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)
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 freefalltheatre.com 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!
Community Outreach Director
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,
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!!!”
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 www.freefalltheatre.com, or call the box office at (727) 498-5205.
Against the backdrop of Victorian ideals and sensibilities, Mrs. Givings wants to know what’s going on in the next room as her husband, Dr.
Givings, treats women in his home office. In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play, directed by
Lisa Powers, offers a buzz-worthy window into life at the dawn of electricity, and opens on May
4 and runs through May 20, 2012 at freeFall Theatre.
The play excited director Lisa Powers as it presents a time when electricity was just coming
into the modern home, and when new and intriguing devices that run on electricity were
being developed. Yet, it’s not the focus on technology that Powers feels is at the core of the
piece: “The technology is an afterthought. The play has more to do with our intrinsic need to
connect with other human beings, period. We see the different ways that these people talk about
love, types of love, and ways to connect with each other.”
This charming and irreverent comedy of manners, set against the backdrop of the Victorian
medical practice of using vibrators to cure women of hysteria, explores the nature of intimacy
in married life. Catherine Givings is frustrated with her husband Dr. Givings. They love one
another, but the good doctor is unable to express his love in any way that is meaningful to
his wife. When Catherine learns long-kept secrets of the details of her husband’s practice—
and when Elizabeth, their baby’s wet nurse, explains that husbands are capable of creating the
same “paroxysms” achieved by the doctor’s equipment—she sets out on a mission to revitalize
her marriage, even within the confines of staunch Victorian prudence. With great respect for the
modesty of its characters and audience, this charming, hilarious, and ultimately deeply moving
play will surely be one of the most talked about in the season.
“The play, of course, brings up sexual intimacy and women’s ability to be free to have that experience, but it truly deals with every type of intimacy there is.” Powers said. In fact, to
maintain the authenticity that freeFall Theatre pursues, freeFall’s Master Carpenter Matt Davis
recreated two period vibrators for the production, modeled after those mentioned in the play
(including one called “The Chattanooga”). Harnessing the power of electricity, these two devices
play a central role in the piece.
Costumes for the play will be designed by Eric Davis (freeFall’s artistic director) and the set will
be designed by Scott Cooper.
On Saturday, May 5, the 8pm show will be offered as a benefit to Planned Parenthood of
Southwest and Central Florida with a special talk-back with the director and cast. On Saturday,
May 12, in honor of Mother’s Day, all mothers (and people with mothers) are encouraged to
enjoy a “Mom’s Night Out” and leave the children at home for a fun night at freeFall. Additional
talk-backs with the director and cast will be offered throughout the run of the show.
The play is for mature audiences only, due to adult situations and a brief moment of nudity.
In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play runs May 4 through 20, on Thursday evenings at 7pm;
Friday and Saturday evenings at 8pm; and Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2pm. Students,
teachers, senior citizens, and members of the military enjoy a $3 discount off of all non-premium
tickets. Patrons may also attend the preview performance on May 3 at 7pm for $20. Tickets are
non-refundable and freeFall does not offer late seating.
For more information and tickets visit www.freefalltheatre.com or call (727) 498-5205.
Your business can support freeFall with an ad or sponsorships! We offer exposure to some of the Bay area’s coolest and most connected people, and tax deduction benefits aplenty. When you’re ready to learn more or commit, contact Emilie at 727.498.5205×1 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Program Advertising Opportunities
Present your company’s message in one of our show’s printed programs! We’ll happily create the ad for you, or you may provide your own. (Prices for non-cover ads listed as black & white/color.)
❒ Back Cover: $1,000 ❒ Inside Back Cover: $750
❒ Full page: $500/$600 ❒ Half Page: $250/$300 ❒ Quarter Page: $125/$150
We offer our corporate partners a 20% discount off of advertising placed in 3 or more shows.
Show Sponsorship Opportunities
❒ Gold Show Sponsor ($15,000)
30 complimentary tickets for sponsored show. Direct mail and advertising visibility with exclusive logo placement. Include logo recognition in on-site digital signage when selected show is mentioned. Full page ad in each program for sponsored show. Recognition in preshow recording for selected show.
❒ Silver Show Sponsor ($10,000)
20 complimentary tickets for sponsored show. Direct mail and advertising visibility with logo recognition. Limited logo recognition in on-site digital signage when selected show is mentioned. Full page ad in each program for each show. Recognition in preshow recording for selected show.
❒ Bronze Show Sponsor ($5,000)
10 complimentary tickets for sponsored show. Direct mail and advertising visibility with business listing. Recognition in on-site digital signage when selected show is mentioned. Half page ad in each program for each show.
Are you ready for another year-long line-up from freeFall? Your wait is over. Here’s our 2012-13 line-up, and remember that season tickets are now on sale for members. Why members only?, you might ask. Becoming a member is the best way to both support freeFall and get great seats (and many hugs). Check out all the benefits on our join page.
music by Andrew Lippa, lyrics by Tom Greenwald, and a book by Lippa and Greenwald
A big part of my job is shaking the bushes for any spare change that might come flying out. Those letters you get in the mail asking for support? Those gentle email reminders to renew your membership? Yeah, those all come from me. And they generally work!
But today, in addition to reminding you (ever so gently) to renew your membership and pick up season tickets right now for the lowest price they will ever be, I have an additional request.
Can we count on you to donate your crafting and sewing supplies in the next two weeks? We’re undertaking our most ambitious in-house costuming job yet. For “In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play” we will build at least 10 full women’s dresses and 5 men’s suits, all with the period appropriate hats, stockings, corsets, underthings and shoes.
And in true freeFall style, we’d like to be authentic to the period, which means lots of linings, period-appropriate closures, and petticoats!
