Who We Are
Founded in 2014, Gotta Van Productions, Inc. (DBA SaraSolo Productions, Inc.)
is an independent, nonprofit theater company dedicated to the
development and presentation of solo performances and new small-cast plays
that illuminate the human condition especially of those who are “other than."
We believe in affordable theater, that supports diversity, collaboration, and the transformative power of intimate theater for both artists and audiences. We are open to the possibilities of theater in both traditional and non-traditional spaces and frameworks such as Festivals, Fringe Theater, Film and the Internet.
Ann Morrison, Artistic Director & Blake Walton, Managing Director
SaraSolo Productions, Inc.
Board of Directors
Jan Docking, President
Edward Scully, Secretary
Patty Snyder-Atkins, Treasurer
Rod Rawlings, Chairman
David A. Coyle, Co-Founder, President Emeritus
Natalie Grundum, Board of Directors Emeritus
Carole Kleinberg, Board of Directors Emeritus
Alan Brasington, Board of Directors Emeritus
Gotta Van Productions, Inc.
dba SaraSolo Productions, Inc.
P.O. Box 3102, Sarasota FL 34230
Board of Directors, President Jan Docking
Gotta Van Productions, Inc. is a registered 501(C)(3) non-profit corporation. A copy of the official registration and financial
information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free within the state (1-800-HELP-FLA)
or from the website: www.freshfromflorida.com. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the
state. One hundred percent (100%) of each contribution is received by Gotta Van Productions, Inc. Registration #CH-41957
More about our company
Ann Morrison, Co-Founder and Artistic Director
Ann is an award-winning actress, writer, teacher and director for over 40 years. As an actress she starred on Broadway in Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along directed by Harold Prince (1982 Theatre World Award), and in LoveMusik (2007); London's West End in Peg; Off-Broadway in the musical Goblin Market (Drama Desk Award Nom.) and was an original cast member of Forbidden Broadway. Nationally, she has starred in Sondheim on Sondheim, Into the Woods, Peter Pan, Guys & Dolls, Cabaret, Oliver! Sunset Boulevard, On A Clear Day, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Good News, Embarrassments, Anyone Can Whistle, plus many many more. Locally she starred in Noel & Gertie, Shadowlands, Ruthless! I Do, I Do! with Blake Walton. The quintessential solo artist, Ann has performed cabaret in major venues across the country, most recently at Feinstein's/54 Below in NYC. She won a Best Actress Award for her solo play Linda Lovely Goes to Broadway in the United Solo Festival in NYC, and appeared there again with her solo play Word Painting: Soliloquies Around an Easel. Directing credits include both her solo play Trevor's Fire starring Blake Walton and his solo play Leading Men at the United Solo Festival; large musicals The Secret Garden, Merrily We Roll Along, On A Clear Day, Smoke On the Mountain as well as many plays and revues. Four of Ann's solo plays are published. She is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Kaleidoscope, a musical theatre workshop for persons with developmental disabilities. She is also founder and teacher with the Sarasota Cabaret Collective, helping cabaret artists create and develop new works. She can be heard on original cast recordings and studio recordings such as Merrily We Roll Along, Peg, Goblin Market, Good News, I remember Mama, Lady Be Good, Sing Before Breakfast, and The Road to Ruin. She is the recipient of several HANDY, SAMMY, and SARASOTA MAGAZINE Awards as well as the JOHN RINGLING TOWERS AWARD. Ann plays herself in the 2017 documentary Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened. Ann is a proud member of AEA, SAG/AFTRA and the United Solo Academy.
