FST Improv Presents: Life's A Beach
WHEN Saturdays Begininng January 21, 2023 @ 8:30PM
WHERE FST's Bowne's Lab
TICKETS $15 | BUY
Drawing inspiration from audience suggestions, the cast of FST Improv weaves sketches, musical numbers, and classic improv games that pay special tribute to this beautiful spot in paradise we hold dear. From the epic, annual snowbird migration and abundant roundabout confusion to dogs in strollers and seemingly never-ending construction, nothing is safe from a good-spirited tease in this audience-favorite FST Improv show.
FST Improv Presents: When X Meets Y
WHEN Saturday, February 11, 2023 @ 8:30PM - One Night Only!
WHERE FST's Bowne's Lab
TICKETS $15 | BUY
Make your Valentine’s Day plans truly one-of-a-kind! For one-night-only, FST Improv brings you When X Meets Y, their annual Valentine’s Day show. Inspired by one location and three random notes on the keyboard, the cast weaves a fully-improvised musical love story – right before your eyes. Be sure to order a bottle of champagne for your table to make your celebration extra special.
FST Improv Presents: Tournament of Fools
WHEN Saturday, April 1, 2023 @ 8:30PM - One Night Only!
WHERE FST's Bowne's Lab
TICKETS $15 | BUY
Come see this one-day, knockdown, drag-out comedy battle royale, where the winner takes all! Twelve 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 left standing.
FST Improv Presents: Comedy Roulette
WHEN Beginning Saturday, April 8, 2023 @ 8:30PM
WHERE FST's Bowne's Lab
TICKETS $15 | BUY
What happens when you take some of your favorite improv games…and remove all the rules? Anything goes at Comedy Roulette, an off-the-wall improvisation potpourri. Featuring a mashup of both short-form and long-form styles, audiences get the best of the artform when styles and techniques collide! We’ll set our performers free from all the traditional dos and don’ts of improv, and you get to watch them figure out what comes next, completely on the spot.
Complete your theatre-going experience. Dine with us!
FST's Bowne's Lab opens one hour before showtime for dining. Enjoy a full food and drink menu featuring such fan favorites lobster bisque, chicken quesadillas, fresh salads, and more. Reservations are not required.
Kevin Allen is a writer, videographer, content creator, and actor. He moved to Sarasota from Chicago, where he studied and performed improvisation at iO and The Second City. He earned theatre and English degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he was a member of the legendary Comedy Wars ensemble. Kevin is also a writer and performer in the FST sketch group and was a contributing writer for the 2022 FST Cabaret production, Laughing Matters.
Jack Bausch is so grateful to be working with FST. He is a recent B.F.A. Musical Theatre alumnus of SUNY Fredonia, and has performed across the East Coast from the Florida Keys to Maine. Recent credits include The Normal Heart (Ned Weeks,) As You Like It (Touchstone,) and Dogfight (Bernstein.)
Ariel Blue has been performing for 15 years in many stages across the U.S. When she’s not performing, you can find her on her blog, The Blue Print, or working with her writing group, R.A.D. Although Ariel has been singing for many years, she only recently put out her own original music which can be found on all streaming platforms. Through by day, she works for the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, by night, she’s delivering joy via musical performances. In essence, she’s a superhero! www.simplyarielblue.com
Cameron Clements is originally from Rochester, NY. She recently graduated from SUNY Fredonia, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. In college, she was a member of the school’s improv comedy team, Random Acts, and trained with the Upright Citizen’s Brigade.
Valerie Dale grew up in Sarasota and was trained as an improv actor at Florida Studio Theater. She loves performing at FST with such a dynamic and talented improv cast. She also performs with the improv group, Class Act, which she formed with her FST classmates.
