The Players Inc
838 N Tamiami Trl
Sarasota FL 34236
The Players Theatre is dedicated to presenting a diverse and entertaining slate of high quality, volunteer driven theatrical experiences that educate, stimulate and enrich the entire community.
CEO/Executive Director Ms Michelle Bianchi Pingel
Board Chair Ms. Leona Collesano
Board Chair Company Affiliation Sarasota County Schools
History and Background
Organization DBA
The Players Theatre
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Supported Organization Players, Inc
Awarded a competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
Incorporation Year 1950
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $1,470,801.00
Projected Expenses $1,470,801.00
Additional Documents
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of Determination
State Info
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes July 2015
State Registration Exempt Jan 2016
Impact on the community:
  • Serves a diverse audience of more than 75,000 annually;
  • Offers year-round programming to serve the community;
  • Provides varied training for over 300 students ages 3 and up through The Players Performing Arts Studio and Summer Camp programs;
  • Annually engages over 700 volunteers both on and off stage;
  • Annually provides over 3,500 complimentary tickets to underserved; and at risk youth and adults in the community through The Players Charity Preview Performance Program;
  • Annually provides over 50 scholarships to students through The Players Building Better Grownups Scholarship Program; and
  • Provides complimentary summer camp performances to other area camps for over 600 children, some who have never experienced live theatre.

The Players: a Sarasota Institution

Performing arts in Sarasota started in 1930 with The Players Theatre. Sarasota’s first performing arts organization began with a season of one-act plays on the stage of the Out of Door School on Siesta Key. A grand total of 281 members and patrons each paid a $2 subscription fee to launch the series. In1936,The Players moved into its own theatre at the corner of North Tamiami Trail and Ninth Street. Built of pecky cypress, it had 246 seats, a lobby with a welcoming fireplace and a large stage. In the early 70s the current building replaced the original one, with a seating capacity of almost 500. In 2000, building renovations included a new stage and lighting, sound and acoustical upgrades, and other exterior and interior refurbishments.

Over the years The Players has achieved a reputation for quality programming that entertains, educates, and enlightens a diverse audience with year-round offerings:

  • Broadway Theatre Series
  • SNAP (Something New at Players) Series
  • Summer Sizzler Series,
  • The Players New Play Festival
  • Backstage Theatre Series, in an intimate, “black box” venue
  • Special concerts, and a variety of community partnership programs.
As a community theatre, the actors are volunteers who work alongside professional creative teams of some of the area’s best directors, music directors, choreographers and designers. This creates an environment that challenges and encourages everyone involved to achieve ever-higher artistic standards. As an acknowledgement of this standard of excellence, The Players Theatre was named Cultural Organization of the Year in the 2011 Frank G. Berlin, Sr., Small Business Awards, presented by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

The Players maintains modest ticket prices, from $8 to $30, ensuring that the transformative power of live theatre is available to as many members of the community as possible.

Also serving the community is The Players Performing Arts Studio, which opened in 1995 as the educational arm of The Players Theatre. Annually it offers classes for more than 300 students, ages three through adulthood:
  • Acting
  • Dance
  • Singing
  • Specialty workshops
  • Two community outreach groups: The Players Kids and The Sarasota Silver Stars, a 55-and-over performing troupe.
The Players Art Gallery, a collaboration with the Sarasota art community which began in 2009, is located in the theatre lobby and features the work of 1-3 different artists for the run of each Broadway Series show.

Imminent needs:

  • 2 hand held microphones ($800 each);
  • 2 – 47 inch LCD Flat screen TVs plus the cable for the lobby ($1,000 each);
  • 1 DVD player for the lobby with cable ($200);
  • 1 Bose Sound Dock Series III for classes ($1,000); and
  • 1 Vertical Band Saw for the Scene Shop to build sets ($1,200).

 Ongoing needs:

  • 10 costumes for the student show case ($50 each);
  • Royalties for one student production ($1,200);
  • 1 student scholarship for entire summer ($1,000);
  • 6 Countryman E6s head worn microphones ($385 each); and
  • 8 Chauvet 72' TOUR Linear RGBW LED Wash Lights ($800 each).

