Blue Suede Shoes
November 29, 2017 - April 9, 2018 | Goldstein Cabaret
In the 1950s, Rock ‘N’ Roll took America by storm. With its roots in rhythm and blues, country western, swing, and doo-wop, this new sound would forever change the world of music. From the father of Rock ‘N’ Roll, Chuck Berry, to The King himself, Elvis Presley, this revue celebrates the birth of rock and roll with such great hits as “Rock Around the Clock,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Mustang Sally,” and “Johnny B. Goode.”
The running time for Blue Suede Shoes is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. It is performed with an intermission.
Blue Suede Shoes by Rebecca Hopkins and Richard Hopkins, with arrangements by Jim Prosser.
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Director | Catherine Randazzo
Music Director | Darren Server
Sound Designer | Thom Korp
Lighting Designer | Thom Beaulieu
Costume Designer | Adrienne Webber
Hannah Benitez | Drums *November 29, 2017- February 27, 2018*
Laura Hammel | Drums *February 28 - April 29*
GABRIEL ARONSON is a Los Angeles native who gravitated to rock & roll at an early age. From the sounds of the British Invasion to those of Laurel Canyon, Gabe’s biggest influences were his parents as they nudged him to pick up playing the piano. Today, Gabriel has performed in three different productions of Million Dollar Quartet, portraying Jerry Lee Lewis, as well as singing in Burn the Floor and for several bands. Gabe is a multi-instrumentalist spanning the drums, bass, and guitar. He loves music, acting, keeping fit, and having fun!
JOE CASEY is thrilled and grateful to be back at FST. FST: Million Dollar Quartet; American Pie; and Poems, Prayers & Promises. Regional: The Bridges Of Madison County (Robert Kincaid); Million Dollar Quartet (Johnny Cash); The Crucible (John Proctor); Betrayal (Jerry); Nite Club Confidential (Buck Holden); ‘57 Chevy (Elvis Presley); Assassins (Czolgosz); Spike Heels (Edward); Wait Until Dark (Mike). New York: Allen Wilder 2.0 (Michael); The Great American Backstage Musical (Johnny Brash). National Tours: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Pharaoh). TV: The Knick, A Crime To Remember, The Hunt With John Walsh.
JANNIE JONES most recently created the role of Annabella in Gathering Blue (World Premiere) at the Mt. Gretna Theatre. She was Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone in A Night With Janis Joplin at Capital Rep. and the Barter Theatre. Performed with The Black Stars of the Great White Way with Tony Award-winners Norm Lewis & André De Shields and Emmy Award-winner Obba Babatundé at the National Black Theatre Festival. Catch her episode of The Get Down (Cool Herc’s Mom) on Netflix and Power on Starz. Broadway/First National Broadway Tours: The Full Monty (u/s Annie Golden as Georgie); All Shook Up (Sylvia); Mama I Want to Sing (Sister Carrie); Faith Journey (Traci). She won an Audelco Award for August Wilson’s Women (FENCES - Rose) and A Bay Area Critics Award for Black Pearl Sings (Pearl). She received critical acclaim for two one-woman shows, My Castle’s Rockin’ (Alberta Hunter) and Ethel Waters, His Eye on the Sparrow, written by Larry Parr and premiering at Florida Studio Theatre. She can be heard on Barry White’s (CD) Practice What You Preach, and has performed at Carnegie Hall.
NYGEL D. ROBINSON is an Actor/Singer/Songwriter based in NYC. His recent theatre credits include Joe Perkins in Freedom Riders (Best Supporting Actor nom), Brian in Woody (NYMF), and Ensemble/Horse u/s in The Full Monty at the John W. Engeman Theatre.
HANNAH BENITEZ (Drummer)BFA Acting, FSU. Regional Actor/Musician credits: White Fang; Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play; The Pirates of Penzance; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; A Fiddler on the Roof (freeFall Theatre); Godspell (Off Square Theatre); Dogfight (Slowburn Theater); James Joyce’s The Dead (Mad Cow Theatre); Robin Hood (Hippodrome State Theater). Other regional: Othello and Love’s Labour’s Lost (Montana Shakespeare); The Golem of Havana (Miami New ARTIST PROFILES Drama); Twelfth Night (Thin Air Shakespeare); New Jerusalem (GableStage); Bad Jews (Main Street Players and upcoming at Mad Cow Theater); Three Sisters, Tribes (Mad Cow Theater). Member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Laura Hamel (Drummer) is a drummer, percussionist, and a multi-instramentalist currently living and working in New York City. She graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied with great percussionists like Nancy Zeltsman and Boston Pops Percussionist Richard Flanagan. She is skilled across all facets of percussion including mallet instruments, timpani, hand percussion, drum set, and various froms of auxiliary percussion. She is proud to be working with such a great team and to be a part of a wonderful show.
CATHERINE RANDAZZO (Director) is thrilled to work with the talented team of Blue Suede Shoes. She directed FST’s Winter Cabarets Mack the Knife: The Bobby Darin Songbook; Piano Men; Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves; and Yesterday. Catherine calls Sarasota her artistic home. She has appeared in plays, musicals, cabarets, new play readings, voice overs, commercials, fund raisers, and toured in national and international productions. She is the recipient and nominee of various awards for education, national arts awards, and local performance awards including “Best Actress in a Musical” for her performance as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. Other favorite performances include Forbidden Broadway, Cats, The Rocky Horror Show, and The Full Monty to name a few. Most recently she appeared as Eve in FST’s Mainstage production of Rich Girl. She was named one of “Sarasota’s Funniest People” for her comedic styles seen in Sarasota’s original political comedy group, License to Bash, which was a part of FST’s Cabaret Fringe Festival in 1996. As Associate Artist, Catherine serves as Literary Manager, in-residence director, teaching artist, and professional actor. Catherine is a graduate of Otterbein University in Ohio with a BFA in performance, and she is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.
