He doesn’t have the widespread fame of Stephen King or John Grisham, two writers who have appeared in Bradenton in recent months. But among theater aficionados, Arthur Kopit is widely considered a contemporary giant.
Theatre Odyssey is bringing Kopit to Sarasota in October for a presentation titled “An Evening With Arthur Kopit.” He’ll deliver a talk, and Theatre Odyssey will stage a scene from Kopit’s play “Indians.”
Even if you don’t know Kopit’s name, you probably know his work. He first caused a stir with his 1962 Off-Broadway hit “Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad,” directed by Jerome Robbins. It became a moderately successful film that starred Rosalind Russell and Robert Morse. He followed that with “Indians,” which inspired the Robert Altman movie “Buffalo Bill and the Indians.”
His 1982 show “Nine” won the Tony for Best Musical and then won Best Revival in 2003. It was later a movie with Daniel Day-Lewis and Sophia Loren. Kopit’s “Phantom” was a big hit this past season for Manatee Players. (He collaborated with Maury Yeston on both “Nine” and “Phantom.”) Kopit’s also written a lot for television, but he states adamantly that he does that only for the money.
“An Evening With Arthur Kopit” is scheduled for 5 p.m. Oct. 30 at Michael’s on East, at 1212 S. East Ave., Sarasota. Tickets are $125, but that includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dinner. Tickets just went on sale a few days ago. You can get them at theatreodyssey.org.
Pokémon at the ballpark
If you head over to McKechnie Field on Sunday, you can see Marauders, Tortugas and Pokéman.
After the 1 p.m. game between the Bradenton Marauders and the Daytona Tortugas, fans will be allowed on the field to hunt for Pokemon. Several Marauders will join the hunt. The Marauders will be dropping lures during their game.
You don’t have to wait until the game’s end to satisfy your Pokemon craving, though. Between innings, you can take part in Pokeman Go-themed contests, including “Name that Pokémon.” The first 200 fans to bring a picture of a Pokémon being caught at McKechnie Field to the Guest Relations Booth will get a Pokémon card. Also,if you show a picture of a Pokémon being caught at McKechnie, you’ll get a 25 percent discount at the team merchandise store.
You want your kids’ first visit to Disney World to be memorable. For Acacia, Zoriah and Zion Pitts of Sarasota, it will unforgettable, and preserved on film.
The Pitts kids and their parents, Leon and Adiaha, and Leon’s mother, Bessie, have been cast in a commercial for the Disney parks in the Orlando area. You may have seen Leon Pitts (who goes by Leon S. Pitts II on stage) in Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe productions, including “Soul Crooners” and “Soul Crooners II.”
In the audition, the family had to pretend they were in the park, looking at fireworks, rides and Disney characters. At one point, Leon Pitts had to react to his daughters meeting their favorite princesses for the first time.
They’re supposed to be fitted for costumes on Monday, and then film for the next few days. They were asked not to visit the parks first, so their reactions will be more authentic. They’ll be filming after the parks close, so they’ll work from late night until early morning, so 8-year-old Acacia, 7-year-old Zoriah and 6-year-old Zion are likely to be pretty sleepy by the end of their work day.
Leon Pitts said his training experience in WBTT shows helped land the family the roles. He was able to give them acting tips that apparently impressed the casting directors.
Brexit, stage right
Five years ago, Francisco Serrano had dreams of becoming a professional baseball player. But right about that time he started nurturing his talent for dance.
Now Serrano, who’s 19, is getting set to join the Royal Ballet Company in London, one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world.
Local audiences will get a chance to see him perform before he heads to England. He’ll be dancing with the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School next week. His parents, Ariel Serrano and Wilmian Hernandez, are the founders and co-directors of the school.
The July 30 performance is the school’s annual “On Stage” show, which includes top students from the National Ballet School of Cuba. It starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 30 at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota. Tickets are $35-$65. Call 941-328-1300, or go to tickets.sarasotaopera.org.