A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.
By Jessella Jaramilo
A 7 p.m. play rehearsal turns into an all-night event. Fontaine Schroyer, a Hillsborough Community College sophomore, breaks the tension. “Hold me, Bat Gilly, touch me, Bat Gilly, help me through the night,” Schroyer sings.
The entire cast breaks into hysterical laughter and suddenly, everyone isn’t quite as ready to rip one another’s hair out. According to the cast, this is how a typical night at rehearsal goes.
However, the cast from “Bat Boy: The Musical” is not the first cast that the Carrollwood Players Theater has played host to. In fact, the Players Theater is Tampa’s oldest community theater company, acting as a creative outlet for students in the bay area since 1981.
Not only do HCC students take part in the theater’s many productions, but students from the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa find their way to the quaint playhouse, as well.
“I love this place,” said Schroyer, 19. “It’s small but the energy that comes out of it, is great,” she said. Schroyer and her close friend, Steven Antonelli, 19, of the Ybor Campus, have been in many productions together.
According to Antonelli, the Carrollwood Players Theater has been like a family to him over the years. “When you’re in one play here, that’s it,” said Antonelli. “You’re set because those people will always have your back.”
Schroyer agrees and adds that the theater will always be a place where she can go to have fun and do what she loves. “I recommend coming here to anyone… this theater has some history and I definitely want to be a part of it,” she said.
Once formed, the cast members met at the Carrollwood Recreation Center. They quickly began working on their very first production, “Plaza Suite,” which was performed at Carrollwood Elementary School.
The company’s next two creative works “Godspell” and “Veronica’s Room,” were performed at a Methodist Church and a small golf course clubhouse. The company then relocated to the Drew Park Civic Club, renaming it The Manhattan Theater. Eventually, they migrated to their present location, in the Plantation Plaza on Gunn Highway.
Each season this talented troupe presents nine plays, which are open to the public. At the close of every season, the theater hosts its annual, Nancy Awards, their version of the Tony Awards. The award was named after Nancy Stearns, the first President of the Carrollwood Players.
The award’s 2008 winner for Favorite Director, Seth Traveglino, has grown very fond of the theater and the talented youth that are drawn to it. “This theater is a good way to let them express themselves,” said Traveglino.
Upcoming productions will include “I’ll Be Back Before Midnight” and “Sordid Lives”. Information on upcoming show dates, times, and prices are available at carrollwoodplayers.com.