Rehearsals have begun for the Tampa Repertory Theatre’s production of The Dreamer Examines His Pillow by Tony Award-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley. The play has not been staged professionally anywhere in Florida since it was created in 1986. 


Shanley is the writer behind Oscar-winning films such as Moonstruck and Doubt. His plays have earned many accolades (including a Tony award for Best Play) and he is one of the most commonly produced playwrights in America. His writing is known for passionate, poetic characters, often at the peak of their struggle.


The Dreamer Examines His Pillow is no different. The play begins with Donna confronting her ex-boyfriend Tommy about sleeping with her sister. Donna then heads to her deadbeat father’s house to gain some clarity and asks him to beat Tommy up for her. As the plot unfolds, we see all three of them as poets, artists, and dreamers. The play crackles with Shanley’s signature explosive, sexy, gutsy, intense language as it navigates the minds and hearts of these characters in a quick 95 minutes. 


TampaRep’s production boasts an impressive cast. Anna Roman (Donna) is a Tampa native who holds a BFA from the University of Florida and has recently been accepted to earn her MFA at the Yale school of Drama. Ar’Darius Stewart (Tommy) recently graduated with his MFA from the University of Florida. Jim Sorensen (Dad), has worked with almost every theatre company in the Tampa Bay area either behind the scenes or onstage. Sorensen is an Artistic Producer for the company, but this show marks his TampaRep stage debut. Leading this cast in the director’s chair is Christopher Marshall, an accomplished director and actor whose work has been seen regionally, nationally, and internationally. 


Producing Artistic Director Emilia Sargent shares, “TampaRep is glad to be revisiting this gritty American kitchen-sink drama, especially with this exceptionally talented cast and creative team.”


“This is a play in 2022 that you’ve gotta come see.” says Marshall, “This play is so much about necessary human interaction, and interaction is something we’ve gotten so far away from these last few years.” “The cast has so much excitement for the text. They have such a strong handle of the language, and they are already listening to each other so well. I think you’re going to be really surprised and thrilled by what you see.”


Rounding out the production team are Lisa Lippincottas Set Designer / Fabricator, Jayce Bertucelli as Lighting Designer, with Costumes by Macy Smith, and Sound Design by Georgia Mallory Guy. Harrison Baxley is the stage manager for the show.



  • The Dreamer Examines His Pillow opens at USF Theatre Centre (3837 USF Holly Dr., Tampa) on Friday, June 3rd and runs Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 3:00pm through June 19th.

  • There will also be a Pay-What-You-Can preview performance on Thursday, June 2nd at 7:30pm.

  • Dreamer runs 95 minutes with no intermission.

  • Tickets for all showings are available for purchase online at https://tamparep.thundertix.com/.

  • More information about the show is available at http://www.tamparep.org/dreamer/.

  • Questions? Email info@tamparep.org or call the box office at (813) 556-TREP (8737)

  • TampaRep will follow current CDC guidance regarding masking in the theatre. Currently, masks for the audience are encouraged, but not required.

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