Opening Night!

matthewApril 15th, 2015Show NewsNo Comments

By Katie Berger

Opening weekend of Harvey is on the books!  After two successful previews on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, it was time for opening night.  While the performance was going on, we prepped for the opening night party – complete with Harvey themed treats! Jelly bean martinis, carrot cake cupcakes, and chocolate bunnies (from Shokolad Chocolate Factory right here in St. Pete!).

We had a blast celebrating this fantastic and delightful show…and while we are biased, audiences are loving it too!  Broadway World couldn’t seem to get enough:

“This is one Elwood (Larry Alexander) we want to follow anywhere and everywhere.”

“Treat yourself to a gift by rushing over to freeFall to see this American classic done right.”

“Bonnie Agan is exceptional”

“James Rayfield’s direction is exquisite”

Tampa Bay Times had wonderful things to say as well:

Free­fall Theatre’s new production of Harvey, the classic play about an affable man and his giant invisible friend, is comfort food of the best possible kind: warm, familiar, delicious and gently nourishing.

 

Thank you to everyone who came to the opening night party, and to those who have seen the show!  We hope you enjoyed yourself.  For those of you who have yet to see it, make sure to get your tickets soon.  This hilarious, heartwarming story runs through May 3rd!


 

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Buzz for Harvey!

matthewApril 8th, 2015Show NewsNo Comments

by Katie Berger

Opening night of Harvey is coming up and everyone is buzzing about it!  Check out some of these links to find out more about the show!  Make sure to get your tickets now.

A Broadway World announcement is always exciting in my book!

Check out this great editorial from our good friend Stephanie Hayes!

Make sure to RSVP on Facebook!

Even the President is excited!!

See you at the theatre!!

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A White Rabbit. Six Feet Tall.

matthewApril 1st, 2015Show NewsNo Comments

by Katie Berger

Never a dull moment at freeFall theatre.  Now that “Bright Lights” is over, it’s on to “Harvey” – the story of Elwood P. Dowd, a man whose best friend is an imaginary six foot tall white rabbit.  This may sound strange and random to you, but it makes for one amazing comedy that you won’t want to miss!

Harvey the rabbit is what is known as a Pooka. In the show, a pooka is described as such:

“Pooka.  From old Celtic mythology.  A fairy spirit in animal form.  Always very large.  The pooka appears here and there, now and then, to this one and that one at his own caprice.  A wise but mischievous creature.”

Pookas are said to bring both bad and good fortune, and are characterized as both malevolent or benevolent.  They walk a fine line, and can swing back and forth very easily.  They are known for appearing as extremely large anthropomorphic animals – such as black horses, goats, or (like Harvey) rabbits. Sometimes they are also quite human-like with animalistic features.

The juxtaposition of the idea of an ancient Celtic spirit and a 1940′s comedy is enough to make anyone interested in the story of Elwood.  What’s fascinating to me is that the concept of a pooka, which was once accepted and frankly quite common in the British isles, is enough to send Elwood to a sanitorium after being judged and reprimanded by those around him.  While it is incredibly humorous, it is also an interesting look at society, even today.  I am extremely excited to see this one, and can’t wait for opening night!

For some thoughts about the process, check out cast member Kelly Pekar’s blog at www.littlebitsofgoodblog.com

 


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Words falling from the sky…

matthewMarch 25th, 2015Show NewsNo Comments

By Katie Berger

Once again, it’s time to say goodbye to yet another amazing production.  This past weekend we closed “Bright Lights, Big City” after one heck of a run.

It’s always bittersweet when saying goodbye to a show.  The last few performances are extra special because you are trying to savor every moment, every silly backstage tradition, and every glorious 80′s dance move.  I would be lying if I said there are things I will be happy to not have to do five times a week (like peeling a plastic dress off of my overheated body after “Camera Wall”) but there are many things I and the rest of the cast will miss:

- Our robot arm movements that took us so long to perfect but by GOD we nailed it.

- 80′s hair.

- Will she ever see the light of day?

- Running around backstage like lunatics.

- LIVING in “Odeon” (which quickly turned out to be my very favorite number to do).

- Trench coats and glasses.

- Salivating over that damn cake.

- The toilet.

- The pole.

Thank you to the cast and crew of BLBC for a wonderful run…we had a great time in the city. Until we meet again!!

 

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As I Remember It

matthewMarch 11th, 2015UncategorizedNo Comments

By Katie Berger

 

Monday night was absolutely a night to remember.  Staff, friends, and patrons gathered together at the Dali Museum in downtown St. Pete to witness the unveiling of freeFall’s 2015/2016 season, titled “As I Remember It.”

