After continually being called to audition for roles such as "Gangster Number One," Edwin Sanchez, then an actor, grew tired of being typecast. Since he didn't see many juicy roles for people of color, gays, lesbians, and general misfits, he'd write his own darn plays. Moving off the stage proved to be a smart idea. He was admitted to Yale University's graduate program in drama without even having a bachelor's degree, solely on the strength of his work. His ensuing plays earned him gobs of awards, critical acclaim, and even a teaching gig at Yale.
In Trafficking in Broken Hearts, Sanchez mines the complexities of gay life to bring us a twisted love story. Trafficking captured the attention of Robert Hooker, founder and artistic director of the Sol Theatre Project (1140 NE Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale), which is known for bringing provocative works to the stage. "This is one of [Sanchez's] earlier works which brought him recognition," Hooker says. "It's gutsy and edgy -- perfect for our theater. It's about three misfits, one of which [the main character] is a gay Puerto Rican street hustler way past his prime who finds it very difficult admitting not only his age but the fact that he's gay." Other characters include a successful lawyer who is so terrified of his sexuality that he has remained a virgin and a handsome man who has suffered abuse from both his family and mental institutions.
The drama unravels as a desperate love triangle set on New York City's once-gritty 42nd Street, complete with sex shows and perverts. Although the play is a "hustler-with-a-heart-of-gold story," it's anything but formulaic, according to Hooker. "This is a hard-core drama with full frontal nudity... pretty explicit." The director maintains, however, that the theme's universal appeal transcends homosexuality. Check it out in the intimate Sol Theatre -- which has a capacity of 50, is filled with couches, and offers wine and post-performance discussions with cast members. Trafficking in Broken Hearts runs from July 7 through August 7, Thursdays through Sundays. Shows begin at 8 p.m. (but Sundays at 6 p.m.). Tickets cost $20 ($22 on Saturdays). Call 954-525-6555, or visit www.soltheatre.com. -- John Shannon
Musicians Raise Funds and Spirits
When Fort Lauderdale artist Frank Milanese was diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer earlier this year, his friends in the local arts community were quick to throw a fundraising party. But that was six months ago, and the medical bills haven't gone away. Now, Milanese needs to fly to Bethesda, Maryland, for surgery. Fortunately, his group of friends has grown to include the full slate of entertainers performing at Sunday's benefit show at Maguire's Hill 16 (535 N. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale). The lineup includes Juanita Dixon, the Nucklebusters, Breeze, Jump 'n' Jive, Liz Sharp, Bob Whitlock, Tom Roberts, and Michael Bianco. Jon Grau, a long-time friend of Milanese's, says he's impressed with the level of support his pal has received from the music community. "The fact that all these bands are willing to do a fundraiser for a guy they don't even know, it shows that people have a lot of compassion in their hearts still," he says. The event starts at 2 p.m. and lasts until 10. The cost is a minimum donation of $10, which includes a full buffet. Call 954-764-4453. -- Jason Budjinski
Twenty characters for the price of one
The 2000 presidential election fiasco might have been a blow to democracy, but it was a definite boon to the comedy business. Perhaps the most memorable comedy bit was Saturday Night Live's parody of The Odd Couple, in which Al Gore and George W. Bush share the White House, à la Felix and Oscar. Though playing the part of Dubya doesn't seem like the biggest challenge (just act slow, right?), mimicking the personality-challenged Gore is a job for a true master like Darrell Hammond. Having impersonated President Clinton through most of his two terms, Hammond was well-prepared to take on his next assignment -- aping the apes in the Bush administration (Cheney, Rummy, Ridge, Ashcroft, and Powell). But Hammond' s celebrity impressions aren't limited to the Beltway boys; he's also a pro at playing media titans (Ted Koppel) and actors (Richard Dreyfuss). Hammond hams it up Friday and Saturday at the Improv Paradise Live (5700 Seminole Way, Hollywood). Tickets cost $31.80. Call 954-981-5653. -- Jason Budjinski
In December, officials at Florida Atlantic University canceled an appearance by the Ying Yang Twins, deeming their lyrics too obscene. And that was before the pair released its latest single, "Wait (The Whisper Song)," which goes, "Ay, bitch! Wait till you see my dick/ Imma beat dat pussy up." On their new album, The United State of Atlanta, the Twins further demonstrate that they have no idea how to arouse women with "Pull My Hair" ("I got a ten foot pole/That will go in yo hole/Take yo soul, make nut come out yo nose"). Ladies might be scared to go in the bedroom with D-Roc and Kaine, but that shouldn't stop them from hitting the duo's record-release party at the Warehouse (90 NE 11th St., Miami). They'll perform, and comedian Larry Dogg emcees. The event starts at 10 p.m.; get in free before 1 a.m. Call 305-903-7931, or visit www.partyspree.com. -- Deirdra Funcheon