Sara Morsey and Nell Page share the Hippodrome Mainstage again in “Ripcord”
By Jessica Fondo
Some people might think Abby is the mean one.
“She’s not mean at all!” Sara Morsey said of her character.
Really, Abby is just misunderstood. She has a wry and dry sense of humor.
“People take her quite seriously,” Morsey insisted, “more seriously than she takes herself.”
Abby does not try to cause problems for anyone, and she does not want anyone causing problems for her. She is self-contained and self-sufficient. She is not inherently unfriendly or mean but is old enough to know what she wants, and what she wants more than anything is to be alone.
“Marilyn is quite the social butterfly, and she is very, very nice,” Nell Page said of her character.
She is friendly, talkative and Abby’s worst nightmare. There is no worse person Abby could be forced to share a room with than Marilyn, but there is no better pairing on the Hippodrome Mainstage than Sara Morsey and Nell Page.
Morsey and Page will take the Mainstage together once again in “Ripcord,” opening March 2. The two recognizable actors have been company members since the Hippodrome organized a company, but their careers began long before that.
When Nell Page was 18 years old, she was enamored with live theatre. She majored in theatre at the University of Florida and was cast in the lead role in the first play she auditioned for at the Hippodrome. That was in 1974.
Now, 44 years later, the Hippodrome is still flourishing, and Page continues returning to the theatre where she feels comfortable.
“It’s great to be back at the Hippodrome,” Page said. “When I am on stage, I feel most at home.”
Through the decades she has spent on the Mainstage, Page said she has seen an unparalleled quality of work within Hippodrome community.
“The Hippodrome does have something special,” Page said. “I’m not sure how to define what that is 一 you could ask patrons who have been here for the past 40-plus years, and they would probably all give you a different answer.”
One of the factors that differentiates the Hippodrome is the close relationships between company members, she said.
“I love working with this particular group of actors,” Page said. “There’s a lot of trust between us.”
Working with actors she knows so well allows Page to be vulnerable, which is both encouraging and freeing, she said. She and Sara Morsey have been collaborating on stage since Morsey began acting at the Hippodrome in 1993.
“We work well together, and because of our history, we know each other,” Page said. “There’s just that unspoken language that you share between each other.”
Morsey said the reason she is most excited to be in “Ripcord” is to once again share the stage with Page and the other actors in the show, all of whom she has worked with before.
Though she has 25 years of experience acting at the Hippodrome, Morsey said each play is different and offers a new opportunity to grow as an actor.
“You never know when you might learn something,” Morsey said. “You never know when you might up your game, so every single time you get a chance to be in the process with other actors, in the process of rehearsing a play, you never know what it’s going to do to up your game for the next one.”
Like any other profession, acting is a continual process, she said.
“You could have 25 years of experience, and it’s the same experience every day,” Morsey said. “Or you could have 25 years of experience, and it’s huge because you’ve let it blossom.”
She has acted in other David Lindsay-Abaire plays at the Hippodrome before, she said. The playwright has an ability to pack a lot of material into a a few words.
“He’s very funny right in the same breath as being very serious sometimes,” she said.
“Ripcord” crosses demographics and has something for everyone to enjoy, Morsey said. She hopes the Gainesville community takes advantage of this Florida premiere, which promises to be a unique experience.
“The theatre is here and accessible and open to everybody,” Morsey said. “And if you come in and see a live show, it’s going to be an experience that happens once in a lifetime because when it’s live, it happens once.”
Audiences can take from “Ripcord” a good laugh and an unrepeatable night, she said.
“There’s nothing like live theatre,” Morsey said. “Life is happening every night.”
For tickets, call 352.375.4477 or click here.
The esteemed Gainesville string band, Pine, will be playing in the Hipp Cinema on Sunday, April 29. Doors at 5:30, music starts at 6:30 p.m.
Pine will play two intimate sets of live music, with an intermission for time for refreshments at the bar.
A little about Pine: Liberty Phoenix and Dan Stepp came together to create a folky sound with intimate harmonies that are supported with a beautifully talented string band. They have been lucky enough to add on Brian Turk on Stand Up Bass, Andrew Cook on Violin and Mark Archer on Dobro.
Purchase tickets online at https://
or call the Hipp Box Office 352.375.4477
Check out Pine’s music here:
Belt out your favorite tunes starting at 7:30 p.m. on April 13 at Karaoke Night at the Hippodrome as part of 352Creates’ monthly “Create in Place” initiative.
352Creates believes that creativity connects our community and makes us healthier and stronger. Anyone, using even the simplest of materials, can create something amazing. Artists can get some relief by letting out their expression and students getting away from campus for the evening can come together to absorb some of the vibrant downtown culture and share a microphone!
The Hipp hosts karaoke night to act on the theatre’s commitment to providing community events that bring people together. Events like this encourage people to discover the magical destination of downtown Gainesville and explore their creativity.
