Florida Studio Theatre presents David Auburn's The Columnist, the story of noted political writer Joseph Alsop's fall from power in the 1960s - opening in Florida Studio Theatre's (FST) Keating Theatre (1241 N. Palm Avenue) on Friday, February 1, 2013. Tickets for the intense political drama are on sale through April 7, 2013 and can be purchased online at FloridaStudioTheatre.org, by phone at (941) 366-9000 or by visiting the Box Office.
For decades, political columnist Joseph Alsop was beloved, feared and courted in equal measure by the people whose careers he determined. He sat at the center of Washington life as one of the most powerful journalists in the country. Based on the true events of his life, The Columnist explores the turmoil of the '60s, the Vietnam conflict and the profound personal cost of Joe Alsop's political involvement at a time of dizzying change.
David Auburn, whose Tony and Pulitzer Prize Award-winning Proof dazzled critics and audiences alike, brings this riveting story to the stage. Mr. Auburn has also been awarded the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The show is being directed by FST Associate Director Kate Alexander. Ms. Alexander has directed over 25 shows at FST.
Ms. Alexander says, "The Columnist is a refreshing play, fully of intrigue and passion. It takes place during an unusual time in our history - on the cusp of the Camelot years through the riveting social changes that followed the Kennedy assignation. Every aspect of our lives changed: every institution, from the very personal such as marriage to our grand institutions such as our government. Powerful people and powerful organizations once thought sacrosanct were brought down. A quest for 'the truth' emerged from the youth generation and a new idea of 'truth' was born."
Ms. Alexander continued, "As the world changed, Joe Alsop struggled with his world view. And yet, what I like is that there are no clear protagonists or antagonists in this story. All the characters are heroic and flawed and very human as they strive for their idea of right. And we can find many parallels in today's world, as recently as our last elections. Both sides admit that the world is changing rapidly: the face of America is changing and we need to 'see this.' Our realities are fluid and change is necessary; this play explores the consequences if we don't change."
The cast includes returning Florida Studio Theatre favorites Jeff Plunkett as Joe Alsop, as well as Rachel Moulton playing Susan Mary Alsop, Rob Gomes appearing as Stewart Alsop and Seth Teegarden as Philip. New faces to the FST are John Keabler as Andrei, Marie Claire Roussel as Abigail and Michael Zlabinger as Halberstam.
Jeff Plunkett has appeared at FST previously in Permanent Collection, Pure Confidence, Opus, Sylvia, and Race. His Off-Broadway credits include Have Mercy and Concertina's Rainbow at The Cherry Lane Theatre, among others. Rachel Moulton returns to FST after last season's production of Jericho. Rob Gomes is no stranger to FST, as he portrayed Eric Weiss in Brooklyn Boy. He also spent time on the Broadway stage in shows The Last Night at Ballyhoo and Racing Demon. John Keabler has played in Off-Broadway productions of the comedy Psycho Therapy and Wonder of the World. Marie Claire Roussel has been in several shows at The Flea, an Off-Off-Broadway theatre, appearing in productions such as Anderson County and Victor Victorious and others. Michael Zlabinger has been in Off-Broadway productions of The Tempest and Five Women Wearing the Same Dress. Seth Teegarden is an Acting Apprentice at FST and is currently performing in The Playmakers Tour.
The Columnist also features a talented crew under the direction of Ms. Alexander. Brian Prather, a well seasoned Off-Broadway Designer, is new to FST as the Scenic Designer. Richard Chamblin returns as Lighting Director along with Sarah Bertolozzi as Costume Designer.