Professional website: http://www.annmorrison.net/
Blake Walton, Co-Founder and Managing Director
An award-winning actor, director, playwright, and teacher, Blake studied early in his career with Sanford Meisner and William Esper at the Neighborhood Playhouse School in NYC. In New York he played Mark in the original, now historic, production of Doric Wilson’s The West Street Gang and a dozen other original productions Off Off Broadway. His first play Eb & Flo (co-written with Amy Whitman) was produced at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia. He traveled throughout FL, GA, AL, SC, and NC with FST’s first “Write-A-Play” Workshop introducing playwriting to nearly 20,000 middle and high school students culminating in the Edward Albee Young Playwrights Festival. He helped develop the original PLAYERS PERFORMING ARTS SCHOOL housed on Main Street in Sarasota and became the Director of Acting and Musical Theater. He created a curriculum for students aged 5-80 years, encouraged other artists to teach and present workshops, and taught acting and playwriting for teens and adults. Together with Deb Lombard he developed a summer musical theater camp for teens at the Players Theater. His workshop “That’s My Story And I’m Sticking To It”, encourages others to write solo plays based on life stories. He wrote and performed his first solo play Leading Men (2013 United Solo Festival Award “Best Premiere”) after performing Ann Morrison’s Trevor’s Fire (2012 United Solo Festival Award “Best Premiere”) in the United Solo Festival in NYC. Directing credits include: 42nd Street, Big River, Singin' In The Rain, Marvin's Room, Jest A Second, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Babes In Arms, his play The Better Man (Chain Fest NY, Awards: "Best Ensemble" "Best Supporting Actress", Noms: "Best Play", "Best Director"); many solo plays including: Ann Morrison in Linda Lovely Goes to Broadway and Word Painting; Heather Massie in Hedy! The Life and Inventions of Hedy Lamarr. Locally as an actor he has appeared at FST in The Sum of Us and Veronica's Position; Theater Works, Sarasota in I Do, I Do! with Ann Morrison (Best Actor /Musical Sarasota Magazine Award, HANDY and SAMMY Nom.) and as Bette Davis in Me and Jezebel ( Best Actor SAMMY Award); at The Golden Apple in Oklahoma!, It's a Wonderful Life: the Musical, Stop The World..., Forum, Funny Money, Don't Dress For Dinner, Anything Goes and in the Golden Apple Tour of Sweet Charity; The Players (as a Guest Artist) Anything Goes, Into the Woods, City of Angels, Rags, Sweeny Todd. Tampa Bay: Dirty Blonde (American Stage), Snakebit (Gorilla Theater), Jeffrey, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Me and Jezebel (Central Stage). He is a proud member of AEA, SAG/AFTRA and United Solo Academy.
John Secor - Marketing Director
Previously, Secor has served as marketing and communications director for Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT), festival producer for the Sarasota Film Festival, festival manager for the Provincetown International Film Festival, chief technical officer for Mpact Magic, an online reputation management company in New York, and as senior vice president of the Americas for 5 Fifteen, Inc., which provides software systems and consultancy services to the publishing industry. John is Executive Producer for the documentary short RETURNING.
Maren Ericsson - Company Manager
Maren is a Sarasota native and during her high school years she was a part of the Booker High Visual Performing Arts program, as well as a member of the Sarasota Youth Opera, which she continued to support as a member of their educational staff when she was in college. She was a dwarf in The Hobbit and a choir boy in Tosca, as well as a number of other productions. Maren has participated in a number of productions of Shakespeare, in which she had the honor of playing Richard III in Henry VI Part 3 and Volumnia in Coriolanus. Last year she was a part of the 2018 Tampa International Fringe Festival as Macbeth in Weyward Sisters which won Best in Fringe as well as Tech’s Choice Award. Maren went to school for English and Theatre at Warren Wilson College where she worked both in the theater office and backstage in multiple forms for a dozen productions over two years, including as Stage Manager for The Importance of Being Earnest. This past year she was the Operations Assistant and Assistant Stage Manager for the 2018 SaraSolo Festival.
Janice E. Docking - President, Board of Directors
The City of Sarasota
Jan has been a resident of Sarasota for 45 years having a stellar career in finance and human resources, most recently with the City of Sarasota. She brings many years of expertise in Board Work for nonprofit organizations, including serving on the Board of the Directors of Key Chorale for 14 years. While there she contributed in many areas, including development, event planning, marketing, and community outreach. She has had a lifelong love of the arts and has been involved in community theater productions on stage and/or backstage in Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, Anna Maria Island and local dinner theaters. Some of her favorite roles are Golde in Fiddler on the Roof and Jenny Lind in Barnum. She was a soprano section leader and sings in the choir at St. Boniface Church. Jan is also a participant in the SaraSolo pilot education program SOLOSYNGERY.
Edward Scully - Secretary
President, Barrington Woods Condo Association
Ed's work life began in finance. After making a switch into the printing industry he gained experience in all areas of that business including design, production and binding, eventually working with a wide variety of magazine publishers including Newsweek, American Girl Scout, and Camera 35. In a career switch, after moving from New Hampshire, he worked for the Boston Public Library, helping patrons solve their library problems.
