Stageworks Theatre presents the Florida premiere production in a staged reading format of Bellini and the Sultan: A Comedy in Istanbul by local playwright Ed Stevens, one of the 2013 winners of Stageworks' Breaking New Ground Playwrights Competition. The Competition is part of Stageworks' landmark program to encourage and nurture new works of theater, which includes Stagewrights, the company's longstanding bi-monthly playwriting workshop and its highly successful TampaWorks evening of plays about the Tampa Bay area.
The reading will take palce at Stageworks Theatre in Channel District, Grand Central at Kennedy, 1120 E. Kennedy Blvd. Tampa Fla., on Tuesday, March 19, 7:00 PM. Tickets will be sold at the door: $5.00; $3.00 students, seniors and military.
"It is only by providing encouragement and opportunities for new plays that we can ensure the survival and growth of theatre as a vital art form," explained Stageworks Founder and Producing Artistic Director Anna Brennen. "We are proud and excited to present the work of local and developing playwrights, who represent the future of theatre."
Bellini is a unique adventure-comedy that depicts how Muslims and non-Muslims can communicate and understand one another's cultures, in the context of an exciting entertainment experience. In the play, Renaissance painter Gentile Bellini is sent to paint a famous portrait of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Since Islam forbids personal images, he finds himself fighting to survive in exotic 15th Century Istanbul in the midst of eunuchs, concubines, romance, executions and an evil Vizier out to get him.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Stagewrights member Ed Stevens received the Kennedy Center's 2005 David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award for his play After, a post-9/11 story. Ed's work has been produced in New York City, Provincetown, St. Petersburg and San Diego and has received honors at the George R. Kernodle Playwriting Contest, Attic Theatre's One Act Marathon, Kennedy Center Ten-Minute Play Competition, Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Actors Theatre New Works Festival, American Theatre Co-op, Valencia Character Company, Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival, Hidden River Arts Playwriting Award, Ashland New Plays Festival and Bay Area Playwrights Festival.
ABOUT THE CAST: Bellini and the Sultan will be performed by a cast of eight professional actors from the Tampa Bay area: Tom Costello, Rick Stutzel, Joshua Goff, Graham Jones, Rick Kastel, Jake Fryer, Marlene Peralta and Farrah Zad.