THE COLUMNIST

Theatre Review

Florida Studio Theatre Presents

THE COLUMNIST

 Inside The Keating Theatre

Shadow Box with the cast upon entering the theatre

Shadow Box with the cast upon entering the theatre

Marvelous!  Fantastic!  Intense!

On a brisk cold evening in Florida, where else would you want to be than the cozy Keating Theatre at FST? The Columnist written by David Auburn is a play, as a writer I didn’t want to miss and with all the political happenings surrounding Sarasota in the past few months, I felt it was appropriate.

With front row seats my friend Jenna Norwood and I get settled in amongst the sold out theatre. The two women seated behind us say, “You two win the award for the youngest people in the theatre,” right she is. Is it the topic or is it more exciting for the ‘youth’ of Sarasota to go out to the bars? I prefer seeing a live show and taking advantage of the thriving art district we have here in Sarasota, but that is a subject for a future article (by the way, there is time for both).

The Columnist is a based on true events and takes place in Washington, D.C. written about Joseph Alsop, played by Jeff Plunkett; the most powerful political writer in America in the 1960’s. The play takes place during the turmoil happening in Vietnam.

From the very first scene you are exposed to Joe Alsop’s personal life, taboo and secretive, yet it’s brought into what is still news in the forefront and unsettling for many today.

Play runs through April 14, 2013 at FST.

Play runs through April 14, 2013 at FST.

With minimal set design, I focus on the outstanding acting that is taking place on stage. Jeff Plunkett who plays Joe Alsop steals the show. He is courageous, fierce and doesn’t skip a beat. This man is intense, full of emotion and enthralled in the character he is portraying I can’t take my eyes off of him.

Rachel Moulton  who plays Susan Mary Alsop, Joe’s wife, is perfectly cast. Beautiful and charming, her facial expressions tell a deeper story than the lines she delivers. A lovely wife and mother deeply depressed because of her real life ‘role’ she is playing, but only in the end do you see the picture clearly.

From Steward Alsop, Joe’s brother played by the handsome Rob Gomes, to Abigail played by Marie Claire Roussel the daughter of Susan Alsop, every character on stage is intriguing, inviting and true professionals. Sarah Bertolozzi costume designer carefully selects vintage pieces that add to the charm and character.

In my review I like to give you enough of the story to intrigue you, but never do I want to give you the entire story. I encourage you to go see this play, for not only will the actors win you over with their superior skills, but it’s a way for you to watch history repeat itself.  The Columnist runs through April 14th, 2013, information can be found at www.floridastudiotheatre.org or call (941) 366-9000 –tickets priced $18-$36.

Director: Kate Alexander
Scenic Designer: Brian Prather
Costume Designer: Sarah Bertolozzi
Lighting Designer: Richard Chamblin 

CAST
Joe Alsop…………………………………………………….Jeff Plunkett*
Susan Mary Alsop………………………………………….Rachel Moulton*
Stewart Alsop……………………………………………….Rob Gomes*
Andrei…………………………………………………………John Keabler
Abigail…………………………………………………………Marie Claire Roussel
Halberstam…………………………………………………..Michael Zlabinger
Philip………………………………………………………….Seth Teegarden

As a native of Washington, DC the play is an accurate reflection of “an” aspect of the culture there. I’m impressed with the intensity of emotion that the actors portrayed. –Jenna Norwood

*Attended the March 26, 2013 show

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