Big Weekend for LGBT Theater in South Florida

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“Shorts Gone Wild,” a festival of LGBT-themed short plays presented by Island City Stage and City Theatre in Wilton Manors, is one of the theater productions opening this weekend. Credit: Tracy Mendy.

Local theatergoers will have their pick of both new works and an overdue revival opening this weekend.

Island City Stage in Wilton Manors and Miami’s City Theatre are again collaborating on “Shorts Gone Wild,” the annual summer festival of new LGBT-themed short plays.

The unique format takes seven playwrights, six actors and five directors and “whips them up into seven short, provocative, funny and thoroughly entertaining plays that are relevant to the LGBT and progressive communities.”

In a nod to the current presidential election campaign, the festival takes on the theme “Decision 2016” and touches on political themes as well, with plays by local playwrights Christopher Demos-Brown, Michael Leeds, Michael McKeever, Stuart Meltzer and Susan J. Westfall. Michael Aman, who wrote Island City Stage’s spring hit, “Feeding the Bear,” makes his “Shorts Gone Wild” debut with his short play, “The Incident in the Bathroom.”

The cast includes Larry Buzzeo, Christina Groom, Gladys Ramirez, Noah Levine, Dominic Smith and Rita Joe. Directors are John Manzelli, Andy Rogow, Gail Garrisan, Margaret M. Ledford and Michael Leeds.

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Performances are being given on Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. through Aug. 28 at Abyss Stage, 2304 N. Dixie Hwy. in Wilton Manors. Tickets are $35 at IslandCityStage.org.

It’s been nearly 20 years since a local theater company staged Terrence McNally’s 1995 Tony Award-winning play, “Love! Valour! Compassion!” The play also opens this weekend and runs through Aug. 20 at Andrews Living Arts in Fort Lauderdale’s FAT Village.

The touching story of eight gay men who gather at an upstate farmhouse over three successive summer holiday weekends explores their complex relationships in the era immediately following the AIDS epidemic. In 1997, McNally adapted the play into a critically-acclaimed feature film starring all but one of the original Broadway cast members.

“Its themes of gay love, friendship, fears, pride and acceptance need to be shared again,” according to Robert D. Nation, artistic director. “They share romance, anger, laughter and difficult truths … in looking at this seminal work 20 years later, we see that the world has changed, but there are still lingering challenges yet to be conquered.”

Jerry Jensen, a well known South Florida actor, stage manager, director and radio host who first saw the play on Broadway in 1995, helms the production. The cast includes Richard Weinstock, Rosseroni Parris, Ted Dvoracek, Brayan Betancourt, Brett Watts, William Smith and Jerrod Jonas.

The play will be presented on Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and on Sundays at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. through Aug. 20.  Two Wednesday evening performances will be given at 8 p.m. on Aug. 10 and 17. The play contains adult content and male nudity. Tickets are $35 at AndrewsLivingArts.org or by calling 800-838-3006.


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