All posts by Scott Cooper

SPC Theater Auditions for Spring Production Start Nov. 28

Theater Auditions for SPC Theater's Laughing Stock

The St. Petersburg College Theater Department has announced theater auditions for its upcoming play, LAUGHING STOCK, by Charles Morey.

Theater auditions will be held Tuesday, Nov. 28, and Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 5 pm in the Arts Auditorium on the Clearwater Campus.

What’s it all about?

LAUGHING STOCK is a hilarious backstage farce and genuinely affectionate look into the world of the theatre.

When The Playhouse, a rustic New England summer theatre, schedules a repertory season of DraculaHamlet and Charley’s Aunt, comic mayhem ensues. We follow the well-intentioned but over-matched company from outrageous auditions to ego-driven rehearsals, through opening nights gone disastrously awry to the elation of a great play well told and the comic and nostalgic season close.

Details for theater auditions
  • Students who wish to audition will need to prepare a 1-minute, comic monologue. (If you don’t have one prepared, readings will be done from the script of the play.)
  • Rehearsals for the play start the week of Jan 22.
  • If cast in the play, you will need to sign up for the Acting Repertory class at the college (1 credit).

If you have questions about the play, please contact Scott Cooper at cooper.scott@spcollege.edu.

Available roles
  • Gordon Page, 40’s-50’s. Artistic Director. (Leader of the pack. He’s in most scenes.)
  • Jack Morris, 20’s. Actor. (The Juvenile. Should he quit acting, and go to law school?)
  • Susannah Huntsman, 30’s. Director. (We’ve all had directors like this one, unfortunately.)
  • Mary Pierre, 20’s. Actor. (The ingénue. Earnest to a fault.)
  • Tyler Taylor, 30’s-40’s. Actor. (Leading roles only, please.)
  • Vernon Volker, 40’s-50’s, Actor. (Summer stock may be beneath him.)
  • Richfield Hawksley, 70’s. Actor. (Done it all, played them all, if he could only remember.)
  • Daisy Coates, 60’s-70’s. Actor. (Has been ready to play Ophelia for 40 years.)
  • Craig Conlin (could be man or woman), 30’s-50’s. Business Manager. (Someone has to watch the money.)
  • Sarah McKay, 40’s-50’s. Stage Manager. (Efficient, acerbic, never without her drink mug.)
  • Henry Mills, (could be man or woman) 30’s-40’s. Designer. (Must he really create it all with paper and scissors?)
  • And the inexperienced, overworked, and faithful apprentices:
    • Karma Schneider
    • Braun Oakes
    • Ian Milliken
    • possibly more?

A different look at 12 ANGRY JURORS

SPC Theater's 12 Angry Jurors

St. Petersburg College’s Associate Theater Professor Scott Cooper explains his vision for the upcoming production of 12 ANGRY JURORS, set to open Oct. 11.

When I looked for a show to do this fall, I knew I wanted to do something that had a bit of bite to it.  It needed to look at the world in a matter of fact way and say something about the climate that we are all facing in the world today.

After reading many plays, I was just about to give up when someone told me to take another look at 12 ANGRY MEN by Reginald Rose.   Based on the teleplay from the 1950s, it is a harsh look inside a jury room while the jurors deliberate a death penalty murder trial.  It is heated and dramatic, and I have always enjoyed the play. But would it stand up to today’s tough standards of a drama? I read the play and discovered that not only was it about ethics and the law but race issues, humanity, and hope.  I thought, “I can do this, and I think students and the community would be interested in what this play has to say.”

Casting, staging changes for 12 ANGRY JURORS

Obviously, we needed to move from 12 ANGRY MEN to 12 ANGRY JURORS and include women in the play so we have moved the action to the mid-1960s.  In my opinion, this elevates the play to a different place than just having men discuss these issues.

My other qualm was that it was a classic play, and I wanted the audience to really look at this piece with a fresh eye and differently than the standard proscenium staging that it usually receives. I realized that that was the key to doing this play for me – to change the type of theater and get the audience closer and more involved.  So, I am doing the play in an arena staging with the audience sitting on stage with the actors all around them.   This highlights the feeling these people are really trapped in this room until they make a decision even more intense for the audience.

With Act 1 staged, this is working out really well.  It is a great challenge for the actors to keep moving enough that they don’t ignore the different sides of the audience, and it allows them to have a more intimate relationship with each other, really looking each other in the eye as they argue their side of the case.

It is really a different look at this play – from all sides – literally!  With only 70 seats per performance, you might want to get there a bit early to make sure you get a good seat.

