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"Cafe Conundrum" brings variety show to Sunrise

Staff Writer

When Kevin Johnson created his Fort Lauderdale troupe six years ago, he thought the name Conundrum Stages was perfect.

“I felt that I wanted it to not be about just one specific thing,” Johnson explains. “I wanted it to be undefined.”

Now, that amorphous philosophy is being applied to “Café Conundrum,” an amalgamation of local stage acts in a cabaret/coffeehouse performance that will appear Friday, August 8 at Sunrise Civic Center Theatre.

“I thought, ‘Why not do a variety show?’ “ Johnson recalls. “We are doing cabaret music, as well as original music. We’ve got actors doing a radio play, performance poetry … and standup comedy, as well. So it will be a nice mix.”

Fern and Barry Katz will re-create “The Bickersons,” a 1940s-era radio sketch show that starred Don Ameche and Frances Langford. “I guess anyone under the age of 60 would have no memory or knowledge of these people,” Barry Katz says. “But it was a very well-written and funny program on the radio,”

Rhett Thompson, whose standup centers on being biracial (Japanese mother, African-American father), says she has worked with Conundrum before. “[Johnson] was interested in new talent … and I was a woman comedian with the ability to work clean. I was amazed he has such a wide reach of talent. I was just very impressed with the type of talent he could get to do his shows,” she says.

“Café Conundrum” will begin 8 p.m. Friday at Sunrise Civic Center Theatre, 10610 W. Oakland Park Blvd. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $10 for students and $8 for children. Call 954-747-4646 or go to

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