2021 Winner Critic’s Choice in Powerstories VIRTUAL Theatre’s Voices of Truth Theatre Festival

With two short plays written by Peter Nason and Deborah Bostock-Kelley, A Necessary Conversation is a two-part production that takes an unflinching look at mental health, bullying, gun violence and its aftermath. The show features 47 REASONS TO LIVE, a tale of the inner workings of a potential school shooter and 11:11 explores the adult and teen survivors left behind.

The play debuted to rave reviews in January 2018. Recipient of the 2017 Theatre Tampa Bay Jeff Norton Dream Grant, Deborah reached out to the Straz Center with their concept for this show and the venue graciously helped make their vision a reality in the TECO Theatre. Everytown- Moms Demand Action, Tampa Chapter was the community partner and the recipient of ticket sales of the evening show, following an incredible community talk-back.

In January 2018, the show won 2018 Broadway World’s Regional Best Actor and Best Actress for Caleb Brening and Amy C. Ragg. The show was also nominated for Creative Loafing Best of the Bay 2018.

In November 2020, the show was nominated for Broadway’s World’s Regional Best Original Script of the Decade and for actress, Amy C. Ragg, Best Actress of the Decade.

After the Parkland shooting in 2018, Deborah expanded 11:11 to include a teen voice. The new expanded version received its world debut in March 2021 in Powerstories’ virtual Voices of Truth Theatre Festival, followed by a talkback on Zoom with playwrights, cast, crew, and community experts

At the close of the festival, A NECESSARY CONVERSATION won the “Critic’s Choice” award.

Peter Nason – Playwright 47 Reasons to Live

Peter Nason is an actor, director, and theatre teacher, who has appeared in dozens of productions around the country, helmed several films, and directed over thirty plays. His love of the theatre, and his passion for the craft of acting and directing, has led him to reach hundreds of Florida teenagers to help make the stage their home. A Pasco County educator for the past fifteen years, he has just started a new theatre program at the Cypress Creek Middle School Conservatory of the Arts in Wesley Chapel. A graduate of the University of Alabama and the Scuola Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy, Peter is an award-winning playwright and has been one of the reviewers for Broadwayworld.com since 2014. Peter resides in Wesley Chapel, Florida with his beloved Boston Terrier, Ike.

Deborah Bostock-Kelley – Playwright 11:11

Deborah Bostock-Kelley is a multi-time playwright whose plays have been seen across stages in Tampa. She received the inaugural 2019 Tampa Bay Theatre Festival Denise Deneen award for her work in theatre and a 2017 recipient of Theatre Tampa Bay’s Jeff Norton Dream Grant. With the grant, she produced her original gun violence production with Peter Nason, A Necessary Conversation at the Straz Center which went on to win Regional Broadway World’s 2018 “Best Actor” and “Best Actress” Awards and is nominated for Regional Broadway World’s “Best Original Script of the Decade.” The new, expanded production, written after the Stoneman Douglas school shooting, is debuting at the festival.

CAST (IN ORDER OF SHOW APPEARANCE)

47 Reasons to Live

James Caldwell – Christopher Reinhardt

Chris is a junior at Blake High school and has been acting since he was seven. His parents have taken him to live theatre ever since he was little and ever since his first production, he always wanted to pursue a career in the performing arts. Chris’ past shows include a soloist in “Side by Side by Sondheim,” a soloist in “And the World Goes Round,” and as Jack in his schools production if “Into the Woods.” Chris is incredibly grateful for this opportunity and thanks his friends and family for always being encouraging and supportive.

Mr Z – Constantine Kyriakou

For eight years now, Constantine Kyriakou has pursued acting. His last role was in BREAST ADVICE and prior he had his first lead Musical role in THE PRODUCERS at CAROLLWOOD PLAYERS. He wants to take a moment to thank you, yes you reading this, because you help keep his and many others dreams of art alive.

Mr Akins – Thomas Pahl

Thomas is extremely excited to be a part of this amazing production! Recently, Thomas has recently appeared at CWP as Cannon Pennefather in “Murder on the Nile”, Sgt. Cokes in “Streamers”, Melvin P. Thorpe in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, Hogan in “Moon for the Misbegotten”, Jack in “Arnie and the Itch” Dave Bukatinski in “The Full Monty”, and Buttram in “A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody”. He also appeared as Dr. Watson in “A Sherlock Holmes Trilogy” and Annas in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ with the New Tampa Players, and many other performances at CWP, NTP, Carrollwood Cultural Center, Salerno, and Masque Theater companies over the years. Thanks to my family and friends and a fantastic cast, and to Deb Kelley for the opportunity to perform in this powerful production.

