By Mary Damiano
Island City Stage could not have ordered up a more picture postcard perfect afternoon to unveil their 2018-2019.
The luncheon, held today at the rooftop lounge at Pier Sixty-Six on the intracoastal, which offers a 360-view of Fort Lauderdale, was a gorgeous setting to make the announcement to the press, board of directors, season subscribers and friends of the Wilton Manors theatre.
Andy Rogow, Island City Stage’s artistic director, revealed the season, which includes a drama and comedies, as well as a world premiere musical about two icons of the LGBT community, written by Michael Leeds, the theatre’s associate artistic director.
First up is Buyer and Cellar by Jonathan Tolins, a one man show about the curator of the mall Barbra Streisand created in the basement of her Malibu home. The play will feature Matthew Buffalo, who teaches acting at New World School of the Arts in Miami.
Next up is that world premiere musical by Leeds, Bette and Barry: From Bathhouse to Broadway, about—who else—Bette Midler and Barry Manilow. Mallory Newbrough, who won the Carbonell Award for Best Supporting Actress, Musical, earlier this month, will play Midler, and Carbonell Award nominee Michael Ursua will play Manilow.
Then there’s From White Plains by Michael Perlman, a play about a screenwriter who, while accepting an Oscar, outs the bully he believes pushed his gay best friend to suicide, and explores the long-lasting effects of bullying from different perspectives. The play was brought to Andy Rogow’s attention by South Florida native Alex Weisman, an actor based in Chicago. Weisman was set to star in the play at Island City Stage but is currently making his Broadway debut in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Rogow called From White Plains the play next season he was most looking forward to doing.
Next is Veronica’s Position, a comedy about a Broadway diva who’s about to marry a conservative Republican politician. The play is by Rich Orloff, whose short plays have been featured in South Florida theatres. Rogow characterized Veronica’s Position as a sophisticated comedy along the lines of The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane, which Island City Stage produced in 2015.
And speaking of short plays, Rogow said that while Island City Stage and City Theatre will partner again to present its sixth edition of Shorts Gone Wild this summer, the future of the evening of short, LGBT-themed plays is undecided, leaving Island City Stages’ summer 2019 production up in the air.
“Have we told all the stories we can tell in short form?” was the question Rogow was pondering in deciding whether or not to produce Shorts Gone Wild next year.
A highlight of today’s luncheon was entertainment by Newbrough who sang two Midler songs, the sassy One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show and the wistful ballad Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?, giving the crowd a taste of what they can expect from her portrayal of the Divine Miss M.
Flex Passes for Island City Stage’s next season will be on sale in a few weeks. For more information on Island City Stage, visit IslandCityStage.org