JULY 2016


Dear Friends,

June was an amazing month for the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theater. Florida's favorite son, Burt Reynolds, spent the entire month in Knoxville,Tennessee filming his latest movie, Dog Years, written and directed by Adam Rifkin (more about this later).

While Mr. Reynolds was away on location shooting the film, Institute students benefited from his handpicked selection of guest instructors: Sherman Roberts, Marc Zatorsky, and Ellen Jacoby.

Marc Zatorsky teaches ImprovIn Sanity, Florida writer/producer/director Marc Zatorsky comes full circle--having written, directed and taught at a number of venues since his beginnings at the Institute. Marc helmed the Master Class on June 10 and 24 and taught the Thursday night Improv classes, as well. Join us this Thursday when C. Todd Vittum makes his return at 7:30PM.

A happy Improv classStudents definitely benefitted from taking Casting Director Ellen Jacoby's class, in which she imparted her knowledge and advice for both on set and at auditions. She focused class on quick, one-minute monologues and two-minute scenes, after which she gave pinpoint redirects and tips to participants. Ellen's credentials include Miami Vice, Charlie's Angels, The Birdcage, and Cape Fear, as well as having cast Mr. Reynolds in Burn Notice and upcoming projects Hear My Heart and Is That All There Is?

A special thanks to Fundamentals of Acting instructor, Sherman Roberts, for filling in for Mr. Reynolds on June 3. Sherman has continued to evolve as an instructor, racking up credits on both sides of performance. Sherman's class is on hiatus the month of July, returning August 7, with a completely new format. Get ready for a real workout, students!

Ay Langdon, Ellen JacobyCreative Writing is also on hiatus for the month of July. Managing Director Donna Carbone is preparing for a dinner theater production of her play, Shell of a Man, which will feature three Burt Reynolds Institute students--Ewan Leslie, Jeanne Tidwell, and Nancy Wood. Mark your calendars for September 1 and plan to see Shell of a Man at Harbourside Place's Another Broken Egg Cafe in Jupiter. More information on the show is available in this newsletter. Tickets: 561-385-1584.

All in all, the Institute wishes to give a big "thank you" to each and every one of these esteemed instructors!

Avery Sommers, Ellen Jacoby, Douglas Rill

Interest is growing in our efforts to reach our goal of a permanent home in Burt Reynolds Park. Please consider The Burt Reynolds Institute during these slower summer months; we are an all volunteer certified 501(c)3 organization that is entirely funded by donations and we appreciate all the support we can get. Thank you.

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 info@burtreynoldsinstitute.org or call 561-743-9955.

FUNDAMENTALS of ACTING (NEW FORMAT) with Sherman Roberts ON HIATUS until August 7 Fundamentals of Acting meets on Sunday afternoons at 1PM in the Lake Park Mirror Ballroom. Each Fundamentals class is split into two sections. The first half of the class is dedicated to scene study in which students will work with a different partner on stage each week. After a scene has been performed, students are given redirect by our instructor, Sherman Roberts. They are then encouraged to take the scene home and work on with the intention of performing it again the next week. The second half of the class is Acting for the Camera. Sherman will provide short scenes from movies, television shows and commercial which will be taped and played back. During the playback portion, Sherman will give redirect. Individual classes cost $30 per week. Students paying for a month in advance will pay $25/week ($100 per month). Payment must be made on the first Sunday of every month.

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 ON HIATUS
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 and 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 Call 561-743-9955 or email briftfinancedirector@comcast.net to RSVP

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 key note speakers. Be more than you ever thought you could be! Class size limited. Cost: $150 Call 561-743-9955 or email briftfinancedirector@comcast.net 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 info@burtreynoldsinstitute.org 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



Burt Reynolds, Amy Hoerler, Adam Rifkin (photo: Amy Schulz)Never one to rest on his laurels, Florida's favorite son, Burt Reynolds, spent the month of June in Knoxville, Tennessee, filming his latest movie. Dog Years, written and directed by Adam Rifkin, is the story of an aging former movie star who is forced to face the reality that his glory days are behind him. Rifkin wrote the script especially for Reynolds and described the story by saying, "On the surface, Dog Years is a tale of faded fame, but at its core, it's a universal story about growing old."

