All posts by Scott Cooper

SPC Brings Music to the Summer with The World Goes ‘Round

Tech crew and actors work on production

This summer, St Petersburg College‘s Theater Department is presenting the musical revue, The World Goes ‘Round, a very exciting production of the music of the famous duo of John Kander and Fred Ebb, who have written such classic musicals as Chicago, Cabaret and Steel Pier. Songs from these musicals will be featured in this great evening of musical theater entertainment.

These composers have also combined their talents with such famous singers as Barbara Streisand, Liza Minelli and Frank Sinatra, and many of songs written for these talents are also part of the production.

An acting company of 11 talented high school and college students, in combination with 14 technical theater students, will rehearse, build and light this production in four weeks as part of the college’s Summer Theater Program. All is going very well in the Arts Auditorium with the rehearsals and technical theater, as the crew hit the ground running last week. The actors are very excited to be back on a stage again, and we are thrilled to bring back our summer musical after a hiatus last summer.

This production is directed by myself, Scott Cooper, with musical direction by Latoya McCormick and choreography by Lyla Menkhaus.

Some of our past award-winning summer musicals are PIPPIN (Broadwayworld.com Top 10 production in Tampa Bay 2019) and URINETOWN (Broadwayworld.com Top 10 production in Tampa Bay 2018).

There will be three performances of this show:

July 9-10 at 7 p.m. and
July 11 at 2 p.m.

There is limited seating of 200 people per performance, due to social distancing. A suggested donation of $15 will be gladly accepted at the door. This production is free for SPC students, faculty and staff.

We hope to see you in the theater!

SPC Theater Announces Summer Musical

Close up of piano keys

The time has come to announce the 2021 summer musical! After MUCH thought, we are proud to announce that the St. Petersburg College Theater department will be doing the musical revue The World Goes Round, based on the music of Kander and Ebb, this summer. The show will be directed by myself, Scott Cooper, with musical direction by Latoya McCormick and choreography by Lyla Menkhaus.

John Kander, a composer, and Fred Ebb, a lyricist, are well known for their musicals, including Cabaret and Chicago, and also for the material they wrote for artists such as Frank Sinatra and Liza Minelli. At this point in time, I think a musical will be a good way to help us remember what fun theater can be, and to help everyone escape from reality for a while.

Filled with humor, romance, drama and nonstop melody, this title is a thrilling celebration of life and the fighting spirit that keeps us all going. Five individuals find themselves careening through the world of love, babies and coffee. The nonstop hit-parade features unforgettable gems, including “Mr. Cellophane,” “Maybe This Time,” “Cabaret” and “New York, New York,” seamlessly interwoven into a passionate, harmonious, up-tempo evening of musical theatre.

Text reads The World Goes Round in the center of a circle of piano keys

This production is open to all local high school and college students between the ages of 16 and 24.

Interviews and Auditions

Students will be required to sign up for auditions and interviews – stay tuned for more information about that.

  • Tech Interviews: We will be interviewing for specific jobs this year. If you are interested, interviews will be held on Thursday, May 13 in the costume shop (ES103).
  • Auditions: On May 10 and 11, students who wish to audition will be asked to perform 16 bars of a Kander and Ebb song.
  • Rehearsals: Rehearsals begin on June 7. More details on that will follow later, but we will still have tech in the mornings and rehearsals 12-4 p.m.
  • Performances: The show will run from July 9-11.

SPC Theater is back on stage!

red theater curtain

After 18 months of not performing live, SPC Theater is back on stage next week with The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged)[Revised].

Drawing of William Shakespeare, with the text over the pic saying, "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [Revised].

This 90-minute production will include the plays of William Shakespeare – all 37 of them – in a fast, funny and frantic evening of theater performed by nine SPC theater students.

Coming back to the theater has been exciting, and I decided that we couldn’t continue with Zoom, so I reached out to students, who were very excited, figured out a way to do this very safely, and here we are.

