Kristofer Geddie and the Venice Theatre would like to diversify your theater-going experience

By : Jeremy Williams
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Venice, Florida, is a quaint little town of a little more than 20,000 people just south of Sarasota. It isn’t as worldly known as some of the bigger cities surrounding it – Tampa, St. Petersburg or Orlando – but the small Gulf Coast town is home to one of the most well-known theaters in the U.S., the Venice Theatre.

“Who knew that would happen here? Before I came here I never knew that Venice’s community theater was one of the largest in the country,” says Kristofer Geddie, Venice Theatre’s director of diversity.

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Tampa Bay’s Overheard

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Venice Theatre’s Hair, directed by Ben Vereen, is setting record ticket sales

The rock musical Hair is setting record tickets sales for the Venice Theatre. Could this be because of a new found love of the theatre in the Venice area? Well, maybe, but it may have more to do with the Tony Award winning Broadway, film, and television legend Ben Vereen who is directing the show. Venice Theatre’s Executive/Artistic Director Murray Chase reports that a total of 1,018 tickets were sold in one day. Vereen held auditions earlier this month and has selected a large cast of local singers, actors and dancers. He said he was looking for “creative performers with heart and passion of all ethnicities and ages.” Make sure to get your tickets while you still can. Tickets are available at www.VeniceStage.com or by calling the box office at 941-488-1115.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Let’s do the Time Warp again!

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Tampa Pride gets 501c3 status
Tampa Pride is officially a non-profit entity. The newly formed organization that hopes to bring Pride back to Tampa in March 2015 received word that the State of Florida has granted it’s 501c3 status. That means Tampa Pride is tax exempt and is officially a charitable organization. Tampa hasn’t had its own Pride festival since Pride on 7th folded a few years ago. The new Tampa Pride is not affiliated with any other Pride that has existed in Tampa and is not a part of St. Pete Pride. However, the organization hopes to work closely with other Pride festivals throughout the state. To make the March 26-29 festival a reality—which includes plans for a parade down 7th Avenue in Ybor City on March 28—organizers need to raise $70,000 by February. So far the organization’s GoFundMe.com account shows just under $4,000, so more donations are desperately needed. Find details at TampaPride.org.

Monsters aplenty
The annual All Hallows Ball was another smashing success this year, even with an earlier-than-normal date! The Monster-themed celebration returned to the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) on Oct. 18, and brought out nearly 3,000 people. The annual celebration saw a collection of group costumes, individual creativity and a few inappropriate yet laughable get-ups (a deceased Joan Rivers and a real member of the Fashion Police, for example). But the Monster theme was mixed with a theme of fun, and the who’s who of Tampa Bay were out in full force. And to think, we’re still a week out from the actual Halloween date!

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