The way Matt May and Jennifer Sierra-Grobelaar finish each other’s sentences, you’d think they were an old married couple.
“No, we’re more like Will and Grace,” chuckled May, who is a fixture in the South Florida theater community.
The two longtime friends are still headed to the altar—as the co-writers and producers of “Diego and Drew Say I Do,” a new show making its premiere in the Broward Center’s Abdo New River Room this winter, and it’s definitely their love child.
“When we first started craft the show, we spent so much time together, night after night after night, writing, writing, writing until it was done,” said Sierra-Grobelaar. “As ideas come up, we text each other continually throughout the day. Not only do we spend most of our free time together, (the show) has become a fabric of our being.”
The audiences at the Broward Center are the guests at the wedding of Drew and Diego.
While it may be easy to draw comparisons with other popular audience-participation shows like “Tony & Tina’s Wedding,” May and Sierra-Grobelaar promise a different experience for the audience.
“In a sense it’s similar, but the way I view it, shows like that don’t have a script. Those shows are largely based on improvisation,” explained Sierra-Grobelaar. “This is a departure…there is a purpose to the story and we’re not just focusing on the negative aspects of families. It’s really about celebrating love.”
Celebrating love with two handsome grooms with two eccentric families, an uptight wedding planner, an ex-boy band crooner and a diva in drag, all the essential components for a fabulous gay wedding.
The audience will participate in the ceremony, dance the night away, sample a Southern/Puerto Rican feast and taste the wedding cake, too.
The opportunity arose at a dinner earlier this year with the Broward Center’s Jill Kratish. Over the past two seasons, the center has expanding programming in the flexible Abdo New River Room space and developing a new audience base as a result.
Fort Lauderdale’s sizable LGBT community has long been supportive of the Broward Center and gay-themed programming does well there. May and Sierra-Grobelaar also credit good timing.
“I’ve had this idea in my head for a while and three days later, the ideas started flowing and we said let’s give it crack,” recalled May. “We had the majority of the script completed when the Supreme Court came down with the marriage equality decision.”
The duo is feeling the pressure as the premiere approaches.
“I think it’s both exciting and scary. We’re not just the writers, but also a part of the producing team. We’re on the hook to make this successful and pay all the bills,” said Sierra-Grobelaar, who coordinates marketing for Neil Goldberg’s Cirque Productions in Pompano Beach and was an associate producer of the Broward County centennial production, “We.”
“The Broward Center is a phenomenal facility with great people,” May added. “We’ve bounced lots of ideas by them and it’s been a collaborative effort across the board, which is comforting that we’re all in it together.”
They’re also thankful for their director, who Sierra-Grobelaar called, “the miracle that is John Manzelli.”
She said, “There are a lot of good directors in South Florida, but he really gets this project. He was able to get so much out of our talent in the stage reading workshop and as we go into our two week rehearsal phase, we already know we’re in a great position.”
The duo are equally enthusiastic about their cast, which includes Mike Westrich, Jeffrey Bruce, Sharyn Peoples, Merry Jo Cortada, and Benny Antipuna and Eric O’Keefe in the title roles.
One thing is certain, there are no pre-nuptial agreements involved because this marriage is guaranteed to be a success.
“Diego & Drew Say I Do” will be presented in the Abdo New River Room of the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale, March 31 – April 10. Tickets are now available at BrowardCenter.org.