Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

freeFall Creates a Home

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

freeFall Creates a Home

Article excerpt

ST. PETERSBURG

The freeFall Theatre has a clear goal to be a little different than the norm.

The company's mission statement deals with eight keystones, from "risk taking and a sense of daring" to environmental sustainability.

Ultimately, leaders want to create a resident company of actors who "will make freeFall their artistic home" and to "create an environment where artists of the theater can flourish and create at their highest potential."

In the five years since its founding in 2008, it has presented a diverse group of shows beginning with Michael John LaChiusa's musical "The Wild Party" and followed by any number of plays and musicals that have rarely been presented in the Tampa Bay area, They include the musicals "Grey Gardens" and "Bernarda Alba" and such new plays as "Becky Shaw," "In the Next Room (the vibrator play)," "Lark Eden."

The company's latest offering is the Andrew Lippa musical "John & Jen," about the relationship between a woman and her brother and son, both of whom are named John and played by the actor Chris Crawford. Katie Zaffrann plays Jen.

The musical is part of a season that Artistic Director and founder Eric Davis describes as being about "generations and generational conflicts and how they interact with each other, how the choices of one generation affect the choices of the next."

In addition to "Bernarda Alba," the season includes the upcoming musical "Spring Awakening," opening in July.

The mix of shows, including an annual musical version of "A Christmas Carol," has helped the company grow since moving in 2010 into a Central Avenue space that was once a Christian Science church.

A large auditorium is used for concerts and special events, but most of the company's shows are presented in a former Sunday school classroom space with flexible seating that can hold 120 to 160 people, depending on how the stage is arranged.

The auditorium will be renovated at some point, but Davis said he was more interested in the studio space "because the audience space becomes part of the whole design. …

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