I will be co-directing this production with my former student, Betty-Jane Parks, a local professional actor and current high school theater educator at Blake High School in Tampa. With only an audience of 52 per performance in a socially distant 400-seat theater, reservations are required. All audience members will have their temperatures taken at the door. A $10 suggested donation for the general public would be greatly appreciated, as all proceeds go to supporting the theater department and theater scholarships. The production is free for all SPC students, faculty and staff.

The performances will be March 24-27 at 7 p.m. and March 28 at 2 p.m. Make a reservation here.

SPC Fall Theater Production Auditions and Information

Rows of empty red theater seats

Continuing with the successful online productions from the summer, the SPC Theater Department is back with another online production this fall!

On the Verge by Eric Overmyer is the story of three well-spoken Victorian women who set out to explore Terra Incognita, the last of the unknown—but, unknown to them, they are also traveling through time and witnessing the slow changes of the English language and society when they arrive in the 1950s. In the play, there is not only the wit within each palaver, but as one traveler says, “I have seen the future and it is slang.”

This play holds roles for three women and one or two men (who play the seven characters the ladies meet along the way) and will be performed online via Zoom on October 22–24 at 7:00pm and October 25 at 2:00pm.

To audition please fill out this online survey (which will open on August 21) and submit a one-minute comic monologue with the survey. Submissions will be accepted August 24–26 and the show will be cast by August 28. Auditions are open to all SPC students and would require students to sign up for TPP 2192 Acting Repertory (1 credit).

Questions? Contact Scott Cooper at cooper.scott@spcollege.edu.

Why SPC Theater this fall?

People are silhouetted on a theater stage under theater lights.

Times are strange and we know you have lots of options out there for your fall academics, but did you know:

  • Tuition at St. Petersburg College costs significantly less than state universities, so you spend less for a high-quality, fully accredited education.  All classes in our program transfer to any university.
  • All classes (including production) will be online this fall.  We are offering Acting I, Introduction to Theater Arts, Stage Management, and an opportunity to be in an online production.
  • We have produced multiple online (Zoom) productions this summer.   We know how to do this. Auditions for productions will be online—easy. An online audition workshop will be offered in August. Our fall production title will be announced (along with our spring production) July 30 on our Facebook page.
  • Class sizes are smaller at SPC and there is more individual attention given to students.  More chances to be involved with productions (which hopefully will be on stage in the spring). At SPC, you are in the spotlight.
  • Scholarships! We offer two $500 scholarships per semester to help with financing a theater degree!

At SPC Theater Department, we do care about your theater education and you. If you would like more information on SPC—or to just discuss your options with a theater educator—contact Scott Cooper at cooper.scott@spcollege.edu or visit us online!

Registration for fall classes is going on now. To learn more and snag your seat in class, visit now.spc.edu/fallatspc. The fall semester begins on August 17.

A red curtain over a theater stage

Theater Online for the Summer

A red curtain over a theater stage

Summer with the SPC Theater Department usually means one thing—bring on the musical! After three very successful summers of musical theater, the SPC Theater Department has adjusted to a new normal and will be presenting three plays over the summer with a cast of 18 and tech support of nine.

These students—representing five local high schools, three colleges, and SPC—have been working hard to get ready for their first Zoom performance on Thursday, June 11, at 7:00 pm. The cast has met daily on Zoom to rehearse the plays under the direction of Scott Cooper and Katrina Stevenson.

“Rehearsals have been very educational”, Cooper stated. “The acting has been very good, but we are realizing that wifi speed is not something you can do without when you are performing online. This is not something we usually have to worry about when we do a play on stage. This is theater at its most basic in one way, Actor/Audience/Story, and at its most technical in other ways.”

Everything about these plays has been done virtually—auditions, tech interviews, rehearsals, and, finally, performances. The plays will have live sound effects provided by students.

Performance Dates

Click the dates for links to the scheduled performances. Links for The Rimers of Eldritch will be posted at a later time.