Ashley Holland – Layla Kuck

Layla is a sophomore at Alonso High School and a student at the Patel Conservatory. Acting since age 6, some of her recent credits include Ben and Lisa in Disaster and Side-By-Side by Sondheim. She would like to thank her teachers friends and family for their support.

Mr Breinard – Trevor Rockwell Salmon

Trevor is an actor born & raised in the Tampa area. Before he took up acting, Trevor was an accomplished singer throughout high school and beyond, before he took up stage combat, stunt work & acting. He has been an active performer in the area since 2017 as the lead ghoul & fight captain for Hat Trick Theatre’s production of Night of the Living Dead. He’s since gone on to perform in productions for MAS Community Theatre, Carrollwood Players & the Saint Petersburg Shakespeare Festival. In addition to acting, he has provided eye-catching fight choreography for productions across the Tampa Bay area.

Mother – Samantha Marti Parisi

Samantha is thrilled to be working with Powerstories Theatre again especially on such an important and timely production. Since her return to acting in 2010, Samantha has appeared on stages and screens across the Bay Area. Her TV and film credits include: The Florida Project (Cannes Film Festival), Misfits and Monsters, Condo Cops, Magic Mike, We’ll Let You Know, commercials and numerous appearances on HSN as a crafting expert. In addition to numerous appearances at Early Bird Dinner Theatre, her recent regional stage credits include: Chris in the Powerstories production of Calendar Girls, Maggie in 5300 Bluebird Lane and Jane Burchfield in Plaid Skirts with LabTheatre Project. When she’s not acting, Samantha is on the staff of Saint Leo University, a Tour Guide at the historic Tampa Theater and a Digital and Social Media manager.

11:11

Rose – Amy C. Ragg

Amy C. Ragg has been at home on Tampa Bay Area stages since she was in elementary school, a long, LONG time ago. An educator for more than twenty years, she remembers the days before active shooter drills and making sure she could fit an entire class into a closet. Those drills still make her cry every time. She knows that A Necessary Conversation is exactly that and hopes that it inspires the dialogue that we need to help change our world for the better. She thanks Deb for entrusting her with telling Rose’s story, and considers this role one of the great honors of her life.

Wendy – Kym Welch

Kym Welch has been performing in Tampa community theatre since 2012. She has had loads of fun in varied roles at Powerstories, Carrollwood Players, New Tampa Players, and WestCoast Players. from the blood-hungry plant in Little Shop to a tough mother in Doubt. Whatever it is, she just enjoys being onstage and entertaining an audience.

Aubrey – Naomi Sample

Naomi Sample has been doing theatre since 1987 when she changed her major from Computer
Science to Theatre. She graduated 1990 from University of South Alabama with a BFA IN
Theatre, and moved to California. She performed with traveling and community theatre, and as
a movie extras. She recently moved to the Tampa Bay area from the San Francisco Bay area 3
years ago this July. She has been in BREAST ADVICE at Powerstories Theatre, THE RABBIT HOLE at West Coast Players, LOVE LOSS AND WHAT I WORE at Carrollwood Players, and ANYTHING GOES at Eight O’Clock theatre. She enjoys performing and when she is not doing her MAJOR role as Mommy
Dearest, she can be found reading, gardening and planning the next adventure.

Therapist – Suzy Bloc Duic

Suzy is proud and honored to be a part of another of Deb Kelly’s award winning shows after Shevolution at Powerstories and “Once Upon Uhhh…” as part of the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival. Other favorite recent productions include: Out of the Mouths of Poets (Deidre) at Lab Theatre Project; Run for your Wife (Mary Smith) at Early Bird Dinner Theatre; Auntie Mame (Vera Charles), Bus Stop (Grace), Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Germaine), The Crucible (Ann Putnam) and Love Loss and What I Wore (multiple characters) at Carrollwood Players Theatre. Suzy has been a long time lover of theatre having performed on & off screen in commercials as a child as well as on stage as part of the children’s chorus at the New York City Opera. Suzy thanks Peter, Tyler and all her family and friends for their continued love and support. And a big thank you to the audience for supporting live theatre!

Erika – Maggie Gamson

Maggie Gamson is a junior at Brooks Debartolo Collegiate High School. She enjoys acting and has been in many theatre productions throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Maggie is an avid volunteer with the Penguin Project with New Tampa Players, a project dedicated to creating theater productions with support actors with disabilities. During her spare time, she enjoys writing, playing guitar, photography, and hanging out with her friends. Maggie traveled to Washington D.C to participate in the March for our Lives and she continues to advocate for common-sense gun legislation.

