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Historic Asolo Theater to Host 4000 Miles Opening Friday


SARASOTA – Located in the Ringling Museum Visitors Pavilion, the Historic Asolo Theater is the only 18th century European theater in the United States. The beautiful and ornate Italian jewel-box theater plays host to only one Asolo Rep and one FSU/Asolo Conservatory production each season. Beginning this week, local theater fans will have the chance to see the 2013 Pulitzer Prize finalist 4000 Miles in this truly unique setting.

Photo by Slaven Vlasic

The Historic Asolo Theater was originally located in Asolo, a town in Northern Italy, just outside of Venice. It was built in 1798 by Italian impresario Antonio Locatelli. It was part of the castle of Caterina Cornaro, who was the former Queen of Cyprus. The horse-shoe shaped theater contains four tiers of boxes and was a celebrated stage, home of the great 19th century Italian actress Eleonora Duse.

In 1930, it was dismantled and put into storage, but when the Ringling Museum of Art's director became aware of its existence, he viewed it as a must-have acquisition. The State of Florida agreed to purchase it and piece by piece it was crated and shipped to Sarasota, where it was originally set up in a gallery of the museum.

In the late '50s, it was reconstructed, so that once more performances could be staged within its beautiful confines. When the Asolo Theatre opened in 1958, it was in this theater that it staged its productions. The theater was later relocated to its current location, where it became known as the Historic Asolo Theatre.

4000 Miles, which Time Magazine called "The best play of 2012, hands down," opens Friday with previews on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. 4000 Miles is a story of an elderly woman (Lois Markle) and her grandson (Benjamin Williamson), who overcome both physical distance and tremendous philosophical disparity to build a deep bond of family and friendship. It will be directed by Tea Alagić, who also directed Asolo's production of Venus in Furs last season to rave reviews.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit the Asolo website.

Benjamin Williamson and Lois Markle in Asolo Rep's production of "4000 Miles." Photo by Slaven Vlasic.


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