Opening in October

SPC Theater’s fall production of 12 ANGRY JURORS will go on despite hurricanes. Opening Oct. 11, 12 ANGRY JURORS runs Oct. 11-14 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 14-15 at 2 p.m. in the Arts Auditorium at the Clearwater Campus.

SPC students, faculty, staff, and high school students free with ID. General admission $10.

For more information, contact Scott Cooper at cooper.scott@spcollege.edu.

Auditions set for SPC Theater’s fall production of ’12 Angry Jurors’

12 Angry Jurors Logo

The first week of Fall 2017 sign up to take part in auditions for SPC Theater’s production of “12 Angry Jurors.”

Auditions are scheduled for Aug. 16 and 17 from 5 – 8 p.m. at the Arts Auditorium at the Clearwater Campus.

More about “12 Angry Jurors”

Directed by SPC Theater Professor Scott Cooper, the performance is a nail-biter set around a trial.  Twelve people walk into a room to decide the life or death of a teen on trial for murder.  With twists and turns, the jury feels the weight of the arguments. The final conclusion is anyone’s guess.

The play, currently set  to hit the stage in October, will be performed in the round with the audience on stage.

Performance dates are:

  • Oct. 11 – 14 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 14 – 15 at 2 p.m.
Auditions for “12 Angry Jurors”

For the auditions:

  • Prepare a 1-minute dramatic monologue.
  • There will be cold readings at each audition night.

Rehearsals begin on Aug. 19 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The full rehearsal schedule will be provided at the auditions.

Theater at SPC

The SPC Theater Department holds two productions a year.

In Summer 2017, Cooper produced and directed two sold-out performances of the musical Fiddler on the Roof. It was the largest production the department has put on with 32 local high school and college actors, plus 14 technical students who created the costumes, set, and props, plus worked on light and sound.

Read more about SPC Theater on the college’s blogs or follow them on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram using #spctheater.

What can you learn from summer musical theater?

SPC Theater's Fiddler On the Roof Musical

For the first time, I produced and directed a summer musical at St. Petersburg College open to all area high school and college students. The response was really amazing.

Not only did we have two sold-out performances of the musical Fiddler on the Roof, but we had an amazing turnout of 50 auditioning students and 14 technical theater students.  I ended up casting 32 students in the production and was able to use all 14 technical students.  In five weeks, we put on a highly professional production of FIDDLER – built, painted, sewn, performed and put together by students.

What I was most interested in was what the high school students took away from this experience.  I had three sets of siblings involved with the musical. One set,  Alex and Haley Groth, were on both the technical (Haley) and acting (Alex) sides of the production.

I asked the two sisters:

  • What made you want to be part of the SPC summer musical?
  • What did you learn doing the SPC summer musical?
  • How did this experience make you a better theater person?

Here were their responses and takeaways from the production.

Alex Groth, actor (17)

Hi. My name is Alex Groth. I’m 17 years old, and I was a member of the chorus in SPC’s production of Fiddler on the Roof this summer.

After an insane school year in which I had participated in many productions, I was looking for a summer project that I could be a part of which would expand my knowledge as a theater person and help my growth as a performer.  When my teacher suggested being a part of this show, I wasn’t sure initially how the process would be when I auditioned, because I had no experience with the SPC Theater Department and only knew two other people who were auditioning.

I went into the experience completely blind, with limited expectations. I am so glad that I decided to take a leap and participate in the show because I could never had anticipated the ways I was able to grow as a performer and person.

Opening night Friday for Fiddler on the Roof at the St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus! Support the high school &…

Posted by St. Petersburg College on Friday, June 30, 2017

I was both excited and nervous to hear that I was cast in the chorus, because that meant that I had to put myself out there and go into an environment that I knew very little about.

I was instantly impressed by the level of professionalism and determination from both the cast and crew, as well as our directors. Every person involved had this drive and passion for the show, and we were able to learn the show quickly, without anyone holding us back.

I was at first a little hesitant about the time because this entire process was only five weeks, and Fiddler is a very intimidating show to do in that time period. But my fears were cast away as I realized that every single performer and crew member was ready to take on the challenge and did so with a hunger to learn more about theater and gain as much exposure to their theatrical field as possible.

The direction was so focused and to the point, I was never confused about what Scott wanted from me as a performer, which made the task of navigating through a huge show much easier.

I quickly became friends with an amazing group of people whose motivation pushed me to become better in every rehearsal. All of our hard work was rewarded with the best end result any of us could expect – two sold-out shows.

