A powerful story of the fight and flight for freedom both abroad and at home. Fly follows four African-American military pioneers from training through WWII. Proving themselves as officers and pilots, they paved the way for desegregation of the American military. A true tale of brotherhood, acceptance, and equality. REGIONAL PREMIERE!
Director | Ricardo Khan
Choreographer | Hope Clark
Fight Choreographer | Dan Granke
Scenic Designer | Beowulf Boritt
Associate Scenic Designer | Jared Rutherford
Original Costume Designer | Toni-Leslie James
Costume Designer | J.Theresa Bush
Projection Designer | Rocco DiSanti
Projection Assistant | Devorah Kengmana
Lighting Designer | Xavier Pierce
Assistant Lighting Designer | Lauren Tyler
Composer/Sound Designer | John Gromada
Associate Sound Designer | Matt Otto
Improvography | Omar Edwards
Chet | Jordan Bellow*
O'Hurley | Greg Brostrom*
Tap Griot | Omar Edwards*
Reynolds/Snopes/Instructor | Sean Patrick Hopkins*
Shaw/Staff Sargeant/Barman/Fight Captain | Michael Pauley*
W.W. | Robert Karma Robinson*
J. Allen | Shane Taylor*
Oscar | Terrell Wheeler*
*Denotes member of Actors' Equity Association. The Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
JORDAN BELLOW (Chet) is thrilled to be making his Florida Studio Theatre debut in Fly. Recent credits include: NY Theatre - Romeo and Juliet (Pulse Ensemble Theatre); Regional - A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Christmas Carol (South Coast Repertory). Readings – I And You (SCR Pacific Playwrights Festival). He holds a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from Chapman University.
GREG BROSTROM (O’Hurley) is very happy to be making his Florida Studio Theatre debut in Fly. He earned his MFA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and has appeared regionally in Fly at the Cincinnati Playhouse and St. Louis Repertory Theatre. Other favorite roles include Sebastian in The Tempest in New York City’s Battery Park, Shannon in Foreign Bodies by Arika Laron, John Saltzer in Tape, Deramo in The King Stag, Leontes in A Winter’s Tale, and Gerard in Train to 2010, also directed by Ricardo Khan. He also appeared last year on Hostages on CBS.
OMAR EDWARDS (Tap Griot) has been in love with Tap since he was 12 years old. Born in Brooklyn New York, Omar draws his dancing from 23 years of experiences and formal training experiences with masters like Henry Letang, Jimmy Slyde and Marie Brooks. In 1994, Omar earned national acclaim when he and partner Daniel B. Wooten Jar won the grand prize on Star Search. In 1998, Omar created the album Tap Dancin is Music making Omar the first of his generation to release an album where the Tap Dancer is the Leader of the Band, and lead instrument. Omar has taken his Foot music, which he now calls Afro Feet music, to over 20 countries.
SEAN PATRICK HOPKINS (Reynolds, Snopes, Instructor) Off-Broadway: The Fatal Weakness, Mint Theater Company; Forever Dusty, New World Stages. Regional: Angels In America, Boston Theatre Works; Forever Plaid, California Musical Theatre & North Shore Music Theatre; The 39 Steps, Boeing Boeing, Mountain Playhouse; It’s A Wonderful Life, Beef & Boards; The Man Who Came to Dinner, Peterborough Players. Television: Alpha House (Amazon), Brotherhood (Showtime), The Gilded Lilys (ABC pilot). For my grandfather, WWII veteran Paul Sale McBride (1924-2014).
MICHAEL PAULEY (Shaw, Staff Sargeant, Barman/Fight Captain) NYC: Everyday, Someday, Here (New Perspectives Theatre); The Dining Room (Hyperion Theatre Company) Regional: Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing (Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse); Romeo and Juliet (Kansas City Repertory); Clybourne Park (The Unicorn); Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Comedy of Errors (The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); 1776, The Royal Hunt of the Sun (Texas Shakespeare Festival); Measure for Measure (The Theatre at Monmouth). International: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Teatro Franco Parenti- Milan); A Life in the Theatre (Teatro Canovas- Spain). Television: Guiding Light; SNL; Rescue Me. MFA in Acting and Directing (The University of Missouri-Kansas City) BFA in Acting and Directing (The University of Arizona). Proud Member of Actors Equity Association.
