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New performance space opens with staged reading of classic comedy

CARROLLWOOD – “If you build it, they will come.”

That line from the movie “Field of Dreams” perfectly describes Jim Russell’s hopeful vision for Carrollwood Players Theatre’s newest performance space.

Over the last month, Jim and many dedicated theater volunteers have cleaned out a large storage space, painted, hung curtains, set up seating, and temporarily christened it the new Black Box.

“We are hoping to do a contest where our patrons can determine the new theater name,” he explained.

But for now, Black Box it is.

Though the official opening is in the summertime, the soft launch of this cabaret-style performance space is this weekend with a comedy staged reading. Black Box will offer alternative programming in addition to the regular productions scheduled in their existing 100-seat main stage theater.

On Saturday, April 11 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 12 at 3 p.m., local Tampa actors Miguel E. Rodriguez and Denise Deneen – along with a talented supporting cast of more than a dozen quirky characters – will entertain the crowd with a very funny comedy, “Don’t Drink the Water.”

Written in 1966 by Woody Allen, “Don’t Drink the Waters’ tells the story of New Jersey tourists Walter and Marion Hollander. The comedy of zany characters features the couple and their daughter trapped in an American Embassy after being mistaken for spies in a country behind the iron curtain.

The inaugural staged reading will feature actors performing the play with script in hand and representational scenery and costumes.

“We are so excited to present our first event in what will soon be our completed black box/cabaret space,” said staged reading director Russell. “We’ll be using the venue to offer everything from staged readings to musical cabaret, workshop productions of new theater, improv comedy shows, a GLBT theater weekend and much more.”

Tickets for “Don’t Drink the Water” are only $10, so Russell and the more than a dozen actors debuting in the new space hope the inaugural weekend of Black Box is met with a standing-room-only crowd.

Tickets can be purchased online at http://carrollwood-players-theatre.ticketleap.com/dont-drink-the-water. Tickets can also be purchased at the door subject to availability. For information, visit http://www.carrollwoodplayers.org.

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