matthewJuly 22nd, 2014UncategorizedNo Comments

Let me begin by saying this to you:

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
Nurse Ratched.
Now- what image has popped in to your head?
Now- forget it.
Can you?

I first saw the film of Cuckoo’s Nest when I was a teenager and I have never forgotten Louise Fletcher- that iron lady in the starched white uniform. The symbol of a seemingly absolute power- a malevolent presence. The bad guy. These many years later, I am learning to love Nurse Ratched. To identify with her. To agree with her. It is the difference between experiencing the world of the ward from the inside as opposed to the outside. In creating a character, one becomes part of a new world, a new reality. Seeing a familiar situation from a completely different angle. Nurse Ratched lives in the world of Kesey and Wasserman’s words and images and under our amazing director, Eric Davis, this world is being revealed and we (the company) are coming to live within it- to its very sounds, smells and colors.
I now see Nurse Ratched from a different perspective- her perspective.

She is not a villain. She is a dedicated professional who has devoted her life to the care and cure of patients she cares for deeply. These are her children. When a foreigner-
a bully- appears in her schoolyard, her instinct to protect her brood from outside danger and temptation kicks in to full force. She will do what she must to maintain safety and order in her world- her family’s world. She will fight the enemy- who is, to her, the real bad guy.

I have been fortunate enough to be called upon to portray some iconic roles during my career- Eliza Doolittle, Sally Bowles, Lady Macbeth to mention a few- characters who are themselves famous, and have often been played by famous people.

I spent the summer season of 2000 in the Steppenwolf professional training company, the year that their production of Cuckoo’s Nest opened, and watched Amy Morton as Nurse Ratched several times.

Louise Fletcher won the Academy Award for her portrayal of Nurse Ratched.

Very big shoes.

It is somewhat intimidating, but it is ultimately such a rich gift to experience what it is that makes this role so immortal and to step in to the very skin of an iconic image.

I am truly honored to have the opportunity to create this woman anew, in this place, with this cast and this company- our world of Cuckoo’s Nest will be like no other because of them and this reality.

Roxanne Fay is currently starring as Nurse Ratched in freeFall’s production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST opening August 2 for 22 performances. Call 727-498-5205 or visit for tickets and times. Learn more about Roxanne at!


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ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST wraps up freeFall’s 2013/14 Season

matthewJuly 14th, 2014UncategorizedNo Comments

freeFall Theatre’s production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST will open August 2 for a limited run of only 22 performances. Previews begin on August 1 and the play closes on August 31. James Oliver (freeFall’s MISS JULIE, NBC’s Frasier) and award-winning actress Roxanne Fay (Creative Loafing’s Best Actress – Best of the Bay 2013) star and Eric Davis directs. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST is the final show of freeFall’s 2013/14 Season of Outcasts. freeFall’s new season begins in the fall with Stephen Sondheim’s INTO THE WOODS.

Oliver (McMurphy) and Fay (Nurse Ratched) are joined by Michael Nichols (Chief Bromden in 2001 Broadway Production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST).

Rounding out the large cast are Bob Devin Jones, Steve Garland, Larry Alexander, Ward Smith, Rick Stutzel, Robert Richards, Kara Goldberg, Natalie Symons, Aaron Washington, Greyson Lewis, Peter Konowicz and Hannah Benitez.

The design team includes Steven K. Mitchell (sets), Scott Daniel (costumes), Mike Wood Lighting Design (lights) and Eric Davis (sound).

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST is a Dale Wasserman stage version of Ken Kesey’s novel. The book was also made into the famous 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson. freeFall’s production will be staged environmentally in the same vein of freeFall hits THE WILD PARTY, MAN OF LA MANCHA and CABARET. All seating will be General Admission as patrons will be seated on various styles of hospital furniture and will be placed amongst the action. Tickets are already going fast for the theatrical event of the summer.

Contact Matthew McGee at 727-498-5205 (X 7) for information on group rates and guided set tours. Adult ticket prices range from $29 – $44 and discount tickets can be obtained by contacting the box office.