  • Shakespeare’s Ladies Meet by Charles George | June 11, 12, 13 @ 7:00 pm
    Ladies from Shakespeare’s plays, Portia, Katherine, Ophelia, Desdemona, and Cleopatra come to Juliet’s garden to talk her out of falling in love with Romeo.
  • The Actor’s Nightmare by Christopher Durang | June 11, 12, 13 @ 7:00 pm
    George wakes up backstage and is thrown onstage even though he doesn’t remember which play they are doing or if he has ever rehearsed any of them.
  • The Rimers of Eldritch by Lanford Wilson | June 26 @ 7:00 pm followed by a “Talk Back” session after the performance

*Please note that The Rimers of Eldritch contains mature themes and content including discussions of sexual violence. Not recommended for children under 16.*

There will be a short intermission between the performances of Shakespeare’s Ladies Meet and The Actor’s Nightmare. For more information about the performances, please contact Scott Cooper at cooper.scott@spcollege.edu.

Summer Actors rehearse online for the summer.

Summer Theater at St. Petersburg College

A lit theater stage with a red curtain

Welcome to the summer of 2020, the year of technology and physical distancing. But the SPC Theater Department is determined to have a “the show must go on” mentality!

Instead of doing its usual summer production, the Theater Department is going to tackle three plays by casting an ensemble of 20–22 actors, stage managers, and techs who will be involved in each of the plays in some way. The approach is going to be more like a “radio” play with an emphasis on the voice and sound. The Theater Department will also need stage managers for each of the plays and one or two “Foley” (live sound effect) artists. The current breakdown is actors (10 female/7 male, 3 stage managers, and 2 techs).

The plays that have been chosen are:

  • When Shakespeare’s Ladies Meet by Charles George (directed by Katrina Stevenson)
  • The Actor’s Nightmare by Christopher Durang (directed by Scott Cooper)
  • The Rimers of Eldritch* by Lanford Wilson (directed by Scott Cooper)

*This play is adult in nature, to be expected at the college level. Parents of high school students, please be aware of this before you sign on for the play.

When Shakespeare’s Ladies Meet and The Actor’s Nightmare are both one-acts and will be “performed” the evenings of June 11–13, three performances each. The Rimers of Eldritch will be “performed” on the evenings of June 25-27, three performances. All performances will take place on ZOOM.

A few details, with exact information TBD:

  • Rehearsals and performances will happen on ZOOM, with rehearsals taking place from 10:00AM–12:00PM, Monday through Friday.
  • Participants will need to have access to a mic, web camera, and Wi-fi/internet.
  • Auditions will be virtual, and you will record two contrasting monologues and submit them.

To audition as an actor, please fill out the online web survey. Anyone interested in signing up for Technical Theater Students ZOOM Interviews (stage managers/Foley Artists/tech) can also register online for an available time slot.

  • If you are cast as part of the ensemble, you will be required to take on the roles assigned.
  • At this time, we are not sure if things will need to be completely memorized—but fully acted. We will also play around with some virtual blocking, which could be fun!

This is going to be open to high school students and college students who are not SPC students. You will need to sign up for a class and the fee will be $115.00 (for both SPC students and non-students).

Is this theater? Perhaps. Is this something you can learn to grow as a performer or a theater collaborator? Absolutely.

If you have any questions, please email Scott Cooper at cooper.scott@spcollege.edu, and don’t forget to follow the SPC Theater Department on Facebook!

Set Design for Jobsite Production Done by SPC Students, Staff

Hedda set design: Scott Cooper
Scenery built and painted by SPC Students

Jobsite Theater Company is producing Lucy Kirkwood’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (renamed Hedda) opening Friday, May 10 at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. Set design for the production was done by myself, SPC Faculty member Scott Cooper, and was built and painted by SPC Theater Department Students under the direction of Technical Director Eric Haak.

