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Our Own Bruce Collier Makes His EC Theatre Company Debut

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Bruce Collier and Teance Blackburn in Emerald Coast Theatre Company’s BAKERSFIELD MIST. Collier is a longtime contributor to this publication.

Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC), the nonprofit professional theater company based in Miramar Beach, presents Bakersfield Mist as the final main stage performance of the company’s 2016‑17 season.

 

The production opens with a preview Thursday, Jan. 26, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 19. Evening performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Matinees shows are at 2 on Sundays. All 16 performances will be staged at the new ECTC performance space at Grand Boulevard in Sandestin.

 

Inspired by true events, Bakersfield Mist is a hilarious comedy‑drama by award‑winning playwright Stephen Sachs that follows unemployed bartender Maude Gutman and art expert Lionel Percy as they begin to question the true definition of art and the authenticity of people.

 

Maude has purchased a painting for a few bucks from a thrift store. Despite almost trashing it, she’s now convinced it’s a long lost masterpiece by Jackson Pollock worth millions. But when world‑renowned art expert Percy flies over from New York and arrives at her trailer home in Bakersfield, California to authenticate the painting, he has no idea what he is about to discover.

 

The play—which garnered the Boston Theatre Critics Association’s Elliot Norton Award for Best New Play in 2012—is directed ECTC’s producing artistic director Nathanael Fisher who has been involved in professional theater for more than 20 years.

 

“This play is the perfect comedy for our community, which is home to so many talented visual artists and art fans who love and follow their work,” says Fisher. “I think audiences will appreciate how this play challenges the basis of one’s perspective and shows how the brush strokes of trials and tribulations create the canvas of one’s life.”

 

The two‑member cast consists of Teance Blackburn and Beachcomber Contributing Editor Bruce Collier.

 

Collier makes his Emerald Coast Theatre Company debut as Lionel Percy. A native of Ohio, Collier has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater from Wright State University and a Juris Doctor degree from Tulane Law School in New Orleans.

 

In addition to college and non‑professional productions, Collier has performed professionally in summer stock in Ohio, at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and at New Horizons Theatre in Michigan. He has appeared in numerous productions at the Seaside Repertory Theatre, including The Fantasticks, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, True West, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Proof, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and A Beach Home Companion, which he co‑wrote.

 

He has portrayed both Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as Winston Churchill in Nancy Hasty’s We Were Soldiers Too. Collier is currently writing a one‑man show about Churchill.

 

Blackburn has been performing locally for more than 15 years. Some of her favorite roles include Louise in Always, Patsy Cline and Boochie in Den of Thieves (also with Collier). She is a comedian at heart and performs with ECTC’s house improv troupe. Blackburn is also a regular contributor to TMZ Live.

 

Bakersfield Mist performances run approximately 80 minutes with no intermission. The show contains some profanity and is not recommended for children under 13. Doors open 30 minutes prior to performance time.

 

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $15 for students. To purchase tickets or make a tax‑deductible donation, visit emeraldcoasttheatre.org or call 850‑684‑0323.

‑ Zandra Wolfgram
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