In the movie, Reynolds plays aging movie actor, 'Vic Edwards,' who is invited to a Nashville film festival to accept a lifetime achievement award. Events do not turn out as expected so he asks his designated driver, played by Ariel Winter, to take him to Knoxville, the place where he was born and raised. The 62-year age difference between Reynolds and Winter is a focal point of the movie.

Chesta Drake, Burt Reynolds (photo: Bob Franklin Photography)Ariel Winter is known to audiences for her role as 'Alex Dunphy' on the television series Modern Family. The cast includes Kathleen Nolan, Juston Street, Ellar Coltrane, Clark Duke, Shelley Waggener, and Al-Jaleel Knox. A special guest appearance is being made by popular actor/comedian/writer Chevy Chase. Also in the cast is Burt Reynolds Institute Executive Director Todd Vittum. Vittum, who is an experienced performer and improvisation teacher plays 'Buddy Blump,' owner of Blump Industries and father of the bride at the Blump/Delson wedding. He offered a little teaser for Reynolds' fans, "Vic Edwards crashes the wedding and winds up singing!" Former Oilers' and Falcons' Coach Jerry Glanville plays the father of the groom.

Amy Hoerler, Adam Rifkin (photo: Amy Schulz)Not to be outdone by more well-known actors, several students and fans of the man still known affectionately as 'The Bandit' to movie lovers were also cast in speaking roles and as extras. Amy Hoerler, a student in Reynolds' Master Class at the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre, plays the role of 'Young Nurse.' Actor/comedienne Chesta Drake, a woman with an abundance of southern charm, portrays a fan who unexpectedly runs into Reynolds in a supermarket. Tabitha Hall and Sabrina Taylor, two Tennessee girls who are huge Burt Reynolds Institute supporters, got to spend a few minutes in front of the cameras as extras.

In Dog Years, the character of Vic Edwards is a former running back at the University of Tennessee. The parallel to Reynolds' own life is easily drawn since he did play football at Florida State University in the 1950s. A lifelong fan of college football, the man still known as The Bandit to his legions of fans, was happy to "talk the game" with UT head coach Butch Jones and former UT coast Johnny Majors, both of whom visited the set. Also stopping by to say hello were long time friends and fellow actors John Schneider and Catherine Bach. Schneider played 'Bo Duke' and Bach played 'Daisy Duke' in the popular 1970s tv series the Dukes of Hazzard. In 2005, Reynolds portrayed crooked county commissioner 'Boss Hoggs' in the movie based on the show.

Sabrina Taylor, Burt Reynolds, Tabitha HallWhile some exterior scenes were shot in Los Angeles, the majority of the movie was filmed in Knoxville giving the friendly community an opportunity to shine. Market Square, Neyland Stadium, the Henley Bridge, a Kingston Pike synagogue and a retirement home all play pivotal roles in the story. Producer Neil Mandt was often heard to say that the people of Knoxville were "... incredibly supportive."

Shooting on Dog Years is expected to wrap the first week of July. At that time, Reynolds will return to another job he loves--teaching his students at the Burt Reynolds Institute. During his month long stay in Tennessee, he continually sent them inspirational messages, saying that he missed them and encouraging them to continue working hard.

Dog Years is expected to be released in the fall. For updates, visit http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5836316

Photo credits (from top to bottom): Adam Rifkin, Chesta Drake, Burt Reynolds (photo: Bob Franklin Photography); Amy Hoerler, Adam Rifkin (photo: Amy Schulz); Sabrina Taylor, Burt Reynolds, Tabitha Hall (photo: Sabrina Taylor)


BURT REYNOLDS RECENTLY ON AMC'S THE AMERICAN WEST... For more information about the show, please click here.


Check out our e-shop at www.burtreynoldsinstituteapparel.org 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 www.amazon.com/But-Enough-About-Me-Memoir/dp/0399173544.