Patty Snyder-Atkins - Treasurer
Accountant and Theater Professional
Kim Cressell - Board of Directors
Co-Founder and Owner, The Reserve, Sarasota, Fla.
Kim has more than 25 years of experience in branding, marketing, advertising, public relations and grantwriting. Her non-profit and public clients have included Ford Motor Company Fund; Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and New Jersey; the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering; the DC School System, and the Hebrew Educational Society (HES), as well as many state governments and entities.
For the HES in Brooklyn, she wrote and secured a $1-million-plus grant to the New York City Department of Education for the non-profit to expand its programs, services, and reach to at-risk and minority youth, as well as senior citizens from all walks of life.
She has deep experience in entrepreneurship, organizational strategy, and change management. In her current role, she owns and operates several successful small businesses including The Reserve SRQ (www.thereservesrq.com) and Cressell Simmons Development Group (primarily real estate development). She also provides consulting services to help C-level executives & executive teams envision, develop, & launch transformational initiatives to help meet organizational objectives.
Formerly, she was a senior communications consultant for Aon Hewitt, a global consulting company. She also served as Global Communications lead for a company with 60,000 employees across more than 20 countries. Her career experience includes: AT&T; Aon/AonHewitt; Arm & Hammer; Bayer Pharmaceuticals; Bloomin' Brands (Outback Steakhouse); Campbell Soup Company; Cheer; Coca-Cola/Sprite; Ford Motor Company Fund; Frigidaire; General Motors (Saab); HP; Kohl's; Kraft; Lilly; Nordstrom; Office Depot; PNC Bank; Paychex; Pepperidge Farm Goldfish; Procter & Gamble; Swanson Broth; SYKES; VELVEETA, Walmart, & more.
Additionally, Kim has supported other non-profit organizations with leadership, time, funding, in-kind donations, and resources, including: American Heart Association; Embrace Our Differences (formerly Coexistence); Equality Florida, and the Sarasota Film Festival.
She is a certified Change Management professional and real estate developer, and has written for books, magazines, newspapers, and weeklies.
Harmon Greenblatt - Board of Directors
Arts Management, Retired
Harmon has been teaching and working in the field of arts management his entire professional career. His full-time teaching positions include Columbia College Chicago and the University of Hartford. He recently retired as the Director of the Arts Management Program at the University of New Orleans. He has directed arts councils in Evanston and Decatur, Illinois and has been a producer, presenter, and arts manager in Illinois, New Jersey, and California. Harmon served as academic head of the University of New Orleans Prague Summer Seminars for seven years.
Carol Wolf - Board of Directors
President, Wolf Executive Search
Carol earned her B.S. from Cornell University and M.ED from NYU in Educational Theater. After an early career in children's theater and then film production, she was partner and Creative Director at NYC ad agencies managing accounts such as Barclays Bank, DeBeers Diamonds and T. Rowe Price.
After producing and marketing educational videos she joined educational media giant Scholastic Corporation, and while there won several AD Age awards. Stints as General Manager and VP Marketing for Harcourt, Houghton Mifflin and McGraw-Hill followed.
"Retiring" from educational publishing, Carol became Marketing Director for Algonquin Regional Theater in NJ. Currently she is President of Wolf Executive Search, recruiting talent for top Ed Tech publishers nationwide. Carol has been a Board Member of Zilker Theatre in Austin and has served on Marketing Committees for Austin Library, Austin Lyric Opera and West Coast Theatre.
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SaraSolo Productions is deeply honored to be named one of the 24 nationwide semifinalists out of 110, vying for the Gen2Gen "Encore Prize."
The timing is ideal, just as we are developing our "SoloSynergy" education programming.
SaraSolo Artistic Director Ann Morrison talks about our new inter-generational
education outreach program which started in September.
Ann Morrison speaks with SoloSynergy participants Shawn Cacciola and Toddy Jadoo
Our pilot program "SoloSynergy"
Recently we applied for a grant through Gen2Gen, a prominent national organization with a goal of mobilizing 1 million adults 50+ to stand up for - and with - young people today. By bringing the generations together, Gen2Gen works to realize the potential of longer lives, the potential of every child, and the power of older and younger generations working side by side for change. https://generationtogeneration.org/about-us/
"see into the past, heal the present, transform the future"
We developed a powerful inter-generational education outreach program called "SoloSynergy" that gives 2 groups a larger voice in the world. Middle school children and adults aged 60+ often feel lonely and lost. SoloSynergy brings these groups together to share their stories, mentor each other and build positive outlooks and relationships.
