Friday, January 25, 2013

Meet the cast of "Twelfth Night": Daniel Gray

Daniel Gray (photo by Caroline V. Sturtz

Daniel is no stranger to Shakespeare. Last year he stole several scenes in TLT's Much Ado About Nothing. This year he returns as Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, the drunken and mischievous uncle to the much sought after Lady Olivia. Sir Toby and his friends set about playing a prank on the controlling and self-important Malvolio, and their antics put the comedy in this romantic comedy.

Meet Daniel Gray

Tell us a little about who you are when you're not on stage.

I work for Hewlett-Packard as an electronic data specialist supporting Florida Medicaid's fiscal system. Outside of work, I'm an avid gamer and movie buff and do some freelance writing from time to time.

How did you first get involved in theatre?

When I was three, I used to listen to Disney records and then act out the stories for my family.  I've always been somewhat of a ham, I guess, but I'd inevitably clam up around strangers.  It wasn't until I got to junior high that I was able to overcome that, joining the Thespians and performing in little one act plays.  In 9th grade, I performed in a school production of Grease and I was hooked

What do you love most about acting?

The act of collaboration is inspiring.  Creating not only characters, but interpretations and presentations of stories and putting your own spin on them. The best moments for me are when I am able to discover something new in a character or a scene with another actor. That link - that moment - creates a strong bond that simply cannot be quantified.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this show for you?

Finding a balance! Toby is a drunk, but he is also a noble. He's a schemer, but he's also the fun-loving life of the party. The physical aspect of the character also caught me off guard. There's drunken singing, dancing and sword-fighting to go with the comedy.  I'm often sore after rehearsals, but its a good pain.

What would you say to encourage someone to try acting.

Go for it!  Read up on the audition process, ask questions, but don't ever be discouraged. It's a completely different experience than the every day, and you might just discover something about yourself.

There are only three performance of Twelfth Night left! Get your tickets now!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Meet the Cast of "Twelfth Night": Emma Blanton

In Twelfth Night, Viola and her twin brother Sebastian are victims of a shipwreck. It lands her on the island of Illyria--a somewhat magical place where people seem to spend most of their time falling in and out of love. Viola disguises herself as a boy, Cesario, and enters into the service of the Duke Orsino, setting in motion a complicated tangle of love interests and disinterests.

Emma Blanton (photo by Caroline V. Sturtz)
Emma Blanton plays Viola, and we want to welcome her to the TLT stage!

Tell us a little about who you are when you’re not on stage.

Well, for one, I generally wear women’s clothing. Aside from the obvious, I am very active and I’m always looking for new things to try. Some of my hobbies include scuba diving, fencing, martial arts, kayaking, and most recently, surfing. When I’m at home, I focus on my creative side – writing, drawing, reading, singing. The whole bit. I just want to experience everything God has given to us while I’m here. I think the quote by Diane Ackerman best describes my approach to life. “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I’ve just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.”

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I think my first experience of theatre was through my church when I was 8 years old. I played the riveting role of Gillian in Fish Tales. But I love putting on a performance, and thankfully my parents nurtured that passion. 11 years later, I’m still sticking to it.

What do you love most about acting?

I love the challenge of it. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to character analysis, so I enjoy nothing more than breaking apart a character and finding out what makes them tick. After I find the motivation behind the dialogue, I love tackling the issue of portraying those emotions and the subtext in my body language and speech. By doing that, I can mold a character, like Viola, into something completely my own. That’s the beauty of acting, I think. That no matter how many different shows you go to, even with the same cast, every performance is different. It’s a totally unique experience.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this show for you?

I’d have to say the language. I’m very familiar with Shakespeare’s text, but there’s a huge difference between reading his works and performing it. My goal throughout the show has been trying to find ways to make the words make sense to the audience. While the process is ultimately the same in any play, you have to pay special attention to the rhythm and which words you emphasize, or the lines may be lost to the audience.

What would you say to encourage someone to try acting?

Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t a theatre major, or you haven’t been on the stage since you were in diapers. Just because you’ve never done a show before doesn’t mean you can’t get a role, or that it won’t be fun. One of the marvelous things about theatre, especially community theatre, is that you can be a math major and still perform. You don’t have to make acting your career to enjoy it and be involved. One of the actors in this show has never performed before in his life, but he still has done an amazing job in this production. By the end of the show, I can promise your fellow cast members will be like family. If you want a support group who encourages you and wants you to succeed, no matter if it’s passing Accounting or learning your lines, theatre is the place to find them. I can also say that there is nothing quite as rewarding as seeing a show go from the audition stage to the final product. When you walk off that stage after the last performance, whether you’re a member of the ensemble or a lead, you will feel pride not only for yourself, but for the people you’ve worked with. So I would encourage everyone to try acting, even if it’s for one show. It’s an experience you can take with you for the rest of your life.
Emma Blanton and Milan Alley in Twelfth Night.
(Photo by Caroline V. Sturtz)

Twelfth Night opens TONIGHT, January 17th and runs through January 27th. Tickets are on sale at the TLT Box Office today from 12-4. Just call 850-224-8474 or you can purchase tickets online at any time just by clicking here!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Meet the Director: Kevin Carr

Meet the Director: Kevin Carr

Kevin Carr. (photo by Caroline V. Sturtz)
Director Kevin Carr is no stranger to Shakespeare. Last year he stepped in, literally last minute, to help direct TLT's Much Ado About Nothing. His background with Shakespeare and classical shows is extensive, and we're happy to have him on board for Twelfth Night.

First, tell us a little about yourself and what you do when you're not involved in theater?

I moved to Tallahassee several years ago to pursue my PhD in Renaissance Drama at Florida State. These days, when I am not in the theater, I am either in the classroom teaching or desperately trying to finish my dissertation. I am also working hard to bring back the outdoor Southern Shakespeare Festival here in Tallahassee.

How did you first get started in theater? What drew you to it?

I grew up in Boston (which has a lot of great theater companies) but my parents never brought me to the theater. I was very lucky to go to high school that had an outstanding arts education program. That was how I got hooked! My English teachers brought us to see productions at a professional theater company several times a year. I started acting and directing shows at the same time. I love the collaborative aspect of it. There are so many people involved in a production. The sets, the lights, the costumes, the sound, and the acting all come together to create something really magical.

What specifically drew you to direct Shakespeare and Twelfth Night?

Well, I've seen the play, I've acted in the play, and I've taught the play, but I've never directed it. I've always wanted to create a carnival celebration full of color, warmth, and silliness. I've always loved the setting of Illyria, and felt like it would be a pretty cool place to hang out! Our production really captured the beauty of this place where everyone is constantly falling in and out of love!

I always remind my students that Shakespeare was meant to be enjoyed in the theater, not in the classroom!! Shakespeare's extraordinary language was written to be heard, not to be read. We just don't have any dramatic writer today who can match the intensity and beauty of Renaissance verse and prose. Shakespeare’s language is such a challenge for actors and directors. That’s why I love it!

What was the last show you directed and where?

Over the past year, I co-directed the TLT production of Much Ado About Nothing, and a production of Doctor Faustus at the Warehouse. Last year was very busy, and this year will be even busier!

What would you say is your biggest challenge on this show?

It is really challenging to work with actors who have never performed Shakespeare before. Shakespeare's language is so demanding for actors. But this is a fantastic and enthusiastic cast, and they were up for the challenge.

What is your vision for this production? What do you hope audiences take away from the experience?

I want the production to be an escape for the audience. Among other things, this is a silly comedy about love and the pursuit of love. In tragedies like Romeo and Juliet, we feel the pain of love; in comedies like Twelfth Night, we laugh at it.

Why should people come to see Twelfth Night?

Beautiful set. Beautiful costumes. Beautiful music. Beautiful words… (and beautiful actors!!). What more could you ask for?!!

Twelfth Night opens January 17th and runs through January 27. Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening performances are at 8 pm and Sunday matinees are at 2 pm. Purchase your tickets by calling the Box Office at 850-224-8474 or clicking here!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Meet the "Frankenstein" Cast - Ty Wold and Nicolas Nelson

It's the final weekend for Frankenstein at TLT, and we'd like to introduce you to two more of our cast members.

Meet Ty Wold

If you're mostly familiar with the old Boris Karloff version of Frankenstein you might be surprised to learn that Mary Shelley's Creature was not only intelligent, but also articulate. After Victor casts him out the Creature finds a friend and mentor in the blind hermit, Delacey. Delacey teaches the Creature to speak, among other things.

