MAY 2016


Dear Friends,

Just as there is a lot of truth in the poetic metaphor on life and love in the popular song lyrics, "It's a long, long way from May to December…," it is also true that we have a long, long way to go to reach many of the goals of the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre. Our Dream Car Giveaway Sweepstakes has ended and the winner was a Bandit fan from California. We appreciate the efforts put forth by those who helped promote the event and are grateful to everyone who purchased tickets.

Being an all volunteer organization supported only by donations from fans and friends, we are ever grateful for your generosity. While we were are waiting for our next campaigns to begin, I'd like to remind you that direct donations are tax-deductible and are used to honor our mission statement and to secure Mr. Reynolds’ legacy for generations to come. Our building fund campaign is moving along albeit slowly. We are currently seeking the services of an architect to assist us with the design and planning of the new museum and theater/teaching space which will be located in Burt Reynolds Park in Jupiter. Please let us know if you're willing to help in that regard.

Many exciting events are on tap for the coming months so please make sure you are signed up for our E-blast which will allow you to receive updates between monthly newsletters. New items are being offered at the Burt Reynolds Institute Apparel ecommerce store ( so be sure to check them out as well.

Our full slate of classes will continue through the summer. As class size usually decreases while people are on vacation, this is the perfect time to receive more concentrated attention from instructors and build relationships with other actors. Please consider attending one or more of the following classes: Fundamentals of Acting on Sunday afternoons, Teleprompter Proficiency on Sunday afternoons, Creative Writing on Tuesday evenings and Improv on Thursday evenings. Information on our Student Showcase will be released shortly in conjunctions with Master Class graduation.

Douglas Rill
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre


MASTER ACTING CLASS with Burt Reynolds
By invitation only. Students must complete a required number of Fundamentals of Acting classes and reach a certain level of expertise. For inquiries, please email Donna Carbone at or call 561-743-9955.

FUNDAMENTALS of ACTING for ADULTS with Sherman Roberts
Sundays at 1PM Fundamentals of Acting continues to fill the Mirror Ballroom with actors at every level of expertise. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate performer, or experienced actor, Fundamentals will allow you to hone your craft in a welcoming and nurturing atmosphere. This is a scene study class in which students are given the opportunity to perform a ten minute scene on stage each week followed by redirect from the instructor, Sherman Roberts. Roberts, who is a member of SAG, AFTRA and AEA, has appeared in a variety of roles on stage, in film and on network television. He teaches student how to choose the right material, how to interpret dialogue so that the spoken word is true to what the author has written, character development and body language. The class meets every Sunday at 1PM. The cost is $25/week.

Thursdays at 7:30PM Improvisation Plus, taught by master improvisational artist Todd Vittum, offers budding and experienced comedians an opportunity to hone their impromptu speaking and acting skills. Vittum has been teaching Improv for many years and is himself an experienced performer. He has designed innovative scenarios that make the imagination come alive. Under his excellent tutelage, laughter and learning go hand in hand. The class meets on Thursday evenings at 7:30PM in the Mirror Ballroom. Cost: $25/week.

Saturdays from 10AM-noon Todd Vittum teaches the ever popular Side-By-Side on Saturday mornings from 10AM to noon. This class offers adults and children between the ages of 10 and 15 an opportunity to share the stage in a nurturing and fun environment. The class incorporates monologue delivery, scene study, and improvisation for a well-rounded experience. Cost: $20/week.

Mondays at 7PM
(except for the first Monday of each month) Todd Vittum teaches an advanced class in scene study and character analysis, which includes intermediate and advanced acting techniques. The class will be offered three Monday evenings a month. Please note that there will NOT be a class on the first Monday of each month. There WILL BE classes on the second, third, and fourth Mondays of each month. The off week will give students an opportunity to perfect whatever scene or monologue they are working on for presentation in class. Students are required to bring their own scenes and should provide three copies—one for the student, one for the scene partner, and one for the instructor. Learning to choose material that is right for you is part of your training. If you have any questions, the instructor will be able to help you decide on the proper material. A 2-3 minute monologue is required for the first class. This class will allow actors to hone their acting skills while providing an opportunity to study scene structure and character development. Scene study is the foundation of all performance and is instrumental if actors are to develop an emotional connection to the character they are portraying. Scene study is also used to teach the vocabulary of acting and how to respond to a director’s instructions. Character analysis helps an actor to understand the role they are playing. To be successful, an actor must replace their personality with that of the character being portrayed. However, it is still necessary for an actor to allow their natural emotional response to a situation to show through at appropriate times. The ability to blend the real and the imagined creates a more stable and dynamic character. For the moment, the class will be held in in the Commission Chambers. Cost: $25/week.

