By Rod Stafford Hagwood
4:14 PM EST, November 20, 2012
Boca Raton’s Amy Botwinick wants you to know that her self-help book about divorce has nothing to do with her work on “Divorce Party The Musical: The Hilarious Journey to Hell…and Back” coming to Fort Lauderdale’s Parker Playhouse Nov. 27 through Dec. 9.
“The play has nothing to do with the book,” explains Botwinick, a chiropractor-turned-writer. “Once I finished the book I was looking around thinking, ‘Ok, what can you do next?’ I always say I went from chiropractor to divorce coach. In the book I say to the reader that I made every mistake possible, so you learn from what I learned…the hard way.”
What she decided to do next was to take another approach to the subject matter of her 2005 book publishing “Congratulations on Your Divorce – The Road to Finding Your Happily Ever After.” Perhaps a comedy for the stage?
In 2009 she started writing the script, but she knew she needed help from someone with experience in the medium. Someone like Juno Beach’s Mark Schwartz, who produced the monster hit “Menopause The Musical.”
“I had it all in my head,” says Botwinick. “I was running around Boca trying to find someone to help and getting nowhere. So I was at a bar function, I mean a bar as in a lawyer bar, in West Palm Beach with my [second] husband Gary, who is an attorney. I don’t think we were married yet at the time. Everyone was talking lawyer stuff and I found myself in need of someone to talk to. I’m looking around and I see this guy with a ponytail. He looks cool, so I start up a conversation with him. When he told me what he did I immediately started to break out in a sweat. I kept thinking, ‘don’t throw up on him.’ ”
After recalling that he had seen her promoting her book on “The Tyra Show,” Schwartz put Botwinick in touch with director/choreographer/lyricist Jay Falzone, who wrote parody lyrics to Top 40 golden oldies for the show (“I wrote it and he shaped it,” says Botwinick).
The musical is about Linda who is facing a divorce after 16 years of marriage. Unable to move on, she eats her feeling, preferring large tubs of Chubby Hubby ice cream. Her sister Carolyn, cousin Courtney and college roommate Sheila stage an intervention with a weekend divorce party, which evolves from no-he-didn’t moral support…to girl-listen-up advice…to himbo ogling.
The show made a debut at West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center back in January to savage reviews but sold-out houses.
“We tightened it up,” says Botwinick. “It’s a much better show. It’s more cohesive. It has better lines. It was definitely good to get audience reaction. You don’t know what you have until you put it up there onstage.”
Also for this run at Parker Playhouse is new tour merchandise in the form of an “I Rub My Duckie” vibrating bath toy. The $30 pinpoint massager is billed as being for treating muscle tension (go to the website DivorcePartyTheMusical.com for two other vibrating toys: the Pocket Rocket and the Jack Rabbit).
“By the end of the show, women are dancing in the aisles and leaving with a smile on their face knowing they are not alone,” adds Botwinick. “And our concessions are a tongue-in-cheek nod to that.”
IF YOU GO
“Divorce Party The Musical”
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 1 and 7 p.m. on Sunday
Where: Parker Playhouse, 707 N.E. Eighth Street (Holiday Park) in Fort Lauderdale
Cost: $31.50 to $39
Contact: 954-462-0222 or ParkerPlayhouse.com.
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