The REP's 2018 season opens Jan. 9

Special to The Sun

Renowned throughout Northwest Florida for its year-round Live@TheREP Concert Series, professional children and family theatrical productions, the critically praised Fall Play Series and annual holiday show "Every Christmas Story Ever Told," The REP Theatre in Seaside will raise the curtain in 2018 by diving deep into a multi-disciplinary performance schedule in conjunction with Escape to Create.

In partnership with Seaside’s nationally acclaimed arts residency, Escape to Create, The REP’s 2018 season opens at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9 with a one-night only performance by four musicians already redefining their genres as emerging artists.

Miami virtuoso pianist Jacob Mason, UK violinist Andrew Samarasekara, and Venezuelan-American cellist Sebastian Ortega represent the next generation of international classical music artists. They have each achieved international recognition while current students at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music. Their performance of classical and jazz repertoire as The Escape Trio showcases astounding individual virtuosity and eloquent interpretation. Fresh from his European summer tour and following select appearances on the West Coast, Kansas City’s ascending star, the Neo-folk harpist and singer-songwriter Calvin Arsenia defies categorization and is credited with “turning the arts world on its head.” ( At 6-foot 5, the multi-instrumentalist is a commanding presence on stage and his alluring 5-octave range voice leaves audiences transfixed.

International sculptor John K. Melvin up-cycles discarded plastics to create arresting ecological sculptures exhibited across the world. A 2016 artist resident of the World Monuments Fund (Plastic Pollution), Siem Reap Cambodia, Melvin will co-host a screening of the awarded adventure documentary film "A Plastic Ocean" at 4 p.m. Jan. 27. Filmed in 20 locations across the globe, the adventure follows a filmmaker and a world record-holding free diver during their four-year search for the elusive blue whale and their discovery of what lurks just below the surface. The film explores the personal, scientific and technological solutions that if adopted today, can restore our oceans for the better.

Brooklyn-based playwright/performer Caitlin Saylor Stephens turns her fearless, unerring eye on the dark and most vulnerable aspects of human nature in a new Americana drama "Joley," the compelling new work awarded the 2018 Goody Playwright Fellowship by Escape to Create and The REP Theatre. Obsession, desire perpetuated conflict, and the irretrievable act of survival that suspends time and alters character are hallmarks of Stephens powerful drama. Set in Appalachia, the play centers on a Tennessee mountain woman who, inspired by the life changing, televised self-help gospel of Oprah Winfrey, commits murder. And bakes a cake. In "Joley," after a long separation, two mountain lovers reunite one evening in a seedy bar. When Oprah-obsessed Joley reveals her battle wounds from a particularly violent episode of domestic abuse, the two are challenged with the task of confronting their wrongs, unearthing their truths, finding forgiveness, and burying a body. The talented company of The REP will perform a dramatic script in hand reading on Jan. 28. Meet the playwright during the talk-back session and reception which will follow the performance.

For tickets or more information, go to

The Escape 2 Create performance schedule:

• Jan. 9: Calvin Arsenia and the E2C Trio at 7:30 p.m. $25

• Jan. 21: E1C Trio. TBD

• Jan. 27: John Melvin, TBD

• Jan. 28: Goody Playwright Fellowship with Caitlin Saylor Stephens staged reading of "Joley"