The Prima Donnettes

Beginning in the 50s, female singing groups such as The Shirelles, The Vandelless, and The Dixie Cups began to break onto the popular airwaves. By the 60s and 70s female solo artists such as Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield and Diana Ross had brought women to the forefront of the American stage. From the era of hula hoops and drive-ins to the fight for equal rights these women provided the soundtrack for the hopes and dreams of women everywhere. Featuring songs such as: “Mama Said,” “One Fine Day” and “Natural Woman.”

Director/Choreographer     |     Dennis Courtney
Music Director     |     Jeffrey Campos
Costume Designer     |     Susan Angermann
Lighting Designer     |     Kate DeWall
Sound     |     John Valines
Pianist     |     Jim Prosser

Susan Haefner*
Jannie Jones*
Erin McGrath
Liz Power*

*Denotes Returning FST Company Member

SUSAN HAEFNER returns to FST, having performed in numerous shows here during the 1990’s. Broadway credits include State Fair, Thoroughly Modern Mille, and 42nd Street. Susan also appeared in the National Tours of Billy Elliot and Damn Yankees with Jerry Lewis. She has worked regionally at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Barter Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and Weston Playhouse. Susan is a graduate of FSU/Asolo Conservatory.

JANNIE JONES received critical acclaim for her performance in Black Pearl Sings! at Virginia Stage, Capital Rep and Ensemble Theatre in Santa Barbara and at San Jose Rep, where she won a Bay area Theatre Critics Award for Best Actress, as well as in Hairspray! (Motormouth) at NC Theatre, the national tour of All Shook Up and Juneteenth Legacy Theatre’s August Wilson’s Women, which garnered her an Audelco Award. Broadway/Off-Broadway: The Full Monty, Mama I Want to Sing, Faith’s Journey. Other credits: Crowns (Cincinnati Playhouse & Rep Theatre of St. Louis), Grafton City Blues (Milwaukee Rep), Beehive (Arkansas Rep), Hair (European Tour), All Night Strut, It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues, Ethel Waters: His Eye is on the Sparrow (FST). Jannie has toured internationally to over 23 countries. She has performed at Carnegie Hall with Spanish legend Raphael and on the last hit CD of the late Barry White, Practice What you Preach.

ERIN MCGRATH is thrilled to be making her FST debut with The Prima Donnettes!  Erin has appeared on the National Tour of Hairspray (Tammy) as well as around the country and the world in Smokey Joe’s Café (Delee), And The World Goes ‘Round, Shout!, and White Noise. She has also been seen on TV in shows such as Boardwalk Empire and Royal Pains as well as numerous commercials. Proud University of Michigan graduate! 

LIZ POWER is thrilled to return to FST after previously performing in By Gershwin and Reel Music. Credits include Eva Peron in Evita (European Tour & regional productions), Lucy in Jekyll and Hyde (Nat’l Tour), Grace u/s in Annie (Nat’l Tour/Madison Square Garden), Ellen in Miss Saigon, Reno in Anything Goes, Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Louise in Gypsy, Grizabella in Cats, Liz in The Philadelphia Story, Sister Robert Anne in Nunsense, Vicki in The Full Monty, and Carrie in Carousel. TV includes commercials, As The World Turns, and Guiding Light.  BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University.

DENNIS COURTNEY (Director & Choreographer) FST: 25th production. International: Fiddler On The Roof (currently running in Tel Aviv – 2009 Israeli National Theatre Award). New York/Tour: Civil War Voices (off-Broadway - 6 MITF Awards), Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby (tour – L.A. Drama Critics Award). Regional (100+ productions including): Can-Can with Leslie Uggams, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Red Hot Mama (premiere), Beggar’s Holiday (premiere), The Beethovens (premiere), Little Shop of Horrors, The Last Five Years, Sophisticated Ladies, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (with American Idol Finalist Melinda Doolittle), Singin’ In The Rain, Beehive, Music Man, Kiss Me, Kate, Paper Moon, A Funny Thing Happen On The Way To The Forum, Hello Dolly, West Side Story, Cinderella, Oliver, Showboat, Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma, Paint Your Wagon, Lucky Stiff, A Grand Night For Singing, and Cabaret.  Mr. Courtney has conceived and staged special events and award shows, working with such performers as Bette Midler, Celine Dion, Quincy Jones, Warren Beatty, The Bacon Brothers, and David Letterman.  Television: Perfect Strangers, The Wonder Years. Performing: Broadway/Tour: Starlight Express, Joseph…Dreamcoat, Peter Pan with Sandy Duncan, Roza with Georgia Brown, Grease with Andrea McArdle.  Mr. Courtney is a champion figure skater and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Screen Actors’ Guild and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

