Dear Friends,

September was the month of milestones for our mentor and teacher, Burt Reynolds. In addition to all of the accolades that he has received over his 55-plus year career, the popular game show Jeopardy honored him with a category of his own on a recent episode. No doubt some of the questions presented to the contestants will be a part of the Q&A at the October 15 Institute fundraiser being hosted by Rosarian Academy. Details on this event, which will also feature a screening of Mr. Reynolds’ hit movie Hooper, can be found further along in this newsletter.

A number of Institute students and staff have also reached milestones in recent weeks. Avery Sommers performed to an overflow crowd at the Norton Museum’s "Art After Dark" series on September 22. Her rendition of "God Bless the USA" brought the audience to its feet in an emotional salute to America.

Gregory Albrecht was cast in the Oprah Winfrey series Queen Sugar. Greg also has a recurring role on the popular TV series Nashville. Dave Ausem was cast in the CBS series, Code Black, a medical drama which follows the staff members in the nation's busiest emergency room. Producers recently visited the Institute’s improvisation class and directly booked Ay Langdon and Todd Vittum as media correspondents for Ron Berman’s Florida State Senate campaign. Ask any student at the Institute and they will enthusiastically give credit for their success to Mr. Reynolds.

On September 1, Managing Director Donna Carbone’s dinner show production of her play, Shell of a Man, drew a standing room only crowd. So enthusiastic was the audience’s reaction that Harbourside Place has created a special venue–the Vanilla Box Theatre–where the play will be presented again in honor of Veterans Day. The dates for the show are November 10, 11 and 12. Details will follow in this newsletter. In a recent interview, Donna said that one of the happiest days of her life was the day Burt Reynolds told her she was a great writer.

Autumn is just beginning but already the fall season is filled with opportunities and advancement for Institute staff and students. If you would like more information on the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre and its many classes, please write info@burtreynoldsinstitute.org or call 561-743-9955.

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 with Sherman Roberts
Sundays 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--┬Łone 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 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 at Rosarian, Hooper


Rosarian Academy will welcome movie star and Florida’s favorite son Burt Reynolds to their stage at the Picotte Fine Arts Center on Saturday evening, October 15. Prior to a showing of Reynolds’ hit movie Hooper, there will be a 30 minute Q&A with questions submitted by the audience. In a recent interview, Reynolds, who is well-known for his quick wit and self-deprecating sense of humor, said that he appreciates these opportunities to connect directly with his fans. “I never know what questions will be asked. Sometimes I think my fans know more about my life than I do. Anticipation keeps me on my toes.”

Hooper, an action/comedy film released in 1978, was directed by Reynolds’ good friend, the late Hal Needham, and also stars Sally Field, Jan-Michael Vincent, Brian Keith, Robert Klein, James Best and Adam West. The film pays homage to stuntmen and stuntwomen who, at one time, were unrecognized and unappreciated in the movie industry.

In September 2015, Reynolds was honored with the Richard Farnsworth Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions supporting stuntman in the film industry. In his acceptance speech he said that “… being honored by my fellow stuntmen—the people I believe deserve much more credit than they have ever been given for making a good movie great—is one of the highlights of my life.”

Reynolds’ film career includes memorable performances as Lewis Medlock in the controversial film Deliverance and Bo “Bandit” Darville of Smokey and the Bandit fame. The Academy Award nominee and Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner has enjoyed enormous success not only as an actor but also as a producer and director in feature films, television and stage productions. Reynolds has been recognized as America's Favorite All Around Motion Picture Actor winning the People’s Choice Award a record six consecutive years. The National Association of Theatre Owners presented him with Star of the Year recognition and named him the Most Popular Star for five years running. He was also named the #1 Box Office Star for five years in a row—still an unmatched record.

Robert Sherman, the Director of Rosarian’s Theatre Arts Program, is also an instructor at the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre. Having Reynolds, whom he considers a mentor and friend, appearing at Rosarian is a dream come true. “For many years, I’ve wanted to introduce Burt Reynolds to our students. Much of what I know as a teacher and a professional actor I learned from him. His movies are timeless, fun and a visual reminder that, if you love what you do for a living, it will show in your performance.”

The movie event will begin at 7:30 pm with the Q&A followed by the showing of Hooper at 8PM. Tickets are $35 and are available at: https://ra.booktix.com


Local playwright Donna Carbone returns to Harbourside with another dinner theater presentation of her play, Shell of a Man. This time the production will be offered with a bit of a twist. Tickets holders will enjoy a delicious prix fixe meal at Another Broken Egg Café and then walk a few steps to the new Vanilla Box Theatre, a venue created especially for this event. The dates are November 10, 11 and 12–Veterans Day weekend. Dinner begins at 5PM. The show begins at 7PM.