CREATIVE WRITING for the AUTHOR in ALL of US with Donna Carbone
Tuesdays at 6:30PM Creative Writing for the Author in All of Us is a weekly offering for everyone with a story to tell. Whether you are writing a novel, short narrative, screenplay, stage play or poem, if words are your oxygen, this is the class for you. Under the instruction of author/journalist Donna Carbone, the class utilizes a supportive “think tank” structure. Each week writers present their work, which is read and shared with the class. Critiques are offered as a means of moving a story from conception to completion. The class meets on Tuesday evenings at 6:30PM in the Commission Chambers. Cost: $25/week. Limit: 10 students.

Sundays from 1:30PM to 3:30PM
Learn how to be the perfect pitch person/spokesperson using professional techniques and insiders secrets in this six-week interactive course. Become a pro at cold reads and in depth presentations. Becomes friends with the camera—put your body and face to work for you. Become proficient at walk and talk, partner pairing and turning boring into brilliant. Master on set etiquette and understand the importance of packing a survival bag. Look and feel like a pro! Class size limited. Cost: $150.

This two hour one-on-one class is individualized for your needs and designed with the busy professional in mind. Learn to speak in a clear, confident manner with or without the aid of a teleprompter. Even those who have already successfully faced an audience will gain greater confidence mastering the skills of highly trained keynote speakers. Be more than you ever thought you could be! Class size limited. Cost: $150 Call 561-743-9955 or email to RSVP.

Please note: prior registration and RSVP are required for all classes, seminars, and workshops--as some have limited enrollment. Class times/locations subject to change. For information and registration, please contact Donna Carbone at 561-743-9955 or email to RSVP now.

Burt Reynolds Institute classes and seminars are held at Lake Park Town Hall (Mirror Ballroom), 535 Park Avenue, Lake Park, FL 33403. Please note, this is not the mailing address. The mailing address for the Burt Reynolds Institute is PO Box 264, Jupiter, FL 33458


Beignets, Coffee and Conversation a delicious success
Local author book signing attracts readers from around the state

Another Broken Egg Café at Harbourside Place, Jupiter, was the site of the first literacy focused Beignets, Coffee and Conversation which featured a book signing by local authors and some interesting stories of real and fictional events in and around Palm Beach County. Although scheduled to begin at 3 pm, the crowd began to arrive at 1:30. By the time author/moderator Donna Carbone welcomed everyone, 60 people were crowded into the café enjoying fresh coffee and tasty beignets. They were a receptive group, who readily agreed with Carbone when she stated that “... children who develop a love of reading early in life go on to become successful adults.”

To emphasize her point, Carbone, who is Managing Director of the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre, brought to the stage six-year-old Sammy Bain. Sammy is the daughter of PBSO CSI Mary Bedwell Bain. In turn Bedwell Bain is the role model for one of the lead characters in Carbone’s Cat Leigh and Marci Welles crime novel series. Bedwell Bain portrays Homicide Detective Marci Welles while Carbone’s daughter, Jessica Carbone McKinney, is the role model for Cat Leigh. When little Sammy heard that her mom was a “star” in a popular book, she told her mom, “I’m a good reader. Now I want to be a good writer.” Recently, this young author completed her first short story, My Awesome School. She read an excerpt from My Alaskan Vacation at the book signing event. The audience loved her!

Donna M. Carbone is a freelance writer/teacher/journalist living in Palm Beach Gardens. She published her first book, Through Thick and Thin, in January. Recently, she released her second book, Private Hell. All her stories are based on fact and many include fictionalized accounts of her daughter’s kidnapping and assault nine years ago and her own experiences having survived a dysfunctional childhood and abusive first marriage. She told the audience, “There are certain crimes which must be experienced in order to write about them honestly and effectively. If I was the only person writing about rape and domestic violence, I’d be very happy because then I would know women were safer than they are today.”

Also sharing their stories were authors Frank Eberling, Takis J. Pepe and Alan Tonks. Pepe and Tonks are students in Carbone’s Creative Writing class at the Burt Reynolds Institute. Eberling is well-known in Palm Beach County. Originally from New City, New York, he moved to Florida upon high school graduation in 1964. Since then he has taught on the high school and college levels for over twenty years. For almost forty years he traveled the state of Florida for several television stations and Florida PBS writing, producing, directing, and filming 3,000 documentaries and television segments about Florida’s environment, history, literature, and the arts. He wrote and directed two feature films in Palm Beach County, Deadly Surrender and Turkles. Along the way he has won an Emmy® and numerous journalism, writing, and film festival awards. Along with his three books - Ensueno, Sweet City Blues and Demarest Kill – he has written 30 screenplays.

According to Carbone, Takis Pepe is a 68 year old man in a 28 year old body. Pepe is a member of Carbone’s writing group at the Burt Reynolds Institute and often impresses her with the depth of his insights into the human condition. He is a 10 year U.S. Air Force veteran, who has served in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a former amateur cage fighter, a professional mariner and a current graduate student at Nova Southeastern University. His screenplay, The Crucible of Achilles, upon which his book of the same name is based, was awarded recognition in the 2015 Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays. The Crucible of Achilles is a modern day adaptation of Homer’s the Iliad set in the world of cage fighting.

