The March of the Kitefliers


  • Creative Loafing 2005 Best of the Bay Staff Pick
  • Special Award of Recognition – Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio

Play by Shawn Paonessa & Neil Gobioff

After writing several one-acts and a couple full-length productions that were either commissioned or part of a submitted production, I wanted to write a play “just for us” – us being myself and my writing partner Neil Gobioff.

Original Cast of The March of the Kitefliers. (Photo courtesy Jobsite Theater.)So we set out to write a romantic comedy (because no one thought we would) about a guy with an hyperactive imagination (because no one thought we could.)

I presented a draft of The March of the Kitefliers to the Jobsite Board of Directors, who were then responsible for the company’s seasonal play selection. They accepted the play, and we agreed to workshop the piece with plans on producing it in 2005.

The production was a box office smash, breaking all records for an original work produced in the Shimberg Playhouse.

“…it is charming and fresh and – wonder of wonders – genuinely funny… what you might call an uber grande good time.” – Tampa Tribune

“[Gobioff and Paonessa] wanted to surprise audiences with their new play, The March of the Kitefliers. They’ve succeeded in a several ways…. Funny and poignant…. The acting is as solid as the script. ….Kitefliers is a romantic comedy, but has enough wit and freshness, even on second viewing, to set it apart from the genre’s run-of-the-mill entries.” – St. Petersburg Times

World Premiere

Aug. 5 – 26, 2005
Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center, Tampa

Encore Performance

Mar. 29 – Apr. 15, 2007
Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center, Tampa

More Info

From the original prouduction of The March of the Kitefliers. (Photo courtesy Jobsite Theater.)Due to its overwhelming success, Jobsite remounted an improved version in 2007. Through both runs in a house that seats 100, over 2,500 people saw The March of the Kitefliers. Not only was it a rousing success with its intended audience – mid-30’s post-college grads – but it received standing ovations nearly every night from all ages: teenagers, the middle-aged and seniors. They all laughed, they all cried, and they all stood at curtain call. The Kitefliers effect – as it came to be known – was immeasurable. It even made a few people quit their jobs. (No, I’m not making that up.)

The public knew what it saw. After the city’s alt-weekly, Creative Loafing, published a review revealing critical plot spoilers, their office was inundated with phone calls and letters decrying the review. The response was so vociferous and unprecedented, that its editors created a special award for Kitefliers and Jobsite Theater during its annual Best of the Bay issue: Best Impassioned Theater Fans. Kitefliers would later garner a special award of recognition from Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio for its cultural endeavors and success.