Boys of a Certain Age Review – A Riveting Gay Play

Michael Vadnal (playing the part of Larry Cohen) and Gisbert Heuer (as Ira); back row from left to right is Luis Albaer (as Bryan Cohen) and Matthew Salas (as Christopher)

In the intimate Empire Stage Theater in Fort Lauderdale, the limited-run ensemble play Boys of a Certain Age tackles the feelings, beliefs, humorous observations, and buried, long lost secrets of four gay men on a summer weekend respite from Manhattan.

Here’s a topical play which brings into focus the previous and  very current bigotry (political/Trump and personal) surrounding our LGBTQ national community. This 2019 script makes  the play more relevant than previous versions. There is much to laugh at, as well as many sensitive comments about gay life back in the day until today.

Dan Fingerman has scripted a fast-moving series of vignettes  and conversations between two 60-ish  longtime friends  (Ira Hirschhorn and Larry)  who reminisce about their relationship since childhood and life and love and politics and sex. The weekend vacation also includes two twenty-something related guests; Larry’s son, Bryan, from his closeted first marriage and Ira’s nephew, Christopher. All together these four men from two generations share some fascinating secrets which make their connections quite tantalizing and titillating. The characters share a gay background but have chosen different paths to walk through life.

Director Jeffrey Bruce parlays the actors’ commentary on current events – like the daily  calamities in The White House, social media, open and closeted relationships, and even Israel – into rapid-fire vignettes which go directly to our hearts, guts and funny bones. This 90-minute play with no intermission leaves audience members with an aftertaste for reflections and discussion. There is much to absorb and much to ruminate about.

Gisbert Heuer infuses his performance as an always-OUT weekend host with a German accent. Michael Vadnal becomes Larry, who led a traditional married life until he realized he was living a sexual and personal lie. Luis Albaer is Bryan. He’s trying to reconcile with his father, Larry, but his disturbingly aggressive personality turns everyone off from him.  Mathew Salas is Ira’s nephew, who’s a dashing, brash Republican who, we discover, knew Bryan from his earlier dating life.

Boys of a Certain Age plays at the Empire Stage Theater, 1140 Flagler Drive in Fort Lauderdale through October 27. There are performances Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. Tickets are $35.  Call 954-678-1496 or visit empirestage.com for further information.

Organizer for Boys of a Certain Age 

Empire Stage is an artist-driven collective that produces new and existing works for the diverse audiences of Ft Lauderdale, including the LGBT and Senior populations. We are committed to presenting dynamic works originating from both the New York City and South Florda theatrical communities. It is our goal to offer theater artists a supportive environment where they can collaborate, take risks and develop as writers, as directors, as actors, as designers and as producers.

Photos: Courtesy of Boys of a Certain Age

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Sharon Sultan Cutler is the new Florida editor of  the popular international lifestyle magazine splashmagazines.com. She reports on theater, travel, beauty, restaurants and anything that attracts her tickle bone.

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