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Monday, February 12th, 2018

Doggin' Around - EC Theatre Company's "Sylvia" Opens This Week

Nick Trollan and Hope Golds in EC Theatre Company's SYLVIA.

Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) continues its fifth anniversary season with the delightful romantic comedy Sylvia, staged at 560 Grand Boulevard (upstairs) in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin Feb. 15-March 4. 

A modern romantic comedy about a marriage and a dog, A.R. Gurney’s play centers on the world of a middle-aged New York couple turned topsy-turvy when the husband brings home an exceptionally engaging canine running loose in Central Park. 

The show opens Thursday, Feb. 15. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees Feb. 18, 25 and March 4. The play runs 120 minutes and is appropriate for ages 13 and up due to mature situations.

Ticket are $28 for adults, $24 for seniors, and $20 for students. Purchase tickets online at or call 850-684-0323.

Off-Broadway Manhattan Theatre Club producer Lynne Meadow and actress Sarah Jessica Parker understood this play was a little more than “love me, love my dog.” They launched it with great results in May 1995. Twenty years later, Mathew Broderick (Ms. Parker's husband) starred as Greg in the Broadway revival.

Gurney was an author, professor and award-winning American playwright. His well-crafted plays (Love Letters, The Cocktail Hour, The Dining Room) are about the quiet rebellions of people trapped in an increasingly obsolete class of American society – the awkward confrontations, ironic disappointments, and small humorous victories of the more self-aware members of a once dominant tribe.

Of Sylvia, the playwright said, “It's a timely message of the need to connect in an increasingly alien and impersonal world. There is a need to connect, not only to a dog, but to other people through the dog.” 

Nathanael Fisher directs an ensemble cast that includes Hope Golds (Sylvia), Nick Trolin (Greg), Daphne Lewis (Kate) and Doug Gilliland (Tom/Phyllis/Leslie).

Ms. Golds, who holds a BFA in acting from the University of Florida, returns to ECTC’s stage having appeared in the musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, which opened ECTC’s fifth anniversary season. 

Mr. Trolin, who has appeared on stage locally with Stage Crafters Community Theatre, The Stage in Crestview and in four productions at with the Northwest Florida State College Fine & Performing Arts program, first appeared with ECTC as a member of the Christmas Caroling troupe. This is his main stage debut with ECTC.

Also appearing with ECTC for the first time is Ms. Lewis, who counts among her stage and film roles Gloria in Boeing Boeing, Sonia in Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike and Sarah in Christopher Durang’s The Actor's Nightmare.

Since he moved to the Gulf Coast, Mr. Gilliland - who hails from Birmingham, Alabama - has worked with the Georgia Shakespeare Festival and directed The State of Tennessee, an evening of one acts by Tennessee Williams at The Harold Clurman Theater in New York. He first appeared with ECTC in Almost Maine in 2016.

Set design is by Rebecca Lake. Lighting design is by Cory Tucker. Costumes are designed by Anna Fisher. Bridgett Bryant serves as stage manager. 

"We all love our dogs just as if they are part of the family. Sylvia takes us into the delightful mind of a rescued pup whose thoughts will make us laugh out loud and wag our tails," Mr. Fisher says.  

Theater patrons are encouraged to come early (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) to browse artwork by local artists showcased in the ECTC Lobby Gallery curated by Lori Drew, founder of Lowkylzart. A portion of proceeds from each sale benefits ECTC and its education outreach and scholarship programs.