Alan E. Tonks spent most of his career in the banking business, holding various top management positions in Maryland, Delaware and Florida financial institutions. His personal experiences inspired him to write The St. Kitts Connection, a work of fiction based largely on true events including the assassination of Rajiv Ghandi. Since many of the people portrayed in his book are real and still living, he has changed their names and descriptions. However, as he told the audience, “After testifying before a federal grand jury, there was a time when my family and I needed the assistance of the Witness Protection Program to keep safe. I’m glad those days are over.” Tonks, who is also a member of Carbone’s writing group, currently resides in Wellington where he operates his own business.

With the eager support of Connie Kartell, Sarah Lott and John Hamma from Harbourside Place’s management team and David Esposito, the manager of Another Broken Egg Café, many more events are planned for the coming months. Program details will be released shortly.

All books are available through and Kindle or directly from the authors. The authors are also available for speaking engagements. For more information, contact Donna Carbone at


Check out our e-shop at and purchase awesome items for you and/or your loved ones! Great gifts for you, your family, and friends!


This memoir tells his story through the people he’s encountered on his amazing journey. In his words, he plans to “call out the assholes,” try to make amends for “being the asshole myself on too many occasions,” and pay homage to the many heroes he has come to love and respect.

But Enough About Me is a must read for each and every Burt Reynolds fan.

If you have not yet ordered your copy of Burt Reynolds’ memoir, But Enough About Me, orders can be placed at

If you prefer the audio version, you can purchase that online, too:


Authors and Actors Alive makes its debut! Due to the success of the Beignets, Coffee and Conversation book signing/literacy event on April 14th, a partnership has been formed between Authors and Actors Alive, a venture of Institute Managing Director Donna Carbone, and the restaurant to bring dinner and a workshop performance of a new play to our community this summer. ABE Cafe is located at Harbourside Place in Jupiter. The first presentation will be Donna's stage play Shell of a Man -- the true story of a Vietnam veteran who has fought a brave battle with PTSD for 40 plus years. Shell of a Man had its first reading last April at the Dallas Convention Center under the auspices of The Black Academy of Arts and Letters. The performance at ABE Cafe will include a fixed price menu, the show and a talk back with the audience. The date is July 15th. Mark your calendars and watch our newsletter for more details on tickets and time.

Three teams enter the arena . . .only one leaves victorious! Actors' Rep is hosting 3 guest Improv teams. Each team will perform and at the end of the night, the audience will crown a "winner" by round of applause. The winning team will come back as special guest performers in the July show at Actors' Rep. All tickets $5. Special bonus: 100% of the ticket proceeds goes directly to Take Heed Mod 27 to help them build out their new theater. Listing details: Friday, June 3 at 8PM at Bob Carter's Actor's Workshop & Repertory Company (1009 N Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, Florida 33401). Click here for more information:

On April 23rd, 2016 Cindy Morrison directed "SHAKESPEARE 400" a tribute to Playwright William Shakespeare who passed away on this date in 1616. The event shared play scenes and sonnets written by the Bard. BRIFT actors Rhonda Stearns and Douglas Rill and Lisa Colacurcio debuted as Shakespeareans in the event that played to a full house at Common Grounds in Lake Worth.

Pilgrim Studio of the Arts presented Rhonda Stearns with the "Scream of the Century" Drama Award for her part in the production of "Toy Soldiers". The silent horror film, directed by Cindy Morrison, features Stearns as a Parisian museum curator.

Are you a current or former student of the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre or the Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre Training? If so, we would love to hear from you! Simply write a one to two paragraph blurb and drop us an email at before the 25 of each month (subject line: "In The Spotlight") and let us know what projects you are working on or have completed. PLEASE, NO EXTRA WORK!

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE THE 25 OF EACH MONTH—no exceptions. We look forward to hearing about—and celebrating—your success!


The Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to educating and involving the community and artists in all aspects of film, television, theater, live performances, film festivals, and exhibitions, as well as preserving Mr. Reynolds' memorabilia and the history of the film industry.


Douglas Rill ... Chairman of the Board of Directors
Todd Vittum ... Executive Director
Donna Carbone ... Managing Director/Director of Finance/Newsletter Editor/Media Manager/PR
Gene Kennedy ... Director of Promotions/Co-Chair Building Committee
Karen Chimato ... Class Coordinator
Amy Schulz ... Multimedia Coordinator
Scott Kelley ... Web Design & Production
Carmen Magri ... Historian


For more information about classes, events, etc, visit our website at To order merchandise, visit our online store at Friend and follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

The Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre
PO Box 264
Jupiter, FL 33458
561-743-9955 |