Entertainment :: Theatre

Standing on Ceremony

by Jack Gardner
Contributor
Friday Jun 22, 2012
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Bryan Batt stars in the Broward Center’s performance of "Standing on Ceremony"
Bryan Batt stars in the Broward Center’s performance of "Standing on Ceremony"  (Source:Pierson Grant)

"Standing on Ceremony" is a series of nine short plays that deal with the issues of gay marriage as seen through the eyes of several different characters.

The plays all have a poignant message, and a portion of the proceeds from this production will go to benefit Equality Florida. It is currently playing at the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theater this weekend.

This production of "Standing on Ceremony" was a reading, not a staged performance; the actors had binders with their scripts in front of them at all times either in their hands or on music stands. Nowhere in the advertising or promotional materials is it mentioned that the actors will be reading rather than memorizing the scripts.

When the original production of "Standing on Ceremony" was conceived, it was as a one-night only performance. With that in mind, a reading is fine, but at this point, with multiple, longer running productions across the country, it’s past time for staged readings of what is quickly becoming an established work. Gay marriage is important enough that it is worth the extra time and effort for a full-on production.

The plays themselves range from very good to brilliant. Two plays of particular note were "The Gay Agenda" by Paul Rudnick, a short monologue where a conservative woman, brilliantly played by Elizabeth Dimon, continually puts her foot in her mouth. The other standout is "On Facebook," by Doug Wright, a witty dramatization of an actual thread on Facebook discussing gay marriage.

Actress Elena Maria Garcia was a standout as the Jewish Mother in "My Husband" by Paul Rudnick, and as Beverly the conservative in "On Facebook."

Elena Maria Garcia was a standout as the Jewish Mother in "My Husband," also by Paul Rudnick, and as Beverly the conservative in "On Facebook." Overall, Garcia and Dimon were the standout performers of the evening.

Celebrity Bruce Vilanch didn’t really seem to fit in with the rest of the cast and did not seem to be believable in the roles he was playing. TV star Bryan Batt was capable in his roles and provided a very touching monologue in "London Mosquitoes" by Moises Kaufman.

The lighting design by Ron Burns and the set design by Jodi Dellaventura were beautiful and well conceived. Leslye Menshouse’s costumes simply looked like everyday street clothes, and as always, the sound the Amaturo theater was rough at best.

It is very hard to be critical of a performance that benefits a good cause, but what could have been an outstanding evening of theater ended up being a rather limp evening watching people stand around and read from black binders.

Go see "Standing on Ceremony" because a portion of your $35 to $45 ticket price is going to a good cause that it’s important for us all to support.

"Standing on Ceremony" runs through June 24 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. For tickets and info, visit https://browardcenter.org/StandingOnCeremony.

Jack Gardner has been producing theater in Dallas and Fort Lauderdale for the past 8 years. He has performed in operas, musicals and dramatic works as well as doing voice-over and radio work. Jack lives in South Florida with his three dogs.

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