ROBERT KARMA ROBINSON (W.W.) is a Brooklyn/Houston native. He received his BFA from the University of Evansville and then an MFA from the now closed (super sad face) National Theatre Conservatory. Upon moving back to New York some of his credits include The Blowin of Baile Gall by Boston playwright Ronan Noone at The Vineyard Playhouse on Martha’s Vineyard, as well as two world premieres: Expedition Six,(written/dir. Bill Pullman) at the Kennedy Center, and Promised Tomorrow Today a world premiere written by Labrats own Lawrence Dial, and debuted in the Downtown Urban Theater Festival last year. Some of his work has been with up and coming theater companies such as Amios, as well as Red Shirt Entertainment a subsidiary of Walhberg entertainment group. He was recently seen in Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing also written and directed by Ricardo Khan. This will be the 6th time collaborating with Mr. Khan. A true and worthy honor. He is glad to be working to live rather than living to work as so many are in these trying days! One love.
SHANE TAYLOR (J. Allen) is pleased to be making his FST debut. Most recently, he appeared in the world premiere of Safe House at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. He has appeared in a number of regional theatres. TV and film: King of the Bingo Game (PBS) and Sarbane’s Oxley. M.F.A. Rutgers University. Additional training at Williamstown Theatre Festival and American Conservatory Theatre (ACT). He is a featured voice in the publication Classically Speaking by Patricia Fletcher, Trafford Publishing.
TERRELL WHEELER (Oscar) is a Mason Gross School of the Arts (at Rutgers University) graduate. He fell in love with storytelling as a high schooler and has been pursuing his dreams ever since. Terrell would like to thank FST for the opportunity to realize those dreams. Off-Broadway: Children of Killers, Katori Hall (All Stars Project); Off-Off- Broadway: King’s River, Andrew Rosenberg & Ian Kessler (The Medicine Show Theatre). Regional: Carnaval, Nikkole Salter (Luna Stage); Last Saint on Sugar Hill, Kieth Josef Adkins (The National Black Theatre).
RICARDO KHAN (Playwright & Director) Ricardo Khan is a director, writer, educator and Tony Award-winning Artistic Director. In 1978 he co-founded the Crossroads Theatre Company, one of history’s few African American theatre organizations to ever rise to national prominence as a major professional regional arts institution, and launched countless careers for writers, directors, designers and actors of color, and over one hundred premieres of new and innovative plays for the American theatre, for Broadway and for television. On June 5, 1999, his company became the first black theatre in history to receive the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in America. During his 21 years at Crossroads, from 1978-1999, Khan nurtured countless new works that have forever enriched the cannon of the American theatre, having worked with August Wilson, Ntozake Shange, former United States Poet Laureate Rita Dove, George C. Wolfe, Anna Deveare Smith, Melba Moore, Odetta, Leslie Lee, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, among the many. On Broadway Mr. Khan was the originating producer of the 1988 Crossroads production of Paul Robeson starring Avery Brooks, and in 1999 he was on the producing team of the Tony Award-nominated musical, It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues. He returned to Broadway in 2005 shortly after the passing of esteemed playwright August Wilson, to write, stage, and with co-producer Woodie King, Jr., present the Broadway tribute to August Wilson in the theatre that now bares Mr. Wilson’s name. In 2006 he served as Associate Director of the Broadway show, Hot Feet!, a musical developed by Maurice Hines with legendary songwriter Maurice White and featuring the music of Earth, Wind and Fire. Mr. Khan’s other directing credits in New York include the Negro Ensemble Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, the Signature Theatre, the Village Gate, the world famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York (LCE) where he is an artist-in-residence. Regional theatre credits include the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Ford’s Theatre, both in Washington, DC., the Hartford Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. In addition to co-writing Fly with Trey Ellis, he co-wrote Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing with Mr. Ellis, about Negro Leagues baseball and American jazz with Kansas City as its backdrop in 1947, the year Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major leagues baseball. Kansas City Swing was developed and first debuted at the University of Missouri where he is a visiting professor in its professional training program for theatre. It received its professional premiere at Crossroads in New Brunswick, NJ followed by the Vineyard Playhouse on the island of Martha’s Vineyard where every summer he is in residence as an Artistic Associate. Mr. Khan served on the Board of Theatre Communications Group, the national organization of America’s professional theatres, for six years and as its President from 1995 to 1998. He holds a BA in Psychology from Rutgers College, a double MFA in acting and directing from Mason Gross School of the Arts and an Honorary Doctorate from Rutgers University where he is also in the University’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni.
