Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast

Love, Actually
The The Starlite Players
Review by William S. Oser | Season Schedule

Also see Bill's recent review of The Wiz

Alan Kitty and Sandra Musicante
Photo by Don Walker
The Starlite Players are at it again, recently presenting their October offering Love, Actually, four short comedies that examine romance from multiple angles. It's Only a Minute a Guy, by John Franceschini and directed by Jan Wallace (who is very busy this month, also appearing in Assisted Loving at the end of the program), was the first play on the program. The premise is that Betty, recently divorced goes, on a speed-dating evening that offers one minute dates. Of course she is nervous, but bartender Henry calms her down. After that, she encounters five wildly different men but discovers Henry most to her liking. Sandra Musicante played Betty nicely, but it was Alan Kitty as Henry and all five speed dates that really stole the show. Although the play lasts only about 15 minutes, he managed to differentiate the various male dates nicely in a bravura performance.

Next up was Mrs. Jansen Isn't Here Now by Steven Korbar and directed by Garry Allan Breul (the back and brains behind Suncoast AIDS Theater Project). A man and a woman are in a bar, the setup for many jokes and an equal number of plays. They are flirting a bit. For a few moments it looks like they are striking out, but then Mary Margaret finds out that Chris was until recently a Catholic priest—or was he? Nice performances from Liz Pascoe as Mary Margaret and Joseph Mammina, new to Starlite Players, made this piece fun.

After intermission came One Night Stan by Adam Szudrich and directed by Mike Lusk, a rat-a-tat telling of the adventures of three women on a date with the same man. Here Mr. Lusk's direction took center stage, because this piece could easily become a hunk of mush without sharp delivery, which he got from Ariella Pizarro as Rachel, Liz Pascoe as Holly, and Jennifer Lee as Marie.

Last was the most substantial piece of the evening, Assisted Loving by Jack Gilhooley and directed by Mark Woodland. Set in an assisted living facility, the favorite game is musical beds. Hermione, played by Andrea Dovner, has come to visit her mother Rosalind, played by Jan Wallace, and is horrified to find her involved in a passing romance with Benny, played by Neil Levine. Doris the receptionist and underage participant, played by Maria Larson, tries to calm Hermione down. The piece is really well written, Rosalind is a former Professor of Shakespeare and Mr. Gilhooley weaves in an unbelievable number of quotes from his works as mother and daughter try to identify each as they pop up. What is so funny is how relevant they are to the story being told. Later he brings in other playwrights from the same era for an extra layer of fun. This was the work's premiere production, and it sure shouldn't be the last.

The Starlite Players played to sold out houses all weekend, making them and Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe the two hottest tickets in town. Congratulations to The Starlite Players for how far they have come in just over a year and how consistent they are month to month. Next month they will offer Thank You—I Think from November 10-13.

Love, Actually played through October 23, 2016, presented by The Starlite Players at The Starlite Room, 1001 Cocoanut Avenue, Sarasota, FL. For more information, visit

It's Only a Minute a Guy:
Betty: Sandra Musicante, Henry and Five Speed Dates: Alan Kitty
Mrs. Jansen Isn't Here Now
Mary Margaret: Liz Pascoe, Chris: Joseph Mammina
One Night Stan
Rachel, Ariella Pizarro, Holly-Liz Pascoe, Marie: Jennifer Lee
Assisted Loving
Doris: Ana Maria Larson, Hermione: Andrea Dovner, Rosalind: Jan Wallace, Benny: Neil Levine

The Crew:
Producing Artistic Director: Jo Morello
Technical Director: Steve Patmagrian
Stage Managers: Jo Morello, Steve Patmagrian
Sound & Lights: Steve Patmagrian
Dressers for Alan Kitty: Joan Antonicelli, Mark Woodland
Webmaster & Photographer: Don Walker
Front of house: Tim Guerrieri
House Managers/Ushers: Joan Antonicelli, Dianne Brin, Diana Colson, Betty Robinson
Assistant to the Director: Ren Pearson/Mark Woodland
Others in Various Capacities: Dorian Boyd, Roth Goldman, Buzz Herron, Marie Kilker, Jaimi McPeek, Dick Pell

Special Thanks to:
Tyler Yurckonis & the Starlite Room Staff
The Jazz Club of Sarasota, Sponsor
Kobernick-Anchin-Benderson, Sponsor
Annette Breazeale and Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
Our dedicated and necessarily anonymous Reading Committee

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