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A Musical Moveable Feast: Wanderlust Theatre Launches

Laura Hope-London

A new concept in theatre is coming to Tallahassee on July 18. It will take its audience on a literal journey to multiple performances in the course of a single evening.

The idea comes from Laura Hope-London. She’s an actor, writer and producer with impressive academic credentials to boot. She received her bachelors of fine arts from the prestigious New York University Tisch School. Her masters came from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Now, she’s working on her doctorate at the Florida State University School of Theatre.

“I came back to school after having a long career as a stage performer because I wanted to figure out how to marry my practical experience with how to educate the next generation of performers that are coming up because it’s really a changing industry,” she explained. “That’s the best part about being a doctoral student at FSU’s School of Theatre is the students.”

But Hope-London hasn’t confined her energies to the textbooks. While at school, she’s also co-executive producer for season two of the award-winning web series “Seeking.” She’s the writer and co-star of two short films, “Homeward” and “Departures,” which are heading onto the festival circuit. She’s involved in the new “Making Light” performance space. Oh, and there’s one more thing.

“With all of the free time I have,” she laughed, “I’m also starting a theatre company called ‘Wanderlust Theatre on Location.’ This is an idea that I’ve had incubating for many, many years that was inspired by a project I worked on in New York City years ago where we performed a new musical about the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in the early 1900s actually on site.”

Hope-London is now ready to launch the Wanderlust Theatre’s first production.

“Through my experiences in the professional theatre and through my work at FSU that I do my scholarship academically with musical theatre, I thought what better place to start it here in Tallahassee. So we are having our inaugural production here this summer and it’s going to be a walking musical theatre experience called ‘Musicals on the Move.’”

She explained the audience will go to several locations during the evening.

“We have signed on an amazing array of local businesses all in relatively the same block of Midtown Tallahassee. So our evening on July 18 will start at the Hawthorn Bakery where people will register, check in and receive their tickets, a map of where their adventure will take them that evening and they will be assigned a tour guide.”

It’s essentially a walking cabaret experience featuring songs from well-known musicals at the various sites.

“There will be pop-up musical theatre performances happening site specifically at venues across Midtown Tallahassee. Several of the venues that are included in the walking tour are SoDOUGH Bakery, A Country Rose Florist, Chopped Barber Shop, Vocelle’s Bridal Shop, Finnegan’s Wake Irish Pub and Fire Betty’s Arcade and we will conclude with a big opening night party. It’s going to be a lot of fun!”

Hope-London said this will require an extensive cast of performers and support staff to pull off. “We have a cast of 21 very talented people,” she noted. “About half of them are students from the FSU School of Theatre and about half are wonderfully talented people from the Tallahassee community so it’s a nice mix that represents, I think, the finest talents in Tallahassee. We have a team of 6 stage managers, one for each venue. We have 4 tour guides, an amazing choreographer named Holly Stone and a wonderful stage director named Hanna Fazio.”

Perhaps most amazing of all, Hope-London says these folks will be compensated for their time and talents.

“For more information about the show in general you can visit our website: www.wanderlustarts.org. Ticketing will be limited for this because we are performing in actual working businesses, so it is an intimate event. But a limited number of tickets can be purchased through our Indiegogo campaign: bit.ly/musicalsonthemove."

It’s all an innovative artistic concept from a multi-talented artist who believes in making her art a vital part of the community.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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