There’s an old adage among writers: “Write what you know.”
Playwright and director David Goldyn still chuckles about the conversation decades ago with his parents that inspired his hit comedy, “Daddy Issues,” opening next week at the Center for Spiritual Living in Fort Lauderdale.
“In 1990, while I was living in Orlando, my parents came to visit,” he recalled. “Knowing the only thing that would make my parents happy was a grandchild, I invented a kid that I had 10 years ago with a college friend. I got the idea while doing a college exercise where we took a kernel of truth and then had embellish a believable story from it.”
Goldyn kept up the act for nearly 45 minutes before he finally admitted that he had not fathered a grandchild.
“They didn’t care that we had it out of wedlock or that I had kept the secret for nearly 10 years,” he said. “Let’s just say they never asked me again about having a grandchild.”
That conversation would become the plot for the play that debuted three years ago Off-Off-Broadway. The play became so popular that the production was moved Off-Broadway, earning a nod for Best Off-Broadway Play by Broadway World.
In Goldyn’s retelling, Donald Moscowitz is an openly gay actor living in New York City in 1982 whose overbearing Jewish parents know he's gay, but don't allow that fact to stop them from demanding a grandchild. When Donald learns that Grandma Moscowitz will double his inheritance if he produces a grandchild, he enlists the help of his 10-year-old neighbor to play his son—the result of an experimental tryst he had in college. His two best friends, Henreitta and Levi, a drag star from the Village, fight over who will play the birth mother. When Mom and Dad finally show up, what could go wrong?
For many years, Goldyn was the artistic of Rising Action Theater, an LGBT-centric theater company that produced shows in Wilton Manors and later at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale. Nearly a decade ago, he began spending more time in New York City.
“I’m not a snowbird,” he insisted, “preferring the term ‘dainty little snowflake.’”
He mounted a short run of “Daddy Issues” last year at the Willow Theater in Boca Raton and sees this run at the Fort Lauderdale church as an opportunity to explore the launch of another theater company in South Florida.
The continued success of Island City Stage, Ronnie Larsen Presents at the Wilton Theater Factory and independent productions at Empire Stage demonstrates that there is a year-round audience for gay theater.
“This is a test,” he said, noting that he will also continue making trips to the West Coast to promote a movie script that also draws on his hilarious personal experiences.
“Daddy Issues” by David Goldyn opens Oct. 18 and runs through Nov. 3 at the Theater at the Center for Spiritual Living, 4849 N. Dixie Hwy. in Oakland Park. Tickets start at $35 at DaddyIssuesThePlay.com.