 Long range needs:

  • 160, $500 endowment donors, plus 280, $1,000 endowment donors to raise $360,000 for eligible state matching funds of $240,000;
  • $5 million raised in the Endowment Fund within 10 years;
  • New theatre flooring in auditorium and lobby $100,000;
  • New padded modular seating $300,000;
  • New air conditioning system $600,000; and
  • Renovate the concession area $35,000.
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director

The Players productions, as well as education and outreach programs, have provided opportunities that transformed the lives of students, audiences, volunteers, patrons and staff members. As one of Florida’s award-winning and most comprehensive community theatres, The Players thrives because of its ability to respond to numerous community needs. One example of how we impact and change lives is our work as leaders in theatre education through The Players Performing Arts Studio. Our programs serve students aged 3 to adult. Studies show that children exposed to the arts, especially performing arts, achieve greater success in life. Last year, more than 10,000 students attended a show, took a class, participated in a workshop or summer camp, or volunteered in a production at The Players Theatre.

Great challenges lie ahead. The need for a safe, accessible, and modern facility is urgent. The present building is not sufficient to meet the demand for growing programs. To address tomorrow’s challenges, The Players leadership developed a long term strategic plan to ensure the growth and viability of the theatre well into the future. The Players will look to the generosity of loyal patrons, donors, businesses, and foundations in the greater Sarasota area who recognize that their support constitutes an investment in our community’s future to build a new theatre. 
Michelle Bianchi Pingel
Managing Director/CEO
The Players Theatre

Statement from the Board Chair/Board President As the current Chair of The Players Theatre, I could not be more proud to be a part of such a fantastic organization. I became involved with the theatre in 1999 when my daughter joined The Players Kids Performing Troupe. My children grew up on The Players stage. Ten years later, in 2009, I was elected to the Board of Trustees as another opportunity to be a part of ensuring the stability of The Players for future generations. It wasn’t until I became a board member that I realized there are a lot of challenges that the theatre faces that require long-term strategic planning. The board has prioritized these challenges into a five-year strategic plan. The five goals of the plan are to:
  1. Be a leader in community entertainment, the premiere theatre in the region, and better known in the community;
  2. Create a new facility that provides a vivacious array of varied theatrical experiences;
  3. Achieve greater financial strength and stability; increase the endowment fund;
  4. Promote opportunities for the growth of volunteers;
  5. Broaden Educational Programs; and
  6. Provide leadership in coordinating arts groups.
In closing, if you have not been to The Players recently, I invite you to experience the most “professional” community theatre in the area. I guarantee that you will not leave just feeling that you saw a great show. You will want to return to see show after show to keep experiencing diverse and entertaining, high quality, volunteer-driven theatrical productions like no other theatre offers in the community.
See you at the theatre! 

Leona Collesano, Chair of the Board of Trustees

The Players Theatre

Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Charlotte
FL- Manatee
FL- Sarasota
FL- DeSoto
FL- Hillsborough
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Youth Development

The Players Performing Arts Studio opened in 1995 as the educational arm of The Players Theatre. It is a performing arts studio and training facility to prepare students for life as well as to become actors at The Players Theatre. Enrollment includes more than 300 students, ages three and older, who choose from an array of basic to advanced level classes. Coursework ranges from acting, singing, and choreography, to ballet, lyrical, tap, jazz, and hip-hop dance. Specialty workshops are also available, such as Make-Up for the Stage and Screen, On Camera Acting, How to Audition, and Playwriting, all taught by area professionals.

The Building Better Grownups Scholarship program creates opportunities for disadvantaged youth to experience the personal and creative development that comes from theatre arts education. Scholarships are awarded to children of low-income families during the fall and spring studio sessions and the Stage Door Workshop summer camp program.
Budget $137,304
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Theater Arts Instruction
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) At-Risk Populations Adults
Short Term Success

Students benefit greatly from participation in the performing arts. Successes of the Building Better Grownups Scholarship program are measured individually, one student at a time. From a mother, “My little girl has always been shy and introverted. After taking part in your musical theater camp there was a remarkable change in her. Taking voice, dance and acting lessons allowed her to blossom! She was suddenly able to open up and talk to others and express her feelings.”

Long Term Success

Children involved in performing arts do better in school and in life. Research shows that students involved in the performing arts are far more likely to pursue higher education and earn more income. Such experience also leads to higher attendance, better academic performance, higher verbal and math SAT scores and increased literacy. Spending time with performing arts programs is a powerful tool for improving the well- being of youth in our schools and in our communities.

