Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast

The Customer is Always Right
The Starlite Players

Also see Bill's reviews of I Hate Hamlet and Secrets and Sequins

Alison Prouty and Jeremy Guerrero
There is another newly formed theater company in Sarasota, this one focusing on local playwrights. Local theater author Jo Morello has bent my ear on several occasions about how playwrights are treated; many of the local new play competitions charge a submission fee and the lucky author is often asked to help subsidize the reading or production, and forget any royalty fees. Ms. Morello is married to another author, Jack Gilhooley, who also feels these competitions are rigged toward favored authors. Starlite Players' founding team, consisting of Ms. Morello, Preston Boyd, Jamie Lee Butrum, Monica Cross, Mr. Gilhooley, Rich Goldman, Ruth Goldman, Daniel Greene, Tim Guerrieri, Donald Walker, Mark Woodland, and Tyler Yurckonis, announced the company publicly on June 8 and raised the curtain on their first evening of short plays five weeks later, July 15, 2015—an amazing feat.

Titled The Customer is Always Right, their opening program consists of five short pieces: A Line of Malarky by Larry Parr, directed by Mark Woodland; Customer Service by Philip W. Hall, directed by Preston Boyd; Penitents, written and directed by Jack Gilhooley; No Sugar, by Philip W. Hall, directed by Preston Boyd; and Thanks for the Memories, by Marvin Albert, directed by Mark Woodland. All of the plays are about 10 minutes each in duration except Penitents, which is about double that in length. All are primarily two character scenes, mostly suitable for acting exercises, the length making extensive plotting unlikely.

Nine area actors came from as far away as St. Petersburg and Tampa to be part of the enterprise. Several actors seemed out of ideal age range for their parts, but performances were lively and laughter came often from the opening night audience. Jenny Aldrich Walker delivered the most endearing performance of the evening as Betty in Thanks for the Memories, showing great chemistry with her co star Chuck Conlon as Max.

Welcome to Starlite Players, providing a platform for playwrights and a showcase for area actors to spread their wings. I'm sure the opening program proved a hit with local audiences.

The Customer is Always Right played through July 18, 2015, presented by The Starlite Players at The Starlite Room, 1001 Cocoanut Avenue, Sarasota, FL.

A Line of Malarky Lucille Malarky: Mary Jo Johnson, Camilla Rosebloom: Skyla Dawn Luckey
Customer Service, George: Ren Pearson, Suzanne: Delia Revard
Penitents, Kathleen: Alison Prouty, Michael: Jeremy Guerrero
No Sugar, Barry: Ren Pearson, Debbie: Delia Revard
Thanks for the Memories, Max: Chuck Conlon, Betty: Jenny Aldrich Walker, Police Officer: Dave Downer

Producer/Managing Director: Jo Morello
Technical Director: Steve Patmagrian
Production Manager: Monica Cross
Production Coordinator: Jamie Le Butrum
House Manager: Ruth Goldman
House Manager: DEon Walker
Photographer: Richard Jay Goldman

Photo: The Starlite Players

--William S. Oser