Now Playing Onstage in Fort Lauderdale - Week of 7/20/2018

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Aunt Jack in Broadway AUNT JACK
Empire Stage
7/19-8/12/2018
Empire Stage will mount the first production of AUNT JACK by S.P. Monahan (DIVA: LIVE FROM HELL), under the direction of Michael Bush (HIMSELF & NORA). AUNT JACK follows the madcap family of Norman Sable-Church. After breaking up with his boyfriend-since-college, Norman moves clear across the country, leaving his fathers, George and Jack, in a tizzy. Months later, with George, a prominent gay activist and historian, in failing health, Norman returns home to make things right and to introduce his parents to Andy, his new partner. Although happy for Norman at first, Jack and Phyllis (Norman’s biological mother) are shocked and appalled to find that Andy is not who they wanted for their son. Tension breaks into an intergenerational confrontation about sexuality, identity, and monogamy. AUNT JACK had a workshop and staged reading in September 2017 at The Bridge Theatre in New York, produced by Wide Eyed Productions. It will have another production later this summer at the Vermont Pride Theater. S.P. MONAHAN is a playwright, performer, and hopeless Angela Lansbury addict. S.P. is best known for writing and starring in the one-man musical DIVA (winner of the 2013 United Solo Award for Best Musical and Backstage Magazine’s Audience Choice Award), which was later expanded into the critically acclaimed DIVA: LIVE FROM HELL (music & lyrics by Alexander Sage Oyen). Other plays include RODHAM/SADE (HERE Arts Center), WHAT DO YOU CALL A-? (Alchemical Theatre Laboratory), LITTLE MAC, LITTLE MAC, YOU’RE THE VERY MAN! (written w/ James Presson, Less Than Rent Theatre), GALLOWS TREE (Winner Best One-Act 2012, Manhattan Repertory Theatre), and THANK YOU, FIFTEEN (Fordham University). As an actor, S.P. has appeared regularly on stages across New York since age 10, with a smattering of television appearances thrown in for good measure. S.P. originated the role of Jimmy the Newsboy in TIMES SQUARE ANGEL by legendary king of camp Charles Busch, and S.P. continues to play the role annually at New York’s historic Theater for the New City. MICHAEL BUSH directed the Off Broadway productions of HIMSELF AND NORA, BIKEMAN, PSYCHO THERAPY, CACTUS FLOWER, and BASED ON A TOTALLY TRUE STORY. He has directed 10 New York Musical Theatre Festival productions including HURRICANE (2009 NYMF Award for Excellence in Direction), MOSES MAN, THE PIPER, and THE BALLAD OF BONNIE AND CLYDE. He was the Associate Artistic Director and Director of Artistic Production for the Manhattan Theatre Club in NYC for over 25 years, where he helped artistically guide more than 150 plays and musicals, including the Tony®Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning PROOF, and DOUBT, and the Tony® Award-winning LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION! He was the Artistic Director of the Cabaret and Performance Conference at the O’Neill Theater Center for 8 years, where he developed musicals including [TITLE OF SHOW] and THE STORY OF MY LIFE, both of which were later produced on Broadway. He also directed and co-wrote the book for the musical LET ME SING which was co-produced with George Street Playhouse in New Jersey and Charlotte Repertory Theatre in North Carolina. From 2008 to 2016 he served as the artistic director of Leap OnStage in New York City; an education program that teaches playwriting to over 500 high school and middle school students annually. He is currently on the faculty of the Theatre Arts Department at the University of Miami where he serves as the artistic director of the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre. EMPIRE STAGE is an artist-driven collective that produces new and existing works for the diverse audiences of Fort Lauderdale, including the LGBT and Senior populations. Empire Stage presents dynamic works originating from both the New York City and South Florida theatrical communities. It is our goal to offer theater artists a supportive environment where they can collaborate, take risks and develop as writers, directors, actors, designers, and producers. Empire Stage’s production of AUNT JACK will star Daniel Barrett, Shannon Booth, Merry Jo Cortada, Bobby Eddy, and Harry Redlich, with Charles Baran in the title role. The production features set design by Ardean Landhuis, costume design by Peter Lovello, and lighting design by Kirk Bookman. Kelly Zahnen is the production stage manager.
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