Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

World Premiere At Florida Stage THE CHA-CHA OF A CAMEL SPIDER


West Palm Beach, FL - The final play of Florida Stage's 24th subscription season is the world premiere of a darkly funny, electric and timely new play by Carter W. Lewis, The Cha-Cha of a Camel Spider. From the award-winning author of The Storytelling Ability of a Boy and Women Who Steal, The Cha-Cha of a Camel Spider asks the questions, what happens when our "soldiers of fortune" outnumber our army troops and can art really make a difference in a corporatized world? The Cha-Cha of a Camel Spider continues Florida Stage's first season as the resident company in the Rinker Playhouse at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. The Cha-Cha of a Camel Spider preview performances are Wednesday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, May 5 at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. The gala press opening is Friday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m. The show runs through Sunday, June 5. Performances are Wednesdays through Sundays at 7:30 p.m. with matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. Individual tickets for The Cha-Cha of a Camel Spider can be purchased by calling (561) 832-SHOW (7469). Florida Stage subscribers and donors should call the subscriber hotline at (561) 585-3433 for special attention. Order online at Prices are $25 and up. The production is sponsored by Kitty and Dudley Omura.

Bethany is home from college, fortified with a BFA in Slam Poetry Performance. As she begins a small expedition to discover the true identity of her father, she herself caught up in a frightening and darkly comic journey with two rogue mercenary soldiers and a vaguely magical Afghani cab driver who has a penchant for Led Zeppelin. The Cha-Cha of a Camel Spider takes a fascinating look at how words, ideas and art can be a soothing balm in a world of corporatized everything.

Carter W. Lewis (Playwright) is currently serving as Playwright-in-Residence at Washington University. Prior to that he was Literary Manager & Playwright-in-Residence for The Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York. Carter was also co-founder and Resident Playwright for Upstart Stage in Berkeley, California. He is the winner of several national playwriting awards including The Julie Harris - Playwriting Award, The State Theatre - Best New American Play, The Cincinnati Playhouse Rosenthal New Play Prize (1996 & 2001), New Dramatist Playwriting Award, Playwright's Center Jerome Residency, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Award, (2003) and he is a two time nominee for the American Theatre Critics Award. He was awarded an NEA/TCG ResidenCy Grant for his play While We Were Bowling. A sample of theatres that have produced his work include The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Syracuse Stage, The Source Theatre, Florida Stage, Studio Arena Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, The Round House Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, The Sacramento Theatre Company, The Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, The Phoenix Theatre, The Barksdale Theatre, American Stage, The New Repertory Theatre, The State Theatre Company, The Barter Theatre, Florida Repertory Theatre, Virginia Stage, The Geva Theatre Center, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The Berkshire Theatre Festival, San Diego Repertory Theatre, The Magic Theatre, and The Royal Court Theatre in London. His published works include Art Control, A Geometric Digression of the Species, Soft Click Of A Switch, An Asian Jockey In Our Midst and The One-Eyed Man Is King. Other plays by Carter W. Lewis include Golf With Alan Shepard, Picasso Does My Maps, Longevity Abbreviated For Those Who Don't Have Time, Women Who Steal, Men on the Take, American Storm by Integrity Out of Molly Brown, Kid Peculiar, Ordinary Nation, Evie's Waltz and The Storytelling Ability of a Boy.

Louis Tyrrell (Director, Producing Director) has been pioneering Florida theatre since 1974. He founded Florida Stage, a non-profit professional regional theatre in Palm Beach County in 1987. Dedicated exclusively to the development and production of new work in American theatre, Florida Stage has become an important nurturing ground for some of the best new plays being written today. Under his guidance, the company has produced more than 130 new works, many of which have enjoyed rich and rewarding production lives throughout the country. Also central to the Florida Stage mission, the theatre's education outreach programs are among the most innovative in the nation and have been honored with the Florida Commissioner of Education's Business Recognition Award for outstanding support of education. As an actor and director, Tyrrell has been recognized extensively. Awards include several acting and directing Carbonell Awards from the South Florida Critics' Association, the Ubertalli Award for Artistic Excellence from the Palm Beach County Cultural Council, a Florida Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, the Fallon Award for Excellence in Professional Theatre, the FAU Palm Beach County Cultural Leader Award, and the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement.

