Island City Stage, the LGBT-centric theater company based in Wilton Manors, recently announced its 2018-19 season at a luncheon for media and patrons at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel.
Artistic director Andy Rogow and managing director Marty Childers presented a line-up that includes a world premiere musical, two comedies and a drama.
Opening the season is “Buyer and Cellar” by Jonathan Tolins, Nov. 1 – Dec. 2. Matthew Buffalo stars in this one-man comedy as a struggling actor who take a job as the lonely “shopkeeper” in the nostalgic, Main Street-inspired basement of his idol, Barbra Streisand. One day, Streisand herself comes down to peruse the shelves. The two seem to bond, but will their relationship ever make it upstairs?
While Actors Playhouse in Coral Gables nabbed the rights to the regional premiere two years ago, Rogow promised the Off Broadway hit, which originally featured Michael Urie (“Ugly Betty”), would be especially popular with the company’s gay audiences.
Associate artistic director Michael Leeds penned “Bette and Barry: From Bathhouse to Broadway,” a world premiere musical running Jan. 10 – Feb. 10, 2019. Imagine Bette Midler and Barry Manilow premiering their new club act in Wilton Manors. The superstars haven't performed together since the Continental Baths more than four decades ago, but now they're back. Carbonell winner Mallory Newbrough and multiple Carbonell nominee Michael Ursua star as Midler and Manilow. Newbrough was on hand to sing two songs for the audience.
According to Rogow, Leeds originally planned to recreate the duo’s legendary concerts and even considered performing the show in one of the local bathhouses. Rogow got a few chuckles when he told the audience the bathhouse managers weren’t eager to admit women for the performances.
The third show of the season will be “From White Plains” by Michael Perlman, March 21 – April 21, 2019. In an emotional Academy Awards acceptance speech, an actor publicly denounces the high school bully he believes pushed his gay best friend to suicide, and who, fifteen years later, inspired the screenplay that garnered the Oscar. As the speech rapidly goes viral, the two men’s closest relationships begin to unravel as they deal with the unforgivable consequences of the past.
South Florida native Alex Weisman introduced Rogow to the play and was set to star, until he was cast in his Broadway debut in “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” Rogow described the play as the one he’s most excited about on the schedule.
Rich Orloff’s comedy, “Veronica’s Position,” May 30 – June 30, 2019, is the story of a middle-aged movie star who reunites with her favorite ex-husband (a la Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton) for a revival of “Hedda Gabler.” Meanwhile, Veronica’s gay assistant falls in love with an old pal, a controversial photographic artist who has just been denounced by Veronica’s current flame, a powerful United States senator. When conflicts build between those she adores, the fervently apolitical Veronica is forced to take a position on the one subject she cares passionately about—love.
The final production of the upcoming season, planned for August, would either be a return of the long-running LGBT-themed “Shorts Gone Wild” series, a collaboration with Miami’s City Theatre, or another play to be announced, Rogow said.
FlexPass subscriptions and individual tickets are expected to go on sale soon at IslandCityStage.org.