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Florida Studio Theatre

Richard and Betty Burdick Play Reading Series

Three new works in staged reading series.
May 7 thru May 21
In the Keating Theatre

As part of the Sarasota Festival of New Plays, Florida Studio Theatre presents the annual Richard & Betty Burdick Play Reading Series. Be among the first to see three contemporary new plays, followed by talkbacks with the playwright and cast. You'll be part of helping these playwrights develop their pieces.

More Information

See all three plays for $25!
Individual play readings available for $10.
Get your tickets: (941) 366-9000

American Beauty Shop

by Dana Lynn Formby
Monday, May 7 at 7PM
Sue Mason is a hard-working beauty shop owner in Colorado whose livelihood is threatened by the opening of a SuperCuts in the local Wal-Mart. As she battles to keep her business, Sue’s teenage daughter, Judy, battles with her own future deciding between what she wants and what her mother wants for her.

Formby describes herself as a “blue-collar playwright;” her father was a pipe-fitter and her mother was a hairdresser. Formby is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a founding member of Mortar Theatre Company. American Beauty Shop has been read at the Illinois Shakespeare Fest in Bloomington and at Steep Theatre in October. Dana is the 2008 recipient of the Scott McPherson Playwriting Award.

In the Book Of
by John Walch
Saturday, May 12 at 2PM
The play is inspired by the Biblical book of Ruth but focuses on the political and personal impacts of illegal immigration through the story of Naomi, an army veteran, and Anisah, an Afghan translator.

Walch’s plays have been produced at theatres such as The Center Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Playwrights Theatre of NJ, Kitchen Dog, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and off- Broadway at Urban Stages. John is a two time Sloan fellow (Manhattan Theatre Club, EST) as well as a Michener Fellow at UT at Austin, where he received his MFA. John served as artistic director of Austin Script Works, and has taught playwriting at UT at Austin, University of Iowa, and Bennington College, among others. John lives in Brooklyn, and is the resident playwright at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, as well as a resident playwright of New Dramatists.

The Tallest Building in the World
by Matt Schatz
Monday, May 21, 7PM

The Tallest Building in the World takes place in the 1960s and explores both the engineering and the chutzpah that fueled the construction of the World Trade Center.

In an interview with, Schatz said of the play: “I tried to write an exciting, entertaining play that, while based on actual historical events, is both very theatrical and also has a lot of myself in it. Though this play is about the designing and building of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers, it's not really a 9/11 play. I was certainly influenced and affected by those events and want to honor them any way I can. But my play takes place in the 1960s and is more about relationships: relationships between the people who build tall buildings, those against tall buildings, between buildings and people, and even between the buildings themselves.” Schatz is a playwright, lyricist and composer. He is a three-time recipient of an EST/Sloan Commission and a two-time Shubert Fellow. He is a member of the BMI Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop and the Dramatist Guild. Matt lives with his wife Jenna Hymes in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Queens.


Each of these plays is in varying stage of their development, from draft to post-premiere edits, allowing the audience to participate in the further formation of these pieces. Each reading will be followed by a talkback with the playwright where audience members have the opportunity to provide feedback for the play. Plays such as Black Pearl Sings! by Frank Higgins and Laughing Matters...Too by Rebecca Hopkins went on to full productions and critical success at Florida Studio Theatre after appearing in a Richard and Betty Burdick Play Reading Series. Many have also gone on to productions in New York and other regional theatres.
The Sarasota Festival of New Plays seeks to provide a forum for playwrights of all ages to develop plays that can be fruitfully produced. From our Young Playwrights to our emerging adult playwrights and seasoned play-writing veterans, the Sarasota Festival of New Plays seeks to broaden the breadth and depth of thought in American theatre by encouraging people of all ages and all perspectives to write plays. FST has presented the Sarasota Festival of New Plays for 20 years.

New Play Development is the lifeblood of FST. It is a year-round activity that is fully integrated with each of the theatre’s other programs. FST’s approach to new play development focuses on the continued life of the work.  Aside from presenting world premieres, FST frequently provides plays with their second, third or fourth productions. For example, in the 2009 Sarasota Festival of New Plays, FST provided Black Pearl Sings! with its 3rd production. Black Pearl Sings! has gone on to many productions, becoming one of the most produced plays in the country in 2010. In addition, in 2010, in partnership with the National New Play Network, FST presented the rolling world premiere of Shotgun by John Biguenet.

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