Beginning with the "Age Friendly" community of Sarasota and VPA programs in the middle and high schools
Working with schools and other organizations in Sarasota our new pilot program brings together 20 middle school students with 20, 60+ adults over the course of 15 weeks. The generations are paired one-on-one and hone skills such as ‘active listening”, "creative interviewing,” storytelling, and writing. The program will culminate in profound performances from both generations in October.
Some of our Team
Ann Morrison, Blake Walton, Hedda Matza-Haughton, Shawn Cacciola, Anne Alper
Ann Morrison leads a team of mentors, teachers, and facilitators with a wealth of experience and knowledge, such as the gifted and effective Hedda Matza-Haughton, working separately and together through the 15 week pilot program that already has had some profound impact on the participants.
Ann Morrison talks about one of our new programs
Blake Walton in 2013 talks about his solo play "LEADING MEN"
- 2013 United Solo Festival Award "Best Premiere"
Ann Morrison in "WORD PAINTING" 2013 (excerpts)
Home Resource, Sarasota
We would like you to be informed, become involved and be a part of our performances and events.
A few of our 2018 "Unique, Brave and Uplifting!" performers
Walker Vreeland - FROM SHIP TO SHAPE
Direct from his critically acclaimed premiere at The United Solo Festival in NYC.
Willi Carlisle - THERE AIN'T NO MORE: DEATH OF A FOLKINGER
2017 Orlando Fringe Festival "Best Show"
Lucas DeBard - I'LL TAKE ROMANCE
Indiana U. student and Winner of the 2015 American Songbook Competition
Nisha Coleman - SELF-EXILE
Trailer for Self-Exile the winner of the Centaur's 2016 "Best of the Fringe" Award.
Cody Clark - CODY CLARK: A DIFFERENT WAY OF THINKING
Cody Clark is a full-time Magician who is on the Autism spectrum. He has been a regular in the magic show circuit at Derby City Magic, Indy Magic Monthly, and Magic Chicago a well as festivals such as the 2017 Orlando Fringe.
Elizabeth Weil Bergmann - Coming To Myself (Premiere)
(World Premiere) accomplished, internationally-recognized Dancer, Choreographer, and Instructor Elizabeth Weil Bergmann, intertwines a series of her dances with her sophisticated poetry in a profound exploration of awakening self.
Robert S. King - SILLY, SASSY, AND SO MUCH MORE!
Tampa Bay Actor and Master Storyteller Robert S. King
Celebrating the solo performer
Presented by Gotta Van Productions
at the Crocker Memorial Church, Pioneer Park
2017 SaraSolo Festival
22 performers in 20 performances
over two weekends
plus our added venue
The Starlite Room
We hosted 24 performers
in 16 presentations
Our 2016 performers included local luminaries Carolyn Michel, Christine Alexander, Lynne Bernfield, Alan Brasington, and Jenny Aldrich. Our audiences were introduced to new friends Becca McCoy, Wayne Hosford, Zach Dorn, Stevie Coyle, Vanessa Webb, Clara Francesca and Kaylene McCaw.
Our first festival brought performers mostly from Sarasota and Tampa Bay. Three performers represented award winners from The United Solo Festival in New York including Internationally known mime and actor Bill Bowers.
Best New Festival
This new festival, the brainchild of Sarasota actress Ann Morrison and former Sarasotan Blake Walton, started small, celebrating the art of the one-person show with about 15 different acts at the Crocker Memorial Church. You were bound to find something you liked. Stay tuned for news of next year’s event
2015 Handy Awards
SaraSolo Festival co-founders Blake Walton, left, and Ann Morrison, right, with mime Bill Bowers before his performance of "It Goes Without Saying" at the first festival, which is recognized in the 2015 Handy Awards as a New Arrival. Staff photo/Jay Handelman
I thought my appetite for one-person shows would be more limited than it turned out to be during the inaugural SaraSolo Festival, two weekends of solo performances that were either musical, historical or fictional. I saw more than half the offerings and it was entertaining to experience such a variety, even when the results weren’t always polished. Founders Ann Morrison, Blake Walton and David Coyle will be back with another two-weekend festival, this time starting in late January.