How Program is Monitored

The impact of the Building Better Grownups Scholarship program on students’ lives is measured through written and oral feedback from participants, including scholarship recipients. Students fill out an evaluation form at the end of each studio and summer camp session. The form provides both a structured evaluation and an opportunity to share from the heart how the studio experience has affected the individual respondent.


Also, the staff of The Players Performing Arts Studio measures the success of the scholarship program. The attitude of a student is of utmost importance. Attendance also is a key indicator of a student’s commitment. Scholarships are not automatically renewed; absences and tardiness may result in forfeiture of the scholarship.
Examples of Program Success Success is measured in stories like Treyvon’s. Given a full scholarship to The Players Stage Door Workshop summer camp program at age 15, he demonstrates the difference a scholarship can make. Treyvon’s parents were unavailable to him; his guardian struggled with life’s challenges. He was on his own much of the time. That did not, however, prevent his dream of performing on stage. Referred by an elementary school teacher, Treyvon received a full scholarship to the 2010 program. Camp instructors quickly discovered he had little support at home and no food for the day. He determined to attend no matter what. Scholarship support expanded to include food for camp and weekends. That fall he was accepted into the acclaimed Booker High School Visual and Performing Arts program. Summer of 2011, he returned to the Stage Door Workshop as an intern to share his experience and enthusiasm. Since then he was granted a prestigious national full-college scholarship.
  • Broadway Series – seven shows that present a mix of moods, styles and messages to appeal to a wide variety of residents and tourists.
  • Summer Sizzler Series – three full-length plays.
  • SNAP (Something New At Players) Series – one-day or long-weekend performances of concerts, play readings, short-run productions, from family friendly to progressive entertainment.
  • New Play Festival – showcases local playwrights.
  • Backstage at The Players – three contemporary plays in an intimate black-box venue.
Budget $600,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Theater
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Families Adults Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success
  • Extending a show
  • Oral and written surveys from cast and crew
  • Positive critics’ reviews
  • Patrons’ oral and written comments
  • Local awards given to a particular show
Long Term Success
  • Tracking ticket sales
  • Number of patrons who move from single ticket to season subscriber
  • Patrons becoming: Donors, Vounteers at the theatre and Show Sponsors
How Program is Monitored
  • Audience survey at one performance of each production
  • Cast and crew survey at close of each show
  • Oral and written feedback from artistic team to the management
  • Post mortem discussions with staff and management
  • Review of comments on social media
Examples of Program Success
  • Cultual Organization of the Year in the 2011 Frank G. Berlin Sr. Small Business Awards, presented by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.
  • A finalist in the 2011 Longboat Key, Lido Key, St. Armands Key, Chamber of Commerce Non-profit Business of the Year.
  • A finalist in the 2011 John Cox Community Partner Category, Sarasota County Economic Development Corporation Hall of Fame Award.
  • A 2013 finalist for Best Theatre Company by SRQ Magazine.
  • The 2013 Favorite Local Performing Arts Venue by Watermark's Wave Award.


A. Charity Preview Performance Program at the theatre
  • Integral to the mission of The Players;
  • Provides complimentary tickets each season to 3500 individuals from over-55 communities and organizations to see the seven Broadway Series shows.
  • Established in 1985, this program serves more than 30 charity organizations in Sarasota and Manatee counties.B.
B. Performances taken into the community by The Players performing groups:
               1) Players Kids – ages 8 to 17
               2) Players Sarasota Silver Stars – a 55 + senior troupe
  • Both train all year to perform for people who cannot travel to the theatre in retirement homes and assisted living facilities in Sarasota, Venice, Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch.
  • Words cannot describe the joyful expressions on the faces of the audiences of both troupes.
C. Players Art Gallery – collaboration with the Sarasota art community which began in 2009, located in the theatre lobby featuring the work of a different artist for the run of each Broadway Series show.
Budget $200,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Theater
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Families Adults Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success
  • Monitoring the number of applications to particpate in the Charity Preview Performance Program.
  • Number of sales by artists in Players Gallery (10% of all sales is donated to the theatre.)
  • The immediate positive response of audience to Players Kids and Sarasota Silver Stars.
Long Term Success Number of:
  • Applications for all three outreach programs
  • Charity Preview attendance
  • Artists given the opportunity to display their work
  • Retirement homes and assisted-living facilities at which Players Kids and Sarasota Silver Stars perform
How Program is Monitored
Monitor use of complimentary tickets given to charity organizations vs number who actually attend.
Number of:· Local artists who earn the privilege to display for an encore viewing
  • Repeat invitations to perform at a facility
  • Adequacy of performance space
Examples of Program Success