Shell of a ManCarbone originally brought the play to Harbourside in September and the demand for tickets far exceeded available seating. The show was held inside Another Broken Egg Café where Carbone and her production team had created an intimate theater environment. The most often heard comment from those lucky enough to see Shell of a Man was “Riveting!” In a recent interview, Carbone said, “I was standing off stage watching the audience. Grown men were crying. Women were leaning forward in their seats as though trying to touch the actors. One audience member told me that he forgot he was watching a play. He believed that the real Robert Logan was on stage speaking to him.”

Shell of a Man is a true story. Robert Logan is a Vietnam veteran. He was raised in the Jim Crow south and picked his first bag of cotton at the age of two. The hardship of his early life taught him the skills needed to survive a 40-year battle with PTSD. Carbone’s 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 features actors from the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre: Ewan Leslie as Robert Logan, Jeanne Tidwell as Adriana Fleming and Lee Marlow as Dawn Peters. “I’m so proud of my actors,” she stated. “There is a tremendous amount of dialogue in this show, but Ewan, Jeanne and Lee are passionate about Robert’s story, and that passion is evident in their performances.”

When asked, 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 the effects of serving in a war zone. Although Shell of a Man is told through the life of one man, it is in actuality a story that touches the lives of all of our veterans.”

Carbone expressed her gratitude to Harbourside Place, especially Connie Kartell, who manages the venue’s charitable giving and community service endeavors. “North county residents are lucky to have such dedicated people and such a beautiful venue at which to showcase the many talents of Palm Beach County residents. Without Connie, the Vanilla Box Theatre would not exist and Shell of a Man would be gathering dust on a shelf. She is a true lover of the arts, a woman of deep caring and a visionary,” Carbone beamed.

The dinner portion of the evening will begin at 5PM at Another Broken Egg Cafe and will include a fixed price menu with a selection of three main courses. The meal will include wine and/or a cold beverage. The cost for both the dinner and the show is $40. The play will begin at 7PM. Seating is limited. Tickets can be ordered by calling 561-385-1584. For more information on Donna Carbone visit www.writeforyoullc.com or write write4you@comcast.net.


Burt Reynolds and Sean Connery were recent category subjects on the popular television game show, Jeopardy. Do you know the answers to the following questions below?

Jeopardy! Jeopardy! Jeopardy!


Due to scheduling conflicts, the retrospective of Mr. Reynolds' 55-year career scheduled for November 15 at the Eissey Campus/Palm Beach State College has been postponed. Watch for updates. The event is expected to be back on the calendar in March of 2017. Please check our newsletters and website for more information as it becomes available.


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


Avery Sommers performing at the NortonAvery Sommers performed to an overflow crowd at the Norton Museum’s "Art After Dark" series on September 22. Her rendition of "God Bless the USA" brought the audience to its feet in an emotional salute to America.

Gregory Albrecht was cast in the Oprah Winfrey series Queen Sugar. Greg also has a recurring role on the popular TV series Nashville.

Dave Ausem was cast in the CBS series, Code Black, a medical drama which follows the staff members in the nation's busiest emergency room.

Ay Langdon and Todd Vittum were hired as media correspondents for Ron Berman’s Florida State Senate campaign.

Andrew Moss (left) in The Palm Beach PostJames Ferrigno has had a busy month. He landed a recurring role as 'Jimmy the Bartender' on the series Top Shottas and a featured role as 'Professor Paul Brett' in Michael McLaren's film Crocodylus.

Our very own Andrew Moss was recently part of Leslie Gray Streeter's cover story about clowns. The story appeared recently in The Palm Beach Post.

Jane Rumbaua wrapped her work on the HBO film, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in Atlanta, Georgia. She plays Mrs. Hsu, a geneticist at John Hopkins Hospital. The film is based on Rebecca Skloot’s acclaimed bestselling nonfiction book of the same name. The film will tell the true story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who becomes an unwitting pioneer for medical breakthroughs when her cells are used to create the first immortal human cell line in the early 1950s. Oprah Winfrey is the executive producer and also stars in the film.

Annya Bright just finished acting and stunt work in tv film La Isla of Los Zombie now showing on Channel 21. She is currently acting at the Rainbow Comedy Theater in Philadelphia.

Megan Zwaans, a Fundamentals of Acting student, was cast in the upcoming play, Surfing the Rubicon, at the Willow Theatre in Boca Raton. The dates for the production are November 11, 12, 18, and 19 at 8PM and November 13 and 20 at 2PM. For tickets, please contact the box office at: 561-347-3948.

Beverly Blanchette recently wrapped a principal role in the upcoming series Tycoon as well as a comedic featured player in Stark Naked. She played 3 roles in Little Women at the Broward Center for Performing Arts with WRLN's Arts Radio Theatre Project. She'll be seen there again in Notorious on September 9 and 10 at 7:30PM. Tickets may be purchased through the Broward Center website or box office. Blanchette is also an original member of the Shakespeare Troupe of South Florida performing various roles at the Vanguard Theater of Ft. Lauderdale, Gable Stage of Coral Gables, and most recently at Area Stage in Miami where she shared the stage with Lee Marlowe and Sherman Roberts as well as serving as the troupe's Assistant Director.

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