On November 8, 2008, Theatre A La Carte's production of the musical Nine won first place in the Florida Community Theatre Festival at the 2008 Florida Theatre Conference. The award included an invitation to participate in the regional competition at the Southeastern Theatre Conference, in Birmingham, Alabama, March 4-8, 2009.
This was our biggest road trip to date--we had 42 registered participants in our group attending the conference. Nine included a cast of 18 and a 12-piece orchestra, in addition to crew, staff and friends. Although we have remained active in our state organization (Eric Hurst served as chairperson for the 2006 community theatre festival), it had been 5 years since we took a show to compete in the festival. Our performance of Nine was enthusiastically received by the audience, and the adjudicators gave thoughtful feedback: "stunning", "exceeded expectations", "great choreography and stage business", "effective lighting", "fantastic voices", "great diction", "beautiful stage pictures", "wonderful musicians", "brilliant", "sexy".
Florida has the largest state conference, averaging 1,500 participants, and the Southeastern region is the largest region in the U.S., encompassing 10 states. A new AACT rule allows states with a minimum of four entrants in their state festival to send two productions to the regional competition. In addition to Theatre A La Carte, Florida was also represented by Venice Little Theatre's production of The School for Wives.
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Photos by Christopher J. Gorsuch