18-19 FST Improv
FST Improv was started in 2001 by Rebecca Hopkins and has been entertaining audiences on the Suncoast of Florida ever since. The first few years of performances were in the Goldstein Cabaret before finding a permanent home in the Bowne’s Lab in 2013. In 2014, former ImprovBoston Artistic Director Will Luera was hired as the Director of Improvisation and a variety of new shows have been added including long-form favorites When X Meets Y, We're Doomed, and The More You Know. FST Improv performs year-round on Saturday nights and select Friday Nights.
Limited View: $12
FST Improv Presents: Life's A Beach
Saturdays, Feb. 23 - June 28 | 8:30PM through April. 7:30 from April 19 - June 28.
From snowbirds to roundabouts, this revue-style show will feature sketches, musicals, and our favorite classic improv games. Poking fun at what makes Sarasota, Sarasota, by using audience suggestions, FST Improv will show us why life here is ‘just a beach.’
FST Improv Presents: Tournament of Fools
Saturdays, April 11 | 8:30PM
Come see this one-day, knockdown, drag-out comedy battle royale, where the winner takes all! Our ten FST Improv ensemble members will compete in a series of improv scenes, songs, and games to win your laughter, your applause, and the coveted title of Champion of the Fools! After each round, you vote on who stays and who goes. In the end there can only be one comedian standing as the champion of this year’s tournament!
FST Improv Presents: Comedy Freestyle
Saturdays, April 20 - June 29 | 7:30PM
What happens when you take your favorite FST Improv games and remove the rules? A whole new style of show that moves quickly and promises to deliver more laughs per minute than any other show you’ve seen. With a mix of games, music and memorable scenes, Comedy Freestyle will be the most unique improv show you’ve ever been a part of.
All single tickets can be purchased online by clicking the link above or by calling the box office at 941-366-9000. Join us at one hour prior to your showtime for pre-show dining and drinks in Bowne's Lab Theatre! Reservations are not required, you will be seated at the table you reserved for the performance. To see our menu, click here.
Do you need a ride to the theatre? Click here to find out more about our partnership with iTN Suncoast.
WILL LUERA (Director) the Director of Improvisation at Florida Studio Theatre, Director of Big Bang Improv and serves as the Artistic Director Emeritus of ImprovBoston. Will is co-creator of Healing Moments for Alzheimer’s a non-profit organization that provides education advocacy and ministry for persons with dementia and their caregivers. Will tours globally as an improv and theater actor director and instructor that performs and teaches regularly all across North America South America Europe and Asia.
CHRISTINE ALEXANDER is a founding member of the FST Improv program and because of that, is now Locally World Famous. Little known fact: FST built this new Bowne’s Labjust for her. (That’s the real story, don’t let them tell you anything different). During the day you can find Christine leading improv workshops of all kinds, and in the evenings, you can find her here at FST teaching improv, or performing on her brand new stage. Whatever her job is that day, it includes “making people laugh and feel comfortable and courageous.” Her motto is: If it feels good to laugh, then laugh to feel good. Find her on the internets at ChristineAlexander.net (.com isn’t funny at all).
JASON CANNON is an Associate Artist at FST, where he gets to direct plays and musicals, collaborate with playwrights, teach acting and playwriting classes, and mentor Acting Apprentices and Directing Interns (those poor, impressionable young minds!). Mostly, though, he trims his beard and makes the best key lime pie this side of the Myakka.
JAMIE DAY (MS, LMFT, RDT) is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Registered Drama Therapist and Creator of the Divine Mommy groups, and the Co-Creator of the Divine Badass Workshops for Women. Jamie has earned Master of Science degrees in both Marriage and Family Therapy and Interdisciplinary Arts from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. In addition, she also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre Performance from Northern Kentucky University. Her dedicated approach incorporates a creative and solution-focused mindset that empowers, affirms and invokes the strength within. Jamie is an active member in the Actor’s Equity Association and the Screen Actor’s Guild.
ANDREW DEEB St. Pete FL native, graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts ‘NY. Member of AEA. Proud neighbor of owner of dog. He is thrilled to be apart of FST Improv!
CHRIS FRIDAY is an improviser with over 20 years of experience. He is an original member of the FST Improv Group, and founding member of the Musical Improv program at FST. In addition to performing at FST, Chris serves as Director of Curriculum and Senior Consultant for Game on Nation. His unique talent for using positive humor to inspire change has helped all branches of the US military, as well as some of the world’s most prestigious athletes and teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, NFL Players Association, University of Alabama Football, and over 100 first-round NBA and NFL draft picks. Chris resides in Sarasota, FL with his wife and two daughters.