For more information, visit or call (727) 498-5205.

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Check out freeFall’s new video blog #freeFall411!

adminMarch 13th, 2013UncategorizedNo Comments

Hello freeFall fans and friends! This is our first episode of freeFall411 hosted by Outreach Director Matthew McGee. On March 7, 2013, freeFall held their annual Season Announcement Party at The Club at Treasure Island. Here’s an inside look at the festivities.#freeFall411 (Episode 1)

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Celebrate 2013 with laughter! Michael Hollinger’s An Empty Plate comes to freeFall!!

adminDecember 31st, 2012UncategorizedNo Comments

Hi freeFall fans and friends!

“An Empty Plate in the where?” I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard patrons say that over the past few months. This Michael Hollinger play is the perfect way to ring in 2013. Here’e the skinny on why you should check out freeFall’s newest offering opening on January 25.

What’s the show about?

Eccentric Victor is owner and sole patron of the finest restaurant in Paris which opens its doors for him alone. So when he returns from the bullfights in Spain and announces that he wishes to die of starvation, the staff – whose purpose in life is to serve – propose a compromise. They will cook one final meal and leave it in the kitchen, describing each course over a series of empty plates. This feast of words celebrates love, food, and the collected works of Ernest Hemingway.

What else has Michael Hollinger written?


  • Ghost-Writer (2010)
  • A Wonderful Noise (musical), co-authored with Vance Lehmkuhl
  • Opus (2006)
  • Tooth and Claw (2004)
  • Red Herring (2000)
  • Tiny Island (1997)
  • Incorruptible (1996)
  • An Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boeuf (1994)

Opus was recently a hit at American Stage. Michael Hollinger was formerly a violinist turned playwright and now teaches theatre at Villanova University.

Who’s in the freeFall production?

Our production stars freeFall Gene D’Alessandro as Victor ,Matthew McGee as Claude, Natalie Symons as Mimi, John Lombardi as Gaston and Roxanne Fay as Miss Berger. Greyson Lewis, star of American Stage’s The Foreigner, makes his freeFall debut as Antoine. The production is directed by freeFall Artistic Director Eric Davis.

How do I get tickets?

Visit or call 727-498-5205 for tickets and times. An Empty Plate plays through February 17. Only at freeFall Theatre Company!

See you at the theatre!

Matthew McGee

Community Outreach Director








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Steven Patterson returns as Ebenezer Scrooge!

adminNovember 21st, 2012UncategorizedNo Comments



Hi freeFall fans and friends!

This is Matthew, freeFall’s Community Outreach Director! I’m so excited to be giving you the 411 on all things freeFall. I recently had a wonderful chat with actor Steven Patterson. Steven was delighted to chat about playing one of the greatest and most recognized roles in theatrical and literary history.

Matthew: How does it feel to play Scrooge again?

Steven: After 42+ years as a “theater professional”, I can still count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve been lucky enough to revisit a role I’ve loved. I find the work I did during my first crack at the part, far from being lost or dormant, has been like a seed working away underground, waiting for another chance to blossom. One of the reviews from freeFall’s initial production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL last season called Ebenezer Scrooge “one of the greatest roles ever devised for an actor.” And I have to agree. Scrooge is a man who feels that only by hoarding up “treasures on earth” can he guarantee that he won’t experience again the pain and loss that poverty brought him in his youth. But over the course of the visit of the three ghosts, he discovers that, rather than protecting him, the wall of wealth he has accumulated has trapped him inside it. And that only by repudiating his selfish isolation and reaching out to those around him can he truly come back to life. “Business? Mankind was my business!” wails Marley’s Ghost, doomed forever to an afterlife of regret from which he hopes to spare his old partner. And boy, do our hearts leap when Scrooge finally embraces the second chance he has been given.

Matthew: Why does freeFall’s version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL work so well?