JEFFREY CAMPOS (Music Director) National Tours: A Chorus Line, The Wizard of Oz, Oklahoma, Annie, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  Regional: Joseph...Dreamcoat, Millie, 9 to 5, Damn Yankees, South Pacific, Legally Blonde, Summer of Love, Sunset Boulevard (Ogunquit Playhouse); Mame(Cohoes Music Hall), Spelling Bee. NYC: Mayor’s Awards for Arts and Culture, Jack Perry is Alive, Show Choir, The Secret Garden, Human Comedy, Lucky Stiff, Triumph of Love, A New Brain, Forever Plaid, Violet, The Wild Party, Like You Like It, City of Angels, Jesus Christ Superstar, Bat Boy, Seussical, How to Succeed... Orch/arr.: Broadway Backwards.  Assisted Andrew Lippa with Asphalt Beach. Received developmental grant from the Queens Council for the Arts for his musical, The Man in the Iron Mask. 

AARON WATSON (Stage Manager) comes to FST from Phippsburg, Maine on the beautiful coastline. He has recently received his degree in Theatre from the University of Maine Farmington where he worked on productions such as Coyote On A Fence, Fuddy Meers, and many independent projects. He has also worked on The Book Club Play, A Christmas Carol, and The Hound Of The Baskervilles (The Public Theatre - Maine). Aaron has also been seen here at FST working on FST Improv (2013 Summer) and the staged reading of Hell: Paradise Found in our Burdick Reading Series. Aaron has also previously worked as the Artistic Assistant Intern at FST.

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 By Gershwin, That’s Life Again, Night Train to Memphis, Shake, Rattle and Roll, Urban Cowboys and Let’s Twist Again: with the Wanderers.

KATE DEWALL (Lighting Designer) is thrilled to be back in sunny Sarasota and returning to FST. Originally from Havelock, IA, Kate is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a BA in Multidisciplinary Science and a Theatre Minor. Miss DeWall’s lighting design was recently seen on FST stages in By Gershwin, Brassy Broads of Broadway, Urban Cowboys, and Let’s Twist Again: with The Wanderers. 

JOHN VALINES (Sound Engineer)is the 6th member and “Sound Guy” for Vox Audio, who won the Drama Desk award for their off-Broadway run. He’s the Production Manager and Technical Improviser for SAK Comedy Lab where he received critical acclaim for writing and directing the theatrical sitcom, Better Days with Tod Kimbro. John has had the pleasure of working with Stages Repertory, Colorado Festival of World Theatre, Orlando Fringe, Florida Studio Theatre, The Orlando REP, Mad Cow, Beth Marshall Presents, and more.

JIM PROSSER (Pianist & Co-Writer) Over his many years at FST, Jim has most often performed in the Goldstein Cabaret, where he has arranged and co-developed many shows including By Gershwin, Laughing Matters, European Cabaret, That’s Life, Again, British Invasion, Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits, Harry Who?, Too Darn Hot, Reel Music and recently Let’s Twist Again: with the Wanderers. 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, The Princess and the Pea, and the WRITE A PLAY elementary tours. In addition, Jim plays with the FST Improv Troupe and has also performed locally with Jazz Around The Corner.

RICHARD HOPKINS (Co-Writer) fostered the development of FST’s Cabaret productions since the opening of the Goldstein Cabaret in 1996. Most recently, Mr. Hopkins led the development of The Prima Donnettes and By Gershwin. Some of his favorite Cabaret shows include: That’s Life, European Cabaret, Piano Men, Inspired Lunacy, Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits, and The Laughing Matters series. Mr. Hopkins serves as Artistic Director and 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 165,000 adults and children annually. In 2012, the Arts & Cultural Alliance awarded Mr. Hopkins the Cultural Champion Award in recognition of his many years of accomplishment and growth with Florida Studio Theatre.

REBECCA HOPKINS (Co-Writer) has been actively involved in development of FST’s Cabaret productions for more than 10 years. This season, Mrs. Hopkins is the lead developer on Poems, Prayers and Promises. Last season she was the lead developer on Urban Cowboys and Co-Writer on Let’s Twist Again: with the Wanderers and By Gershwin. 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, Vaudeville Cabaret, 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 director of FST Improv. 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.

"Engaging" - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

"Delivered... with great spirit" - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

"Colorful" - Total Theater

"Gives audiences something to talk about" - Venice Gondolier

"Rocked the house" -