The Flip Side at Florida Studio Theatre

Arts & Culture

Pictured: The Flip Side 3: (from left to right) Marcel Werder, William Selby, Chris Richie. Photo by by John Jones.

Next Wednesday, on February 7, Florida Studio Theatre will unveil their latest show in their Winter Cabaret series, The Flip Side. The cabaret, which is written by Rebecca and Richard Hopkins with musical arrangements by Jim Prosser and directed by FST Associate Artist Catherine Randazzo, aims to take a slightly different look at life by celebrating some of the best comic songwriters of the 20th century.

“The show looks at life in a slanted way. It’s actually the way I look at life, so I feel like I was just right for this show because I think that the world is strange and quirky and kind of marvelous at the same time,” says Bill Selby, one of the cast members. “We sing songs about the odd and the peculiar, things having to do with age and even dying, in a very positive light. It’s a lot of fun to play and it’s a very funny show, we have all kinds of characters that we portray that are highly amusing.”

Although Selby, a veteran of FST and the cabaret world, is just one of three cast members, he plays a bevy of characters. For some, it may be a challenge that seems too daunting, but for Selby and his castmates, it’s just as exhilarating as it is difficult. “For me, it’s easier to switch between characters because I spent a large part of my life with the show Forbidden Broadway, where we switch between portraying different Broadway stars very, very quickly,” says Selby. “A lot of that happens in this show: you go off stage, you put something on and you go back out as a cowboy. You go off stage, you put something else on and you’re a 12 year old. It’s a kind of natural, unnatural world for me.”

In Killed by a Coconut, Selby plays four different characters within the song. In other moments of the show, he plays the psychiatrist Sigmund Freud. The cast’s ability to do so is what makes the whole show work–something that Selby attributes to his chemistry with his fellow cast mates along with the steady direction from Catherine Randazzo. “We have a wonderful director that prepares us so well. Catherine Randazzo is very specific and she wants to be sure that we understand the story and are playing that story to the audience very clearly,” says Selby. “I love specifics. She wants to be sure that things are bright, because some of the material, especially when talking about death can be a downer, but we don’t play it that way. We play against it.”

February 7 to June 16, 2024, FST’s Court Cabaret, 1265 First Street, Sarasota,941-366-9000.

Pictured: The Flip Side 3: (from left to right) Marcel Werder, William Selby, Chris Richie. Photo by by John Jones.

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