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Emerald Coast Theatre Co. opens show by DeFuniak Springs playwright

One-woman show 'Florida Girls' starts three-weekend run

Tony Simmons
The News Herald
"Florida Girls" stars Marci J. Duncan, portraying more than a dozen different characters.

MIRAMAR BEACH — Lighten up your new year with with a laugh-filled visit with "Florida Girls," a one-woman show by a Panhandle playwright.

Emerald Coast Theatre Co. in Miramar Beach will premiere the play by DeFuniak Springs writer Nancy Hasty on Friday, Jan. 15, for a three-weekend run. Directed by Vincent Pelligrino and starring Marci J. Duncan, the play has been heralded by The Village Voice as a “one-woman tour de force.”

Emerald Coast native Nancy Hasty is a playwright, actress and director. "Florida Girls" is based on her experience growing up in Crestview.

Set in Crestview, circa 1965, "Florida Girls" centers on the consequences in a middle-class family when two sisters compete in a high-school beauty pageant. Originally published in 2014, the play is Hasty's account of growing up in Crestview. It was developed at various theaters in New York City before being produced off-Broadway and touring extensively across the country.

“I am absolutely thrilled to bring 'Florida Girls' home to Emerald Coast Theatre Co.'s stage,” Hasty said.

A part of ECTC's Professional Theatre Mainstage series, "Florida Girls" will be staged in the performance space on the second floor of 560 Grand Blvd. in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, in Miramar Beach. Tickets are $32 per person for adults, $30 for seniors/military, and $28 for students — available online at EmeraldCoastTheatre.org.

Showtimes will be at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 15-16, 21-23, and 28-30; with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. on Jan. 24 and 31.

More:Emerald Coast Theatre Co. opens StoryTeller Series

Hasty’s work has been seen in numerous New York City theaters, as well as regionally and internationally, according to a news release from ECTC. The former artistic director at the American Renaissance Theater in New York, Hasty was awarded First Place for the Jerry Kaufman Playwriting Award; Artist of the Year by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; and finalist at the Eugene O’Neill Playwriting Festival. She also was recognized for her theater work with adjudicated youth and prison inmates.

Locally, Hasty has directed plays at The Arc of Walton County and various venues with the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. She currently resides in DeFuniak Springs with her husband, Ray.

Duncan will portray more than a dozen different characters in this return to ECTC’s stage. She first collaborated with ECTC in 2019 while directing "Wind in the Willows" as part of the Theatre for Young Audiences program. She's a resident ensemble member at Orlando’s Art Sake Acting Studio, teaches acting classes at the University of West Florida and with Artists at Play Workshops, and coordinates screening auditions for Florida Theatre Conference.

Duncan's theater credits include "Romeo and Juliet," "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," "Two Trains Running," "Seven Guitars," "Crowns," "Pretty Fire," and many others. Her film work includes "(Just) Another Day," co-starring with Jamie Hectar from HBO’s "The Wire," as well as "Life is not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story," working alongside Debbie Allen and Fantasia Barrino.

Director Vincent Pelligrino and actor Marci J. Duncan (on laptop screen) rehearse virtually for "Florida Girls," opening Jan. 15 at Emerald Coast Theatre Co. in Miramar Beach.

Pelligrino is a guest director at ECTC, having last year directed "Pinkalicious the Musical" at ECTC. Originally from Michigan, he is a performer, director, musician and theater professor with an MFA in Acting from West Virginia University. Regional performance credits include Greenbrier Valley Theatre, Meadowbrook Theatre, RWS Entertainment, and Carnival Cruise Line. 

Lighting and set design is by Rebeca Lake with assistance from Nathan Saczynski (lighting) and Walker Rivard (scenic design). Costume and prop design is by Anna Fisher. Stage and production management is by Phillip Padget with assistance from Madison McCall.

ECTC is implementing a Safety Protocol Plan to ensure patrons can enjoy all offerings in a safe environment, according to the news release. Patrons can find the detailed plan on ECTC’s website.

To make a tax-deductible donation, volunteer or learn more about Emerald Coast Theatre Co., find them on Facebook, call 850-684-0323 or visit EmeraldCoastTheatre.org.

Emerald Coast Theatre Co. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2012 by Nathanael Fisher and his wife, Anna Fisher. ECTC operates year-round with a two-fold mission to provide both educational and professional offerings to the Northwest Florida community.

Its educational outreach includes after-school and home-school programs, touring and staged productions, summer camps, workshops and classes. The professional theater efforts are focused on thought-provoking productions, festivals and collaborations as well as acting and improv workshops and classes for adults.