A play by UCF graduate student Daniel Romano about a group of 20-somethings trying to figure out how life works while living in NYC.

Play it by Ear by UCF graduate student Daniel Romano is a full-length play about a group of twenty-somethings trying to figure out how life works while living in close proximity in NYC. This is an intimate show, which explores the ideas of friendship, heartbreak, love, and—above all else—the ever-present struggle between passion and responsibility. What does it mean to grow up when society’s benchmarks no longer apply?

Show warnings: This production of Play It By Ear contains mild sexual content, mild drug use, mild violence and strong language.

There will be one fifteen-minute intermission.

Cam – Luis Landa
Charles, U/S Cam – John McFarland
Rebecca – Stephany Rodriguez-Rosario
Christina, U/S Rebecca – Hannah Ginsburg
Jane – Emily Williams
Devin – Kaitlan McGahey
Female Swing – Bridget Parry

Creative Team
Playwright – Daniel Romano
Composer – Sean Phillip Gould
Scenic Designer – Nic Stelter
Costume Designer – Raymond Veliz
Lighting Designer – Lauren Hawley
Sound Designer – Darius Talkington Fletcher
Music Director – Benjamin Walton
Stage Manager – Danielle Borenstein
Director – Brett Mackinnon
Project Spotlight Executive Producer – Elizabeth Calvert
Project Spotlight Producer – Kassidy Pierce
Project Spotlight Artistic Director – Jon-Paul Schaut
Project Spotlight Marketing Director – Sarah Schreck
Project Spotlight Faculty Advisors – Be Boyd, John Shafer

Director’s Note by Brett Mackinnon

“I’m coming into my fourth year of college at UCF and I wanted to participate and partner with Project Spotlight to have another chance to work with this amazing company. Their focus on new theatre is inspiring and as a starting artist I find great pleasure in being able to collaborate with new playwrights and other students like myself who are looking to creatively express themselves and create theatre from the ground up. When I was approached for Play It By Ear you could tell that there was passion written into the piece and it came from an honest place. Play It By Ear is a show that blends musical elements into an interesting plot and tells a story that focuses on the struggles young artists can encounter and how their friends and family are the bonds that can hold it together.”

Playwright’s Note by Daniel Romano

“As I have progressed through my twenties and now into my thirtieth year, I have been able to reflect on how relationships evolve and change as the years roll on. It seems almost inconceivable when you spend nearly every day around someone, that there will be a day you will barely know them anymore. Yet, there are always those people who—when you return to your old stomping grounds—instantly fall back into that same rhythm with you. In large part, we end up defining ourselves by our relationships in life. And that, in the end, is what Play It By Ear is about—how we define ourselves by the people with whom we choose to associate. As millennials face some of the defining issues of our generation (growing up in a time when society’s benchmarks no longer apply, a disconnection from reality due to social media and the internet, etc.), this seems to be the constant that remains.”


Elizabeth Calvert (Executive Producer) is a senior in the B.A. Theatre Studies program. Elizabeth worked on shows with Project Spotlight such as Biodegradable Seagulls by Alex Hehr, A Good Idea by Alexandrew Recore, Waiting by Matt Ubl, It’s A Match by Mareya Norris and First Miss by Sarah Schreck. She was nominated for SDC Student Director Award for her work on Theatre UCF’s Romeo and Juliet and represented UCF at a ten-minute play festival at Region 4 KCACTF. She is also the rising Artistic Director of Project Spotlight.

Kassidy Pierce (Producer) is a B.A. Theatre Studies student double majoring in Entertainment Management. Kassidy has worked on the marketing and production teams for Project Spotlight as well as performed on stage. Past credits include Vampire (Magdalene), First Miss (Waiter), The Wizard of Oz (Dorothy), and Women and Wallace (Sarah).

Jon-Paul Schaut (Artistic Director) is a senior double majoring in B.A. Theatre Studies and Advertising/Public Relations. In addition to being the Artistic Director of Project Spotlight, he is a Student Leadership Liaison for the Florida State Thespian Festival, a marketing intern for UCF School of Performing Arts and is an entertainment cast member for the Walt Disney World, Orlando Resort. Jon-Paul has acted in and produced numerous shows for Project Spotlight and elsewhere throughout Tampa and Orlando. Play It By Ear will be the second show he has produced for UCF Celebrates the Arts.