I learned so much about theater, but the most important thing this production has shown me is that you can maintain a high level of professionalism and be productive while having fun. And honestly, I believe this combination was vital to our success. Not only have I been able to become friends with some outstanding people who have the same passion for theater as I do, but I have learned so much by being a part of a college show, which taught me a lot about the expectations of a performer and how to fulfill them.

Haley Groth, technician (15)

'Fiddler' musicalI have been involved in theater since I was a child, mainly focusing on the performance aspects of the medium. My view on the full production of a musical changed when I ventured into the world of technical theater during my freshman year of high school. Quickly I realized that acting on stage was only one part of the journey into creating an enjoyable show. It is not an afterthought, but rather an essential piece to the show’s complicated puzzle.

Upon learning about SPC’s upcoming production of Fiddler on the Roof, I knew that it was my chance to further my insight on technical theater and its impact on the totality of a production.

Throughout the five-week experience of creating Fiddler on the Roof, I gained knowledge unparalleled to my previous experiences. Instead of being stuck in one fixed position throughout the rehearsal process, I was able to actively have a mark on every technical area of the show.

In addition to learning about theater-specific topics, I learned valuable life skills that I can apply to my home as well as the theater, such as repairing and constructing –  I finally know how to use a screw gun! – and sewing and creating garments. Toward the end of the process I was assigned a fixed task (operating the lighting board) that I had never truly encountered in my school life. This focus area gave me detailed information to bring back to my high school in the fall. This program at SPC gave me the confidence to teach others in my school about how technical theater works and contributes to a show’s overall product.

SPC Theater Fiddler On The Roof Musical

I didn’t only learn about technical theater and production, however. I also now understand what it feels like to work on a team. The 14 tech students and I were dedicated and friendly, allowing us to have a unified front and solve problems together. We learned from incredible mentors like Scott Cooper, Eric Haak, Adrian Puente and Celeste Silsby Mannerud about leadership and the qualities we must have to succeed in the theater and in the complexities of teamwork. Together we faced our fears – for me, going up on a lift and using a saw  – with immense support and help from each other. I now feel positive in creating a team and working together successfully wherever I go in my future.

Through understanding how basic elements of a production work, I feel like a more rounded and applicable student and “techie.” I urge everyone, technical students and actors alike, to foray into the world of technical theater in the SPC summer theater program. I will apply what I learned here to the rest of my life, inside and outside of the theater.

About Scott Cooper:

He has designed scenery for American Stage, Jobsite, Gorilla, Jaeb (Straz Center for the Performing Arts), Stageworks and FreeFall theaters in the Tampa Bay area. His work has also been seen at the Goodman and Steppenwolf Theaters in Chicago. He has received Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay outstanding Scenic Designer in the Tampa Bay area for four consecutive years and recently received NORTON awards for best set design for AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY at American Stage and ‘NIGHT MOTHER at Stageworks Theater.  He has been nominated twice for the Jefferson Award in Scenic Design in Chicago for his designs of BUS STOP and AMERICAN BUFFALO, both at American Theater Company. He is otherwise kept busy by being the head of the theater department for St. Petersburg College. He is a proud member of the United Scenic Artists Local 829.

Fiddler On The Roof Summer Production For College And High School Students

Fiddler on the Roof Production banner small

This summer the St. Petersburg College Theater Department will produce the classic musical FIDDLER ON THE ROOF on June 30 and July 1 in the Arts Auditorium in Clearwater. This will be a summer-intensive program, open to college and high school students, with both technical and performance students involved in the process.

“This is the first time I have ever heard of a summer production/camp for technical theater students also,” said SPC Theater Professor Scott Cooper. “I have always thought it was important not only to help build their skills (since I am a technical theater guy), but get everyone involved in one production. The tech students will learn a bit of everything – set construction, painting, lighting, sound, costumes – and I hope to send them back to their high schools to teach other students what they have learned from us (and hopefully make them want to come back to SPC and learn more!)”

Cooper will design the set and direct the production. He believes ” doing a classic musical can teach students so many basic things about doing good musical theater – how the songs and story are combined to make a stronger story and how the spectacle of the technical elements of a musical can actually add to the impact of the story.”

This Summer Theater Program is a great chance for a student to immerse themselves in a production.

Cooper will also ask the tech students to have a short interview with him about why they want to be part of the program. “We have to interview for our jobs too, and I think this will be a good start to show students how important it is to be able to have that skill – for any job interview.”

