One might even say the titles are synonymous: Gross Indecency and Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, but they're two different plays, and they're both on the schedule for the summer season at Boca Raton, FL's Caldwell Theatre Company.
Opening the season is Moises Kaufman's Off-Broadway hit, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, July 10-Aug. 16, recently extended two weeks due to audience demand. Gross Indecency follows "the arrest, judgment and sentencing of the most celebrated playwright of his time." The drama makes use of original transcripts and letters, as well as biographical material on Wilde.
The Importance Of Being Earnest may be a staple of theatres around the world, and an An Ideal Husband and Salome have both had recent, star-studded Broadway productions, but in his day, legendary wit Oscar Wilde wasn't quite so well accepted. He was sentenced to two years' hard labor in an English prison for "gross indecency with male persons" -- in other words, the crime of homosexuality. Upon his release, he moved to France and died of meningitis three years later.
Viewers who think Wilde was simply arrested and tried for being gay in England might be surprised at the full story told here: Wilde first sued Lord Queensberry for defamation of character, but the suit backfired, with Wilde becoming the victim of his own pride -- and England's hypocritical legal system. A similar story is told in David Hare's current Broadway drama, The Judas Kiss.
Starring in the show are John Felix (as Wilde), Gordon Brode, Steve Wise, Joe Warik, Keneth Kay, Michael Warga, Mark Heimann, John Hansen and Matthew Coyle. Artistic director Michael Hall will stage the drama. Following Gross Indecency at the Caldwell, July 27-Aug. 3, will be Eric Bogosian's solo, Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, to be performed by Jerry Seeger. Various vignettes of seamy characters populate the dark comedy, by the author of Talk Radio, Griller and subUrbia.
Caldwell audiences can also catch a staged reading, July 20, of a new play by Oscar E. Moore. The King's Mare tells of King Henry VIII's relationship with the formidable Anne of Cleves.
For tickets to shows at the Caldwell Theatre Company, 7873 North Federal Highway in Boca Raton, call (561) 241-7432 or refer to the regional listing on Playbill On-Line.
-- By David Lefkowitz