Photo Flash: First Look at WHO KILLED JOAN CRAWFORD?, Opening Tonight at Island City Stage
"I remember reading something about Joan Crawford, which wasn't very flattering, and for some reason I thought of the title 'WHO KILLED JOAN CRAWFORD?'" says Carbonell Award-winning, Tony Award-nominated playwright-director Michael Leeds. "I liked it so much, I decided to back it up with a play!"
On a dark, stormy night five men arrive at a cabin for a soap opera star's surprise birthday party. Each guest has been asked to dress as the birthday boy's favorite movie star, Joan Crawford, in one of her signature roles. And the results aren't pretty. As they wait for the star to arrive, the five "Joans" begin drinking and dishing, and dark secrets emerge. Soon there's one less Joan. ... Who killed Joan Crawford?
Tonight, January 14th, that play will begin a month-long world premiere run at Island City Stage in Wilton Manors, featuring a cast that includes Barry Marcus, Kevin Reilley, Andy Rogow, Troy Stanley and Christian Vandepas, under the direction of Leeds. Scroll down for a first look at the cast in action!
"I've never written a comedic mystery before," he continues, "but I've always been an Agatha Christie fan, and I still have all of her books in paperback. I especially love her classic 'And Then There Were None' (aka 'Ten Little Indians'), so that was a major influence here."
Leeds, though better known as a director in South Florida, created the Tony Award-nominated musical 'Swingin' on a Star.' He also wrote the highly acclaimed play 'First Step,' produced atEmpire Stage several seasons ago. And he co-wrote the screenplay (with Linda Yellen) for 'The Last Film Festival,' Dennis Hopper's final film, which also stars Jacqueline Bisset. He's recently created two new musical revues with choreographer Kevin Black that have been (or soon will be) staged at the Broward Stage Door Theatre: 'What's New Pussycat' and 'Pompadour.'
"There was a reading of my Joan Crawford play done in Chicago," Leeds adds, "and they wanted to do a full production. But I wanted to direct the world premiere, and luckily I have an "in" with the Associate Artistic Director of Island City Stage - that being me. I gave the play to our Artistic Director, Andy Rogow, and he not only agreed we should do it, but he's going to play one of the roles in it himself!"
Rogow will indeed be coming out of his retirement as an actor to appear in this play, and will be seen again later this season in 'Feeding the Bear' by Michael Aman.
This production also features the Island City Stage award-winning design team of Michael McClain (sets), Peter Lovello (costumes), Preston Bircher (lights) and David Hart (sound), with wigs designed by Ellis Tillman.
WHO KILLED JOAN CRAWFORD? runs tonight, January 14th, to February 14th in the company's new home at 2304 N. Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors, FL 33305. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM, and Sundays at 5:00 PM. For tickets or more information, call 954-519-2533 or visit islandcitystage.org.
Photo Credit: Robert Figueroa
Troy Stanley, Andy Rogow and Kevin Reilley
Andy Rogow, Christian Vandepas, Troy Stanley and Barry Marcus
Barry Marcus, Kevin Reilley and Christian Vandepas
Kevin Reilley and Troy Stanley
Troy Stanley, Christian Vandepas, Kevin Reilley and Barry Marcus