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‘Catalyst Sessions’ recap: Stephanie Gularte

Bill DeYoung



The bulk of Tuesday’s Catalyst Sessions with American Stage CEO and producing artistic director Stephanie Gularte focused on the 2020-21 season, announced a few days ago. It’s an ambitious combination of virtual and live programming, a “first toe in the water” experiment that will, ideally, become a success and a healing exercise once Covid-19 has eased up a bit.

“Healing,” however, took on a new meaning during the interview’s second half, as Gularte candidly discussed her diagnosis, back in February, of the progressive, degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa.

The result is the loss – total or nearly so – of all vision.

Gularte spent the last six months, with the cold reality always on her shoulder, working diligently to create (with her staff) a flexible, workable future for her beloved American Stage. She didn’t even tell anybody until June.

Over time it became clear, she explained, that “there will be considerations for me in the near future, around mobility. And that I need to start preparing for. Now.”

American Stage has begun the search process, with Gularte’s assistance, for a new executive and artistic director.

Today on The Catalyst Sessions: A rare conversation with Florida musical legend Kent LaVoie, better known as Lobo (“Me and You and a Dog Named Boo,” “I’d Love You to Want Me”), whose career began in St. Petersburg.

Streaming weekdays at 7 p.m. on the Catalyst Facebook page. All episodes are archived on our YouTube page.

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