KELLI KAREN (Production Stage Manager) has been an integral member of Florida Studio Theatre for the past 22 years. Kelli began at FST as a dance teacher in the education department in 1993. In addition to her classes at FST, Kelli has created and taught outreach programs at Care Pointes in Swaziland South Africa, The Pines of Sarasota, Girls Inc., The Boys and Girls Club, and has taught playwriting at numerous local elementary schools as well as our sister city of Dunfermline, Scotland. Stage management credits at FST include Taking Shakespeare; Pump Boys and Dinettes; Tom Jones; Daddy Long Legs; Monty Python’s Spamalot; The Underpants; The World Goes ‘Round; The Columnist; Smokey Joe’s Café; In the Book Of; Perfect Wedding; Jericho; Next Fall; Next to Normal; The Savannah Disputation; Cowgirls; Ghost-Writer; Shear Madness; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; The 39 Steps; Beehive: The 60s Musical; Shotgun; Ruined; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; Edward Albee’s Occupant; Motown Cabaret; …and L.A. is Burning, and Always... Patsy Cline.
SONJA BEYER-PAULSEN (Assistant Stage Manager Intern) is a Stage Management Intern here at FST and a graduate of Florida State University. Her recent credits include the fall children’s show Rap-Punzel, 15-Minute Hamlet, Daddy Long Legs, and Pump Boys and Dinettes. She is very thrilled to be working on this show with this amazing cast and crew. In her spare time, Sonja is also an avid equestrian. “You are enough, you are so enough, it is unbelievable how enough you are!” - Sierra Boggess
HOPE CLARKE (Choreographer) NEW YORK: Free Man of Color ( Lincoln Center Theatre); Jelly’s Last Jam (Broadway, Tony nomination, Drama-Logue, Calloway and NAACP Image Awards; Caroline or Change ( Broadway); The Tempest (Broadway). OFF-BROADWAY: Spunk, The Colored Museum, The Caucasian Chalk Circle (The Public Theatre) The Odyssey (Willow Cabin Theatre), Fly (Lincoln Center Institute). REGIONAL: Resurrection (Philadelphia Theatre Company), Jesus Christ Superstar Gospel (Alliance Theatre), My Name is Still Alice, Cabaret, Mack & Mabel, Alice Revisited (Barrington Stage Company). OTHER DIRECTING/ CHOREOGRAPHING CREDITS: Porgy and Bess, Cosi fan Tutti, The Gathering, Hallelujah, Baby!, Frida, South Pacific.PERFORMANCE CREDITS: West Side Story, Purlie, Hallelujah, Baby!, Grind as well as many other productions Off-Broadway and on Film and TV. Dance credits include Katherine Dunham Company, Talley Beatty, Louis Johnson, George Faison, Alvin Ailey American Dance.
DAN GRANKE (Fight Choreographer) is a fight director and movement specialist. His worked has appeared at various theatres in New York City including The Public, Write-Act Rep, and Cena/Cenari, as well as several educational venues. He is currently serving as the resident Fight Director for the Tampa Shakespeare Festival and is a Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors, as well as an instructor of Historical Fencing with Kriegschool Tampa Bay.