The evening couldn’t have gone better, there was so much love in that room and the excitement that built up as we waited patiently for Eric to take the stage and give us the titles we have been speculating about for months was palpable.

I think I speak for everyone when I say that this coming season is going to be our best one yet.  All of the selections are inspired and exciting, and I can’t wait to see what the team has in store for them.

2015/2016 – As I Remember It

October 3rd – November 1st : The Importance of Being Earnest (with ZOMBIES!)

December 5th – January 3rd : Peter and the Starcatcher

January 16th – February 14th : Our Town

March 12th – April 10th: Sondheim on Sondheim

April 30th – May 16th : Mr Burns a Post-Electric Play

June 18th – July 10th : Light in the Piazza

August 6th – September 4th : Pirates of Penzance

 

I had such a fantastic time celebrating this amazing theatre, and I have never been more thrilled for a season of shows (and I know I’m not alone in that).  Here’s to an incredible year and an exciting future ahead!

(A huge thank you to the Dali Museum, Good Foods Catering, and of course the incomparable freeFall staff. )

 

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Welcome to the Party, Baby!

matthewMarch 4th, 2015Company News, Show NewsNo Comments

By  Katie Berger

 

Welcome to the party, baby, come on in!

It’s always such a wonderful feeling to open a show, and “Bright Lights, Big City” was no exception.  Getting this particular show up in the short rehearsal process was a challenge for us all – there was lots of choreography to learn, thousands of cues to write, lightning fast costume changes to perfect, and last minute decisions to remember.  But, as always, we got it all done.  Opening night was marvelous and we were able to celebrate our accomplishments at a swanky opening night party complete with sushi and kamikazes!  

One of the things I love about working at freeFall is while the show is extremely exciting when it opens, it continues to grow, solidify, and find it’s pace during the run.  New connections are uncovered and new discoveries are made.  Live theatre productions are like living things, and there is nothing like being a part of one.  I am so incredibly proud of the cast, crew, and band of this show.  I think we have something very special here.

Make sure to get your tickets while you still can!!  Visit the website or call the box office…we run until March 22nd!

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Sitzprobe, Lights, and Costumes – OH MY!

matthewFebruary 25th, 2015Company News, Show NewsNo Comments

By Katie Berger

Happy Wednesday, world!!  I’m sure you’re excited that the work week is more than halfway over, but here at freeFall we are excited for a different reason…we open this weekend!!  This week has been all about introducing technical aspects of the production and adding layers to the storytelling.  This includes costumes, lights, sound cues, props, and of course THE BAND!!

This past weekend we had our first rehearsal with the band, which is known as sitzprobe - a time where the band and cast begin to integrate, sound levels are checked, and we start to truly hear just how awesome this show is going to be.  There’s nothing like sitzprobe for me.  I always come to those rehearsals buzzing out of my skin (equal parts excitement and over-caffeination), and it never disappoints.  The music starts to come to life and we as actors always seem to find a new source of energy and adrenaline.

Another layer that was added is LIGHTS!  This is my fourth show being lit by the incomparable Mike Wood (so what he’s also one of my best friends, I’m not bragging on his behalf or anything) and I always say that he some how makes the lighting design a character in and of itself. I absolutely love watching the space transform and become a canvas for the beautiful hues and patterns.  Sure, you’ll be able to see us onstage, but also be prepared to be completely dazzled by the bright lights of the city, not to mention a sensible disco ball.

Last but not least, Scott Daniel has been hard at work finishing up our costumes.  As always, he is absolutely nailing it (and let us not forget that he is also in the show AND the dance captain.  Pretty sure he doesn’t sleep).  After some fittings and photos, I am so excited for everything we will be wearing on stage.

This show is going to be an experience you will definitely not want to miss.  Get your tickets now, before it’s too late!

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Bright Lights Big City – Rehearsal Week One!

matthewFebruary 18th, 2015Company News, Show NewsNo Comments

By Katie Berger

Happy Wednesday, world!  After a much needed day off, we at freeFall are ready to dive back in for our second week of rehearsal.  I will never get over how quickly these shows come together…I feel like we just started, and yet so much has happened.

We have become intimate with the script and score, spending three days perfecting the harmonies and learning some tricky lyrics.

We had our first official table read, where we were joined by our creative team so that we could all hear the story from start to finish.

We had an awesome photoshoot in Downtown St. Pete…

…but you might notice someone is missing.

We have also been hard at work learning the blocking and choreography in order to bring this story to life!  Our wonderful choreographer, Megan Morgan (who also choreographed Spring Awakening) is challenging us with some awesome 80′s dance moves you definitely won’t want to miss.  The girls have also gotten a lesson in runway walking.  I felt like I was a contestant on America’s Next Top Model while we were all stomping it out.  Lights have been hung, costumes are being sewn, and the theatre is slowly transforming into an exclusive New York City club…and guess what?  You’re all invited.  The show runs February 28th – March 22nd. Get your tickets now.  You absolutely want to see what happens in the big city.