Auditions/Interviews for FIDDLER ON THE ROOF will be May 22 – 23 from 4:30 – 7:30 pm at the Clearwater Campus Arts Auditorium. Actors will prepare 16-32 bars of a classic musical theater song for the auditions (something written before 1965). Technicians will bring at least one picture of a production they have worked on and talk with Cooper about their experience in theater. Actor callbacks will be Wednesday, May 24 at 4:30 p.m. All roles are available.

The Technical Theater Production class will meet from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Monday-Friday, and the Acting Repertory class (rehearsals) will be from 12 – 4 p.m., Monday-Friday, starting May 30.

There are full scholarships available for high school students. The fee for the course is $100 for high school students. College students who are cast or asked to join the crew will enroll in Acting Repertory/Technical Theater Production for a 1 credit class.

For more information, contact Scott Cooper at cooper.scott@spcollege.edu.

SPC theater students perform at LRMA gallery talk

SPC Theater students perform at a recent LRMA Gallery Talk.

On Sunday, Oct. 30 at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art (LRMA), four SPC theater students (and their professor) assisted in a gallery talk entitled “An Introduction to Satirical Opera”.   Gail Simon, LRMA docent and researcher, who is also a student of theater, presented an intricately detailed account of John Gay’s “Beggar’s Opera” and Bertolt Brecht’s “The Threepenny Opera.” She explained how these pieces of theater inspired artists Abraham Rattner and Jack Levine to produce print portfolios of scenes and characters from and about the theater pieces that are amazing and haunting.

Gail Simon, LRMA docent and researcher
Gail Simon, LRMA docent and researcher

Learn more about SPC’s Theater Program and the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art.

Theater students delight audience with opera selections

In addition to the gallery talk, theater students Kayla Witoshynsky, Chelsea Hooker and Connor Hodge  performed and sang three selections for the small attentive audience from “Threepenny Opera” accompanied by Bill Bryant on the piano in the intimate space in front of the sketches and prints.  Theater professor Scott Cooper also gave insight on how the plays were put together and how some of these songs (Mack the Knife) have become musical favorites.

Scott Cooper, SPC Theater Program Professor
Scott Cooper, SPC Theater Program Professor

“Brecht is one of my theater heroes—never afraid of being on the edges of society and always wanting to talk about important things that matter,” said Cooper.  “He even did it in an entertaining way so that the audience was enjoying themselves but listening to words that might inspire action—political or otherwise!”.

The audiences reaction was delight.  The songs, although a bit risque, were done well and the question and answer period after the performance was full of well thought out questions about how theater can affect art, society and, well, everything.  One spectator in the audience exclaimed that “they didn’t just sing the songs, they acted them very well—while singing!” which is a huge compliment for the theater department and these talented theater students.

Future collaborations will hopefully be talked about between the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art and the SPC Theater Department. The Theater Department performed Edward Albee’s “The Sandbox” at the opening of the museum in 2002.

“Feathers and Teeth” opens Oct. 12 featuring SPC theater students

Feathers and Teeth Cast and Crew
Feathers and Teeth Cast and Crew

“Feathers and Teeth”, St. Petersburg College Theater Department’s fall production, opens tonight, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Do you like comedy?  Do you like scary stuff?   Then our fall production of Charise Castro Smith’s “Feathers And Teeth” should be a perfect Halloween treat for you!   Directed by Scott Cooper, this 90-minute play tells the story of a teen angst, revenge and a possible alien invasion mixed with a 1970’s vibe and a step mother who may or may not be evil. This dark comedy will keep you guessing about what will happen next and laughing (screaming?) all the way to the end!  Comedy and horror mix well in this Florida Premiere.  

NOTE: This play includes mature subject matter and language.

The cast includes Mykela Ferguson as Chris, Nick Torres as Arthur, Kayla Witoshynsky as Carol and Connor Alfonso Hodge as Hugo.   Additional cast members include Vasilia Votzakis, Toma Karaleviciute and Kaleb Cook.

“Feathers and Teeth” reviews

“[In] FEATHERS AND TEETH, you feel both the softness of love and the bite of its loss. …fresh, gutsy and disturbing.”
—Chicago Tribune.

“An oddball mashup of Hamlet and Gremlins…make[s] for amusing mayhem.”
—Chicago Reader.

“Feathers and Teeth” is one of two productions produced this year by the St. Petersburg College Theater Department. The department also offers classes in acting, stagecraft, costume construction, script analysis and stage management.   Students are encouraged to audition for each theater production and work on backstage crews to further their understanding of how productions work and to build their resume before either transferring to other colleges or going out and working professionally. Students can also intern at professional theaters (American Stage, freeFall Theater) to gain more knowledge about what it is to work in a professional theater.