BEOWULF BORITT (Scenic Designer) designed Fly for Ford’s Theater, Cincinatti Playhouse, and St. Louis Rep. Broadway: Act One (Tony Award), The Scottsboro Boys (Tony Nomination), On The Town, Sondheim On Sondheim, ...Spelling Bee, LoveMusik, Rock Of Ages, Chaplin, Bronx Bombers, Grace, The Two And Only. Off- Broadway: More than 90 shows. Other Designs: The Seven Deadly Sins (NY City Ballet) & the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. 2007 OBIE for sustained excellence.
JARED RUTHERFORD (Associate Scenic Designer) is a New York based Scenic designer. He holds an MFA in scenic design from Indiana University. Upcoming designs include Souvenir at Capital Repertory Theatre and Much Ado About Nothing at SUNY New Paltz. Recent associate work for Beowulf Boritt includes Little Dancer (Kennedy Center), Annie (National Tour), Murder For Two (National Tour) Joseph...Dreamcoat (National Tour) and Chaplin (St. Peterburg Russia). His portfolio can be found at www.jwrsetdesign.com.
TONI-LESLIE JAMES (Original Costume Design) Broadway: Lucky Guy, The Scottsboro Boys, Finian’s Rainbow, Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, King Hedley II, One Mo’ Time, The Wild Party, Marie Christine, Footloose, The Tempest, Twilight…Los Angeles 1992, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches & Perestroika, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and Jelly’s Last Jam. Awards: Tony nomination, three Drama Desk nominations, four Lucille Lortel nominations, Hewes Design Award and four additional nominations, Connecticut Critics Circle Award, Irene Sharaff Young Masters Award, and the 2009 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Costume Design. Ms. James is Head of Design at Virginia Commonwealth University.
J. THERESA BUSH (Costume Designer) is proud to join the Sarasota theatre community for FST’s remount of Fly. Theresa received her MFA in Costume Design from Virginia Commonwealth University. Recent credits include Familiar at Yale Repertory Theatre and Bull Durham the Musical at The Alliance Theatre. She received the Richmond Critics Circle Award for Excellence in Costume Design for Legacy of Light at the Virginia Repertory Theatre 2011. Theresa currently assists Broadway designer Toni-Leslie James.
ROCCO DISANTI (Projection Designer) BROADWAY: Manhattan Theatre Club: The Snow Geese, The Columnist, Wit, Collected Stories, Time Stands Still. OFF BROADWAY: Playwrights Horizons: Completeness; Primary Stages: Inner Voices; The Public: A Second Chance; 59E59: Lift. REGIONAL: Signature Theatre: The Threepenny Opera, Spin, Company, A Second Chance. Crossroads Theatre: Kansas City Swing, Lift, The Adventure of Fishy Waters In Bed With The Blues, Lift. AWARDS: Nominated for a 2012 Henry Hewes Design Award for Completeness.
DEVORAH KENGMANA (Projection Assistant) is a 3rd year MFA candidate in Lighting and Projection Design at UMKC. Originally from New York, she received her Bachelor’s degree from MIT. Her recent credits include: A Christmas Carol (Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Assistant Lighting Designer), Caucasian Chalk Circle (UMKC Theatre, Projections Designer), and Journey’s End (KCAT, Lighting Designer). Recently she has been working closely with many choreographers from UMKC’s Conservatory of Dance and the Wylliams Henry Contemporary Dance Company.
XAVIER PIERCE (Lighting Designer) Professional credits include: Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre; Olney Theatre Center (Olney, MD); Long Wharf Theatre (New Haven, CT); McCarter Theatre Center (Princeton, NJ); Triad Stage (Greensboro, NC & Winston Salem, NC); Playmakers Rep (Chapel Hill, NC); Two River Theatre Company (Red Bank, NJ); Intiman Theatre (Seattle, Washington); Westport Country Playhouse (Westport, CT); Crossroads Theatre (New Brunswick, NJ). Xavier Pierce is a graduate of New York University Tisch School of the Arts (MFA in Design Stage and Film) and an Assistant Professor in Lighting Design at the University of Illinois.
