The first time I worked in South Florida was 2003. The place was a revelation.
Theatre on the beach.
Since then the Sunshine State has been good to me. I’ve been lucky enough to work for five companies here, three of them multiple times, averaging a play every year or so. From Florida Stage which produced more new work in its 24 years than any dozen theaters of comparable size in the continental USA, to the too-brief but courageous endeavor that was the Promethean Theatre. From The Maltz in Jupiter with its intense short runs designed to condense the audience attendance, to Actor’s Playhouse in Coral Gables with it lovely Deco facade and its Artistic Director David Arisco, surely one of the funniest men in showbiz.
That’s a long way to say that I’ve almost become used to doing a play in the winter months in a place where it’s a balmy 75 degrees. I’ve almost become used to the sea water at warm bath temperature. I’ve almost become used to the video-game-driving on i95.
I’ve come happily back a 5th time to Palm Beach Dramaworks. When I first met the company they lived in an 80 seat venue a block off the main drag. Since 2011 they’ve been playing to great effect in an impressively renovated building at the eastern end of Clematis Street (named some time ago by the New York Times as 9th best street in America). I’m here with the splendid J.Barry Lewis directing a terrific cast. It’s ‘The History Boys’ and I play Hector.
Imagine my astonishment (and considerable enjoyment) on discovering that Bill Hayes, one of the engines of the company’s success, by day the sober-suited Producing Artistic Director at Palm Beach Dramaworks, has gotten in touch with his inner used-car-salesman doubling as a bargain-basement-attorney. To see what I mean watch this: