"The Boys Next Door" finally finds a home

Edward Barbanell, Larry Buzzeo, John Hernandez and Ted Dvoracek, in Down In Front Theatre Company's production of "The Boys Next Door." (George Wentzler / June 12, 2013)

“The Boys Next Door” was almost the show that wasn’t.

The two-act comedy-drama about a group of developmentally disabled boys living together under the guidance of a social worker facing burn-out is playing at the Soref Jewish Community Center in Plantation.

Now.

But just a few weeks ago the show was left homeless when the Tamarac Theatre of the Performing Arts shuttered its doors after a 33-year run, the last 13 spent in the shopping center at the corner of McNab and Pine Island roads.


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“One of the fellows in the cast is mentally challenged and he took it extremely hard,” says Gilbert Lenchus, the play’s director. “So I said, ‘Let me try to find another location.’ I went banging on doors. Everyone said, ‘I wish you luck.’ But no one said, ‘I’ll help.’ “

Then he hit up Donald Graw, executive director of the Soref.

“He said, ‘Can you get it together in two weeks?’ “ explains Lenchus. “Meanwhile I’m doing 50 million other things and we’re not rehearsing.”

But he quickly got all the necessary paperwork – letter of appropriation, insurance, background checks – completed and managed to keep the cast together. He even formed a new troupe, The Down In Front Theater Company. The show would, indeed, go on.

“We were thrilled to have the Down In Front Theater Company come here,” Graw says. “I was very much intrigued by the show…and it speaking to the special needs population. We like to be all-inclusive here and to serve all kinds of people throughout our Broward community.”

Good fortune followed when the crew from the Tamarac Theatre of the Performing Arts “…comes marching in and said, ‘We’re yours. We’ll work for you here. So now I got my cast and my crew,’ “recalls Lenchus.

And a storm. Chantal was creeping close to the Florida coast during Thursday’s opening.

“Then God jumped in the picture and threw a hurricane or a storm my way,” says Lenchus, laughing. “But in the theater rain is good luck. So if it rains as much as they say it’s going to, then we’re going to Broadway.”

“The Boys Next Door” plays through July 28 at Soref Jewish Community Center, 6501 W. Sunrise Blvd., Plantation. 8 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays; 4 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $20. To order, call 954-792-6700 or 954-562-0759 or go to SorefJCC.org.