LAUREN TYLER (Assistant Lighting Designer) a native Texan, received her BFA in design from Baylor University. She will be receiving her MFA in Lighting Design from the U of I. Lauren has worked as the technical director of the Vive Les Arts Theatre in Killeen, Texas, and has worked with organizations such as Taylor Studios, the San Antonio Opera, Uptown Players, and Casa Mañana Theatre.
JOHN GROMADA (Composer/Sound Designer) Broadway: more than 30 productions, including The Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper, The Trip to Bountiful (Tony nomination), The Best Man (Drama Desk Award), Clybourne Park, Seminar, Next Fall, A Bronx Tale, Proof, and Rabbit Hole. Other NY: Domesticated, Old Hats, My Name is Asher Lev, Orphans’ Home Cycle (Drama Desk, Henry Hewes Awards), Screwtape Letters, Shipwrecked! (Lortel Award), The Skriker (Drama Desk Award). Television: a score for the Emmy nominated film version of The Trip to Bountiful. www.johngromada.com
MATT OTTO (Associate Sound Designer) Recent design credits are Lifetime to Master at Generator Theatre Company (AK), The Off Broadway Production of The Fatal Eggs for Fractured Atlas (NYC), Stuart Little for Adventure Theatre (DC), Square Peg Round Hole for Tectonic Theatre Project (NYC). Other regional credits include, Johnny Meister and the Stitch produced by Solas Nua (DC), which earned Matt a Helen Hayes. Matt received his MFA from the Yale School of Drama. www.mattottosound.com
TREY ELLIS (Playwright) Mr. Ellis is a novelist, screenwriter, playwright, essayist and an associate professor in the Graduate School of the Arts at Columbia University. Mr. Ellis also co-created Fly with Ricardo Khan which was commissioned by the Lincoln Center Institute and continues to be performed around the country. His work for the screen includes the Peabody-winning and Emmy-nominated HBO film The Tuskegee Airmen. He is currently writing a screenplay for HBO Films on Amos ‘n’ Andy.
Lincoln Center Education (LCE) is the educational cornerstone of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Founded in 1975 as Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education, LCE enriches the lives of students, educators and lifelong learners by providing opportunities for engagement with the highest-quality arts on the stage, in the classroom, digitally, and within the community. For over three decades, LCE has offered unparalleled school and community partnerships, professional development workshops, consulting services, and its very own repertory of music, dance, theater and visual arts. LCE’s work has reached more than 20 million students, teachers, school administrators, parents, community members, teaching artists, pre-service teachers, university professors and artists in New York City, across the nation and around the world.
"Soars with a thrilling and powerful story" - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
"Brilliant work" - The Observer
"Transcends" - Sarasota Magazine
"Powerful acting" - Total Theater
Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Fly soars with a thrilling and powerful story
The Observer: Fly Review
Sarasota Magazine: Review
Let's Have A Conversation: Fly Panel Discussions & Outreach
FST is hosting three panel discussions and has over 20 community organizations and partners working to continue the conversation past the play. Touching on themes of race, brotherhood, and history, panelists will participate to answer questions on the topic of the event. The panel discussions are free to attend, but reservations must be made through the box office at 941-366-9000 or online by clicking here.
Panel Discussions will take place from 5:00pm -6:15pm
FEBRUARY 11 - Double V: World War II and Sarasota 1941-1945
The WWII Veterans adopted the Double V logo to signify war abroad and war at home on racism.
FEBRUARY 26 - Civil Rights in Sarasota Today
How are we doing today - are we doing everything we can in Sarasota for Civil Rights?
MARCH 12 - Veterans of Color
Veterans of Color from all wars and conflicts, including WW II, Korea, Vietnam, The Gulf War, and the Middle East, will compare experiences to the Tuskegee airmen.
MARCH 22 - Pay What You Can Night
Local Tuskegee Airman George Hardy, speaks of his time in the army. Click here for his story.
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States.For more information about these historic pioneers, click here.
Squadron Commander of the 332nd Fighter Group talks about his time as a Tuskegee Airman. Click here for the full story.
Click here for a heartwarming story of two Tuskegee Airmen reconnecting after the war.