Elizabeth Birkenmeier (Bethany) is working on her MFA in dramatic writing at Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama. She received her BA in acting from Washington University in St. Louis. She has worked with St. Louis Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet (Juliet), and The Merchant of Venice (Portia), and in Chicago with Adventure Stage and Profiles Theatre. She was nominated for a Kevin Kline Award for her performance in the U.S. Premiere of Marija's Pictures at Upstream Theatre. Her play, Plight of the Apothecary, recently premiered at the Red Room Theatre in Manhattan, co-produced by Horse Trade and Wide Eyed Productions.

Laura Turnbull just completed an extremely successful run of August: Osage County at Actors' Playhouse. Prior to that, she was seen in the hugely-popular A Round Heeled Woman, starring Sharon Gless, at GableStage, and last fall appeared in the hit world premiere of Motherhood, the Musical, Miniaci Theatre. Her credits this past season also include: City Theatre's Summer Shorts, Distracted at Caldwell Theatre and Equus at New Theatre. She was recently honored with the Silver Palm Award for her body of work in 2010. Laura has worked in nearly every professional theatre in South Florida and has been nominated for, and won, numerous Carbonell Awards.

Todd Allen Durkin (Stack) Last seen at Florida Stage in The Bridegroom of Blowing Rock and Hatchetman. Was recently seen at Mosaic Theatre in The Irish Curse. Notable credits include last spring's production of Blasted by Sarah Kane at Gablestage, Reasons To Be Pretty, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, BUG, This Is How It Goes and Betrayed, Moon For The Misbegotten, Dealers' Choice, Thom Paine, Death of a Salesman, The Seafarer, The Zoo Story, That Championship Season, Benefactors, Betrayal, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, Love's Labour's Lost, As You Like It, the title role in Hamlet and Lenny Bruce in Julian Barry's Lenny. Todd has been nominated eight times and once awarded the Carbonell Award for Best Supporting Actor, as well as named Best Actor three times by New-Times Magazine. His work includes productions at Florida Stage, Gablestage, Madcat Theatre, and Palm Beach Dramaworks. In New York he has appeared at the Cherry Lane Theatre, Theatrix Theatre, Vital Theatre Company, Theatreworks USA and Peccadillo Theatre Company.

Eric Mendenhall (Denny) Eric is making his Florida Stage debut with The Cha-Cha of a Camel Spider. Eric is currently based out of Atlanta, GA and his regional credits include productions at Hippodrome State Theatre, Georgia Shakespeare, Theatre in the Square, Theatrical Outfit, ALLIANCE THEATRE, Horizon Theatre, Georgia Ensemble Theatre, NC Shakespeare. Eric just finished filming Wettest County in World (with Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman) which is set for release in early 2012. Other TV/Film: Army Wives, Ben 10: Alien Swarm, I Can Do Bad All By Myself. Eric

Antonio Amadeo (Ahmad Ahmadazai) is thrilled to be back at Florida Stage where he was last seen as Adam in the World Premiere of Steven Dietz's Yankee Tavern. A proud AEA member, Antonio recently completed a critically acclaimed run of A Round-Heeled Woman starring Sharon Gless at GableStage. Previous roles include Katurian in The Pillowman (2007 Carbonell Award Winner), Intimate Apparel and Betrayed at GableStage, Completely Hollywood (Abridged), The Elephant Man, Rock and Roll, Dead Man's Cell Phone and Guest Artist at Mosaic Theatre, Unreasonable Doubt at Actors' Playhouse, Nerve, Valene in The Lonesome West and Romeo in Romeo & Juliet at The Naked Stage, He was an ensemble member in City Theatre's Summer Shorts Festivals 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Antonio is also a two-time Carbonell nominated set designer for the Naked Stage.