Learn more about SPC’s Theater program.

“Feathers and Teeth” schedule

  • October 12-15 at 7:30 p.m.
  • October 15-16 at 2 p.m.

Location: Arts Auditorium, Clearwater Campus (only 65 seats available for each performance)

Price: General admission is $10. Free for SPC Student, Faculty and Staff.  Also free for Pinellas County high school students and teachers.

SPC theater auditions start Aug. 23

SPC Theater Auditions

SPC theater auditions for fall 2016 production, Feathers and Teeth are now open. Learn more about the upcoming SPC theater auditions below.

From acting, stage production, costume and set design to house management, the theater arts program at St. Petersburg College empowers students to explore their creativity and hone their stagecraft.

Before you attend the upcoming SPC theater auditions, view photo galleries from previous SPC theater productions and learn more about SPC’s Theater Arts program at www.spcollege.edu/theater.

SPC theater auditions schedule

Prepare for SPC theater auditions by reviewing the following information:

WHEN: Tues., Aug. 23 and Wed., Aug. 24

TIME: 4:30 –  6 p.m.

WHERE: St. Petersburg College, Clearwater Campus, Arts Auditorium

WHAT: SPC theater auditions require that you prepare a 1-minute comic monologue.   Also cold readings from the script.

Scripts available in SS 103.  You can check them out for 24 hours.

Production summary and characters

Understanding the story line and characters will help you prepare for SPC theater auditions.

PRODUCTION SYNOPSIS:  Home-sweet-home turns into a haunted house for thirteen-year-old Chris when Carol, her stepmother from hell, moves in. Struggling with the recent death of her mother, Chris is convinced her father’s new live-in fiancée is evil, but she just can’t persuade dad to her point of view. When a mysterious and potentially dangerous creature is found in the family’s backyard, Chris assumes it’s a sign from above to eliminate Carol once and for all. This imaginative, bone-chilling, and wildly funny play brings the notion of dysfunctional family drama to sensationally scary heights.

Reviewing the productions main characters will help you nail it at the upcoming SPC theater auditions.

Characters:

Chris:  13-year-old girl.  Tough, sad, smart.   A bit of a potty mouth at times.

Arthur:  Chris’ dad. (40’s).   A bit clueless as to what is going on in his house.   In love.

Carol:  Arthur’s fiancé.   The perfect step-mom (or is she?)

Hugo:  Teenager—the boy next door.  In love with Chris.

Thing 1, 2 and 3:   People from another world who do all of the sound effects live during the show.  

NOTE: We are looking for creative and bold actors!

Rehearsal and performance schedule

Theater rehearsals will be on:

  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Performances are October 12-16.

Musical Theater Workshop auditions held Aug. 11

St. Petersburg College will hold auditions for their Musical Theater Workshop on Thursday, Aug. 11.

girl singing on stage

Who should take SPC’s Musical Theater Workshop?

Do you want to learn how to act a song? Do you want to learn how to be more comfortable while singing on stage? Do you want to learn how to sing with more confidence? Then our Musical Theater Workshop (MUO 1001) is for you!

Taught by Scott Cooper (SPC Theater Department) and accompanied by Tom Guthrie (SPC, freeFall, American Stage) this 16-week, evening course will teach you how to be a better performer, singer and actor. This year we would like to study the work of Stephen Sondheim—so it will be very exciting!

Audition Details

When: Thursday, Aug. 11, from 6-8 p.m.
Where: SPC’s St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, HS-109
What: Come prepared to sing 16 bars of your best musical theater audition song. (Bring sheet music if possible.) If you don’t have an audition song—then come and we will have music available for you.

Workshop Schedule

Musical Theater Workshop (MUO 1001)
Mondays from 6-9 p.m.
Final Presentation will be Friday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m.

Fall Auditions

Feathers and teeth poster.001

Feathers and Teeth

Auditions: Aug. 23-24, 2016  / 4:30-7:30pm /  Arts Auditorium, Clearwater Campus

Performances
Oct. 12-15: 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 15-16: 2 p.m.
 

A Play by: Charise Castro Smith

Directed by: Scott Cooper

Something is wrong in Chris’ house. The thing that dad hit with his car doesn’t seem to want to die and her stepmom is just weird. Comedy and horror mix in this Florida Premiere. * Adult Content.

Roles for 2 women and 2 men plus 3 “others”.   Please prepare a 1 minute comic monologue.