Wednesday, September 3, 2014

SCENE BREAKER: Director to the rescue, an act of God and girls just wanna write plays

Posted By on Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 5:11 PM

click to enlarge TODD BATES

Here’s what’s behind the curtain this week in Tampa Bay theatre...

NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE: Jobsite Theater’s Producing Artistic Director and last year’s Best AD of the Bay David M. Jenkins heard a screech and a smash outside his Tampa Heights home last Wednesday morning. He ran out to find a wrecked minivan with its airbags exposed, the OnStar operator squawking over the blaring of the horn, fuel pouring onto the road and a mother and daughter trapped inside. Jenkins wrestled the stuck passenger door open to free the daughter, then ferried the mother out the back because the crash had crumpled the driver’s door. He switched off the ignition and led the family a safe distance from the leaking vehicle, at which point one assumes he asked them to go back and do it all over again to get the pacing right.

DARK DRAMA COMEDY: Storms slamming St. Pete last Saturday killed the current to freeFall Theatre’s box office, A/C and the lights for a sold-out performance of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest shortly before curtain. Affected patrons were offered their choice of a refund or one of the scant remaining tix available through its Sept.14 closing date.

THE WINNER REDUX: Florida playwright W. L. Newkirk’s East Lansing took the big prize at the inaugural Tampa Bay Theatre Festival, for which the play earns two nights this week on the mainstage at HCC Ybor’s Performing Arts Building. Directed by Greg Thompson (Jobsite’s Inventing Van Gogh), the play about finding love late in life stars Angela Bond (Motherhood the Musical at the Straz Center and on tour) and runs this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tix are available at the box office just prior to each performance. Click here for Chip Weiner's slideshow of Tasha Smith's Actors Boot Camp at the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival.

WRITRIXES WRULE! In case there was any doubt about the availability of outstanding playwrights in town who also happen to be women … Tia Jemison, an actress and writer and teaching artist at American Stage, just grabbed the first-ever Tampa Bay Theatre Festival best short play prize for Moving Box, about the events surrounding the early death of her brother. Ahead of taking her self-penned Home Fires Burning to New York’s United Solo festival on Sept. 28, actress/playwright/producer Roxanne Fay (American Stage’s The Birds) will warm it up Sept. 9 at Home Resource, a Sarasota contemporary furniture shop that moonlights as a performing arts venue. Fay plays both characters, “one a lost child, the other an ancient and scarred force of nature.” Curtain is at 7 p.m. and tix are at 941-366-6690. And Gypsy Stage Repertory will present Gypsy AD Lil Barcaski’s comedy The Year of Independent Living, an “irreverent, hilarious, and touching comedy about two Jersey boys and the women who love them,” at Studio@620 Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

THESPIANS IN YOUR LIVING ROOM: If you missed Elizabeth Fendrick (StageworksSylvia) in a meaty role in the "Deep Waters" episode of Reckless on CBS two weeks ago, you can now catch her performance on your cable provider’s on-demand service. Fendrick plays a Charleston socialite who arranges her cheating husband’s murder and pins the deed on a third party. And watch for the ubiquitous Adam Crain (TampaRep’s Hamlet) as a bassist in an AT&T commercial and as a sweaty driver in a spot for the A/C Pro do-it-yourself auto air conditioner fix.

Got a tip for SCENE BREAKER? Email Scene Breaker in care of A&E Editor Julie Garisto,

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Tasha Smith's Actors Boot Camp at the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival

Tasha Smith's Actors Boot Camp at the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival

The first ever Tampa Bay Theatre Festival took over downtown Tampa the final weekend of September. One of the highlights was an actors boot camp with Hollywood star Tasha Smith.

Click to View 11 slides


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