2017-05-17 / Arts & Entertainment News

Lab Theater’s ‘55 and Over’ sure to provide laughs

BY TOM HALL
Florida Weekly Correspondent

According to the 2014 Census, 11.4 million of the 43.1 million Americans who lease apartments or homes spend more than half their income on rent.

Nearly 2 million are seniors who have no savings and no income except for Social Security. Often, they’re forced to choose between paying the rent and utilities or buying groceries and medicine.

Lab Theater of Florida shines a light on these and related issues in a hilarious new comedy opening for a limited run on May 26.

Meet Moe. He’s 75, living on Social Security and has been evicted from his apartment in the Tidewater Housing Cooperative because he didn’t have enough money left over after a bit of food and his expensive heart medication to pay his rent.

His next-door neighbor takes pity on him and allows Moe to sleep on the couch. That’s bad enough, but then Moe’s 30-year-old grandson, Bobby, shows up to pay grandpa a visit with his 17-year-old girlfriend, Ariella. Her age is the least of Bobby’s problems. Ariella is pregnant and ready to deliver any day, they’re also homeless, and the co-op does not allow anyone to stay there unless they’re 55 or over.

You won’t know until the very end which if any of these characters will stay together or separate.

“55 and Over” comes from the vivid imagination of local writer Zalman Velvel. Lab Theater audiences enjoyed Velvel’s last offering, “The Second Book of Ruth,” which centered around a non- Jewish woman who visits an Orthodox Jewish rabbi for conversion classes so that she can remarry her first husband.

Like “Book of Ruth,” “55 and Over” is a work-in-progress by the prolific amateur playwright, who wrote two award-winning plays, “Honeymoon in Hell” and “The Unemployment Line,” which were performed off-off Broadway.

The role of Moe will be played by Dave Yudowitz (“The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays”). “55 and Over” also stars Holly Hagan (“Sirens,” “Stage Kiss” and “Twelfth Night”), Mike Dinko (“Play On!,” “An Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boeuf”), Todd Fleck (“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Glengarry Glen Ross”), and Cindy Hile, who makes her Lab Theater debut. Stella Ruiz directs.

The production will have a limited run with three performances. ¦

‘55 & Over’

>> Who: Laboratory Theater of Florida

>> When: 8 p.m. on May 26 and 27 and 2 p.m. on May 28.

>> Where: 1634 Woodford Ave., Fort Myers

>> Cost: $25 for adults, $21 for seniors/ military. This show is covered by the 2016- 2017 season pass.

>> Info: 218-0481 www.laboratorytheaterofflorida.com

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