What’s with all the deer?
They appear in much of the marketing and the YouTube videos for “Little House on the Ferry,” an original musical comedy that takes place on Fire Island, a barrier island off New York known for being a gay resort. Deer are even a major plot point in the story.
The show, with a title that is a pun about the ferry that carries visitors to Fire Island, appearing this weekend at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, kicks off Stonewall Pride Wilton Manors, a parade and festival for LGBT rights.
“I was sitting on my deck eating my Fruit Loops,” says the show’s creator Robert Gould, recalling a vacation on Fire Island in 2004. “This deer looked at me, and then jumped over the fence. And I thought, ‘Why did the deer jump over the fence?’ And the answer is: The grass is greener.”
That was the moment Gould, a traffic court judge in New York with a home on Fort Lauderdale beach, knew he had a story about a weekend getaway that turns into a love triangle just as gay marriage equality is passed becomes legal in the state.
“Actually, at that moment, I knew it was a play. … I knew it wasn’t a novel,” Gould explains. “And then, I looked up and thought, ‘Oh, it’s a musical. The deer has to sing.’ My friend said to me, ‘But you don’t even like musicals. And you don’t write.’ And I said, ‘Oh, that’s just another detail.’ “
An ad on Craigslist put him in touch with composer and Berklee College of Music grad Robert Arbelo, who decided that Gould’s initial lyrics were perfect for the musical.
“He said, ‘Oh, I’ll compose, but you’re a songwriter.’ Who knew? I had never written anything in my life, and now I’m a songwriter,” Gould recalls.
The resulting show has several walk-on roles by local celebs, over-the-top costumes and a score peppered with musical genres.
There’s also a break-the-fourth-wall moment in the show. During a hoedown fundraiser, Pride South Florida, which presents Stonewall Pride Wilton Manors, will announce how much money ticket sales and sponsorships raised for the organization.
Pride South Florida’s logistics coordinator Jeff Sterling explains in an email: “The show is a chance to involve people from the community, including the hoedown scene, where people can contribute to the cause and be seen onstage. At the hoedown, there is a gay marriage, speech for equality, and an announcement of how money is raised locally in Fort Lauderdale for this cause.”
“Little House on the Ferry” will appear 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday, at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $30. Call 954-462-0222 or go to BrowardCenter.org.