When the Sun Shone Brighter, Political Drama Starring Broadway's Herrera, Opens in FL World Premiere

News   When the Sun Shone Brighter, Political Drama Starring Broadway's Herrera, Opens in FL World Premiere
 
Christopher Demos-Brown's When the Sun Shone Brighter, the story of a charismatic young Cuban-American politician tangled in a web of sex, lies and ambition, opens May 14 after previews from May 12 in a world-premiere production by Florida Stage. Tony Award nominee John Herrera is among its players.
When the Sun Shone Brighter stars Dan Domingues (seated), Bill Schwartz and John Herrera
When the Sun Shone Brighter stars Dan Domingues (seated), Bill Schwartz and John Herrera Photo by Ken Jacques

This fifth show of the 2009-10 season is also the final production that will play the Equity company's strip-mall home in Manalapan, FL, before the move to a new home — the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach.

The new drama by South Florida writer Demos-Brown is billed as "a fiery and sultry new play" about the young Mayor of Miami, who decides to run for Senate. His ambition is his undoing. Producing artistic director Louis Tyrrell directs. This play contains strong language, adult themes and brief nudity.

Performances will play to June 20.

Demos-Brown told Playbill.com, "I grew up in Miami and remember the bombings and assassinations when I was growing up. I'd always wanted to write about this peculiar episode in our local history. Then, a few years ago I saw a story in the Miami Herald about a woman whose father was killed in his driveway when she was a girl because his anti-Castro views had softened. That article stuck with me and gave me an avenue into the story.

"There are so many ironies between the Cuban-American political situation and our response as a nation to 9-11 that I had to set it at this place and time." Does the play seek to say wider things about American politics?

"I've been getting asked that a lot," Demos-Brown said. "It's funny — I think some of the plays that speak most powerfully to universal themes are very specific as to time and place: Ruined, Bent, Clybourne Park, off the top of my head. And in spite of the specific setting and time in this play, I hope it speaks to something broader about both politics and about people. To me, the central themes of the play are the dangers of both public and private delusions, and the struggle between who we are, who we want to be, and what we're willing to do to get there."

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The cast includes Dan Domingues as José "Joe" Sanchez-Fors, Jr.; Tony nominee John Herrera (Neville in Broadway's The Mystery of Edwin Drood) as Manny Arostegui; Natasha Sherritt as Liz Sanchez-McGovern; Bill Schwartz as José Sanchez, Sr.; Brandon Morris as Det. Dwayne Grant; and Cliff Burgess as Anthony "Tony" Rinaldi.

The creative team includes Kent Goetz (scenic designer), Richard Crowell (lighting designer), Michiko Kitayama Skinner (costume designer) and Matt Kelly (sound design).

Demos-Brown is a writer and practicing attorney. Most of his writing deals in some way with South Florida, where he was raised and still lives. When the Sun Shone Brighter was a finalist for the National New Play Network's 2008 Smith Prize and a winner of the Actors' Playhouse 2008 "Page to Stage" Competition. His other plays include Tropical Depression (developed with the support of The Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis) and Our Lady of Allapattah (getting its world premiere in the coming season at GableStage in Coral Gables, FL).

For information, visit www.floridastage.org.

John Herrera and Dan Domingues in <i>When the Sun Shone Brighter</i>.
John Herrera and Dan Domingues in When the Sun Shone Brighter. Photo by Ken Jacques
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