If you prefer the audio version, you can purchase that online, too: www.audiobooksnow.com/audiobook/but-enough-about-me/1148600


Harbourside Place welcomes local playwright with dinner theater Another Broken Egg Cafe to host Shell of a Man

Shell of a ManDonna M. Carbone, a freelance writer/teacher/journalist living in Palm Beach Gardens, is being honored by Harbourside Place and Another Broken Egg Cafe with a dinner theater presentation of her play, Shell of a Man on Thursday evening, September 1. According to Carbone, Shell of a Man is based on the life of an actual Vietnam veteran and focuses on the effects of his 40-plus year battle with PTSD. Her goal is to personalize this much talked about but barely understood condition in order to raise awareness of the need for better healthcare for our men and women in uniform. The play will feature three actors who train at the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre: Ewan Leslie as Robert Logan, Jeanne Tidwell as Adriana Fleming, and Nancy Wood as Dawn Peters. Carbone mentioned that both Tidwell and Wood were experienced actors but said Leslie would be treading the boards for the first time in his career. "I am so proud of my actors," she stated. "There is a tremendous amount of dialogue to memorize in a short amount of time, but Ewan, Jeanne and Nancy are passionate about Robert's story, and I know that passion will show in their performances." Another Burt Reynolds Institute student, Kevin Mayle, is responsible for creating the wonderful poster advertising the play.

In a recent interview, Carbone explained how Shell of a Man came to be written. "In 2011 I published two columns supporting better healthcare for veterans. A Vietnam vet wrote to me, expressing his thanks and beginning what was to become a much cherished and, often, painful friendship. He calls himself Robert L. We've never met. His face is but a ghostly image in an old photograph he sent to me. I hear his voice only through the emails we exchange. I believe that distance and the anonymity of the internet allowed Robert to share his life with me in a way few others have heard. What he said forced me to accept that, despite being well-read, I knew nothing about what a black man endured being raised in the Jim Crow south or the effects of having served in a war zone. Although Shell of a Man is told through the life of one man, it is in actuality the story of many men."

David Esposito, the manager of Another Broken Egg Cafe, said that he was thrilled to welcome Carbone for a second time at the restaurant. In April, he and his staff hosted Beignets, Coffee and Conversation--an author book signing for Carbone after the successful release of her first crime novel, Through Thick and Thin. The event was a huge success with people asking for more of the same. Carbone expressed her gratitude for Esposito's support and that of the management team at Harbourside Place including Sarah Lott, the Director of Marketing and Events, and John Hamma, Marketing and Events Coordinator. Also playing a pivotal role in bringing Shell of a Man to Harbourside is Connie Kartell, who manages the venue's charitable giving and community service endeavors. "Our community is blessed to have such dedicated people and such a beautiful venue at which to showcase the many talents of Palm Beach County residents," Carbone beamed.

Shell of a Man was presented as a staged reading at the Dallas Convention Center last April where it was warmly received. Carbone incorporated suggestions from that audience into the presentation that will take place at Harbourside. This time the play will be presented as a workshop performance, which is the second step in the production process, and will include another talk back with the audience at the end of the show.

The dinner portion of the evening will begin at 5PM and will include a fixed price menu with a selection of two main courses. The meal will include a glass of wine and/or a cold beverage. The cost for both the dinner and the show is $30. The play will begin at 7PM. Seating is limited. Tickets can be ordered by calling 561-384-1584.

For more information, contact Donna M. Carbone at write4you@comcast.net or call 561-743-9955.

Cindy Morrison's play, The Thirteenth Ingredient, was a top five finisher at the "Thirteen is Murder" Mystery Play Festival. The play, which was presented on stage at Andrews Living Arts Theatre, features two medical students who perform an experiment with a quirky medical librarian. The situation goes awry when "Cleo"the cat interferes.

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 info@burtreynoldsinstitute.org 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 http://www.burtreynoldsinstitute.org. To order merchandise, visit our online store at www.burtreynoldsinstituteapparel.org. Friend and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

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