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Cassidy Webb

Local Non-Profit, Multi-Award Winning Theater Inspires Others by Highlighting LGBTQ+ Issues


Island City Stage, the recipient of numerous Carbonell and Silver Palm Awards, including two Carbonell Awards (the South Florida Tonys) for Best Production of a Play, is a professional regional theatre located in Wilton Manors. They are committed to sharing engaging and inspiring stories of universal interest that appeal to diverse audiences while often exploring the LGBTQ+ culture.

By offering an intimate setting with only 69 seats, the theater is able to enhance audience engagement and connection with the performers. Every seat provides a clear view of the actors’ faces and bodies, allowing spectators to appreciate nuanced details and even the sweat on their brows. This close proximity creates a more immediate and meaningful experience, fostering a unique connection between the performers and the audience.

Attending a production in this small theater offers a rare opportunity to be fully immersed in the art form, so Island City Stage is something you don’t want to miss out on.

Kent Chambers-Wilson and Matthew Salas - Photo: Matthew Tippins
Artistic Director and Founder, Andy Rogow

A Peek Behind the Scenes

Island City Stage is led by two of Wilton Manor’s most talented artists. The first, Artistic Director and Founder, Andy Rogow, is a 14-year resident of Oakland Park and the son-in-law of former mayor and commissioner of Oakland Park, Caryl Stevens. The second is Associate Artistic Director Michael Leeds, a Tony Award nominee who has directed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and nationally.

As a non-profit, Island City Stage is grateful to have received grants from national foundations like Scripps Howard and The Schubert Foundation. They are also supported by the Our Fund Foundation, the Community Foundation of Broward, Broward County Cultural Affairs, and the State of Florida.

Highlighting Real Life LGBTQ+ Issues

Island City Stage has significantly impacted the South Florida community by sharing previously untold stories of the LGBTQ+ community. They have pioneered LGBTQ+ theater in the region, and Andy explains that the subject matter they cover is more vast than other theatre companies, “We aren’t making it all about sex. We offer what the gay experience is in the world – how we function, how we deal with everyday problems.” The theater explores diverse subjects such as Alzheimer’s, autism, transitioning, and sexual assault.

By showcasing the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals, the theater dispels stereotypes and promotes a better understanding of the community’s richness and diversity. It emphasizes that LGBTQ+ individuals share the same universal experiences as their heterosexual counterparts.

Andy explains that “it’s important for people… to hear the voices of these playwrights and characters so they can understand that we [members of the LGBTQ+ community] aren’t just what they see in the media. We are as varied as heterosexual people are. We all share the same kinds of feelings, fears, and daily challenges.”

Matthew Salas and Michael Ford - Photo: Matthew Tippins
Erynn Dalton and Kim Ostrenko

Closing the Curtain on the Eleventh Season

Island City Stage produces 5 outstanding plays each season and is currently finishing up its 11th season with a true-crime musical, “Thrill Me,” which opens on August 3rd.

The musical puts a creative twice on the true story of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two wealthy young men who decided to kill a boy merely for the thrill of it – and to prove they could get away with it. The dark, true-crime musical explores the relationship and sexual tension between the two men.

Tickets range from $30-45 and can be purchased at https://www.islandcitystage.org/ or by calling their box office at 954-928-9800.

Michael Mc Keever, Mike Westrich and Matt Stabile

What Comes Next

Going into their 12th season, Andy says he’s looking forward to all of their productions, and they have some really exciting shows in the works. The two that he is most excited about are Love! Valor! Compassion! by Terrance McNally, a prolific gay playwright from the 90s who is well known in the LGBTQ+ community, and a comedic melodrama-satire called Die Mommy Die by Charles Busch.

Andy also looks forward to welcoming new audience members to the theatre as he and his crew continue to expand their regular audience, allowing their influence to permeate throughout the community.

Click here to see what’s happening at Island City Stage .


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