Sarah Schreck (Marketing Director) is a senior in the B.A. Theatre Studies program, pursuing a second major in Advertising and Public Relations with minors in Creative Writing and Performing Arts Administration. She is the marketing director of Project Spotlight and the founder of the fledgling playwriting group, The Writers Bloc. After graduation, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in Arts Administration.

Emily Williams (Jane) is a sophomore B.A. Theatre Studies student at UCF. Some of her previous productions include Proof (Catherine), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Leaf Coneybear), and The Bacchae (Messenger).

Brett Mackinnon (Director) is a senior B.F.A Musical Theatre student at UCF. He has participated in ten-minute play competitions submitting for both fight choreography and direction. Previous credits include Besties, Stanley Christ, and Hate. Brett is looking to pursue both performance and directing after his time at UCF.

 Benjamin Walton (Music Director) – Benjamin is a senior in the B.F.A. Musical Theatre program with minors in Music and Creative Writing. He has previously music directed for Cloud 9She Loves MeAn OctoroonBernarda Alba at Theatre UCF and produced his debut original musical through Project Spotlight in March 2017. Some performance credits at Theatre UCF include The World Goes ‘Round (Man 1) and Of Thee I Sing (Male Ensemble).

Darius Talkington Fletcher (Sound Designer) is a sophomore at the University of Central Florida pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design and Technology. Some of his previous credits include Bernarda Alba (Assistant Sound Designer/ Mixer), Of Thee I Sing (Audio Two), Oklahoma! (Audio Two) and OAF 2017-Fall and Spring (Sound Designer).

​​Stefany Rodriguez-Rosario (Rebecca) is a senior in Theatre with a minor in Event Management. This is her third and final Project Spotlight production, past credits including Apothecary/Paul/Prince in Romeo and Juliet Act VI, and Queen/Sorceror in Rollplay. She has also performed Oedipus Rex (chorus/violinist) and Les Miserables (ensemble).

Hannah Ginsburg (Christina, U/S Rebecca) other favorite roles have been Belle (Beauty and the Beast,) Montague (Romeo and Juliet Act VI,) Mayzie (Seussical,) It’s A Match (Jessica,) and Chick (Crimes of the Heart). She also enjoys playing drums, guitar, piano, and ukulele in her spare time.

Bridget Parry (Female Swing) is a second year student in B.A. Theatre Studies at UCF. With Project Spotlight, she has been seen in productions such as Vampire (Amelia) and Dreamscape (Lover). Other past performances include Missy in The Marvelous Wonderettes and Ruth/Millie Understudy in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Lauren Hawley (Lighting Designer) is pursuing a degree in the Theatre Design and Technology B.F.A. program. She recently worked as the Master Electrician for the Theatre UCF production of Bernarda Alba, and Assistant Master Electrician for their Of Thee I Sing. She has also worked as the lighting designer for Project Spotlight for two years, including the UCF Celebrates the Arts performance of The Force of Gravity, and the One Acts Festival and Ten-Minute Play Competition.

Kaitlan McGahey (Devin) is a senior in B.F.A. Acting. She was most recently seen in the premier of The Force of Gravity (Cheryl) as part of UCF Celebrates the Arts 2017. Other credits include Theatre UCF’s production of Cloud 9 (Ellen/the Solider), The Vagina Monologues (The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy), The Human Laureate (The Award),  Unbridled (Mae), Clue: the Musical (The Detective), Little Women (Jo), Legally Blonde: the Musical (Paulette), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Marcy).

Sean Phillip Gould (Composer) is pursuing a B.A. in Mathematics at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. In addition to composing the songs for Play It By Ear, he has acted and played in the pit for several productions at Delaware County Community College. He performs as a singer/songwriter around the Philadelphia area.

Daniel Romano (Playwright) is a second year M.F.A. Acting student. His most recent play, The Sick Parents Club was produced at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center. Another play, Monstrous won Best Play at Project Spotlight’s 2017 Ten-Minute Play Competition. Play it by Ear was previously workshopped in New York in 2015 at 440 Studios.

Danielle Borenstein (Stage Manager) is a junior in the B.F.A. Stage Management program. Previous credits: An Octoroon (Assistant Stage Manager), Hedda Gabler (Props Master), James and The Giant Peach Jr. (Assistant Stage Manager), And The World Goes Round (A2), Almost Maine (Assistant Stage Manager), The Sound of Music Jr. (Production Assistant).