Thank you letters received from Charity Preview attendees; a few samples:

“Thank you for the opportunity to participate in your Charity Preview program. Trauma and stress are a daily part of our routine at the Child Protection Center and it brings great pleasure to offer a family receiving services a night out to relax and escape to the theatre.” - Douglas S. Stanley, Child Protection Center, Inc.

“The residents enjoyed every show and it was a huge hit in our facility. We are so grateful for businesses such as The Players that allow us the opportunity to attend and participate in such activities that most of our residents are not able to do without your help.” – Hallie Robeck, Director of Activities, Renaissance Manor.

“All of us at Big Brothers Big Sisters appreciate the generosity of the tickets, especially the Bigs and Littles who would otherwise not be able to see the wonderful performances of the theatre.” Crystal Simmons – Mental Manager, Big Brothers Big Sisters

Program Comments by Organization
There are two major challenges faced at The Players Theatre:
1. Creating an Endowment for sustainability into the future; and
2. Launching a Capital Campaign for a new building.
Both are discussed in the 5-year Strategic Plan recently developed by the board. 
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Ms Michelle Bianchi Pingel
CEO Term Start Sept 2008

Born and reared on Longboat Key, Ms. Pingel attended St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton and graduated from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota. She holds a Degree in Interdisciplinary Social Science. Ms. Pingel joined The Players Theatre in August 2002 as the new Administrative Assistant. She was promoted to Office Administrator in August 2005 and Director of Operations in February 2007. In September 2008, the Board of Trustees of The Players Theatre promoted Ms. Pingel to the position of Managing Director/CEO during one of the greatest economic crises the country had seen since the Great Depression. Ms. Pingel immediately presented a “split-management” business model to the Board with the position of Managing Director/CEO focusing on all aspects of business and finances and the position of Artistic Director focusing on artistic quality and productions. She revised the operating budget, reorganized the staff, streamlined the theatre operations, and reduced expenses by 27%, saving the theatre from near bankruptcy. The success of the split-management team has brought the theatre back to a growing $1.2 million operating budget.


Board Member/Advisory Positions

  • Selected as ABC7's "Amazing Woman of the Week" April 2014;
  • State of Florida Grants Panel Member adjudicating over 30 professional theatres in Florida;
  • Board Member of the Sarasota County Arts & Cultural Alliance;
  • Serves as one of three members of the Governance Committee for the Sarasota County Arts & Cultural Alliance;
  • Guest Speaker for Sarasota County Chamber for “Secrets to Successful Selling” 2012;
  • Sarasota County Chamber Small Business Awards Judge 2012, 2013 & 2014;
  • Ringling College of Art & Design’s Greatness Beyond Measure Judge 2009 & 2010;
  • Member of the National Association of Professional Women
  • Alumni Representative – Sports Club – Cardinal Mooney High School;
  • Chair of the Cardinal Mooney High School Class of 1987 Alumni Association; and
  • Member of the St. Mary's Star of the Sea Catholic Church.
Full Time Staff 11
Part Time Staff 4
Volunteers 702
Contractors 78
Staff Retention Rate % 90
Professional Development Yes
Management Reports to Board Yes
Organization Plans
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 5
Strategic Plan Adopted Oct 2012
Management Succession Plan No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Former CEOs
Mr. Burton Wolfe 2000 - 2006
Ms Jo-Ann Wolverton 2006 - 2007
Senior Staff
Ms. Cobi Ackerman Box Office Manager
Mr. Berry Ayers Director of Music/Production Manager
Mr. Seth Berry Audio/Video/Lighting Engineer
Ms. Alyssa Goudy Assistant Technical Director
Ms. Kaylene McCaw Costume Shop Manager
Ms. Betty Morris Volunteer Coordinator
Mr. Nate Myers Technical Director
Ms. Jolie Schroeder Administrative Director
Mr. Jason White Director of Marketing & Public Relations
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
NonManagement Formal Evaluation Yes

Charity Preview Program.   Each year, over 52 local social service agencies collaborate with The Players to distribute complimentary theatre tickets to individuals who would not otherwise have the spirit-lifting experience of the performing arts.   Participating agencies include the Sarasota Housing Authority, the Salvation Army and the Jewish Family & Children Services to name just a few.

