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Performing Art
Hollywood writer-turned-playwright Liz Brixius
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2011 11 years ago

Scene & Heard

by: Heidi Kurpiela Contributing Writer

+ Asolo Rep reveals its 2011-2012 lineup
We know you ravenous Asolo Rep theatergoers are dying to get a whiff of the company’s 2011-2012 programming. So, without further ado, here’s a quick rundown of some of the repertoire you’ll see next season.

The season kicks off Nov. 11 with “My Fair Lady,” directed by Broadway veteran Frank Galati (“Ragtime” and “The Grapes of Wrath”).

The musical has been on Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards’ to-do list for years, but without the perfect director to helm the project, Edwards could only wish and wait.

Enter Galati, who directed this season’s smashing legal drama, “Twelve Angry Men,” and upon falling in love with the Asolo Rep moved into a condo three miles up the road from the theater.

“Having Frank here has presented very interesting opportunities,” Edwards says. “He’s going to direct a defining production of ‘My Fair Lady.’”

As for the rest of the season, the company will produce Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s “Once in a Lifetime” (Jan. 6 to March 1). Directed by Mark Rucker, the play is a breezy, Old-Hollywood satire about the effect the motion pictures had on the early entertainment industry.

Also in 2012: Yazmina Reza’s Tony Award-winning “God of Carnage” (Jan. 13 to March 30), followed by “Yentl” (Jan. 20 to April 26) and the Edwards-directed “Hamlet: Prince of Cuba” (March 23 to May 6).

These all sound lovely, but the show we’re most excited to see is the world premiere of Liz Brixius’ “Who the *@*&#*@ is Jackson Pollock?”

Brixius, creator of Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie,” loosely based the script on a documentary about Teri Horton, a 73-year-old, former long-haul trucker who purchased a thrift-store painting for $5 without realizing it might be by Jackson Pollock. Further adding to the quirk factor: Horton had no idea who Pollock was — thus the name of the play.

+ Author paints town green, white and red
You know those guys who tell so many good stories their friends and family urge them to write a book?

That’s Joseph Spinella.

Spinella, who worked for 30 years at Taffy’s Menswear on St. Armands Circle, recently penned a slim memoir (“From Green White and Red to Red White and Blue”) about his childhood growing up in Sicily, Italy.

Published last year by Peppertree Press, the paperback is filled with endearing vignettes and Sicilian quips, including this one:

“You could always tell from a block away when a woman got engaged,” Spinella says. “She got a permanent. Don’t ask me why. It was what was done.”

The author will sign copies of his book from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 11, at Media on Main, 1341 Main St.
His son, Joseph Spinella Jr., an opera singer who is currently being groomed by coaches at The Metropolitan Opera House, will also be on hand to sign copies of his new CD, “Spinella, Tenor of Illusions.”

WBTT’s ‘Five Guys Named Moe’: The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe puts its best crooners forward with “Five Guys Named Moe,” a Clarke Peters’ musical featuring the music of American jazz, blues and R&B legend Louis Jordan. The cast includes WBTT veterans Leon S. Pitts II and Porter L. Anderson III and newcomer Mikeyy Mendez. It opens March 11 and runs through April 3. For tickets, call 366-1505 or visit

Camerata Ireland at the Van Wezel: The Sarasota Concert Association concludes its 2011 winter series with Camerata Ireland, an Irish orchestra led by pianist and conductor Barry Douglas. The chamber ensemble will perform a handful of traditional Irish songs, as well as serve up classics by Rossini, Mozart and Barber. Guest soprano Celine Byrne, winner of the 2007 Maria Callas Grand Prix, will blow you away. The show begins at 8 p.m. Monday, March 14, at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. For tickets, call 955-0040 or visit


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