- Muslin fabric, unbleached, any quantity.
- Small quantities of trim fabrics: fancy and non-fancy stuff. (Machine-washable please).
- Thread, all colors
- Pre-wound bobbins, all colors.
- Hooks and eyes, dozens and dozens of pairs.
- Buttons and snaps, all sizes and kinds.
- Cording, ribbon.
- Grommets, primarily small to medium sizes.
- Beautiful (and we mean gorgeous) fabrics and suiting, as well as cottons and undergarment-appropriate (machine-washable please).
Wishlist of Other Dreamy Items for this Show:
- Victorian doorknobs
- Victorian hats
- Seamed stockings
Here’s how to donate:
- Stop by our offices at 6099 Central Avenue and fill out a donation form (this lets us recognize you and also send you a letter suitable for framing—and for tax purposes)
- Call us if you’re in doubt of your donation’s usability or to confirm that someone will be here to receive your generous contribution.
We can’t guarantee that we’ll use your supplies in this show or one in the future, but we can tell you that we’ll thank the heck out of you in our upcoming programs! (P.S. If you’re a skilled seamstress, or a great hemmer, please let us know if you can donate a few hours of your time as well!)
Happy holidays! We often get asked, “Why did you start a theatre?” We think what people are really asking is, “WHAT were you all thinking?!” If you ask that question to our founding staff, you’d probably get a host of different answers.
From Artistic Director Eric Davis, you’d get a completely different answer. He was born a director. By now, you’ve seen a show directed by Eric, whether it was HAIR or Rent at American Stage or any of freeFall’s award-winning shows. For Eric theatre is about connecting people in a visceral way with the stories and great works of the past, while making new contributions to that cultural legacy for the future. That’s why at freeFall you will continually be surprised by everything from the classics to brand new plays.
For Executive Director and Founding Board President Emilie Kuperman, it’s all about creating an organization that doesn’t just survive—it thrives. She has been intent on establishing a theatre that is run on sound business practices, and has consistently pushed for not just imagining the bigger picture, but bringing it to life, and has been pursuing a better way to do business since she rewrote the accounting software code of her father’s company at age 12.
For board member Kevin Lane, it’s all about the idealistic pursuit of building a better community. He was born here, raised here, and he’s always known that St. Petersburg has so much potential and such a winsome spirit about it. Blame it on the sunshine; blame it on the lovely ocean breeze, there’s just something about this place. He’s been bringing people together through media production since high school when he volunteered at All Children’s Hospital producing their weekly “Video Bingo” TV Show.
By now, you’re probably seeing that freeFall is a passion play. It’s passion about our community, about our work, and about the business of making a better world, on and off the stage. AND IT’S WORKING! We have to pinch ourselves a bit when we think back to all the accomplishments we’ve made in the past year. Since then we’ve:
- Transformed a church into a state-of-the-art theatre
- Produced 8 shows
- Circulated $650,000 into our local economy (in theatre operations…not counting renovations!)
- Created 6 new full-time jobs
- Employed over 50 actors and stage managers representing over 250 weeks of employment
- Sold nearly 10,000 tickets
- Been the topic of feature stories in two national theatre publications
- Become a member organization of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre
TAKE THAT, RECESSION.
At freeFall, we are driving an economic engine for our community. Overnight, we’ve become the largest arts organization in West St. Petersburg, providing even one more reason to love our home city. In fact, we got a lot of press for tying with
American Stage for “Best Theatre Company,” but we think the bigger award we received from Creative Loafing was “Best Reason to Stay in Tampa Bay.” They understand our ambitions of becoming a major regional player in the theatre world and an economic driver of our community…and we know you do, too.
VIRTUES, BABY, VIRTUES!
At freeFall, you know do things a little differently. But here are a few facts we bet you don’t know:
- We pay our non-union adult actors the same rate as our union actors, and pay them weekly. NO OTHER NOT-FOR-PROFIT BAY AREA THEATRE CAN CLAIM THAT (although we challenge them to).
- Our ticket sales cover the cost of our productions and we rely on the support of our community members to pay for our operations off the stage. About 50% of our 2011-2012 $785,000 annual budget will come from generous community members (just like you!).
- We love showing children the joy of live theatre, and to that end have participated in the St. Pete Class Acts program, through which over 400 students recently enjoyed our production of The Comedy of Errors.
- We’re all about supporting our community: we’ve offered free and low-cost space for benefits and events held by the SMART Ride, the Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project, the Dramatists Guild, the American Cancer Society, the Tampa Bay Al Downing Jazz Association, the Gaspar Ballet, and many more.
WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME ALL THIS?
Because we need your help! Running a theatre that depends solely on ticket revenues or relies only on the extreme generosity of a few key donors is kind of like one hand clapping: awkward, ineffective, and ultimately exhausting.
Theatres make a monstrous impact on our community, but can only do so with the support of those like-minded individuals who value not only our survival, but who are willing to invest in the bigger vision. Just think–what if you could:
- Build capacity within our organization to fund more community outreach efforts, allowing for more community members to be exposed to live theatre?
- Create a space in which our residential and business neighbors could celebrate the arts, taking ownership of a burgeoning landmark?
- Sustain our fledgling efforts to become a substantial regional theatre with continued programmatic expansion, all the while enjoying the tax benefits of a charitable donation?
You can! One gift to freeFall Theatre does all of this and much more. So please join us in our rosy-cheeked, idealistic pursuit to create a better community through art. The only thing that can push us to the next level is your gift. Thanks for your continued support, and see you at the show!
Kevin Lane Eric Davis Emilie Kuperman
Board Member Artistic Director Executive Director