Laughing Matters (vol. 5) Lock the Gates!



Laughing Matters (vol. 5) Lock The Gates! is part of the Sarasota Festival of New Plays

Head Writer: Rebecca Hopkins
Contributing Writers: Jim Prosser, Stephan deGhelder, and Adam Ratner
Additional material: Steve Turrisi and Will Luera
Will Hillary Clinton find herself Trumped? Just how many hotels can fit in one Sarasota block? Will Benderson Park find itself up the creek without a paddle? These questions and more will be debated when a new edition of Laughing Matters, a musical Saturday Night Live for Sarasota, returns. Whether you lean left, right, or are still stuck on a roundabout, there will be no clean getaways.

Laughing Matters (vol.5) Lock the Gates! will play in the John C. Court Cabaret from February 17 through June 12. Single Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 941-366-9000 or online by clicking the links.

Dine with us prior to your show in the cabaret. Reservations are not required, you will dine at the table you reserved for the performance. To view our menu, click here. To view the Court Cabaret seating chart, click here.

For a large print version of the playbill, click here.

To view the forum booklet located on the tables during the performance, click here.

Do you need a ride to the theatre? Click here to find out more about our partnership with iTN Suncoast.




Director  |  Richard Hopkins
Music Director | Darren Server
Head Writer  |  Rebecca Hopkins
Co-Writer & Arranger  |  Jim Prosser
Choreographer | Dewayne Barrett
Lighting Designer | Tom Hansen
Costume Designer | Susan Angermann
Sound Designer | Toby Algya
Co-Writer  |  Stephan deGhelder
Co-Writer  |  Adam Ratner
Additional Material  |  Steve Turrisi
Additional Material  |  Will Luera


Nick Anastasia
Richie McCall
Ali Reed
William Selby

NICK ANASTASIA FST Debut! Past professional credits include Voca People, (Tenoro, Off-Broadway*/National/International Tours, *Lucille Lortel Award), The Love Note (Adam, Original Off-Broadway Cast), In The Heights (Sonny, Regional Premiere), Scab (featuring Alice Ripley), Disney Cruise Line (Disney Fantasy), Little Women (Laurie), Baby: The Musical (Danny), Snow (Kyle, World Premiere), and bare (Jason, Licensed Premiere).


RICHIE MCCALL from New York City is thrilled to return to the cabaret stage of FST. He was seen in the original Broadway, Toronto, and National touring company of Hal Prince’s production companies of Showboat. The Broadway touring company of Tommy Tune’s Grand Hotel. He has appeared on TV, Film, and numerous commercials. His one man show, which he wrote and starred in, Me and Stepin was nominated at the Midtown Festival in NYC. Soon to be seen this fall in the Web Series, Everything’s OK.


ALI REED is thrilled to be back at FST after last year’s Never Marry A Girl...! Off-Broadway: Once Upon A Mattress with Jackie Hoffman and John “Lypsinka” Epperson, Happy Karaoke Fun Time. Regional credits include: Ragtime (Evelyn Nesbit), Reefer Madness (Sally), They’re Playing Our Song (Sonia Walsk). Ali has been seen at 54 Below, Pittsburgh CLO Cabaret, and The Pittsburgh City Theater as well.  Musical Improvisation: UCB, The Magnet Theater, The People’s Improv Theater, The Annoyance, and FST Improv: When X Meets Y.


WILLIAM SELBY most recently starred as Luther Billis in the critically acclaimed South Pacific at Ivoryton Playhouse in CT. Off-Broadway: Many joyful years of Forbidden Broadway. Also, The Daring Duo, Nerds, Forbidden Hollywood, Juba, The Apple Tree. He has starred in more than seven productions of Forbidden Broadway across the country and overseas, and has directed 18 productions of the show in major U.S. cities. He can be heard on 4 of the popular recordings, as well. Regional: Barrymore, The Presidents (with master impersonator Rich Little), Hot n’ Cole, The All Night Strut.


RICHARD HOPKINS (Director) is the 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 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 he 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.