 

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First Day of School in the City!

matthewFebruary 11th, 2015Company News, Show NewsNo Comments

By Katie Berger

We’re dancing in the middle of the universe in 1984…

With every ending comes a beginning, and thus with the closing of “The Buffalo Kings” it is already time to start getting ready for the next production: “Bright Lights Big City”!  This week saw the first day of school for those of us telling the story of Jaime, a fact checker at a magazine in Manhattan who loses himself in the excitement and pandemonium of New York City in the 1980′s.

Here at freeFall, the first few days are a whirlwind of music.  I am extremely fortunate to be experiencing my FOURTH “first day of school” at this theatre, so luckily I no longer experience the first day jitters.  Mostly I just get ridiculously excited and over-caffeinated.  Which is fun for everyone.  Not to toot our own horns, but this cast is already rocking my world.

I’m so excited for this process, and even more excited to take all you wonderful readers along for the ride! If you’re chomping at the bit for this show like I am, you’re in luck.  First of all, this musical is based off of an incredible novel.  Looking for something to read in the coming weeks?  Look no further!  If that’s not your idea of a fun Friday night, pop some popcorn and watch the movie!  Who doesn’t love some sensible Michael J. Fox?

See you next week for updates, pictures, and more!  Now excuse me, I have some vocal parts to drill.

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Natalie Symons – Writing, Working, and Wonder

matthewFebruary 4th, 2015Show NewsNo Comments

By Katie Berger

It seems like opening night was only yesterday, and yet it is already time to say goodbye to the wonderfully dysfunctional King family.  As the cast and crew enjoys this final week of performances in Buffalo, I took some time to ask playwright Natalie Symons some questions about her experience creating this beautiful piece.

1. When did you begin work on “The Buffalo Kings”?

I started writing the first draft n the summer of 2013. Since then I’ve written dozens of drafts, and I’m still drafting – there were a lot of rewrites during the 2 week rehearsal process and over the last couple of weeks I’ve been doing edits based on what I’ve learned during the run of the show.

2. Was there ever a time you had to step away from the piece?

I’ve taken time away from it after I’ve heard readings and then done subsequent rewrites based on the feedback from the audience, director and actors. So essentially in between drafts I step back and get some perspective on the piece. It helps because then the story feels fresh, almost as if someone else wrote it.

3. What’s your favorite part about watching your own work.  What is your least favorite?

My favorite part is watching the actors bring these characters to life. I love witnessing them breathe truth into it – both in rehearsal and during the run. I’m fascinated by it and for that reason I look forward to writing another play. The collaborative nature of working on a brand new play is so enriching for me both artistically and personally. At the same time I’ve lost many nights of sleep worrying about putting the pieces together and wanting to ensure that the story is honest and compelling, not only for the audience but for Eric and these seven actors who have put so much heart into this piece. Lillian Hellman said there is no greater public humiliation than that of a failed play. There were a lot of nights when I thought to myself this is going to be embarrassing.

4. Who are your biggest inspirations?

The writers that I admire the most have a gift for straddling the line between pathos and comedy. Woody Allen has heavily influenced me. Jim Taylor and Alexander Payne who wrote Sideways, Nebraska, Election and About Schmidt are big inspirations to me. Adam Elliot the Australian claymation writer/director – I’m in awe of his genius. I think Amy Herzog is one of the best female playwrights writing today. Larry David is one of my favorite comedy writers. Whenever I’ve had a bad day I watch an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm and all is well.

5. How do you deal with writer’s block?

I don’t write unless I have the entire story outlined in my head. I take long drives or walks with my dog Andy and construct the story and then I sit down to write it. Of course it always changes but I find that if I know the story that I want to tell it just flows. That doesn’t mean it’s good. The first drafts are usually pretty bad but at least the story is there. My best writing happens in the 4th and 5th drafts.

6. Are you working on anything right now?

I recently finished the 4th draft of a novel – a literary mystery about a young girl in a steel town in the 1980’s. So I’m taking one or two more passes at it before I look for representation and pursue publication. After that I’ve got an idea for another play – this one is a lighter comedy – or at least that’s the idea. It will probably be a dark and sinister comedy by the time I’m done with it.

Thanks, Natalie!!  It has been an honor seeing the Kings on stage in their world premiere!

If you haven’t yet seen “The Buffalo Kings”, this weekend is your final chance!!  Thursday at 7pm, Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm.  Tickets are going fast!

 

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