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Emerald Coast Theatre Company's Storyteller Series Returns For Season Ten

January 6, 2023 by SoWal Staff

The Storyteller Series at Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) returns January 8 - March 7, 2022 with four powerful performances featuring professional actors and authors presenting compelling stories and dramatic works. There are four Storyteller presentations staged at ECTC’s performance space located at 560 Grand Boulevard (upstairs) in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, located in Miramar Beach, Florida.

Shirley Simpson as Minnie Pearl - Sunday, January 8 2023 at 2:30pm
Local stage and screen veteran Shirley Simpson returns to ECTC as “Minnie Pearl.” You may remember Minnie Pearl as the straw hat wearing, price tag dangling southern lady in the classic 1970 TV variety show “Heehaw.” This one woman show is based on Sarah Cannon, the actress and reluctant creator behind the character of Minnie Pearl. A fascinating story about a fascinating woman as told by our very own Shirley Simpson.

About Shirley Simpson
Shirley Simpson (Minnie Pearl) most recently appeared as Hannah in the musical The Spitfire Grill at New Stage Theatre in Jackson, MS. Also at New Stage, she played Grace in Grace & Glorie, the title role of Shirley Valentine, Kendall Kingsley in Impossible Marriage, and Vada Love in The Exact Center of the Universe. At The LSU Colonnade Theatre in Baton Rouge, she played Shirley Valentine, and directed and played the role of Elaine in Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers. Other stage roles in Baton Rouge include Maggie in Tribute, Fonsia Dorsey in The Gin Game, Queen Eleanor in The Lion in Winter, and Kate in both Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound. She starred as Laurette Taylor in an off-Broadway production based on the opening night of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. Other favorite regional theatre roles were in Finishing Touches, Forty Carats, Someone Waiting, Only in America, Close Ties, and Suddenly at Home. Film credits include Everybody’s All American and Blues in the Night. The owner of Magna Carta Productions, Mrs. Simpson conducts workshops and provides keynote speeches on communication, leadership, and creativity, as well as presenting programs of comedy and drama, for civic, professional, and church organizations. A former producer, writer, and performer in the New York Madison Avenue television market, her TV series The Vital Link was nominated for and won the ACE AWARD.

New Works: DISSONANCE by Marci Duncan - Tuesday January 24, 2023 at 7:30pm and Wednesday January 25, 2023 at 7:30pm
Artists at Play in collaboration with Theatre Evolution and Strategic Theatre Company present DISSONANCE, a poignant look at relationships and race set in Pensacola’s Historic Belmont-DeVilliers community, affectionately known as “The Blocks.” DISSONANCE is a new work written by Florida born Alabama based playwright/actress Marci J. Duncan in collaboration with Pensacola based playwright/actress, Kerry Sandell.

About Marci J. Duncan
Marci J. Duncan earned a BA in performance at Florida A&M University and her Masters in Acting at the University of Florida. She studied television and film acting with Evonne Suhor at Orlando’s Art Sake Acting Studio, where she is a resident ensemble member, substitute instructor, and has starred in three consecutive seasons in their Play De Luna Series. Some of her extensive theatre credits includes Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, Crowns, Pretty Fire, The Contract, The Mountaintop and Best of Enemies. Marci's film work includes (Just) Another Day co-starring with Jamie Hectar from HBO’s The Wire and Life is not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story, working with Debbie Allen and Fantasia Barrino. Marci just completed an upcoming network series for NBC, and a one woman show called Florida Girls at Emerald Coast Theatre Company.  Marci provides actor coaching with her acting studio, Artists at Play and is a Professor of theatre at the University of West Florida.  

The Flight of Jackie Cochran by Nancy Hasty - Sunday, February 5, 2023 at 2:30pm
Based on the book “Jacqueline Cochran, Superwoman,” written by Billie Pittman Ayers and Beth Dees. Follow Jackie Cochran, a fearless WASP in World War II setting more records in altitude, speed, and distance than any man or woman during the 20th century. A complicated yet daring woman, set to accomplish a feat no other pilot has accomplished in the history of aviation: breaking the sound barrier.

