by Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Emilia Sargent
Sponsored by Hal Freedman & Willi Rudowsky
Streaming NOW through November 25th
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One afternoon, Anthony arrives unexpectedly at classmate Caroline’s door bearing a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, an urgent assignment from their English teacher. Homebound due to illness, Caroline hasn’t been to school in months, but she is as quick and sardonic as Anthony is athletic, sensitive, and popular. As these two let down their guards and share their secrets, this seemingly mundane poetry project unlocks a much deeper mystery that has brought them together. I and You is an ode to youth, life, love, and the strange beauty of human connectedness.
cast & creatives
OLIVIA SARGENT (Caroline) is a lifelong dancer and seasoned theater performer. After focusing on dance training for over ten years, Olivia shifted her focus to theater and voice training at institutions such as Atlantic Acting School, Emilia Sargent Studio, and Broadway Artists Alliance. Since 2015, Olivia has been represented by A3, formerly Abrams Artists Agency based in NYC. She made her professional theater debut as Mary Tilford in The Children’s Hour, a TampaRep production, for which she was named in the Creative Loafing Top Ten Performances of 2015. Other regional credits include The Music Man (Zaneeta, St. Pete Opera), Threepenny Opera (Dolly, Jobsite Theater), Way Beyond Water (Jean Rose/17 original cast, St. Petersburg Arts Alliance) and Webb’s City: Concert Version (Poster Girl, American Stage/Palladium). Film credits include Law and Order: SVU (Alexandra, NBC), Revenge of the Pizza King (CineView Studios) (runner up best actress) and Stubbz (Sarah, Stag Productions). Stubbz has been shown at six film festivals across the country after premiering at Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival in 2018 and winning ‘Audience Favorite.’ In January 2021, Olivia will portray Cordelia in TampaRep’s King Lear. Olivia is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music at Oklahoma City University.
NICHOLAS D. HOOP (Anthony) is no stranger to TampaRep, appearing in 5 mainstage productions along with serving as an Artistic Associate and Literary Manager under the late C. David Frankel. He has appeared onstage regionally with Jobsite Theater, Walnut Street Theatre, Freefall Theatre, Stageworks Theatre, Urbanite Theatre, American Stage Education, Innovocative Theatre, Hat Trick Theatre, Grand Central Stage, The Silver Meteor, Gorilla Theatre, among others. Select credits: Stupid F**king Bird, A View From The Bridge, The Iceman Cometh (TampaREP), Columbinus (Innovocative Theatre), The Fantasticks (freefall theatre). Nick received training at the University of South Florida and Point Park University, and was critically chosen as BroadwayWorld Tampa’s Best Supporting Actor of 2019 for his role in Columbinus at Innovocative Theatre.
EMILIA SARGENT (Director) is Producing Artistic Director and President of TampaRep, and is an award-winning actor, director, singer, and educator who is best known in Florida for her portrayals of The Pilot in the one woman show, Grounded (Best of the Bay Best Actress and Theatre Tampa Bay Outstanding Lead Actress), Henrietta Leavitt in Silent Sky (TTB Outstanding Lead Actress), and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (Best of the Bay Best Actress). Florida regional favorites include Heisenberg, A View From the Bridge, Betrayal, I Do! I Do!, The Glass Menagerie, Metamorphoses, A Christmas Story, Boston Marriage, Much Ado About Nothing, and My Fair Lady, among many others. A recipient of the Hillsborough County Arts Council Individual Artist Grant, she studied at The Atlantic Theatre, NY. She has directed Copenhagen and The Children’s Hour at TampaRep, as well as numerous theatre education musicals at the Patel Conservatory and Corbett Preparatory School and she is currently pursuing her M.F.A. in Directing at the University of Idaho. Her passions for the creation of theatre as well as for training artists are as deep as her love of performance. Emilia has taught hundreds of students, many who have gone on to premier collegiate programs and professional theater careers, including Broadway. Her specialized intensives and techniques classes draw students from all over Tampa Bay. She served as Director of Education Programs for TampaRep for nine years and she runs the Emilia Sargent Studio for voice and acting. Emilia brings her background in team leadership and project management from both engineering and artistic organizations to TampaRep, and it is her mission to continue to produce thought-provoking, relevant, bold art that will serve the Tampa Bay community for decades to come. www.emiliasargent.com