Victor Becker (Scenic Design) Florida Stage: The Storytelling Ability of a Boy; Dirty Business; Ward 57; Black Sheep. Other theater: Bowdoin College: Openings (dance concert); Guthrie Theatre: Boats on a River; Sex Habits of American Women; Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Noises Off; Missouri Rep: Laughter on 23rd Floor; Portland Center Stage: Road to Mecca; Indiana Rep: All My Sons; National Theatre of the Deaf: An Italian Straw Hat; Milwaukee Repertory Theatre: The Merchant of Venice; NY State Theater Institute: Of Mice and Men. Non-theatre designs include museum planning and coordination for the Peoria Riverfront Museum; the Science Museum of Virginia; the Rochester Museum & Science Center; the Orlando Science Center; TELUS World of Science - Edmonton; the Charlotte Museum of History; New London's National Coast Guard Museum; the Science Center of Iowa; and Wichita's Exploration Place. Victor served five years as President of the New Hampshire Farm Museum Board of Trustees and ten years as a director of the renovation of the Wakefield, NH Opera House.

Erin Amico (Costume Design) Erin Stearns Amico joined Florida Stage in 1995, designing costumes for Fish or Cut Bait and Puttin' on the Ritz, An Irving Berlin American Songbook. In her capacity as Costume Shop Coordinator, she manages the creation and implementation of the costumes and makeup for the entire season. She has also continued to design many shows here at Florida Stage and in the region, winning the prestigious Carbonell Award for Costume Design several times. After receiving her Master of Arts degree in Theatrical Design, Erin spent several years freelancing as a designer, working as a scenic artist and as a professor of theatre in the tri-county region. She has been a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 since 1998 and enjoys the opportunity to contribute to the thriving theatrical community here in South Florida.

SuzAnne Jones (Lighting Design) Her first production for this company (then Theatre Club of the Palm Beaches) was The Immigrant, in Palm Beach community College's 2nd Stage at the Duncan Theatre's in 1988. Since then she has stage managed 77 productions for the company, including: Ghost-Writer, Cane, The Storytelling Ability of a Boy, Dr. Radio, and Low Down Dirty Blues. Suzanne's recent lighting designs for Florida Stage include Cane and Sins of the Mother. She has been nominated for 7 Carbonells and received the award for her design of Dark Rapture in 1995. Other designs include The Last 5 Years at Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Backwards in High Heels at Blowing Rock in North Carolina, In A Dark, Dark House and A Body of Water at Mosaic Theatre in Ft. Lauderdale and That Championship Season, The Price and The Subject Was Roses at Palm Beach Dramaworks. Suzanne has a MFA in Design from Northwestern University.

Matt Kelly (Sound Design) is celebrating his 13th season with Florida Stage. Matt has designed over 30 productions for Florida Stage. Some of his favorites include Cane (Carbonell Nomination), Dr. Radio (Carbonell Nomination), Yankee Tavern, End Days, Ice Glen, String of Pearls, Miklat, Bach at Leipzig (Carbonell Nomination), Running with Scissors, Mercy of a Storm (Carbonell Nomination), and The Drawer Boy. His designs have also been heard at Palm Beach Dramaworks, The Phoenix Theatre, Greenbrier VAlley Theatre, the Asolo Theatre, The Illusion Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Dorset Theatre Festival, Capital Repertory Company, Theatre at Lime Kiln, and the now-defunct Florida's Cross and Sword. Matt is currently the sound engineer and resident sound designer for Florida Stage.


The Beach Boys Come to The King Center in March 2023 Photo
The King Center for the Performing Arts and AEG Presents have announced the return of The Beach Boys performing LIVE at the King Center on Wednesday, March 1st at 7:30 PM.  Tickets on sale this Friday!

Actors Playhouse At The Miracle Theatre Announces Holiday Lineup Photo
Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theater is ready to ring in the holidays with an incredible line up!

TWELVE ANGRY MEN Opens At Palm Beach Dramaworks On December 9 Photo
The strengths and flaws of the American jury system are laid bare – as are the prejudices and social attitudes of those standing in judgment – in Reginald Rose's classic Twelve Angry Men, which opens at Palm Beach Dramaworks on December 9 (8pm). Performances continue through December 24, with specially priced previews on December 7 and 8 (7:30pm). J. Barry Lewis directs.  

The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU kicks off Art Basel Season in Miami Beach with the premiere of the new exhibition Lady Liberty: A Bonnie Lautenberg Retrospective (November 16 through March 26).

From This Author - Beau Higgins