Sylvia Day is an international actor, writer and character comedian. Previously she lived in Switzerland where she founded and directed Zurich’s first English-speaking improv troupe. Her improv and sketch comedy training includes The Second City (Chicago), UCB (New York), and Showstoppers (London). She has performed her original solo shows around the world, including Off-Broadway and at the SaraSolo Festival, and has had leading roles at Asolo Rep. sylvia-day.com
Sarah Durham is originally from Campbellsville, Kentucky, but has found a home at FST. She is the Head Writer for FST Sketch and is a member of FST Improv. Sarah studied improv and comedy writing at The Second City in Chicago. At FST, Sarah is a writer for the Cabaret Stage and Children’s Theatre. Some of her recent credits include Cinderella, Three Pianos, and Deck the Halls. She hopes to continue to write joy into people’s lives.
Darryl Knapp is an avid Tampa Bay Rays fan. Darryl has been an improviser for over 25 years and has studied with many of the greats and institutions worldwide. He is sometimes a teacher of improv in the Tampa Bay area. Originally from Westchester County, NY, he now hails from Wesley Chapel, a mere 80 miles North of FST. Affectionately known as “The Mayor of Improv” in the community.
Emily Levin is a recovering attorney who studied improv in the Chicago area and was a founding member of the all-female improv troupe Lady Haha. After moving to Sarasota, Emily has been a member of the FST Mainstage improv troupe for the past nine years. In addition, Emily is the director and contributing writer for FST’s On Deck sketch team. Emily is also proud to be the coach of FST’s first house team, The Early Bird Special.
Shawn McWhinnie was first introduced to improv at the University of Florida performing numerous shows for the college campus with UF’s improv troupe, Theatre Strike Force. At UF, he also was a part of the sketch comedy troupe Generation. After a brief hiatus to pursue his career as a pharmacist, Shawn began taking improv classes at FST and is glad to be back on stage performing improv for Sarasota audiences.
Kathryn Parks is a filmmaker, actor, singer, and Sarasota-native. Her short films, 50 Words and Her Place, have received the honor of “Best Florida Film,” both of which she wrote, produced, and starred in. Kathryn has performed at professional theaters throughout Southwest Florida, and has been making up songs on the spot with FST’s musical improv group since 2017. She graduated from University of Miami with a degree in Theatre Arts. kathrynparks.com
Keegan Penny is from Thornton, NH. He recently graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a bachelor’s degree in Theater: Acting and Directing. Outside of the acting world, he spends his time pursuing hobbies including hiking, skiing, running, and anything else that has to do with the outdoors.
Sal Piccolo got started in comedy on a dare. Originally a sports broadcasting major, Sal hosted and produced The Sports Cellar on AM radio right here in Sarasota. After failing miserably at stand-up comedy, he moved to Chicago where he discovered his love of improv. Having studied at The Second City Conservatory, iO Theater, Annoyance Theater, pH Theater, and Theatre Momentum as well as many workshops and festivals, Sal is a student first.
Sammy Pontello is an actor, director, and improviser from Central Florida. A recent graduate of the University of Central Florida, he is currently a Literary Fellow at Florida Studio Theatre. FST credits: Deck the Halls (Santa); Laughing Matters: Variant 6 (Special Appearance, U/S Nick); Playmakers: The Write Stuff (Playmaker); The Play That Goes Wrong (U/S Chris) and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (U/S Big Bopper & Others). When not onstage, he can often be found in the kitchen missing his days as a professional baker.
Kyle Shoemaker is a local performer, writer, and improviser. Kyle currently serves as the Assistant Director of Sketch at Florida Studio Theatre. He is a founding member of FST’s first improvised Shakespeare team, Come What Will, and has performed with FST Improv and Big Bang at multiple Improv festivals. Kyle could not be more thrilled to be a part of FST Improv’s Mainstage Cast!
Basia Sroka a writer and improviser who trained and worked in Chicago for six years before returning back to her hometown right here in Sarasota, FL. She is a graduate of The Second City Conservatory, IO Chicago, and Annoyance Theaters…and Out-of Door Academy. Basia was also a producer of The Annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival and Women’s Funny Fest, and boasts performing in over 100 shows with various troupes in her time in Chicago. She joined the FST cast in 2021 and is loving every minute!