Delacey is played by Ty Wold, a TLT veteran. You may remember Ty from Witness for the Prosecution, Cabaret, or last year's production of 12 Angry Men. Ty is also a member of the TLT Board.

Tell us a little about who you are when you're not on stage.
I work in radio as the Key Accountant Manager at Cumulus Tallahassee.

 How did you first get involved in theater?
First as a kid, then as a high schooler, and then the last 33 years in Tallahassee.

What do you love most about acting?
The opportunity to be character and tell stories that entertain, inspire, and make people smile.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this show for you?
The fight choreography.

What would you say to encourage someone to try acting?
Just do it! Plus, Tallahassee has some great coaches.

Meet Nicolas Nelson

As Victor Frankenstein's little brother, William, Nicolas has some very intense and scary moments on stage. It's a big job for a young actor. But Nicolas isn't a stranger to the stage. He previously played a newsboy in It's a Wonderful Life, and Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol.

Tell us a little about who you are when you're not on stage.
I'm a video game and Lego fanatic.

How did you first get involved in theater? 

Young Actors and my parents.

What do you love most about acting?  

People staring at me.

What drew you to Frankenstein?  
My first death scene.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this show for you?  

What would you say to encourage someone to try acting?  

It's fun!

This is the final weekend for Frankenstein and tickets are selling fast! Purchase yours today so you don't miss this spectacular production. Tickets are on sale now via our website, or you can call the Box Office at 850-224-8474.

Watch the Trailer!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Meet the Cast of "Frankenstein" - Jonathan Clow!

Meet Jonathan Clow

When most people think of Victor Frankenstein's assistant they probably imagine a hunchbacked and hideous Igor. But in Mary Shelley's classic, Victor's assistant was his friend Henry. Jonathan Clow brings Henry to life in TLT's Frankenstein, playing three final performances this weekend.

Jonathan isn't a stranger to the TLT stage. He, along with Frankenstein's Scott Mock previously played the devious duo of Borachio and Conrad in last year's Much Ado About Nothing. He's also been seen in Cabaret, Quincy's production of Sweet Charity, and TCC's Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.

Tell us a little about who you are when you're not on stage.
Currently I'm a student through the Pennsylvania State University's World Campus studying homeland security.  I also work as a tech at a local fitness studio and try to stay involved in the local theatres when I can.

How did you first get involved in theater?

I'm sure the simple answer is to say something like "elementary school productions" but I have a feeling those turned me away from theater in the long run.  Instead, I stumbled upon Theatre Strike Force, a student-run improv comedy group at UF that was open to everyone on campus.  After seeing one of their shows and how much fun it seemed to be, I knew I wanted to get involved.  One semester of participation led me to take my first acting classes just before I graduated.  After returning home, I got in touch with some friends in the community who led me to start auditioning and taking classes under Naomi Rose-Mock two years ago.  Several classes and auditions later, I've been supremely lucky to be a member of five shows so far and work with so many wonderful people!

 What do you love most about acting?
Creating characters and stories.  The story may be written but it's up to you to tell it, and how you tell it is different from anyone else.  Your character is a extension of yourself and they'll tell a different story within the story than another character at any time.  Creating these characters, through changing movements, adding accents, and adding costumes really helps to give perspective on the lives of those around you and where you fit into the stories that you see and play a part in every day, even as you tell your part of an ongoing story on the stage!  Really being able to adopt another personality for a brief time provides a fantastic experience by delving into the "what ifs" of that life that truly allows you to live a part of a story as you never could before.
What drew you to Frankenstein?
Shelley's Frankenstein is the classic tale of one man's struggles to achieve greatness through science and the terrible tale of science gone wrong.  It combats several themes on many levels, and above all makes us ask and wonder "what truly is human," which is a question I think important especially in this day and age. 

What has been the most challenging aspect of this show for you?
Every show, cast, and directing staff is different and do things differently, so it all takes some adjusting to really get into.  It has definitely been the case with this show, where time management really is a necessity since the show is very intense.  It's always an initial challenge, and definitely the hardest, but once everything is out of the way and you can really put yourself into the show it really takes a life of its own.

