The countdown is on to Fringe … and “Murder Sleep”

The cast and crew of the upcoming Fringe Festival play "Murder Sleep." Top is directors Jim Cundiff and Laurel Clark; below is cast members Mickey Layman, Sara Cutlip and Steven Johnson.

The cast and crew of the upcoming Fringe Festival play “Murder Sleep.” Top is directors Jim Cundiff and Laurel Clark; below is cast members Mickey Layman, Sara Cutlip and Steven Johnson.


ORLANDO — At an aging hotel in Fort Lauderdale, the handsome young stud Ryan is only too eager to welcome the beautiful and exotic woman he’s met at the bar, Francesca, into his room for the afternoon. What he doesn’t quite expect is the strange tale she spins, about the rich man staying there who took advantage of her, even abused her, who also happens to be carrying plenty of cash. Just think, she tells her out-of-work hunk, how much better their lives would be if they could sneak into his room, late at night, knife in hand ….
Freeline Productions is producing “Murder Sleep,” an original play that will make its premiere at the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival in May. The play, written by the show’s producer, Michael Freeman, will explore the dark, ominous and sexy things happening in that once majestic hotel.
Show performance dates are:
* Wednesday, May 18th 8:30 PM
* Saturday, May 21st 1:30 PM
* Monday, May 23rd 10:30 PM
* Wednesday, May 25th 10:00 PM
* Saturday, May 28th 8:30 PM
* Sunday, May 29th 11:30 PM
“Murder Sleep” will be performed in the Patron’s Room at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, 812 E. Rollins St., as part of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival of 2016.
The play is being directed by two of Central Florida’s most highly respected stage directors, Laurel Clark and Jim Cundiff. Michael Freeman is a longtime journalist who now works at The Orlando Sentinel, and has produced two earlier Fringe Festival shows (both directed by Clark): the dark comedy “Hooked” at the May 2009 Fringe Festival, and the comedy “Copping a Craigie” the following year. Michael is also the author of the novel “Bloody Rabbit.”
The original play "Murder Sleep" will premiere in May at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival.

The original play “Murder Sleep” will premiere in May at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival.


Laurel Clark is a 24-year Fringe veteran and has directed or assistant directed 15 previous Fringe shows. Among these shows she is proud to have won 2 Lilly Stotes awards and 5 venues as patrons pick. When not directing at Fringe Laurel has been blessed to be the Show Director at Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows since 1996.
“I am particularly thrilled to be bringing this funny yet darkly disturbing story to the Fringe for its 25th anniversary,” Clark said. “It’s a true blue mystery which will leave our audiences with plenty to contemplate and discuss, long after they head off to their next show.”
Since returning to the stage eight years ago, Jim Cundiff has enjoyed performing at Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, Mad Cow Theatre, Breakthrough Theatre of Winter Park and with freelance groups like Dark Side of Saturn. Jim shoulders the responsibilities of producer and director regularly, including projects for Playwrights Round Table and Breakthrough Theater. As a fledgling producer, Jim was thrilled with the success of his show, the Ned Wilkinson musical Fosgate Ferret Loan Officer, which was 2012′s Brown Venue Patron’s Pick at the Orlando International Fringe Festival. He repeated that success by co-directing (with Laurel Clark) the 2013 Brown Venue Patron’s Pick, another Ned Wilkinson musical, the startling T.J. and Mr. Oaksite. Jim is excited to be directing with Laurel and working with this great team.
“Murder Sleep” also features a cast of three of this region’s hottest up-and-coming actors.
Mickey Layman (in the role of R.T.) is originally from Illinois, and has performed for numerous professional, regional, and dinner theatres throughout the Midwest before relocating to Florida in 2003. He has been performing steadily since the young age of 10, and has performed such roles as Donkey in Shrek The Musical, Edna in Hairspray, and The Baker in Into The Woods. He can presently be seen causing murder and mayhem at Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows when he isn’t busy completing his Bachelors degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Central Florida. Mickey is ecstatic to be performing in his 2nd year at the Fringe!
Steven Johnson (Ryan) has been involved with the Orlando Fringe Festival since 2007 and has worked on over 10 shows. He was also the Fringe mascot for two years. He can currently be seen dancing behind drag queens at Parliament House as well as Hamburger Mary’s when he is not teaching dance. He is excited to be portraying Ryan, the intense, volatile lead in “Murder Sleep.”
Sara Cutlip, AKA Schmoo (Francesca) has been smelting professional acting, political activism and circus arts into an adventurous career or over a decade. This is her third year working with Orlando Fringe; which provides an ideal set of stages for the multi-facetted. Sara has been blessed to have done modeling (fringe ad campaign), choreography (Key of E), fire fan/stilt dance (fundraiser), spoken word (Poetry Vending Machine), puppetry (Ibex) and even script and music writing (The Mud Flapper Variety Hour) for Orlando’s Fringe, but this will be her first time taking a lead role in this festival. She is a nationally touring performer and excited for the (over) exposure.
“Murder Sleep” is a mind bending thriller filled with plenty of twists –and more than a little bit of humor.

Contact Freeline Media at Freelineorlando@gmail.com..

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