Best of Both Broadways
Could it be that we now have sunshine, sand, and the cream of the NYC theater scene? Broward Center For the Performing Arts CEO and president Mark Nerenhausen seems to think so. He hasn't merely scheduled crowd-pleasing Broadway hits like Cabaret and Godspell at the Broward Center this season, he's also staging some of off-Broadway's newest sensations.
"Our goal is to bring in the best in all of the arts," Nerenhausen explains. "One of the gaps we found was a lack of more contemporary theater."
Now in its second year, the Off Broadway, On Center Series delivers some of the quirkier and more avant-garde productions off-Broadway has to offer. Five Women Wearing the Same Dress (October 4 through 15), for example, was penned by Alan Ball, who won an Oscar for his American Beauty screenplay. His stage comedy, presented in partnership with the Acting Studio, lets audiences spy on five women: a fundamentalist Christian, a lesbian, and three women having an affair with the same man. The five are thrown together at a traditional Southern wedding as reluctant bridesmaids, who hide out in a bedroom during an ostentatious wedding ceremony and discover that they have much more in common than their identical dresses.
The collaboration with the Acting Studio, a local theater troupe/training center based in Hollywood, signifies another important aspect of the series: the Broward Center's partnership with local theater groups. "We have a mission to strengthen the local arts community," Nerenhausen offers. "You must have strong local arts groups to have a growing cultural life."
He sees Off Broadway, On Center as a significant part of that growth. This season, the series also features Winter Shorts: Best of the Fest, a presentation of eclectic one-act comedies, dramas, and musicals presented in conjunction with City Theatre (February 20 through 25), and Forbidden Broadway Cleans up Its Act, an homage to some of Broadway's hottest musicals (March 27 through April 8).
Not officially part of the series but presented in the same spirit are three off-Broadway specials: The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?: Robert Dubac's one-man tour de force speaks to those who think men and women come from other planets as the comic actor frantically searches his chauvinist upbringing to figure out why he was dumped.
The Vagina Monologues: Based on a series of interviews with a disparate group of women -- from a Bosnian refugee to a Long Island antiques dealer -- Eve Ensler's acclaimed play gives voice to a chorus of lusty, outrageous, poignant, and original human stories.
Late Nite Catechism: The famous nun known only as Sister is back with her comedic lessons in Catholicism, covering everything from the saints to the Pope to the Immaculate Conception.
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