The Players Theatre's 83rd season opens today with the often overlooked gem "Applause."
Although it won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1970, the play based on the 1950 film classic "All About Eve," is not a common production.
Berry Ayers, recently named director of music and production manager for The Players of Sarasota (he also doubles as Drag Queen Bingo host Beneva Fruitville), is director and musical director of "Applause."
"It's a great backstage story," he said. "And what I think is also great is that it won a Tony Award for Best Musical and no one ever does it!"
He added, "It's also a great way to feature strong actresses; there area a lot of great women roles."
The story opens with middle-aged actress Margo Channing (played by Kaylene McCaw) presenting a Tony Award to rising star Eve Harrington (Kathryn Parks).
The show then flashes back to all the events leading up to that moment.
The audience learns that Eve is a young woman who
is alone and friendless in New York and an admirer of Margo's work. Margo mentors Eve, who eventually attempts to take over her career.
Parks played Maria last year in the Manatee Players production of "The Sound of Music."
"I was attracted to the fact that she's kind of a villain," Parks said of Eve. "Usually I play the more ingénue type roles. I also like that Eve is a very smart, calculating character."
Details: Sept. 20-30, The Players Theatre, 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $25/$12 (students). Information: 941-365-2494 or www.theplayers.org.
Wade Tatangelo, features writer, can be reached at 941-745-7057.