About Nancy Hasty:
Nancy Hasty’s plays have been produced in New York, internationally, regionally, and on tour.  Her play, The Director, starring John Shea, ran off-Broadway for over six months to critical and popular acclaim, winning “Highly Recommended” status from The New York Times. Florida Girls, Nancy’s one-woman show, toured the U.S. after its off-Broadway run, and she continues to perform it around the country.  Her play, Lawnchairs, was the first place winner of the Jerry Kaufman Playwriting Award, presented by the American Renaissance Theatre Company in New York.  The following year, Lawnchairs premiered at Pennsylvania’s Electric Theatre Company.  Bobbi Boland ran off-Broadway with Nancy in the lead before being optioned for Broadway.  Yankee Women, another original one-woman show, was developed at The West Bank Downstairs Theater Bar and subsequently played venues around the country.  The Flight of Jackie Cochran,” Nancy’s newest play, began its development at the Spanish Trail Playhouse in Chipley, Florida, and since that time has been presented at Florida State University, Pensacola State College, the Chautauqua Theater in DeFuniak Springs, Warehouse 360 in Santa Rosa Beach and the SoWal House in Rosemary Beach.  The play has also toured to venues in Maine, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Nevada.  The play is based on the book “Jacqueline Cochran, Superwoman” written by her niece, Billie Pittman Ayers, and Beth Dees. Nancy is thrilled to be part of the ECTC Storyteller Series!

Winston Churchill: Through the Storm by Bruce Collier - Tuesday March 7, 2023 at 7:30pm
Winston Churchill: Through the Storm takes place late in the evening of July 23, 1945. The setting is Potsdam, Germany, where British Prime Minister Winston Churchill has just hosted a banquet for U.S. President Harry Truman and Soviet Generalissimo Josef Stalin. Over brandy and cigars he reminisces about his personal and public life, the war, and the possible future.

About Bruce Collier:
A native of Ohio, Bruce has a Bachelor of FineArts degree in Theatre from Wright State University, and a Juris Doctor degree from Tulane Law School in New Orleans, where he worked for four years as a public defender. Bruce has performed professionally in summer stock in Ohio, at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Courtyard Playhouse in New York City, New Horizons Theatre in Michigan, The REP at Seaside, Sinfonia Gulf Coast, and Emerald Coast Theatre Company. His original Restoration comedy Tarts was staged in New York at the Courtyard. At ECTC, Bruce has appeared in Bakersfield Mist, A Wrinkle in Time, It’s a Wonderful Life, Around the World in 80 Days, The Fantasticks, A Christmas Carol, Treasure Island, and Miracle on 34th Street. This year Bruce was Narrator/The Soldier/The Devil in Sinfonia’s The Soldier’s Tale and narrator of Peter and the Wolf. Since 2018, as part of ECTC’s Storyteller Series, Bruce has written and performed his World War II Trilogy - Three Palaces at Yalta, The Fall of April, and Winston Churchill: Through the Storm, playing Churchill, Josef Stalin and Franklin Roosevelt. Bruce is currently Editor of the DeFuniak Springs Herald - Beach Breeze.

These performances will be staged in ECTC’s main space located on the second floor of 560 Grand Boulevard in Grand Boulevard Town Center in Miramar Beach. Tickets range from $25 - $32 depending on the show. There is an additional processing fee for ticket purchases. Purchase tickets online at www.emeraldcoasttheatre.org. The STORYTELLER’S CLUB subscription gives you special priced tickets to all four storyteller shows: Shirley Simpson as Minnie Pearl, Dissonance by Marci Duncan, The Flight of Jackie Cochran by Nancy Hasty, and Winston Churchill: Through the Storm by Bruce Collier. Save 10% on additional tickets too! Find out more at emeraldcoasttheatre.org/memberships-subscriptions

A special thanks to ECTC’s Major Sponsors of the 2022-2023 season: Grand Blvd at Sandestin, St. Joe Community Foundation, Howard Group and the South Walton Tourist Development Council (Visit South Walton).

To make a tax-deductible donation, volunteer or learn more about Emerald Coast Theatre Company, call (850) 684-0323 and visit www.emeraldcoasttheatre.org. Engage with ECTC as well on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Emerald Coast Theatre Company is a 501(c)(3) founded in 2012 by Nathanael Fisher, MFA, and his wife, Anna Fisher, MA. 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 programs include after school and home-school programs, Theatre for Young Audiences productions, field trip opportunities for local children, touring and staged productions, summer camps, workshops and classes. The professional theater efforts are focused on thought-provoking productions and collaborations, as well as acting and improv workshops and classes for adults.

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