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See what 'The Gay Naked Play' is all about in Wilton Manors | Video

It’s all there in the title — “The Gay Naked Play.” The sex romp playing in Wilton Manors makes no secret of what it’s about.

“I inserted a lot more nudity,” says Ronnie Larsen, the show’s director and producer. “It’s consistent throughout the show.”

Written by the late David Bell, the show ran in New York in 2008 and London in 2014. Larsen’s friends kept suggesting “The Gay Naked Play” would be perfect for Larsen to produce in Fort Lauderdale. After doing a reading of the comedy a month ago in Wilton Manors, Larsen agreed, but only if he could move the setting from New York to South Florida and tweak the script (with the approval of Bell’s estate). Now, the comedy is equal parts valentine and vitriol for the regional theater scene, with lots of added references and inside jokes only locals will get.

“The Gay Naked Play” is about a struggling theater troupe in Pompano Beach that plays to mostly empty houses. But a wily producer, looking for more theaters to stage his successful shows featuring nude actors, arrives on the scene and wants to use the company to launch the acting career of a male stripper.

Art imitates real life, says Larsen, a playwright of such titles as “Making Porn,” “All Male Peep Show” and “Happy Ending.”

“A lot of theaters, if a show has nudity, they won’t do it,” Larsen says. “They look down on it so much. Isn’t that a big part of who we are? A big part of being gay is sex. It’s a feeling like we should grow up and put that away. I don’t understand that idea. Why would we stop doing that as a sign of maturity? I think there’s this thing where gay playwrights don’t ever talk about sex. I don’t get that. I think people want to see that stuff. So why apologize, right?”

Toward that end, Larsen is using “The Gay Naked Play” to launch a season of shows chock-full of male nudity. The season will continue with the world premiere of Larsen’s musical “Now and Then” Sept. 6-30 and his comedy “3 Card Stud” Nov. 1-Dec. 2. The season ends with the staging of “Afterglow,” an off-Broadway hit about an open marriage Feb. 14-March 10, 2019. For more information, go to RonnieLarsen.com/Page/TheAfterGlowSeason.

“The Gay Naked Play” runs through Sept. 2 at the Foundry at the Abyss Stage and Studio, 2308 N. Dixie Highway, in Wilton Manors. Showtimes are 8:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 7 p.m. Sundays. Tickets cost $35 and $50. To order, call 954-826-8790 or go to RonnieLarsen.com.

rhagwood@southflorida.com

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