Steven: Countless productions in an infinite variety of stage versions have made A CHRISTMAS CAROL one of the staples of the American theatre repertoire. And many of these productions have so emphasized a sentimentality and cutesiness that isn’t inherent in Dickens’ original that a lot of actors (and audiences) tend to roll their eyes condescendingly when it is mentioned. It’s a lot like Thornton Wilder’s OUR TOWN in that respect. Far from gooey and nostalgic, both are, in reality, profound archetypal stories with an ability to reach audiences on an almost primal level. This wonderful new musical version (and Eric Davis’ magnificent staging), by going back to the source (and even retaining huge swaths of Dickens’ original language), restores the power that has made this tale a classic, one that we never really tire of re-hearing, and one that seldom fails to move us.

Matthew: How did you find out about freeFall?

Two years ago, I ran into my dear friend and colleague Roxanne Fay in the Equity Audition Lounge in New York City. She mentioned to me that she’d been working with a relatively new company down in St. Petersburg and that I should send them my headshot and resume for casting consideration. Since then, freeFall has given me the privilege of playing two hugely iconic roles: Quixote/Cervantes in MAN OF LA MANCHA and Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL. How they ever had the nerve to entrust these amazing parts to me, I’ll never know. But I’m infinitely grateful that they did. Gee, one of these days I’ll have to come down here and play an average Joe. In the meantime, I’m hoping that they’ll continue bringing me back as Scrooge until I keel over.

We are so thrilled that Steven is back on the boards at freeFall! Don’t miss A CHRISTMAS CAROL running December 13 – 30!

Yours in Theatre,







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Romeo + Juliet closes November 18!

adminNovember 15th, 2012UncategorizedNo Comments

Buy your tickets now!

Here are some of the highlights of emails and FaceBook posts we’ve received in response to Romeo + Juliet.  This “Theatre Tampa Bay Recommended Show” closes Sunday! Catch it before it’s gone.“We were absolutely blown away at today’s matinee – such talented actors, such passionate and emotional portrayals – yet another stellar hit for this very special local theater. Bravo!”"How is it possible that almost every time I see a play at freeFall Theatre Company I leave so breathless and satisfied? What a beautiful feeling to be reintroduced to a favorite like that. Thank you Eric Davis and ALL the cast and crew of this amazing show. Romeo and Juliet was heartwrenchingly cathartic, making me fall in love with love, Shakespeare, and the theatre all over again. Thank you.”

“Congrats to the R+J cast last night @ freeFall. The kids got their first taste of Shakespeare, and talked about it the whole ride home.”

“Your theatre is beautiful, and I found your staging to be very unique, very interesting! Even kids who hadn’t read the play could follow the words quite easily. You have a lot of talent at your theater, and our school will definitely be back!”

“Saw Romeo and Juliet last night. NOT TO BE MISSED!!! Get your tickets NOW! Another freeFall winner.”

“Wow. I just saw freeFall Theatre Company’sRomeo + Juliet tonight. I was so blown away by everything about the evening – the actors were stellar, costumes, set, lights, sound, direction – everything. It’s all about telling a good story, and everyone involved was at the top of their game.”

“Stunning production done with bravura!”

“I cannot say enough how wonderful this R & J is!! What a remarkable concept and ensemble!!”

“I saw a very lovely production of ROMEO AND JULIET at freeFall Theatre Company last night. I was completely in awe of the skill in which the cast and director Eric Davis laid it all out for us, weaving some sort of magic spell as they did. If you haven’t seen much Shakespeare, this is a great indoctrination. The Bard never fails to humble me with his truths and beauty.”

“Eric Davis loves Shakespeare, and it shows.Romeo and Juliet, at freeFall Theatre, is yet another tight, dynamic, relevant production of a familiar text that will leave you grinning at its endless ingenuity.”

“My emotions were pulled every different way by the talented actors in this show, WOW!”

Romeo + Juliet was amazing last night! Juliet is worth the price of admission alone… loved the whole cast, beautiful costumes, INTENSE fight choreo, and direction that makes Shakespeare fresh and relevant. GO SEE THIS wonderful night of theater!!!”