PATRICK A. JACKSON is excited to return for another season of fun and hilarious hi-jinks with FST Improv. When not onstage with the cast, he is the Education & Improv Associate with American Stage in St. Pete in addition to being an actor, playwright & teaching artist in the Tampa Bay Area. Patrick realizes that he favors the late great Sammy Davis, Jr. but feels his spirit animal is more aligned with Flip Wilson. Enjoy the show!
JOEY JAMES is an actor/improviser/grandma's boy from Chicago Illinois. He is excited for another FST Improv season!
DARRYL KNAPP has been an improviser for over 20 years. He is the Artistic Associate Director of The Box in Tampa, a member of the house team “Dear Aunt Gertrude,” a teacher of the Level III class, and team leader of the house team “Alpaca Suitcase” there. He is on the house team “Possible Side Effects” at American Stage in St. Petersburg. A lover of cats, deviled eggs, and baseball. Darryl is also known as the Mayor of Improv.
EMILY LEVIN is a recovering attorney who originally studied and performed improv in the Chicago area. She was a founding member of an all female improv troupe called Lady HaHa and performed in the Chicago suburbs for drunk women having a ladies’ night out. Emily has since gone on to become a total embarrassment to her children. In 2013, Emily moved to Sarasota with her husband and is thrilled to be living here instead of freezing and shoveling mounds of snow in Illinois. Emily hopes that her career at FST will rise to new heights of embarrassment for her family.
JOEY PANEK entertains onstage and small screens throughout Tampa Bay. He toured as a professional stage actor for 14 years, and has produced and starred in many webseries. By day, he’s the Senior Producer of Suncoast View at WWSB ABC7 in Sarasota. By night, he’s the proud father of a long-haired chihuahua, Lulu. www.howboutjoey.com
KATHRYN PARKS is an actor/singer/filmmaker. Coming from the land of musical theatre, she’s also versed in improv, writing, and film production. Stage credits: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Maggie), Violet (Violet), The King and I (Anna). Film credits: Killroy Was Here (director Kevin Smith), The Glades, 50 Words (writer, producer) Culture Coast (host). She’s appeared at American Stage, Florida Studio Theatre, Asolo Rep, and Players Centre, and has a BA in Theatre Arts, University of Miami. Her film, 50 Words, was an official selection of the 2018 Sarasota Film Festival. KathrynParks.com
ADAM RATNER is jumping for joy like a bunny hopped up on Red Bull for another season of FST IMPROV! Adam has been performing Improv at FST since he was a mere infant, starting as a member of the “Original” Kids Komedy Club in the mid 1980s. Since that time, Adam has become the Lead Teaching Artist here at Florida Studio Theatre, instructing several levels of improvisation and acting classes. When not onstage, Adam spends his limited free time checking random pockets for spare change.
ELISE RODRIGUEZ is a performer and teaching artist at FST. In 2017 she moved to Sarasota leaving behind a legal career and a whole lotta cuban bread. She studied improvisational acting at Just the Funny Improv Comedy school in Miami, Florida and later joined the company as a cast member performing weekly in both their English and Spanish improv shows. Elise also performs in SIDE BAR, an improv duo, and directs BUSTED! an all-female identifying FST house team. If you’re not careful, she will offer you cuban coffee – and your life will never be the same.
NATASHA SAMRENY got her start at The Second City in Chicago. She currently writes and performs sketch comedy with Millennial Fresh. Her playful style of stand-up comedy blends cheeky observations of life, relationships, and her mixed upbringing as a multicultural military brat. She’s performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, Camden Fringe, and Boston Comedy Arts Fest. Stay connected @NatashaSamreny and natashasamreny.com.
MARIA TEREZA SCHAEDLER-LUERA is the Program Manager for Arts Integration with Any Given Child Sarasota at the Sarasota County Schools and the Managing Director of Atomica Arts. She teaches applied theater, meditation and mindfulness and performs with FST’s Musical Improv Cast.
