Dear Friends,

It can’t be November already! Where has 2016 gone?

At the Burt Reynolds Institute, October featured a spectacular fund raising event sponsored by Rosarian Academy. Prior to the screening of Mr. Reynolds’ hit movie Hooper, he and Executive Director C. Todd Vittum answered questions submitted by the audience for over an hour. In keeping with the movie’s theme, Mr. Reynolds brought along the Richard Farnsworth Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented to him by the Stuntman's Association of Motion Pictures last year. Hooper is a movie tribute to the contributions made by stuntmen to the film industry. The Stuntman's Association is the oldest organization supporting stuntman with a focus on ensuring safety and standards in the industry. Rounding out the evening, parked outside the Picotte Fine Arts Center where the event was held, one of the original red Pontiac Trans Ams used in the film became the backdrop for fan photos through the courtesy of Gene Kennedy.

The success of this event was due in large part to the efforts of Rosarian’s Head of School Steve Rubenacker, Head of Facilities Cathy Reader, and Chairman of the Board John C. Cassidy. A special "Thank you" also goes out to Rosarian’s Theatre Arts Program Director Sherman Roberts, who also happens to be the Burt Reynolds Institute’s Fundamentals of Acting teacher. For Sherman, having Mr. Reynolds, whom he considers a mentor and friend, appear at Rosarian was a dream come true.

The Key West Film Festival will honor Mr. Reynolds with a Career Achievement Award recognizing his 55-plus years in the movie industry. The festival, which runs from November 16-20, will offer a diverse, entertaining and artistically rigorous selection of films. There will also be a special screening of the documentary The Bandit on November 17. If you have ever considered taking a vacation to the Florida Keys, this would be the perfect time to do so.

We would like to give a special shout out to Master Class actor Blaine Burdette, who recently landed roles in two different Civil War movies. In Legends and Lies on the Fox network, Blaine appears as General Irwin McDowell and in the dramatic feature film Union, he portrays General Phillip Sheridan. It is ironic that in both these productions Blaine, a proud son of the south and former tailback for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, portrays Union generals.

Our fund raising drive to build a new Institute is making progress thanks to the support shown by all those who attended the Rosarian event. We are also grateful to Mr. Reynolds’ fans who continue to keep our dream alive with their donations. We still have a ways to go before we can break ground so, please, make the Burt Reynolds Institute a part of your charitable giving this holiday season. Remember that the Institute is staffed completely by volunteers who believe in our mission to secure Mr. Reynolds’ legacy for generations to come. We are a 501c3 in good standing and your donations are tax deductible. 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 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--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 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 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 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



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 or write

Read the Jupiter Courier guest editorial article here:


Playwrights Horizons: Shell of a Man is a moving portrait of a Vietnam veteran rendered with warmth and generosity."

Steppenwolf Literary Manager: I wanted to let you know that I had an opportunity to read your play, Shell of a Man. I admire your will to bring this devastating story of bravery to the world through the lens of the theatre. I found your writing to be thoughtful and poetic..."

PB Post/Letter to the Editor: “The impact this show had on the audience was palpable as evidenced by the silence and tears of the men and women who were riveted by the dialogue and the performances. The author and the actors brought the story of one man, a Vietnam vet suffering from PTSD, right into the audience’s hearts and souls. By creating this successful dinner show production, Donna Carbone proved that people are hungry for more than good food.”


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.


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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:


The award-winning short film Star Child, starring Amy Hoerler and featuring Alan Myles Heyman, will be showing at the MIAMI short FILM FESTIVAL on Tuesday, November 15 at 9:15 PM - 11:15 PM at Cinepolis Coconut Grove, 3015 Grand Ave, Miami, Florida 33133. Star Child screens alongside nine other short films to make up the program: Miami's Own, Part Two! For tickets, visit For those of you who cannot make the festival, there is another opportunity to see Star Child--the Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival on Saturday, December 3 at 3:40 PM - 5:50 PM (part of the Other Worldly Shorts-Sci-Fi-and-Fantasy block) at Britton Cinemas, 3938 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, Florida 33611. For tickets, visit Support Florida film.

Amy Hoerler recently picked up 'Best Actress' award for her work on KURU at I’m Not Gonna Move to L.A. FilmGate Miami (October 2016). The film was also awarded Best Film and Audience Award.

A Picasso, starring Mitch Price and Patty Carreau, will be on stage at A.C.T. Studio Theatre on November 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27. Opening on Saturday, November 12, performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 3PM. A.C.T. Studio Theatre is located in the Cedar Pointe Plaza, 2399 SE Ocean Blvd., Stuart. Reserved seating is $25. For tickets and information, please visit or call 772-932-8880.

Nadine Edery, a student in Sherman Robert's Fundamentals of Acting class, has won the role of 'Jill' in the Barn Theater production of A Nice Family Gathering. The play, written by Phil Olson, is a comedy/drama. The play runs from November 4 - November 20. Thursday, Friday and Saturday performance begin at 8PM. Saturday matinees at 2PM. The Barn Theater is located at 2400 SE Ocean Blvd, Stuart, FL 34996. Call (772) 287-4884 for tickets.

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 & 19 at 8PM November 13 & 20 at 2PM. For tickets, please contact the box office at 561-347-3948.

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 Facebook and Twitter!

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