What would you say to encourage someone to try acting?
Just do it!  Everyone brings something different, including you, and every director knows that.  Show up with your best and you'll leave the best impression you can.  If you don't get pulled for what you were looking for don't be discouraged.  Just keep trying, learning, and adapting and you'll find roles that you'd never have imagined you would do.  Don't be afraid to be involved even if you don't have a role, either.  Working backstage provides another perspective to the action and provides just as important of a role to the players and audience as the players themselves and everyone appreciates the help!

Scott Mock (left) and Jonathan Clow in Frankenstein
Frankenstein runs through October 28th. Tickets are on sale now via our website, or you can call the Box Office at 850-224-8474.

Watch the Trailer!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Meet the "Frankenstein" Cast: Summer Hill Seven

Meet Summer Hill Seven

Summer Hill Seven was a performer before he found TLT. He is the author of SQUIRCULAR: An Actor's Tale!, the final book in the Poemedy Trilogy ( and the director of The Poemedy Project, a hip-hop theatrical documentary film about education in America ( 

In Frankenstein, opening TONIGHT, SH7 plays The Creature. This is not Boris Karloff's bolt-necked, grunting monster. The Creature is intelligent, articulate, driven, and full of strength. His burning need to find out who created him, to discover why he was made, is something that as humans we can all empathize with. A little bit of Mary Shelley's Creature dwells inside us all.

Frankenstein is his first TLT production and we're thrilled to have him!

Tell us a little about who you are when you are not on stage.
I am a father and a Poemedian which involves being a performer and mixed-media artist entrepreneur.  In short, buy my book - SQUIRCULAR: An Actors Tale!

How did you first get involved in theater?
In college, I was Paco in The Night of Iguana, by Williams.

What do you love most about acting?
Experiencing the creative transformation that is always available to humans at any moment and the empathy with various beings.

What drew you to Frankenstein
The role and journey of the creature is unique, inspiring and beautifully tragic.

What is the most challenging aspect of this show?
The movement and voice work.

What would you say to encourage someone to try acting? 
Go for it and read everything and listen to everything you can devour on the subject.

Summer Hill Seven, as The Creature. With Scott Mock as Victor Frankenstein.
Frankenstein opens tonight, October 11th, 2012 and runs through October 28th. Tickets are on sale now via our website, or you can call the Box Office at 850-224-8474.

Watch the Trailer!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Meet the "Frankenstein" Cast: Scott Mock

Meet Scott Mock

Scott is a TLT veteran, having appeared in several shows over the last few years. You might recognize him as the put-upon stage manager, Tim, from 2010's Noises Off!; as the intelligent Inspector Hearne from Witness for the Prosecution; as the dim-witted but loveable Ellard in The Foreigner (for which he won an award as Best Character Actor 2011); or most recently as the scheming Borachio in Much Ado About Nothing.

This is Scott's first lead role at TLT, as the doomed genius Dr. Victor Frankenstein, in Frankenstein opening this Thursday, October 11th.

Tell us a little about who you are when you are not on stage.
I work for the Florida Department of Transportation crunching numbers in the General Accounting Office as a Locally Funded Agreement Accountant.

How did you first get involved in theater?
I started with theatre my freshman year at Leon High School because I needed an elective and fell in love with all aspects of the stage. I kind of fell out of it for a few years, but was drawn back during the 2009-2010 season. Not just with acting but also volunteering to work backstage and with the front of house. I love how when all elements are brought together, a kind of magic occurs.

What do you love most about acting? 
I love the opportunity to step into someone else's shoes for a bit. If you see me outside of the theatre, I am typically a pretty quiet guy, acting allows me to unlock my hidden gregarious side.

What drew you to Frankenstein?
I had first read the novel when I was about 13 years old, and it stuck with me. I think the story is much more than just your typical monster fare. There is an underlying tragedy of a man who goes too far and loses everything as a result.

What is the most challenging aspect of this show? 
I think making Victor as a relatable character is kind of challenging. It would be easy to go over the top and make him a mad man in his quest to create life, but in order for the audience to want him to succeed in the end, he has to be grounded.

What would you say to encourage someone to try acting? 
If you have ever thought about it, definitely come out and audition. You never know you might have something that a director was looking for. And if you don't get cast, don't let that discourage you there are plenty opportunities to be a part of the show and hang out with some pretty cool people.

Scott Mock as Victor Frankenstein

Tickets for Frankenstein are on sale now! 
You can purchase yours online here or by calling 850-224-8474. 

Watch the trailer!