Arts & Culture

Boynton Beach Club: A Manatee Performing Arts Center World Premiere

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Boynton Beach Club, a 2006 movie about widowed seniors finding love again, is receiving a makeover as a brand new stage musical that opens at the Manatee Performing Arts Center on March 16 for a limited run.

Rick Kerby, the Manatee Players’ producing artistic director, said the musical will resonate with a lot of residents in the Sarasota-Manatee County vicinity.

“It fits our demographic,” Kerby said. “We’re in an area where there are lots of retirees. And retiring does not mean your life is over. This musical celebrates these people and communicates that life gets better as you get older.”

Kerby added his organization got attached to the project through contacts he maintains in New York City.

“I worked and performed in New York for many years,” he said. “Ned Ginsburg, the composer, and I have a mutual friend who was involved in an earlier staged reading of the script. He loved the piece and brought it to me.”

Negotiations ensued with Ginsburg and playwright Susan Seidelman, who also co-wrote and directed the film, which featured Len Cariou, Dyan Cannon, Joseph Bologna, Sally Kellerman, Michael Nouri and Renee Taylor. The Manatee Players’ production will star local actors Meg Newsom, Rod Dyarr and Al Jackson.

“It’s really exciting to work on a new musical,” Kerby said. “It’s a fun process, because every day we’re inserting new dialogue, new lyrics and new music. It’s wonderful to be on the cutting edge of a new show and I want our audience to feel that, too.”

Seidelman, whose directing, writing and producing credits also include Desperately Seeking Susan, She-Devil and Sex and the City, said the genesis for Boynton Beach Club came from her mother’s experience of living in a gated community on Florida’s east coast.

“Her best friend passed away and that friend’s husband went to a bereavement group,” she said. “After a while, he began to notice a lot of widows in that group were romantically hitting on him and he found himself back in the dating game again. After 40 years of married life, this was all new to him. I saw a really interesting story there. This musical says at 50, 60 or 70, people can still have another chapter in their lives to look forward to.”

Kerby added he would like to see the musical have a life beyond its upcoming run. “It’s our ultimate goal to see this show go on to a professional venue or even up to New York,” he said. “I’m hoping that the Manatee Performing Arts Center will be a small part of that.”

Boynton Beach Club plays from March 16-April 2 at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, located at 502 Third Ave. West in Bradenton. Ticket prices range from $26-$36. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 941-748-5875 or visit www.manateeperformingartscenter.com.

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