DARREN SERVER (Music Director) was born into a family of stooges. Namely, The Three Stooges! His grandfather, “Curly” Howard and his great-uncles, Moe and Shemp Howard, have always been Darren’s source of pride and inspiration. He began singing, dancing, acting and playing the piano at the age of ten and has never stopped. Darren is thrilled to be returning to FST after debuting as music director for One Man, Two Guvnors earlier this season. He recently returned to Asolo Repertory Theatre for a second season as musical director/arranger for Ah, Wilderness! For the past twelve summers, Darren has been the resident musical director at Totem Pole Playhouse in Fayetteville, PA. You can see him in the film: Atlas Shrugged-Part II, the role of ‘Richard Halley’ and follow him on his family’s website:

REBECCA HOPKINS (Head Writer) has been actively involved in development of FST’s Cabaret productions since Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits in 1999. This season she has been the lead developer on Laughing Matters (Vol. 5) Lock the Gates as well as Yesterday. Previously she was the lead developer on Poems, Prayers, and Promises and Co-Writer on Dancing in the Street with the Prima Donnettes and Never Marry a Girl with Cold Feet. She has been the head writer on all four Laughing Matters shows. Some of her favorite shows she helped develop include: That’s Life; The Wanderers; My One and Only Gershwin; Hot and Cole; Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits; Piano Men; The British Invasion; The Flip Side; Outlaws and Angels; and Steppin’ Out. 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. 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.

JIM PROSSER (Co-Writer & Arranger) Over his many years at FST, Jim has co-developed many FST Cabaret productions, including Dancing In The Street, By Gershwin, Laughing Matters, European Cabaret, That’s Life, Again, British Invasion, Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits, Harry Who?, Too Darn Hot, and last season’s Never Marry A Girl With Cold Feet. He has also served as resident composer/music director for FST’s Education department, writing numerous songs and scores for children’s shows such as Androcles and the Lion, RAP-Punzel, and the WRITE A PLAY elementary tours. Outside of theater, Jim periodically performs locally with the swing trio, Jazz Around the Corner.

MARIAH  YOUNG (Sound & Light Operator) is thrilled to be working with such a brilliant cast and team on Laughing Matters. She recently finished working on Soul Mates: A Journey to Hitsville and can’t wait to continue with FST’s Cabaret season. Mariah has a BA in Theatre: Production Design and Technology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and recent assistant stage manager credits include Forever Plaid, Steel Magnolias, and The Sound of Music at New London Barn Playhouse.

SUSAN ANGERMANN (Costume Designer) started her career in costuming in New York where she designed and constructed costumes for various productions in theatre, opera, film, and television. In 1993 she moved with her husband, Chris, and son, Erik, to Sarasota, and designed several productions at FST. She returned to FST in January 2009 as Costume Shop Manager and recently designed Yesterday, Soul Mates: A Journey to Hitsville, American Pie;  Chapatti; Becoming Dr. Ruth; Pump Boys and Dinettes; Too Darn Hot; Freud’s Last Session; Poems, Prayers and Promises; The Prima Donnettes; By Gershwin; That’s Life Again; Night Train to Memphis; Shake, Rattle and Roll; Urban Cowboys, and Let’s Twist Again: with the Wanderers.

TOM HANSEN (Lighting Designer) FST Credits: Soul Mates and Yesterday. Awards: Singing In the Rain, Oklahoma!, Harvey, Philadelphia Story, The Sound of Music, Beauty & the Beast, The Great Sebastians, Mornings At Seven, Big River, and Crazy For You (Colorado Springs Fine Arts Council nominee). Favorites: The Foreigner (American Stage), Grey Gardens (freeFall Theatre) Chicago (Eight O’clock Theatre), 42nd Street (Sarasota Players), Hairspray (Voldasta State University), Man of LaMancha (Show Palace) and Joseph...Dreamcoat (Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center).

STEPHAN DEGHELDER (Co-Writer) has been a contributing writer to Laughing Matters since its first production. His satirical comedy show Prime Ribbing has been seen in Massachussets and North Carolina, and is remembered in Sarasota for License to Bash as well as a director/choreographer/ performer on all the local stages. His award-winning plays and musicals have been produced in Chicago and NYC and as far away as Canada and Abu Dhabi. Thanks to Rebecca and Richard for again giving me this opportunity to entertain (hopefully) and offend (undoubtedly).

ADAM RATNER (Co-Writer) has been associated with Florida Studio Theatre for over 30 years. He began as a performer and writer for the young sketch comedy troupe, the Kids Komedy Club here at FST. Adam was a contributing writer to Laughing Matters 2009 and 2011. He was the co-author of the WRITE A PLAY Program’s productions of Rumplestiltskin, Pinocchio, Jack and the Enchanted Beanstalk, The Frog Prince, and RAP-Punzel. Adam is also the Lead Teaching Artist, the Young Playwrights Festival Coordinator, director of the current troupe of Kids Komedy Club and can be seen on stage as a member of FST Improv!

