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Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC), the non-profit professional theater company based in Miramar Beach, Florida, presents “Bakersfield Mist,” as the final main stage performance of the company’s 2016-2017 season.
The production opens with a preview on Thursday, Jan. 26 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 19. Evening performances are on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Matinees shows are at 2 p.m. All 16 performances will be staged at the new ECTC performance space, 560 Grand Boulevard, Upstairs, in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, located in Miramar Beach, Florida.
Inspired by true events, “Bakersfield Mist,” is a hilarious comedy/drama written by award-winning playwright Stephen Sachs that follows Maude Gutman, an unemployed bartender, and art expert Lionel Percy, as they begin to question the true definition of art and the authenticity of people.
Maude, a 50-something, unemployed bartender living in a trailer park, has bought a painting for a few bucks from a thrift store. Despite almost trashing it, she’s now convinced it’s a long lost masterpiece by Jackson Pollock worth millions. But when world-renowned art expert Lionel Percy flies over from New York and arrives at her trailer home in Bakersfield, California to authenticate the painting, he has no idea what he is about to discover.
The play — which garnered the Boston Theatre Critics Association’s Elliot Norton Award for Best New Play in 2012 — is directed ECTC’s producing artistic director Nathanael Fisher who has been involved in professional theater for more than 20 years.
“This play is the perfect comedy for our community, which is home to so many talented visual artists and art fans who love and follow their work,” Fisher said. “I think audiences will appreciate how this play challenges the basis of one’s perspective and shows how the brush strokes of trials and tribulations create the canvas of one’s life.”
The two-member cast features two local talents: Bruce Collier and Teance Blackburn.
Bruce Collier makes his debut with Emerald Coast Theatre Company with his role of Lionel Percy in “Bakersfield Mist.” A native of Ohio, Collier has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater from Wright State University and a Juris Doctor degree from Tulane Law School in New Orleans. In addition to college and non-professional productions, Collier has performed professionally in summer stock in Ohio, at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and at New Horizons Theatre in Michigan. He has performed in numerous productions at The Seaside Repertory Theatre, including “The Fantasticks,” “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” “True West,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Proof,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and “A Beach Home Companion,” which he co-wrote, among others. He has portrayed both Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill, the latter in playwright Nancy Hasty’s original play, “We Were Soldiers Too.” Currently, he is writing a one-man show about Winston Churchill.
Teance Blackburn has been performing locally for more than 15 years. Some of her favorite roles have included Louise in “Always, Patsy Cline” and Boochie in “Den of Thieves” (which she performed with Collier). Blackburn is a comedian/improviser at heart and performs with ECTC’s house Improv Troupe. Recently crossing into film and television, Blackburn also is a regular contributor to TMZ Live on Fox TV.
“Bakersfield Mist” performances run approximately 80 minutes with no intermission. The show contains some profanity and should be considered PG 13. Doors open 30 minutes prior to performance time.
Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $15 for students. Not recommended for children under 5. To purchase tickets or make a tax-deductible donation, visit emeraldcoasttheatre.org or call (850) 684-0323.
This ECTC production is made possible by the generous support of season sponsors Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, the St. Joe Community Foundation, Howard Hospitality and Culture Builds Florida. Major support provided by season sponsors Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County and Isidro Dunbar Modern Interiors.
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Emerald Coast Theatre Company is a 501(c)(3) founded in 2012 by Nathanael Fisher, MFA, and his wife, Anna Fisher. Based in Miramar Beach, Florida, ECTC’s mission is to enrich and entertain the Emerald Coast community through professional and educational theater. ECTC operates year-round with a two-fold mission to provide both educational and professional offerings to the Northwest Florida community. Educational outreach includes after school and home-school programs, touring and staged productions, summer camps, workshops and classes. The professional theater efforts are focused on thought provoking productions, festivals and collaborations as well as acting and improv workshops and classes for adults.