Daytime television star Judith Chapman—who visited Santa Fe College in 2013 to teach and star in “Vivien”—returns to Gainesville in 2015 as part of the Santa Fe College Master Artist Series to direct a cast that includes award-winning actors from the California theatre company Dezart Performs in “Invasion of Privacy.” That play by Larry Parr dramatizes the famous Zelma Cason-Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings lawsuit and trial that took place in Alachua County in the 1940s. “Invasion of Privacy” runs Thursday-Saturday, June 18-20, 2015, in the Fine Arts Hall at the Northwest Campus, 3000 NW 83 Street, Gainesville.
Tickets for the performance are $15 for adult orchestra and mezzanine seats; $12 for adult balcony seats; $9 for seniors, children, and University of Florida students and faculty; and $9 for faculty, staff and students of Santa Fe College. For ticket information, call the Box Office at 352-395-4181. Tickets may be purchased on line at:
After winning a Pulitzer Prize for “The Yearling,” the Cross Creek writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was at the height of her career when she was sued by her friend, Zelma Cason, in the first right of privacy case brought against an author. Cason’s lawsuit pitted a citizen’s right of privacy against an author’s constitutional guarantee of free speech. The fascinating cast of characters in “Invasion of Privacy” includes Rawlings, a noted author given to drinking and “black spells”; Kate Walton, the first female attorney in Florida who represented Cason; and Sigsbee Scruggs, the cagey “good ole boy” cracker attorney who represented Rawlings. The lawsuit became an international spectacle and a personal struggle between the two attorneys.
With a long career in daytime drama, Judith Chapman is well known for her roles in “Ryan’s Hope,” “General Hospital,” “One Life to Live,” “Days of Our Lives” and “The Young and the Restless.” She has appeared on television in “Murder, She Wrote” and “Magnum, P.I.” and in several feature films. Her directing credits include “Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical,” “Equus,” and “Born Yesterday.” In 2007, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored Chapman for her 25 years in the industry with a Silver Circle Award. Chapman won Outstanding Director of a Drama-Professional for “Invasion of Privacy” in the 2014 Desert Theatre League Awards in Palm Springs.
The actors Chapman will direct are Gina Bikales, Corbett Brattin and Yo Younger. All hail from the theatre-rich area of Palm Springs, California.
Bikales, who plays Rawlings, tied for Outstanding Lead Actress-Drama in the 2013-14 Desert Theatre League Desert Star Awards when “Invasion of Privacy” was staged by Dezart Performs at the Pearl McManus Theater in the historic Palm Springs Woman’s Club in downtown Palm Springs, California. She has a degree in theatre education, is the Artistic Director of Script2Stage2Screen, and has won a total of 12 Desert Theatre League Awards for acting and directing.
Corbett Brattin, who plays long-time Gainesville Attorney Sigsbee Scruggs, won Outstanding Lead Actor-Drama for that role in the 2013-14 Desert Theatre League Desert Star Awards. Brattin is a retired broadcast journalist who has acted with theatre companies throughout the United States. He lists Paul in “Barefoot in the Park” and Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” as two of his favorite roles.
Yo Younger, who plays Attorney Kate Walton, won Outstanding Supporting Actress-Drama for that role in the 2013-14 Desert Theatre League Desert Star Awards. She is a veteran of the Southern California theatre scene, has appeared in television spots and has produced and starred in a short film.
The roles of Zelma Cason and Norton Baskin will be filled by Gainesville-area actors. The role of Judge John Murphree will be played by retired Eighth Judicial Circuit Judge Chester B. Chance, who will be honored by the Circuit for his 25 years of service as a judge on May 8, 2015, as part of the American Bar Association’s Law Day.
Playwright Larry Parr has had over 100 regional productions of his works. “Invasion of Privacy” has won awards in New York City; Ashland, Oregon; and Palm Springs, California. Parr received a Florida Individual Artist’s Fellowship for his work on the script.
The Master Artist Series is sponsored in part by the SF College Fine Arts Department, the SF College Foundation and Arts Patron program, and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The June 18 performance is sponsored in part by The Village Retirement Community.
For more information, call Cultural Programs Coordinator Kathryn Lehman at 352-395-5355 or Fine Arts Department Chairperson Alora Haynes at 352-395-5296.