SERGEI GLUSHONKOV (Pianist) has been playing piano since he was a sprightly Ukrainian baby. As his piano skills slightly improved over time, his maturity level remained the same. Thus, he found a fun-ducational outlet as sort of a superhero… “Southside Elementary music teacher by day – FST pianist by night.” Sergei has a few children’s musicals under his belt (or wherever one likes to keep their experiences): Jungle Book, Cinderella, School House Rock, and Sleeping Beauty. Sergei is extremely excited to be a part of FST troupe — just ask his shrink!
MICHELLE NEAL (Pianist) has been playing piano for the FST Improv since 2015, and loves being apart of such an eclectic, talented, and fantastic group of people. She also enjoys music directing shows at local theatres (such as Manatee Performing Arts Center and The Players Centre for Performing Arts.) She’s excited to have joined an up and coming Salsa band as of October, and feels very grateful for all the amazing opportunities she’s been presented.
JIM PROSSER (Pianist) is the featured pianist with the FST Improv troupe. He has been involved in the creation of many of FST’s cabaret productions, including Dancing In The Street, By Gershwin, European Cabaret, That’s Life Again, British Invasion, Harry Who?, Too Darn Hot, and last season’s productions of Mack The Knife: The Bobby Darin Songbook and Shakespeare's Greatest Hits. He has also written scores for numerous children’s musicals at FST including Androcles and the Lion, RAP-Punzel, The Velveteen Rabbit, and the WRITE A PLAY elementary tours.
REBECCA HOPKINS (Founder & Producer)is the founder and producer of FST Improv and the Sarasota Improv Festival. In addition, she has been actively involved in development of FST’s Cabaret productions since her arrival in 1998. This season, she is the lead developer on Blue Suede Shoes and co-developer of Mack the Knife: The Bobby Darin Songbook, and Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits. Previously she was the lead developer on Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves; Yesterday; American Pie; and Poems, Prayers, and Promises. She has been the head writer on all five Laughing Matters shows. Some of her favorite shows she helped develop include: The Prima Donnettes; That’s Life; The Wanderers; My One and Only Gershwin; Hot and Cole; Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits; The British Invasion; The Flip Side; and Outlaws and Angels. Mrs. Hopkins serves as Managing Director for Florida Studio Theatre, and as such, is the Chief Operations Officer. Mrs. Hopkins is responsible for oversight of FST’s Administration, including the Business Office, Development, Marketing, Box Office, Front of House, Restaurant, Budgeting, and maintaining the overall quality of FST’s internal management. Nationally, Mrs. Hopkins is President of the National New Play Network and serves on the Executive Board for the League of Resident Theatres, and on the Board of Theatre Communications Group. In 2012, the Arts & Cultural Alliance awarded Mrs. Hopkins the Cultural Champion Award in recognition of her many years of accomplishment and growth with Florida Studio Theatre. In 2016, Mrs. Hopkins was awarded the Luminaire Award, honoring excellence in creativity, philanthropy, advocacy, and all elements that are keys to future growth of the arts in Sarasota.
“Hilarious” – Sarasota Herald-Tribune
“FST Improv Rocks Saturday Nights” – SRQ Daily
“Raw, comic talent” – Pelican Press
The annual Sarasota Improv Festival, which FST hosts and produces, is featured in Travel Mag's Top 12 Unique Things To Do in Sarasota
Book FST Improv
The FST Improv troupe is available to book for private events, parties, and corporate training. To inquire about availability and pricing, contact Director of Improvisation, Will Luera at 941-366-9017 x355 or by email at [email protected]
You can also host your private event at Florida Studio Theatre. FST has spaces for all occasions: holiday parties, luncheons, conferences, etc. To learn more about booking a space, click here.
To inquire about availability or tours, contact Events Coordinator, Christina Charlotte at 941-366-9017 x347 or [email protected]
Bowne's Lab is located on the corner of First Street and Cocoanut Avenue inside of The Hegner Theatre Wing. For GPS purposes use the address of 1265 First Street, Sarasota, FL 34236. To see a list of our buildings and shows, please see below. For more information please call the FST Box Office at (941) 366-9000.
Do you need a ride to the theatre? Click here to find out more about our partnership with iTN Suncoast.
For those who require additional assistance or handicap parking/drop off, please see the map below. Handicap parking is reserved for patrons with a handicap tag and is in the lot across from the Hegner Theatre Wing. The area for drop off of handicap passengers/patrons for the Court Cabaret is along the corner of First Street and Cocoanut Avenue. If handicap parking is not available and you are dropping off a passenger, our lobby concierge would be happy to wait with them until you return. For any questions regarding handicap parking please call the box office at (941) 366-9000.