Zachary Reinhardt – Set Designer

Zachary Reinhardt is currently a junior at Blake high school in the technical theater and choir programs. He started preforming in theater in first grade and continued with stage productions through middle school, which is where he found his love for technical theater. Zachary enjoys the creative aspects of set design, construction along with the production and stage management side. He would like to thank his mentors over the years as well as his friends and family. Zachary is especially grateful to be apart of this production and appreciates the opportunity provided to him.

Alexandria Nation – Set Designer

Alexandria Nation is a junior attending Howard W. Blake School of the Arts, studying under its Technical Theatre magnet program. She has been active in the world of theatre since 2012 when she first began on stage at FAOPA, then from 2015-2018 she attended Progress Village Middle Magnet School of the Arts where she spent three performing as well as working behind the curtain. When she started high school she transitioned to focusing solely on all aspects of technical theatre. Alexandria is excited and honored to be given the opportunity by Powerstories Theatre to be the co-set designer with her good friend Zachary Reinhardt, for a show with her other good friend Chris Reinhardt in the cast!

Deborah Bostock-Kelley – Director

Deborah Bostock-Kelley is completely blessed to have such an incredible cast and crew of A Necessary Conversation. She is a multi-time playwright, director, producer, actor – pretty much in that order. Her work has appeared across stages in Tampa Bay, competing in every year of the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival and was recently honored with the inaugural Tampa Bay Theatre Festival Denise Deneen Award recognizing her work in the theatre community. Her one-acts have also been performed at Carrollwood Players One Act Weekend, 4×6 Festival, and Tarpon Arts. She has owned the independent advertising agency, The WriteOne Creative Services for 16 years. She is a reporter for several local magazines and a theatre reviewer for Broadway World. She also produces Life Amplified music showcase for local charities and has been recognized as both Fox 13’s Hometown Hero and Bay News 9 Everyday Hero for work in the community.

 

FESTIVAL TALKBACK EXPERT PANELISTS

Natasha A. Pierre

Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness  (NAMI) Hillsborough County

Natasha A. Pierre is an award-winning speaker, author, certified professional life coach and a mental health advocate with over 20 years of lived experience. Her relatable speaking style allows her to connect with global audiences to share the importance of self-awareness, self-advocacy, community building and effective legislation. 

Natasha was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2 and devotes much of her time to mental health education and advocacy. She is currently the Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness  (NAMI) Hillsborough County affiliate, in Tampa, Florida, and frequently shares her lived experience in the community, in law enforcement Crisis Intervention Training sessions, and as a subject matter expert for local news networks. She is a faculty member of the Institute for Leadership and Lifelong Learning  (iLLLi.org). 

Natasha has a B.A. in Mass Communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, a Social Security  Administration Work Incentives Practitioner credential from Cornell University, and a Post Crisis Leadership  Certificate from the University of South Florida. She is the author of Provoking Thoughts Volume 1: 101  Inspirational Quotes for Daily Life.

Brianna Jerman

Lead, Moms Demand Action, Tampa chapter

Brianna Jerman is an adjunct professor of English at the University of Tampa and the current lead of the Moms Demand Action, Tampa chapter. She is invested in building a safe community through political activism, volunteer work, and classroom pedagogy. Brianna earned a PhD in English Literature from the University of South Florida, and her studies focus on narrative medicine and using literature and art–including theater–to evoke and teach empathy. With her husband, she is currently raising three young activist daughters.

Dr. Edelyn Verona

Former lead Moms Demand Action,Tampa chapter

Dr. Edelyn Verona is a licensed clinical psychologist and USF professor, whose professional and academic work focuses on understanding violence and working with individuals involved in multiple systems (i.e., criminal justice system, mental health). Given her interest in working toward safer communities, she was formerly the volunteer Tampa Group Lead of Moms Demand Action for Gunsense in America, the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country.  She is currently co-director of the USF Center for Justice Research & Policy, with the goal of applying rigorous research and evaluations to promote evidence-based practices for crime and violence prevention and equitable practices in the criminal justice system.

Christopher Zoeller

State Organizing Director at March For Our Lives

Christopher Zoeller (he/him) is currently a student at the University of Central Florida, where he studies Political Science and Public Administration. He also works with the Gun Violence Prevention organization, March For Our Lives as their State Organizing Director in FL, advocating for change in his community. In addition, he has lobbied for legislation in Tallahassee and on Capitol Hill on an array of different issues affecting his generation. In his free time, he loves to travel and explore new places in his city of Orlando.