BWW Previews: 'AMAZING WILD KNIGHTS' Tells About the Glass Ceiling in Show Business for Women at Stage West Playhouse
Written by ProComm Theatre Troupe's founder and artistic director Martha Velez, PhD, the original musical comedy, "Amazing Wild Knights" tells the story of women being unfulfilled by the lack of opportunities in show business.
"It's about their frustration about how they treated in show biz - particularly, it's set in the theatre motif."
The musical is adapted from a screenplay Martha wrote in late 1990s/early 2000s and the songs come from albums she has recorded.
Martha's illustrious career stems decades, including performances at Carnegie Hall with The Gaslight Singers, acting on the Broadway stage in "Hair", performing in many television series and movies, recording with such musical legends as Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, and Van Morrison, and writing and producing music, and three original musicals.
Heading to Jaeb Theatre at the Straz Center in May 2019, her fourth and latest production, "Amazing Wild Knights" is opening on November 9 through 18 at Stage West Playhouse.
"I put the story and music together to make one show that hopefully says something about women and how they deal with the glass ceiling, in a funny way. It really does address how women are treated, in general, in a male-dominated culture that is in control of what they can do."
When she wrote the original screenplay, she was struck how people were specifically typecast, how they got pigeonholed into the same parts over and over.
"The play speaks to that. If you played a housekeeper one time and now you are always playing a housekeeper, it's understandable from the producer and director's point of view, but not from your own."
That experience with typecasting aggravated Martha and inspired the story behind "Amazing Wild Knights." Martha resurrected the script and readjusted it to fit what is happening with women now.
Martha promises moments in the show that the audience will be completely unexpecting. She hopes that the audience loves the music, the story, and the purpose of the story and tells everyone they know to go and see the production.
"It's a lot of fun with an amazing cast who have nurtured and brought these characters to life that I've written. Key players include Melody Craven, George Dwyer, Scott Tilson, Stefani LaPorta - my core four is what I call them. There's also Katherine Hines, a little 13-year-old in the show who sings her butt off. She has a big voice like Ariana Grande or one of the big pop singers."
Martha also credits her choreographer Jane Russell-Geddings and orchestrator Bickley Rivera for making the process of creating the show a success.
"We have a great troupe and it's all been a joy. I feel very blessed to have this experience with them," she said. "I hope the show gets across a timely note about what's going on today. The message is that women persist. We're not going to be taken down. We've been fighting for equality for a long time. It's really about persistence - keeping your eye on the prize and not being dissuaded by those who would not open the door to you. Open the door yourself."
Amazing Wild Knights is playing at Stage West Playhouse, 8390 Forest Oaks Blvd, Spring Hill. Performances are Friday, Nov. 9th - 7:30pm, Saturday, Nov. 10th -7:30pm, Sunday, Nov. 11 - 2:00pm, Friday, Nov. 16th - 7:30pm, Saturday, Nov. 17th - 7:30pm, Sunday, and Nov. 18th - 2:00pm. For more information, visit https://www.procommtheatretroupe.com, to purchase tickets, call (352) 683 - 5113 or buy at stagewest.ticketleap.com/amazing-wild-knights/details.