Scene & Heard


Scene & Heard


Date: May 22, 2013
by: Mallory Gnaegy | A&E Editor


+ Richards and Kesler start their next act
Maurice, or “Maurie,” as most know him, Richards speaks on behalf of himself and his partner, Jack Kesler: “We’ve started calling our involvement at Asolo Rep ‘our last act’ — it’s not our final curtain, but our last act,” he says with a laugh.

Richards and Kesler were inducted into Asolo Rep’s Crystal Society Wednesday, May 15, which is a society that honors those who made gifts of $1 million or more for the theater’s campaign for excellence. But Richards makes it crystal clear: “We didn’t give the money to join the Crystal Society; we gave the money to perpetuate the program.”

Richards has been promoting and coordinating educational scholarships since he was in his 40s (he’s now into his 80s). The couple moved 19 years ago to Sarasota from Detroit. They became involved at Asolo Rep four years ago by doing everything from pushing pencils, to attaching labels on envelopes — their initial involvement was getting others involved. That is, until they became student sponsors for FSU/Asolo Conservatory.

The new endeavor was like “putting a key in your back, turning it and winding it up,” Richards says. Going to lunches and dinners with their students and attending every opening night, class and workshop gave both of them new energy.

+ Something’s fishy — but it looks delicious
Click here to view photos from one of Roy’s of Sarasota’s cooking classes: Roy’s Sushi 101. Chef Carl Bertka taught the class how to make everything from traditional nigiri to Western rolls, for which Roy’s is known. And, of course, all the class members’ sushi rolling was rewarded with sampling their creations.

Patron Saints
If you haven’t started watching The Observer’s online video series “Patron Saints,” now’s your chance. It focuses on the people who make Sarasota the arts community that it is — the patrons. Each video spotlights a patron and a different performing-arts venue.

This week’s video features Dennis and Graci McGillicuddy and their beloved Florida Studio Theatre. Their patronage might not have been the largest at FST, but it has been one of the longest and most consistent. The annual donors have been giving since they met Artistic Director Richard Hopkins at a brunch and really hit it off. They consider him a visionary and support his mission for education, new plays and great theater. But their story is bigger than this paragraph, alone. Watch their complete story online at by clicking on the “Black Tie” tab. Or you can head to our YouTube channel: YourObserverVideo, and look for Patron Saints.


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