LAUREN GUNDERSON (Playwright) Lauren has been one of the most produced playwrights in America since 2015 topping the list twice including 2019/20. She is a two-time winner of the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for I and You and The Book of Will, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award and the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and a recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s Residency with Marin Theatre Company. She studied Southern Literature and Drama at Emory University, and Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. She co-authored the Miss Bennet plays with Margot Melcon, and her play The Half-Life of Marie Curie is available on Audible.com. Her work is published at Playscripts (I and You; Exit Pursued By A Bear; The Taming and Toil And Trouble), Dramatists Play Service (The Revolutionists; The Book of Will; Silent Sky; Bauer, Natural Shocks, The Wickhams and Miss Bennet) and Samuel French (Emilie). Her picture book Dr Wonderful: Blast Off to the Moon is available from Two Lions/Amazon. She is currently developing musicals with Ari Afsar, Dave Stewart and Joss Stone. LaurenGunderson.com
JIM SORENSEN (Director of Production) has been an actor, singer, administrator, designer, director, and all-around theatre practitioner for over 25 years. He has worked in theatres from Alaska to Florida, from New York to California, and travelled the world as an entertainer on cruise ships. Management credits include American Stage, freeFall Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, The Music of Denali Dinner Theatre, and The Melodrama Musical Theatre. Local directing credits include Ideation (Urbanite), Heisenberg (TampaRep), Strait of Gibraltar (American Stage). As an actor, he has been seen on stage at Asolo Rep (1776, South Pacific), Florida Studio Theatre (Butler), The Banyan (Time Stands Still), freeFall (Cabaret, The Normal Heart, The Buffalo Kings, The Burnt Part Boys), American Stage (Mamma Mia!, The Producers, Much Ado About Nothing, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Rocky Horror Show) and Stageworks (The Blue Room).
AMANDA LaFORGE (Production Manager) (bio forthcoming)
JASMINE ARROYO (Stage Manager) is a native New Yorker from a Latinx culture. She has stage managed for Tampa Repertory Theatre since 2015 with credits comprising of Bethany, Tampa Wrights, The Children’s Hour, Inherit the Wind, Tender Napalm, Silent Sky, Copenhagen, Stupid F*cking
Bird, and Dinner with Friends, as well as A Night of Inappropriately Funny Moments, Part Deuce with Ghost Light Theatre. Jasmine has been
involved in other areas outside of stage managing in both theatre and film including The Vampire Diaries, I Am Super, Chu and Blossom, and the Vagina Monologues. She earned Best Actress by Plant City Entertainment in her role in Conversations in Bed, written by Gretchen Suárez-Peña. She is a board member for Theatre Tampa Bay, assisting to raise the profile of the Tampa Bay region’s professional theatre community. Jasmine graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and is now attaining a M.B.A in Project Management from Saint Leo University.
HAL FREEDMAN & WILLI RUDOWSKY (Show Sponsors)
We have lived in two great cities — Hal in Manhattan and both of us San Francisco — before landing in St. Petersburg twenty years ago. Those cities had great cultural attractions and we went to as many things as we could fit in during our busy lives. We were drawn to the Tampa Bay Area precisely because of the cultural attractions here. Well, that and the weather.
We support the arts in general because they make our community special. Everyone involved brings new ideas that benefit us all. We see, hear, feel and react to both familiar and novel situations in new ways. As they say, Earth without art is “eh.”
We support the performing arts and the artists who teach us the who, what, where, why and how of everyday experiences. In addition, we are interested in education and inclusion. Performing arts organizations provide pathways to both.
“…sharp and funny. Gunderson taps into a buoyant spirit…the touching ‘barbaric yawp’ (Whitman’s phrase) of these two deeply engaging kids.”Nelson Pressle, The Washington Post
“By the close, Gunderson has guided us toward a sublime transfiguration that encompasses ‘Leaves of Grass,’ John Coltrane, Jerry Lee Lewis, space and time, bodies and spirits, death and rebirth.”The New Yorker
“…a validation of the human experience, and of the triumph of life over death. Gunderson’s gift is the best thing a play can offer: we might be better people after seeing it.”Tim Treanor, DC Theatre Scene
“The striking twists and turns along the progression of the rapid-paced work are astonishing, breath-taking, and mind-blowing.”Amanda Gunther,DC Metro Theater Arts
“Unforgettable. The end will leave you gasping.”Patricia Leslie, Washington Speaks
“I’m not sure when the last time I went to a live theater performance and left it thinking ‘I need to tell everyone about this!’ That’s the way I feel about I and You.“Jane Sutter, Democrat & Chronicle
“There’s no way to reveal why I and You is phenomenal, because it happens so fast you almost don’t know what’s happening. Which makes the ending even more stunning.”Leah Stacy, (585) Magazine
“A charming, thought-provoking surprise.”The North Bay Bohemian