Caring for Caregivers.  A respite opportunity for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients living in the Sarasota community offered through a collaboration of The Players and the Alzheimer's Association-Florida Gulf Coast Chapter.  Complimentary Broadway Theatre tickets and beverage vouchers allow those who provide full time care for a loved one to enjoy a much needed respite from the daily responsibilities of care giving.
American Association of Community Theatre
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals)
Cultural Organization of the Year/Frank G. Berlin Sr. Small Business AwardsGreater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce2011
Finalist NonProfit Charitable Organization of the YearLongboat Lido St. Armands Chamber of Commerce2011
Finalist John Cox Community Partner Hall of FameSarasota County Economic Development Corporation2011
Favorite Local Performing Arts VenueWatermark Wave Award2013
SRQ Best Performing Arts VenueSRQ Magazine2014
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government? No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Leona Collesano
Company Affiliation Sarasota County Schools
Board Term Sept 2013 to Aug 2015
Board Members
Board Members
Mrs. Patricia Abate Accountant
Mr. Michael Brown Esq.Attorney
Ms. Leona Collesano Sarasota County School Board
Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton Educator
Mrs. Donna DeFant Financial Management
Mrs. Barbara Johnson Program Director
Mr. Arthur Levin Community Volunteer
Mr. Robert Procter Retired Law Enforcement
Mr. Kenneth Prokop Prokop P.A.
Mr. Christopher Staine Esq.Attorney at Law
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 9
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Orientation Yes
Board Meeting Attendance % 74
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Academic Affairs
Board Governance
Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
Governance Comments by Organization

The ongoing challenge is raising funds to meet the strategic plans for the theatre.  The most urgent long term challenge is parking since the theatre will be losing its overflow parking (across Cocoanut Ave) in the near future.  The theatre conducted a feasibility study in 2012 to build a state of the art complex that will include a multi-level parking garage and dedicated performing arts rehearsal space. The cost is estimated at $15 million. The board is determined to establish an endowment fund over the next year then move to launching a capital campaign in the new future.

Financial Info
Fiscal Year 2014
Projected Revenue $1,470,801.00
Projected Expenses $1,470,801.00
Endowment Value $32,270.00
Spending Policy Income Only
IRS Form 990s
Historical Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201420132012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$91,018$74,624$56,191
Individual Contributions$233,435$204,754$210,658
Investment Income, Net of Losses$1,295$4,137$2,166
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$0$10,472$0
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$899,589$913,116$785,276
Administration Expense$235,820$207,002$334,448
Fundraising Expense$61,491$50,650$5,884
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.000.921.00
Program Expense/Total Expenses75%78%70%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue19%17%2%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$1,069,829$1,057,182$1,070,408
Current Assets$172,981$129,451$965,531
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$464,184$458,311$378,132
Total Net Assets$605,645$598,871$692,276
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountTicket Sales $640,344Ticket Sales $526,476Ticket Sales $609,510
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $233,435Contributions, gifts, grants $204,754Contributions, gifts, grants $210,658
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountTuition $100,561Tuition $113,459Tuition $136,371
CEO Compensation
Co-CEO Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities0.370.282.55
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization The 2014 audit reflects a $6,772 overage so we are pleased with the financial outcome for this year.
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financial analysis based on IRS Form 990 and audit documents. 990s and audits reconcile. Individual contributions include foundation and corporate support.
Nonprofit The Players Inc
Address 838 N Tamiami Trl
Sarasota, FL 34236
Primary Phone 941 365.2494
CEO/Executive Director Ms Michelle Bianchi Pingel
Board Chair Ms. Leona Collesano
Board Chair Company Affiliation Sarasota County Schools
Year of Incorporation 1950