Friday, December 08, 2006

Lewis Black, Jon Stewart, Aasif Madvi ....

The list keeps getting longer and longer. So many Tampa connections right now to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I've already talked about Aasif Mandvi's Tampa connection, and you hopefully all have your Jon Stewart tickets (don't mess around now - I will thump anyone calling me a week before the show asking if I can get them tickets!).

Perhaps one of the coolest connections right now is a 9-day residency coming up with Lewis Black and his cohort Joe Grifasi - who will be in town to put up Lew's play One Slight Hitch as a staged reading here at the Patel Conservatory's TECO Theater Dec. 14-16.

A staged reading is basically kinda what it sounds like. They've cast the show, they'll have a rough approximation of a set, they'll rehearse a minimal amount - but in the end they'll have scripts in their hands. This is going to be an opportunity for Lew to revisit this play - which he originally wrote in the 1980s. He'll be revising a bit while in rehearsals with the actors (he's strictly here as playwright - his colleague and friend Joe Grifasi is directing) and every night during the public staged readings Joe, Lewis and the cast will take part in post-show talk-backs with the audience to answer questions and solicit feedback on the piece. This will likely lend itself to more rewrites from night to night.

It's really an incredible opportunity not only for the local actors to work with a nationally recognized playwright and director, but it's a great opportunity for the public to get some inside access to the creation of a show and a chance to pick his mind on his creation. I had the opportunity a while back to have dinner with Lewis and talk about his life in the theater, and what I'm trying to do here in Tampa.

Did you know: Before becoming a stand-up comedian, Lewis black studied playwrighting at Yale under the legendary David Mamet? Well, now you do!

This is almost an event too cool for Tampa, right? Staged readings with a New York director where the playwright, who's you know - on TV regularly and is probably one of the workingest comedians of his day, is actually in town at the performances gathering feedback and tweaking his creation through the process.

Wowsers. Next thing you know you might actually be able to buy groceries or gas while you're Downtown.

Nah ... now that's just crazy talk ...

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