STEVE TURRISI (Additional Material) moved to Sarasota in 2001 from Rochester, NY and does not miss shoveling snow at all!  Prior to Florida Studio Theatre Steve was a traveling salesmen for DirectBuy in Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Tampa. He began at Florida Studio Theatre in 2004 taking Improv classes; a few months later he joined the professional cast of FST Improv.  In 2011, he began working at FST as their Development Associate. Steve enjoys meeting the public each night and ending his work week by getting on stage with the cast of FST Improv and making people laugh.  

WILL LUERA (Additional Material) joined Florida Studio Theater as the Director of Improvisation in 2014. Before that he was with ImprovBoston since 1997 as a member of the Mainstage cast and as Artistic Director from 2000 - 2012. In 2012, Will received the life-time title of Artistic Director Emeritus of ImprovBoston. Will is a globally renowned improv and theater actor, director and instructor that performs and teaches regularly all across North America, South America, Europe and Asia.





"Gets audiences laughing" - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

"A vibrant cast of four" - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

"The lyrics are often sharp, clever and pointed" - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

“A grab bag of humor” - The Observer

“High energy” - The Observer

“Clever” - The Observer

“A fun evening” - The Observer

“Performers are consistently funny” - The Observer

Laughing Matters review quotes from previous editions

“The banter and one-liners never stopped” - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

“An extended night of laughing that truly mattered” - SCENE Magazine

“Takes on life, both local, [and] national” - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

“Too funny...plan on an evening  of good fun” - Venice Gondolier

"Instead of settling for stereotypically generic political barbs, the show actually goes out on a limb to address specific topics and what's more, take a stand on them." - Bradenton Herald

"The sharp, witty, and hilarious." - Bradenton Herald

“It’s not often that you see a comedy which provokes both thought and audible laughter, but this one provides substantial doses of both.” - Bradenton Herald

“…the crowd seemed to really get into it…” - Bradenton Herald

“FST’s ‘Laughing Matters…Too’ both shocking and rewarding” - Bradenton Herald

“Their song and dance always adds to the comedy and never breaks the flow.” - The Observer

“It serves up topical, trendy humor in the form of musical parodies…” - The Observer

“’Laughing Matters…Too’, is theater of absurd, Sarasota style” - The Sun

“This show leaves you wanting more.” - The Sun

“…This is a very good show, guaranteed to offend everyone.” - The Sun

“Parodying both local and national current issues, audiences can not only relate but find an escape with laughter!” - Broadway World

“This is a musical Saturday Night Live for Sarasota!” - Broadway World

“It’s an evening of comedy satire on our culture and politics of the day.” - Broadway World

“Head writer Rebecca Langford, and her FST buddies, have stitched together a comedy satire that raucously tweaks ALL colors, creeds and political persuasions with equal fervor and frivolity." - SCENE Magazine

General Comment- “How can you not get a rejuvenating charge each time you step foot inside the Goldstein Cabaret?” - SCENE Magazine

General Comment-“If you’ve never been to a Cabaret show you truly do not know the pleasure you’ve been missing.” - SCENE Magazine

“…If you don’t think it’s funny, you have no sense of humor.” - Let's Go, Venice Gondolier

“…Nothing is sacred and there is a humorous side to most everything.” - Let's Go, Venice Gondolier

“…Turns scary headlines into laugh lines.” - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

“…Full of clever spoofs and witty songs…” - The People's Critic

“It pokes fun at everyone and everything from Sarasota and around the world.” - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

“Like “Saturday Night Live,” Florida Studio Theatre’s productions of “Laughing Matters” are always current- and funny!” - The Sun

“No one in the news (or local public life) is safe from the witty creators…” - The Sun

“The show pokes fun at all sorts of issues. Something is bound to tickle you." - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

“I’m still smiling the next day over some fabulously funny stuff performed by four brilliantly talented entertainers.” - Pelican Press Online

“…Laughing Matters is earning chuckles at Florida Studio Theatre’s Goldstein Cabaret…” - Venice Gondolier


Clips from Laughing Matters Previous Productions

Laughing Matters 2009 - "Recession"

Laughing Matters 2009 - "Age of Urology," "Catatonix," "What A Blunder Filled World," and more

Laughing Matters 2009 - "Crossing Tamiami"

Laughing Matters 2011 - "The TSA Affair"

Laughing Matters 2011 - "The Tamiami Choo Choo"




FST's John C. Court Cabaret 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.

FST Guide to Parking

Looking for a place to park? FST patrons have several parking options to choose from. Watch our parking guide below to see where each of your parking options are located.

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. 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.

Drop Off Area for The Court Cabaret: on the corner of First Street and Cocoanut Avenue