Theatre Odyssey Announces New Officers for 2014-2015

At their annual meeting on July 5, Theatre Odyssey’s Board of Directors elected the following officers, each with solid backgrounds in business and professional worlds, as well as having strong theater credentials:

Tom Aposporos (President), an Anna Marian, is a longtime member of the real estate profession, and a newspaper columnist; he is a former chamber of commerce chief executive; former Commissioner of Anna Maria, Florida, and Mayor of Poughkeepsie, New York; and was Chairman of the Board of Progressive Bank, Inc., a publicly owned company.

Dan Higgs (Vice President), of Sarasota, holds a Master’s Degree in Audiovisual Communication, taught high school for 14 years, hosted a television news program, and served 19 years as Coordinator of Media Services for the Board of Education of Anne Arundel County, Maryland.  He chaired The Anne Arundel County Cable Commission for 8 years, and served as President of the Teacher’s Association of Anne Arundel County.

Tami Vaughan (Secretary), a resident of Parrish, is an office manager, bookkeeper, and the owner of The Word Doctor, a desktop publisher founded in 1989.  Among her clients are Golf Coast Magazine and Steve Covey’s Cargo Trailer Store.

Donna DeFant (Treasurer), residing in Sarasota since 1989, has been part of the financial services industry for 30 years, beginning her career in Massachusetts, and is a Certified Financial Planner with an office in Sarasota.

“As President in 2013-2014, Dan Higgs deftly moved the company to a new venue, the Jane B. Cook Theatre at the FSU/Asolo Center for the Performing Arts, and the result was the longest and most successful run of its Ten-Minute Play Festival,” said Aposporos, a co-founder of Theatre Odyssey in 2006.  He added, “We pioneered venues in our early years, settling in one for three years, and Dan perfected the next step in our odyssey.”

In addition to the election of officers, the company announced the re-election to the Board of Directors of Bob Trisolini, Longboat Key, with a long history of producing, directing, and choreographing shows for Broadway, Off-Broadway, cruise ships, theme parks, regional and community theaters, as well as corporate America.  He was founder and CEO of The West Bank Creative, a business theater agency in metro-New York City working with top celebrities, and many casts of leading Broadway shows.

The Board also elected Don Walker.  “Though Don is well known as an actor and director, he also brings his solid other life to us,” said Aposporos.  Walker moved to Sarasota 23 years ago with World Precision Instruments, a manufacturer of laboratory research equipment.  As advertising manager and director of publications, he served as editor of instruction manuals, as product photographer, and designer of all catalogs, brochures, trade show graphics, instrument front panels, and product packaging.

“Theatre Odyssey is well positioned as it plans its Third Annual Student Ten-Minute Playwriting Festival and its Tenth Annual Ten-Minute Play Festival,” said Aposporos.

The Board of Directors also announced that three playwrights with plays produced at the 2014 Ten-Minute Play Festival—Marvin Albert, Ron Pantello and Bernie Yanelli—all have full length plays competing at Players Theatre’s New Play Festival starting July 21.

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Theatre Odyssey returning to the Anna Maria Olive Oil Outpost to present its 2014 Best Play, A Bottle of Vodka

On June 6, 2014, Theatre Odyssey presents a reprise of the winner of its Ninth Annual Ten-Minute Play Festival at Wine, Bites, and A Bottle of Vodka at the Anna Maria Olive Oil Outpost, 401 Pine Avenue in the City of Anna Maria on Anna Maria Island, across from the Anna Maria Island Historical Museum.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m., the evening presents heavy appetizers and a selection of fine wines both prior to and following the performance of the play.  The cost is $20.00 per person.  Reservations are necessary, as the venue is limited in size.  Email indicating the number of reservations required and the Outpost will confirm by reply email.  Reservations can also be made by telephone – (941) 896-3132 but email is strongly recommended.  Please make your reservation promptly as this event sold out quickly last October for the reprise of last year’s Best Play, A Little Help!

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Ten-Minute Play Festival 2014 Winners Announced

The playwright, cast, and director of A Bottle of Vodka--from left to right, author Connie Schindewolf, actors Don and Jenny Walker, and director Preston Boyd

The playwright, cast, and director of A Bottle of Vodka–from left to right, author Connie Schindewolf, actors Don and Jenny Walker, and director Preston Boyd | Photo credit: Cliff Roles

Connie Schindewolf’s A Bottle of Vodka, a play about two alcoholics “thrown into a room in heaven or hell with two chairs and a bottle of vodka,” received the Best Play award at Theatre Odyssey’s Ninth Annual Ten-Minute Play Festival. Jenny Aldrich and Don Walker starred in the play, with Preston Boyd’s direction. The festival concluded before a sell-out performance on May 4, 2014 at the Jane B. Cook Theatre at FSU/Asolo Center for the Performing Arts in Sarasota. Sylvia Reed’s Smart Bra was runner-up, and Ron Pantello’s Visiting Grandpa, was the Audience Favorite. The adjudicators for the festival were Ann Morrison, Jimmy Clarke, and Jay Handelman.

Schindewolf’s work has been present in Theatre Odyssey’s festivals since 2007, when her play Tide Line of July 15th was produced. The Silence won the 2010 festival Best Play award, and in 2013 her plays, They’re Gonna Kill Gertie and Leaving Nic were, respectively, runner-up and the audience favorite.

Dan Higgs, President of the Board of Directors, said following the festival that the company’s move into the Jane B. Cook Theatre for this year’s festival, “was successful in every respect, and we are grateful to the FSU/Asolo administration for allowing us to use this special space.” He added that total ticket sales established a new record for festival attendance.

President Higgs also announced Theatre Odyssey’s participation in The Giving Challenge that begins Tuesday, May 6 at Noon and urged community donor support for the company, which operates as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Additional information about The Giving Challenge is available here.

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