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Performing Art
Banyan Opening Night Dinner Chairwoman Anne Howard, David Howard, Banyan Artistic Director Carol Kleinberg and Ted Shears
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2011 6 years ago

Scene & Heard

by: Loren Mayo and Molly Schechter

+ Longtime chef to produce theatrical parody
Most of the baby boomer generation has fond memories of The Firesign Theatre, a California-based comedy troupe comprised of Phil Austin, Peter Bergman, David Ossman and Philip Proctor. Often called “America’s Monty Pythons,” the ensemble produced more than 22 albums and hundreds of live radio shows and still performs sell-out shows around the country.

Chef Larry Barrett, of the Sarasota-based catering company Simply Gourmet, has secured exclusive rights to produce and direct a theatrical presentation of The Firesign Theatre’s “Nick Danger: Third Eye” — a parody of vintage radio detective shows — in October at the Powel Crosley Estate.

In addition to 25 years as an executive chef, Barrett has performed on New York City stages, in television commercials and on TV series, including, “General Hospital,” “Days of Our Lives” and “Loving.” A fan of edible historical recreations, Barrett will pair the production with cuisine that was served at the classic American restaurant, Delmonico’s.

“The inspiration for the evening came after reading the history of the Crosley Estate,” Barrett said. “Powel Crosley was responsible for bringing affordable radio to America. The story has it that, in 1920, he bought a radio for his son and was shocked to see the price was more than $100. Crosley developed a way to manufacture radios for much less, bringing affordable entertainment to the masses. When I heard this story, everything fell into place. What a perfect venue to produce a radio show!”

Barrett will hold auditions in August. For information, call 929-0066 or visit

+ Comedy tonight
The Banyan Theatre kicked off its 10th anniversary season with dinner, chaired by Anne Howard, preceding its opening-night performance June 30.

The party was, in Howard’s words, a “comedy of errors” featuring non-working electrical outlets and a board member (who shall remain nameless) who forgot to bring the case of wine he had donated.
“That’s theater,” Howard laughed.

It was a fitting prelude to the Banyan’s first ever season of comedies. In that spirit, all’s well that ends well: A full house laughed heartily throughout the opening production of “Becky’s New Car,” by Steven Dietz, directed by Gil Lazier and presented in the Asolo’s Cook Theatre. The play runs through July 11.

+ ‘Operation Epsilon’ offers up food for thought
There was a play-in-development reading of “Operation Epsilon” June 29. It was written by Alan Brody, directed by Andy Sandberg and produced by Ellen Berman and Flora Major. The Sarasota reading was in association with the Asolo Repertory Theatre, made possible by Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards.

The play is the true story of German nuclear scientists who were interned at Farm Hall, England, by British and American authorities, after the fall of Germany in World War II; their rooms were bugged and all their conversations were recorded. Its meat is the moral responsibility of scientists and the sometimes destructive consequences of their science.

Brody described “Operation Epsilon” as “a very lumpy play” and thanked a “generous audience,” which didn’t find it lumpy in the least. The reading was originally planned for the Asolo rehearsal hall and about 30 guests; it ended up in the Historic Asolo Theater with an audience of 140.

‘A Dance in 48 Hours’: Four choreographers will come together to consolidate their visions into a dance concert to be conceived in just 48 hours.

The show will be presented and directed by Leymis Bolaños Wilmot, co-founder of Fuzión Dance Artists, Erin Fletcher, of the Fletcher Dance Project, Shila Tirabassi and Travis Mesman. Also appearing will be Tai White, Alyson Dolan and Jahrel Thompson, of Fuzión Dance Artists.

The public is invited to view the rehearsals from 3 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 8. Two performances will be held at 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday, July 9, at The [email protected], in St. Petersburg. Tickets are $20 or $15 for students and seniors. For information, call 727-895-6620 or email [email protected].


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