DARREN SERVER (Musical Director) is proud to be back at FST for his third season. Beginning the season with music directing: Mack The Knife and Once. Last season he music directed: Million Dollar Quartet; Piano Men; Older Than Dirt; and Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves. At the Asolo Repertory Theatre last season, he music directed, composed, and arranged the music for Ah, Wilderness! and The Drunken City. This season he music directed Oedipus. Interesting fact: Darren’s grandfather is “Curly” Howard of The Three Stooges and his great-uncles are Moe and Shemp Howard. This has always been a source of pride and inspiration for him. Follow Darren on his family’s website: www.thegrandstooges.com.
TANNER LIAS (Sound and Light Board Operator) is a graduate of Bowling Green State University where he graduated with a degree in Technical Theatre/Design and Acting/Directing. He is excited to make his FST debut! Selected stage management credits: South Pacific; The Penelopiad; Noises Off!; Evelyn in Purgatory; and Our Town. Directing credits: Tone Clusters; and Dying City. FST productions he’s worked on this season include: Mack the Knife: The Bobby Darin Songbook and Once where he assisted during rehearsals.
ADRIENNE WEBBER (Costume Designer) is the current Florida Studio Theatre Costume Shop Manager. She has designed and coordinated costumes for The Barter Theatre, The Barter Players, Chautauqua Opera, FSU MFA film and video program, FSU MFA acting program, Asolo Children’s tour program, Sarasota Players, and Anna Maria Island Players. Her most recent designs include: Mack the Knife: The Bobby Darin Songbook; The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey; and Grounded. She is happy to be back in Sarasota with her new FST family.
THOM BEAULIEU (Lighting Designer) is an award-winning lighting and sound designer. His work has been experienced throughout the Eastern US including: Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves, brownsville song (b-side for tray), Older Than Dirt, Burt & Me, Once, Mack the Knife: The Bobby Darin Songbook (Florida Studio Theatre); The Waltz, Godspell, Carrie: the Musical, and Cabaret (The Winnipesaukee Playhouse); A Chorus Line, Floyd Collins, Sweet Charity, and Singin’ in the Rain (Aurora Theatre). He holds a BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama, and a MS in Physics.
THOM KORP (Sound Designer) a former FST intern, is excited to be entering his second season as staff. Sound design credits include Once; Burt & Me; The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey; The Columnist; Talley’s Folley; A Chorus Line; Spamalot; and The West Side Waltz. Mixing Credits: Next to Normal; Das Barbecü; Smokey Joe’s Café; The World Goes Round; Tango: Buenos Aires; We Will Rock You; Sound engineer with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines 2014 – 2016.
REBECCA HOPKINS (Lead Developer) has been actively involved in development of FST’s Cabaret productions since her arrival in 1998. In addition to being the lead developer for Blue Suede Shoes, this season she is also a developer for Mack the Knife: The Bobby Darin Songbook and co-developer of 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. In addition, she is the founder and producer of FST Improv and the Sarasota Improv Festival. 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.
RICHARD HOPKINS (Developer) Mr. Hopkins is the Producing Artistic Director of Florida Studio Theatre. Mr. Hopkins has fostered the development of FST’s Mainstage and Cabaret productions. His many directing Mainstage credits include: Inspired Lunacy, The Best of Enemies, Next to Normal, Race, Ruined, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Boleros for the Disenchanted, Permanent Collection, and Metamorphoses, among numerous other plays. Mr. Hopkins led the development of FST’s Cabaret productions of Piano Men, The Prima Donnettes, Too Darn Hot, and By Gershwin. Mr. Hopkins also serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Florida Studio Theatre. This includes overseeing the creation and implementation of all FST programming, including Mainstage, Cabaret, Stage III, New Play Development, Education, and Touring. Since his arrival at FST in 1980, Mr. Hopkins has guided the theatre from a small touring company to a nationally recognized regional theatre which impacts over 200,000 adults and children annually. He created the New Play Development Program, The Cabaret Series, FST’s award-winning WRITE A PLAY Program, and has directed the design and renovation of all FST’s theatres. Mr. Hopkins is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Arts Leadership Award from the Sarasota Arts Council, the Richard G. Fallon Award for Artistic Excellence from the Florida Professional Theatres Association, and the 2012 Cultural Champion Award from the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. In 2016, Mr. 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.
“Delivers a burst of rock history” - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
“Multi-talented cast” - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
“They get the house rocking” - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
“Hard-driving and explosive solo performances” - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
“Satisfying” - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
“Bursts of excitement” - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
“Never a dull moment” - The Observer
“You can’t help but feel good” - The Observer
Listen to an interview with the cast of Blue Suede Shoes on WSRQ's The Mezz here!
Read about the life of the father of Rock ‘N’ Roll, Chuck Berry, and watch his induction into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of fame.
You cannot mention Rock 'N' Roll and not think of Elvis Presley. Click to read some of Elvis' most legendary moments.
Click to read how Rock ‘N’ Roll has revolutionized the world outside of the music industry.