Autumn Steiner was a comedy late bloomer, discovering FST during a quarter-life crisis. Now, she’s a member of the FST Improv and On-Deck Sketch casts and dabbles in storytelling and acting. She played Lisa in the short film Barely Inspired, which had its world premiere at the 2019 Sarasota Film Festival. She is working on a collection of personal essays titled Sweet Face, Black Heart—something a priest once said to her.
Storm Tracy is originally from Sarasota Florida. He recently graduated from the University of Florida where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance. He loves music, movies, and good company, and is excited to be a part of the FST team.
Matt "MW" Walker is a multi-talented artist and contemporary comedian who hosts the weekly improv podcast Little Bits and Pieces with his longform improv group, Wallares. Since 2009, he and his group continue to produce independent comedy shows all over Florida, perform in countless festivals and shows all over the country, write for TV/film, and teach improv classes using their unique sensibilities. To see what he’s gotten himself into on any given day, it’s best to follow him and his group at mwwalker.net and/or at wallares.com. The crowds at FST are his favorite in the country!
Jim Prosser (Pianist) has been an improviser for all of his musical life, and always enjoys the opportunity to play with FST Improv when he isn’t busy arranging, codeveloping, and performing in FST Cabaret shows. Some of which include: Laughing Matters, The Wanderers, That’s Amoré!, The Wonder Years, Unchained Melodies, Mack The Knife, Blue Suede Shoes, Dancing In The Street, By Gershwin, European Cabaret, That’s Life Again, British Invasion, Too Darn Hot, and Older Than Dirt. He has served as Composer/ Music Director for FST’s Education department, writing numerous scores for Children’s Theatre shows such as Deck the Halls, Androcles and the Lion, RAP-Punzel, The Velveteen Rabbit, and WRITE A PLAY Elementary Tours.
Helena Rankin (Pianist) is an early career artist originally from Ithaca NY. She works full-time as the Literary Associate at FST. Helena thoroughly enjoys being a musician for the FST Improv Mainstage cast and playing piano for Education classes. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading, writing new music, meditating, and taking luxurious and calming baths. “Anything you do, let it come from you. Then it will be new.” -Stephen Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with George
Will Luera (Director) is the Director of Improvisation at Florida Studio Theatre, Director of Big Bang Improv, and serves as the Artistic Director Emeritus of ImprovBoston. He is the co-creator of Healing Moments for artist profiles Alzheimer’s, a non-profit organization that provides education, advocacy, and ministry for persons with dementia and their caregivers. He sits on the board of CreArte Latino, a Latinocentric cultural community center in the Sarasota area. Will tours globally as an improv comedy actor, instructor, director and performs and teaches regularly all across North America, South America, Europe and Asia.
Rebecca Hopkins (Founder/Producer) is the Founder and Producer of FST Improv and the Sarasota Improv Festival. In addition, she is a Lead Developer of FST Cabarets. She has also been the head writer on all six Laughing Matters shows. 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. Mrs. Hopkins serves as an officer on the Board of Directors for the League of Resident Theatres. She also serves on the Board of the Sarasota Arts & Cultural Alliance. She is the former President of the National New Play Network and a former Board member of the 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.
FST IMPROV IN THE NEWS
August 11, 2022 I The Sarasota Observer I FST's We're Doomed takes a shot at disaster movies
June 8, 2022 I Broadway World I FST Improv Announces Summer Lineup
June 1, 2022 I Suncoast FYI I Interview with FST's Director of Improv, Will Luera
March 15, 2022 I Broadway World I FST Improv's Spring Season Lineup Announced
November 5, 2021 I Suncoast View I Improv Games With Florida Studio Theatre
October 29, 2021 I Broadway World I FST Improv Announces Return To Weekly Performances