This is the second collaboration between SPC Theater Department and Jobsite Theater after last fall’s Edgar and Emily was a great success on both sides of the bay. The mutually beneficial partnership allows SPC students a chance to work for, and in, a professional theater company, and Jobsite Theater gets many talented people working on their productions.

Jobsite Artistic Director David Jenkins and I came up with the plan for the collaboration on this project with students in hopes that this would become a yearly internship opportunity. It has worked well, and the collaboration will continue on next fall for Jobsite’s production of The Thanksgiving Play.

According to Jobsite, Hedda is an updated version of Ibsen’s classic by young British playwright Lucy Kirkwood. Set in modern Notting Hill, the play tells the story of a woman who feels trapped by her past and terrified by her future, bored by her life but afraid to make changes. Ultimately, something has to give.

SPC Students working on the set

SPC Theater Sets Audition and Tech Interview Dates for Summer Musical PIPPIN

Pippin SPC Theater Production

SPC Theater is excited to announce its high school/college summer musical – PIPPIN.

Written by Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson, this musical follows the journey of Charlemagne’s son, Pippin, in his quest for the extraordinary life he believes he deserves (don’t we all?). Along the way a troupe of players help him find out what works and what doesn’t– leading to the players big “finale” for Pippin.

Originally produced on Broadway in 1972 and later successfully revived in 2013, PIPPIN has been wowing audiences for decades. Previously set in a traveling theater troupe (and in 2013 at a circus), SPC’s production will be slightly different. The musical will be set in a run-down museum exhibit about Charlemagne and his life with the exhibit coming to life to tell the story of Pippin.

This musical is open to all high school and college students in the area for both acting and technical theater positions.

After successful runs of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and URINETOWN (a Top 10 production in the Tampa Bay area), SPC is looking forward to producing another successful summer musical.

Interview, audition and production details:

Technical Theater Interviews: Monday, May 13 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

All students who want to be a part of our tech team should interview on this day (with a portfolio or pictures of productions you have worked on).

Tech times will be 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (M-F) starting May 30 in the Arts Auditorium.

Auditions: Tuesday, May 14, and Wednesday, May 15, from 5 – 8 p.m.

Students should prepare a 32 bar cutting from a musical theater song. Please be prepared to dance after the singing audition.

Callbacks will be held on Thursday, May 16, from 5 – 8 p.m.

Rehearsals: Will be from 12 – 4 p.m. daily (M-F) starting May 30 in the Arts Auditorium. Rehearsals on May 28/20 will be from 5-9 p.m.

Performances: Will be June 28 – 29 at 7:30 p.m. and June 29 – 30 at 2 p.m.

The fee for this event is $15 general admission, and tickets are only available at the door.

Want more information?

Contact Scott Cooper at cooper.scott@spcollege.edu.

SPC Theater Presents Medea

spc theater

This spring, St. Petersburg College‘s Theater Department presents its production of Euripides’ Medea, in a new translation by Nicholas Rudall. Medea is a Greek tragedy about a woman who has been scorned by her husband and takes very extreme measures to get her revenge on him. Written in 431 B.C., this play is both lyrical and horrific in content.

With a cast of 18, this production marks my return to the stage in the role of Creon, which is also double cast with a student. My last foray onto the stage was at SPC in 2001 in Bus Stop. I am not really one to be on stage any more, but students are always asking me when they would get to see me act, and this play just seemed a good time to take the chance and get back out there. I will also be designing the set for Medea, which will include thousands of candles onstage.

spc theater
Model of Medea set

This production also marks the return of Betty Jane Parks as director. Park’s last directed our production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and students are excited to work with her again.


SPC Theater will perform Medea March 27-31 at the Arts Auditorium on the Clearwater Campus. My performances will be March 27 – 30 at 7:30 p.m. as well as March 30 – 31 at 2 p.m. An open dress rehearsal also will be held on March 26 at 7:30 p.m. SPC students, faculty and staff are free; general admission is $10.