Anyone can step into the limelight and sing the hits from their high-school days, their childhood favorites or chart-topping classics! Whatever it is, this night is sure to be fun and fabulous.
When the Hipp puts on events like this, the Hipp becomes a place where a diverse group of people can come together and feel a sense of community while having a good time. The event is free and open to the public, and the basement bar will be open for those who need a little liquid courage before their performances.
A hot night of salsa dancing in the Hipp Lower Level begins with a salsa dancing class taught by Bailecaliente GAINESVILLE at 8:45 p.m. for just $5 at the door.
At 9:45 p.m., DJ Elio Piedra brings the party when floor opens up for a night of spicy salsa dancing FREE and open to the public!
Food will be Latin Faire by Abuella’s (the same folks who run Flaco’s!), and will include vegan & meat empanadas as well as cuban sandwiches.
Elio is a DJ with live beats so people can move with the rhythm of his live percussion. Heat up the hippodrome with your salsa skills!
Elio began his percussion career in Cuba, studying at the National Conservatory of Music and performing in the most important regional musical festivals. He made his U.S. debut performing in Miami and moved to Gainesville shortly after. Now, Elio is a local piano and drums instructor as well as a performing musician.
To get $2 off your first drink at the bar, mark yourself as “going” and check-in on Facebook that night!
Sherrie Pettigrew will be featured at the Hippodrome Art Gallery for March’s Artwalk Gainesville! Come by the Hipp during your jaunt around downtown. Sip some wine and see her collection Friday, March 30 from 7 – 10 p.m.
Pettigrew is a Florida artist who composes her drawings based on the people and objects around her in everyday life. Graphite powder and pencil are her primary materials, and she sometimes incorporates paint, pastel chalk and found objects.
“These images come to me in the shower, theater, market, and street complete with smells, sounds, and visions seldom shared until they are actualized,” Pettigrew said.
Pettigrew admires artists Chuck Close, Joan Miro and Cy Twombly, and they inspire her artistic style. She describes her collection as an evolution from hyperrealism to psychological surrealism.
“I come from honesty in my approach, making work that isn’t always pretty,” Pettigrew said. “These pieces are about emotion, often without cognitive consideration: recording reality with a twist and my own hypersensitive view.”
The Hippodrome Theatre is proud to announce the musical of the season: “The Bikinis: A New Musical Beach Party”!
Ready for the summer? So are we! The summer musical opens June 1, with previews May 30 and 31, and it couldn’t come quick enough!
Reveling in rock’n’roll smash hits from the 60s and 70s, the knock-out group “The Bikinis” keeps the beat going with a night of nostalgia you won’t find anywhere else. This group is the original Jersey Girls saturated in Jersey Shore, just like the bikinis they used to wear.
BIKINIS tells the story of the hay-day years of four women when they get back together for a reunion show to save the trailer park on the shore they grew up in, oh-so-many years ago.
Featuring the hits: “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” “Heat Wave,” “Under The Boardwalk,” “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “I Will Survive,” this swirl of musical memories will have you foot-tapping to the tunes you didn’t know you missed so bad! THE BIKINIS, created by Ray Roderick and James Hindman, is directed by Lauren Warhol Caldwell.
No need to put another dime in the jukebox, baby, just take a jaunt on down to the Hipp for a whirl of the Jersey Shore that is sure to have you humming the whole way home.
It takes months of planning and dozens of theatre professionals to produce a play on the Hippodrome mainstage. The Hippodrome Play Observership offers the opportunity for the public to go behind-the-scenes at a professional regional theatre. Alongside the director, designers, actors and staff, participants are immersed in the theatrical creative process and experience as the production team takes a play from page to stage.
In this engaging Play Observership, you will be led through the creative process of a challenging and deeply personal new play by Lucas Hnath, The Christians. Come explore with us as we bring this beautiful exploration of a church struggling with its faith to life on the stage!
Participants in the Observership will witness designer presentations, the cast table read of the script, additional rehearsals, a backstage Hippodrome tour, and the chance to experience a press run of the show. The Observership culminates with a preview performance and post-show discussion with the cast and creative team. Cost for 5 classes includes 1 ticket to the preview performance.
5 MEETING DATES AND TIMES:
Friday, March 23 (3-5PM) – Crash course and behind-the-scenes at the Hipp
Friday, March 30 (12:45-3PM) – Meet the cast and Director, attend the first read-through, see design presentations
Friday, April 3 (3-5PM) – Get a behind-the-scenes look as the set and costumes come together in a rehearsal with the actors
Thursday, April 12 (3-5PM) – Full run through of the play on the Mainstage
Wednesday, April 18 (7-10PM) – Preview performance and discussion
To sign up: Call the Hippodrome Box Office at 352-375-4477 or go online to www.thehipp.org.
Register by March 9th and save $10 with our Early Bird Special.