October 26 to November 18
Tickets $39 to $46, with discounts for seniors, students, military, and teachers.
suggested audience: Young teens to Adults

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Cabaret part deux!

jimAugust 18th, 2012UncategorizedNo Comments

freeFall Theatre is thrilled to open its 2012-2013 season with a remount of the Kander & Ebb classic, Cabaret, brought back by popular demand.  ”There were so many people unable to get tickets that we simply had to offer it again,” states Jim Sorensen, freeFall’s managing director and actor in the show.  ”People were actually angry that they couldn’t get in!  It’s really exciting to know that people can be this passionate about live theatre.”

“What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play!”  The history of the Kander & Ebb masterpiece is a long one, and includes several Broadway and West End productions, a 1972 film version, 8 Academy Awards and 12 Tonys.  It is based on John Van Druten’s 1951 play I Am a Camera, which was adapted from the Christopher Isherwood’s 1939 novel, The Berlin Stories.

Set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, the story focuses on nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and revolves around the cabaret performer Sally Bowles and her relationship with a young writer, Cliff Bradshaw.  A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor.  And overseeing the action is the Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub which serves as a constant metaphor for the tenuous and threatening state of late Weimar Germany throughout the show.

Reprising his critically acclaimed role as the Emcee will be David Mann, the Director of Acting Studies at Blake School of the Arts.  Local stars Roxanne Fay, John Lombardi and Larry Alexander will also return, along with Sorensen.  Lauren Wood from Sarasota will join the cast as Fraulein Kost, and headlining in the role of Sally Bowles is actress Jennifer Byrne, whose New York credits include the original cast of Evil Dead: the Musical, and the revival of The Pirates of Penzance.  The Kit Kat Klub dancers are Joel Gennari, Heather Baird, Megan Morgan, Haley Schneider, David Michael Bevis, and Kevin Patrick Martin.

Eric Davis, freeFall’s award-winning artistic director, helms the production, with pianist Michael Raabe musically directing and leading the 5-piece live band, and Cheryl Lee choreographs.  Once again, freeFall’s flexible-space Studio Theatre has been transformed into the famous Kit Kat Klub by set designer Steve Mitchell, complete with cabaret tables and a bar, and freeFall technical director Christopher Rutherford lights the show.  Mike & Kathy Buck Designs are responsible for the occasionally skimpy costuming.

Cabaret will return on August 30th, and run Thursdays through Sundays through September 30th.  Showtimes are 7pm Thursdays, 8pm Fridays, 2pm and 8pm on Saturdays, and 2pm Sundays.  Tickets are $39 or $46, depending on seating.  Discounts are available for students, seniors, military, and freeFall Members.  $22 “rush tickets” are sold on an as-available basis 30 minutes before each show to students and teachers with ID’s, and industry artists (show an AEA ID or your name in a printed program.)

For more information, visit, or call the box office at (727) 498-5205.

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There’s something different going on here…

adminMay 28th, 2011Emilie's cornerNo Comments

Ever had that feeling of something being not-quite-the-usual? Perhaps a touch of deja vu with a healthy serving of unexpected on the side? You’re starting to get the feeling of freeFall.

We’ve been asked “Why ‘freeFall’?” more times than we can remember, and each time we pause. The “why” has always been easy: to create a theatre that offers you the sensation of free-falling through space, where the world as you know it fades away and the rules–of traditional theatre, of how you’re supposed to experience art, even physics–don’t seem to apply.

But beyond the art, we’re finding a complementary vision emerging. We’re here to serve the community: the individuals, the groups, the organizations that make up the composite that is our region. We partner with other like-minded agencies that are backed, supported, propped up even, by people who are also committed to doing things differently.

freeFall isn’t about the six of us who run this theatre endeavor. It’s about the millions of us who live in our region and who thirst for new experiences. Who wish to experience all that the community has to offer. Who want our community, at its very core, to be different for this.

Be a part of it. The view from the edge of your seat has never been better.

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