer of I'll Give You a Day, to get a little background and information about the show. Check it out!
1. When and where did your acting career begin?
It began in Niceville on the Florida Panhandle in the mid- 1990’s. I started doing improv comedy at a club and it took off from there. Then when I moved back to St. Augustine in 1997 I tried out for the inaugural Atlantic Shakespeare Festival (before the Amphitheater was re-modeled) and it sort of took off from there.
2.Tell us a little about I’ll Give You a Day?
The concept revolves around a late night conversation I had a few years ago about the most significant moments in a person’s life. During the conversation I realized that most of the big decisions and big events in my life happened on days that were ordinary and were not planned. I went to get a beer on a Saturday with some friends, struck up a conversation with a girl and several years later she became my wife. The idea is that it is the seemingly random moments on seemingly random days that are the key moments in a person’s life.
3. Doing a one-man show cannot be easy. What challenges have you faced during the process and how have you overcome them?
I have two small children. I am a teacher. My wife is a teacher at a university and she is currently working on her PhD. My challenge is time. Finding time to write and work the material is the only real challenge. Time.
4. What has been the most rewarding part of this process?
Finding the time!!! No the reward is always the performance. Everything else is just prologue. I love the buzz of being on stage and telling my stories.
5. Beyond this show, are there any other one man shows that you’re preparing for the future?
I have some ideas I am rolling around in my brain. I want to build a show around Sunday afternoons in St. Augustine. What people with kids do on a regular/semi-regular basis. One of the stories will be about Alligator Farm drinking.
There are many roles in the theatre - some sung and some unsung. The beauty lies within the collaboration. Many people often have an idea of what an Assistant Director does, but it generally changes from show to show. Communications Intern Sadie La Manna sat down with Megan Georgeo, Assistant Director of A Lesson Before Dying, to uncover HER role as Assistant Director.
1. Tell us a little about A Lesson Before Dying.
A Lesson Before Dying is an engulfing story that will leave you heartbroken and hopeful. It is a powerful piece set in 1948 Bayonne, Louisiana where a young black man has been sentenced to death by execution. After his lawyer, in an effort to save him, called him nothing more than a hog he starts to believe it himself and acts out as such. As Jefferson awaits his execution his godmother enlists the help of his former schoolteacher to teach him to die with strength and dignity, like a man. Each and every character in this backwoods Louisiana town learns something of their own along the way. With such courageous performers and a clear view from our director this story is accessible to anyone with an open mind and heart.
2. What are your responsibilities that contribute to the process and success of the show?
I am currently wearing a Stage Manager and Assistant Director hat so I feel my number one responsibility is communication. I am present at every rehearsal taking set, costume, props, light and sound notes along with giving blocking and line notes. I am in constant communication with our director, performers and theatre staff to ensure everyone is on the same page. I am lucky enough to have a director who truly believes in me, and my views, and has generously allowed me to direct a few scenes in the show. My main contribution to this process is keeping everything align and within the view of what we are creating on that stage.
3. What made you want to Assistant Direct A Lesson Before Dying?
Luckily I have worked on many shows in various ways with Brian Grant, and I had no doubt anything he directed would be a winner. I have been a fan of Romulus Linney since college so I was eager to read the play when Brian had approached me with the project. I fell in love with this story that night when I couldn't bare to not see what was on the next page, I knew I had to be a part of it.
4. What has challenged or surprised you in the position of Assistant Director?
I'm surprised at how vocal I've been throughout the process. Even previously assistant directing, I tend to keep views and opinions to myself and I feel I have really found a voice in this project. I generally have a hard time putting into words what I see, feel, or want but with this story and the people I get to work I've found a comfort and confidence in voicing my views.
5. What have you gained from this experience and process so far? Is this preparing you for directing in the future?
I have gained so much confidence from this experience so far, and that's due to Brian and our fearless cast. They are so open and collaborative to all ideas and opinions and are so willing to work and try things that it makes me feel like we're definitely doing something right. This process is absolutely preparing me for directing and being side by side with a director throughout an entire process is the closest I can get. It's shown me how important it is to create a safe space for your actors to work and explore, how to approach scenes with different angles and fresh eyes, and the importance building strong relationships with everyone involved on the project so collaboration happens freely and frequently.
A LESSON BEFORE DYING opens February 13th on our Mainstage.
PLAYERS BY THE SEA THEATRE
106 6th Street North
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
Players by the Sea is dedicated to enriching the community through excellence in theatre.
Players by the Sea is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization.