FST Brings The honky-Tonk romp, Cowgirls, To The Stage!
(Sarasota, FL)—Grab your boots and hold onto your cowboy hats, the off-Broadway country musical Cowgirls kicks off the Florida Studio Theatre 2011 Summer Season this June. The musical comedy with a big heart is the brainchild of playwright Mary Murfitt, with music and lyrics by Ms. Murfitt, a book by Betsy Howie, and musical arrangements by Mary Ehlinger. COWGIRLS plays preview perfor- mances June 8 and 9, with a press opening June 10 in the Keating Theatre. Single tickets are priced $32 – $34 and can be purchased online at floridastudiotheatre.org or by calling the box office at (941) 366-9000.
Florida Studio Theatre welcomes back playwright Ms. Murfitt to direct the production, with musical arranger Mary Ehlinger serving as the Music Director. This is a unique opportunity for Murfitt and Ehlinger, who both appeared in the original FST production of COW-GIRLS and the off-Broadway incarnation, to return to Sarasota and work behind the scenes to bring this production to its feet.
FST produced COWGIRLS in the Summer of 1995, during its early development stage as a new work after it world-premiered at Caldwell Theatre Company. It then went on to the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego before making its New York City debut off-Broadway at the Mi-netta Lane Theatre and was nominated for an Outer Critics’ Circle award for Best Musical. Since its off-Broadway incarnation, COWGIRLS has enjoyed many hit productions all around the United States.
FST Artistic Director Richard Hopkins says, “I am thrilled to work with Mary Murfitt and Mary Ehlinger again on this project, as we have quite the history with them both. We first met during the OIL CITY SYMPHONY days, and then during the development of COWGIRLS. The ‘guitar theatre genre’ has been a pivotal part of FST – it once was a novelty to see actors who could sing, act, and play their own instruments. Now, it has become a dynamic genre and we are happy to bring it back to the stage and have both of their excellent comic timing and talent as the director and music director.”
COWGIRLS tells the story of Jo (played by Angela C. Howell) and her saloon in Rexford, Kansas, staffed with sidekicks Mickey (Chel- sea Costa) and Mo (Emily S. Grosland). To raise enough money to save Hiram Hall, Jo books the Cowgirl Trio to play a honky tonk performance sure to bring down the house. When the classical Coghill Trio (Sarah Hund as Mary Lou, Franca Vercelloni as Rita, and Joanna Parson as Lee) shows up on the saloon doorsteps booked by mistake, the female group must find their inner-twang and go from Chopin to Country and save the debt-ridden saloon from foreclosure!
All 3 shows of the Summer Season – Cowgirls, our Son’s Wedding, and The Savannah Disputation – will be presented at both FST’s Keating Theatre and Gompertz Theatre. Single tickets range from $19 for previews to $29-$34 for regular performances. A subscription to all 3 plays of the Summer Season ranges from $29-$42. Both subscription tickets and single tickets may be purchased from the FST Box Office in person or by calling (941) 366-9000 or online at www.FloridaStudioTheatre.org FST’s website is also an excellent source for videos, articles and information about FST’s productions.
ABOUT FLORIDA STUDIO THEATRE
Known as Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company eventually settled down into a permanent home, acquiring the former Woman’s Club building – now renamed the Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American Theatre, presenting contemporary theatre in its three theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the Goldstein Cabaret and its newest space, the Gompertz Theatre.
Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience. Under Richard Hopkins, Artistic Director and CEO, FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world. As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.
Richard Cameron of Theatre Chat thanks Florida Studio Theatre for this press release.