Silence: The Musical
January 11, 2016
Pony as Buffalo Bill
Silence: The Musical
The Key West Literary Seminar was not the only thing going on in town this past week, there was also the closing few shows of one of the funniest plays to grace a Key West stage in ages as, “Silence, the Musical” wrapped up its run at the Key West Theater. The play, a riotous parody of the film, “Silence of the Lambs” played its final few shows during the weekend of the seminar and on Friday night, I joined my buddy Doug and KWLS staff member Lindsay in attending one of the final shows.
Carolyn and Pony
Erin, Alex and Carolyn
Kathy and I had previously seen the show on its opening night and I had been wanting to return since as I found it so hysterically funny that I just had to return. It featured a wonderful cast of Key West local actors including J.B. McClendon, Pony Chavret, Chad Newman, Carolyn Cooper, Erin McKenna and Kelly Jane, as well one professional actor to play the role of Clarice, Alex Zeto. Zeto was taking a break from the traveling Broadway production of “Flashdance” and spent six weeks here playing the main role. The show was fantastic, it kept close enough to the film to be easily recognizable, but then would break into side-splitting musical numbers that were often pushing the boundary of even an R-rating.
The show played to a packed house of raucous locals and tourists alike and other than a few prudes, all seemed to enjoy it. Miss Zeto was especially good, nailing the West Virginia accent that Jodie Foster used in the film and showcasing her beautiful singing voice on a number of occasions. The local cast was stellar as well, especially Chad as the unfortunate prisoner of the serial killer, Katherine and Pony as the killer Buffalo Bill. It was obvious that the cast was having a wicked good time throughout the show and we had a great time.
Kelly and Laura
Saturday night, after the KWLS dinner at the Little White House, Doug, myself and our friend Stacey all headed over to Bobby’s Monkey Bar to attend the cast party after the last performance of the show. Few people party like the Key West Theatre crowd and the party was a raucous and wild time featuring food, flowing libations and many of the cast members taking the opportunity to sing Karaoke in increasingly hysterical numbers. Having the Hanibel Lechter actor singing the theme to “Flashdance” while Clarice danced the dance from that play/film was particularly amusing and appropriate since Zeto was going to be back on stage in Flashdance in Los Angeles the very next evening.
Arlo and Harry Mathews
Brad Watson,Kevin Young, Kelly Link,Molly Antopol,Karen Russell and Billy Collins
Of course the Literary Seminar was still in full swing and was the dominant feature of the weekend, as events at the San Carlos throughout Saturday and Sunday with more amazing presentations by the writers on hand. Billy Collins delivered a terrific speech that looked into the history and craft of writing poetry and while I love his readings each year, this was remarkable and interesting and one of my favorite things of the weekend.
Shayne,Margit, Billy and Lindsay
Billy and his girlfriend Suzananah return every year for the seminar and have become part of the fabric of the KWLS fabric. They are the only writers who attend the crew party held on stage of the San Carlos at the closing of the seminar and are about as interesting and nice people as you could meet. Billy is a remarkable person to converse with as well and I had the good fortune to join him for dinner on Saturday night at the Truman Little White House Dinner, such a cool experience. I really would love to get a chance to see one of the poetry/music shows he is touring with singer Aimee Mann.
Betsy and Kathy
Kevin Young with Miss Franke and students
One of the coolest parts of the seminar each year is hearing from the three named scholarship winners, who are selected each year through a highly competitive writing competition. These new voices get to read on Sunday morning and this year three young men were the winners, Jordan Jacks, Rob Stephens and Vincent Scarpa. They were all three pretty amazing readings, but I especially admired the somewhat edgy reading by Scarpa, that no doubt had a few of our audience squirming since the story featured a drug-using porn star. It is pretty cool to see these young writers early in their careers and I expect we will be hearing much more from them in the future.
Vincent Scarpa and family
For the past few years, another really cool event has coincided with the seminar, the Wounded Warrior Bike Ride, which features a large group of combat injured veterans riding bikes from Miami to Key West to raise awareness for wounded veterans, has ridden right down Duval Street on the Sunday morning that is the final day of the seminar. Crowds line the street to cheer on these brave men and women, many riding specialized bikes customized to accommodate missing limbs. It is a moving and exciting thing to see these amazing individuals who have given so much for this country. It is also a truly inspiring sight to see. I feel fortunate to be able to salute these soldiers, even for a brief moment as they pass by.
The seminar portion of this year’s Key West Literary Seminar concluded with the annual free public session on Sunday afternoon. The workshop portion of the seminar begins next week. The public session is always gratifying as it offers the community a way to be a part of the seminar and it was as usual packed with locals including many students which is always nice to see. It is a bittersweet time when the seminar concludes, I am both relieved and happy that it has been a success but also sad to see it come to an end and to see so many friends depart for another year. As soon as the final guest leaves, Arlo host a small party toast on the stage for the amazing crew and later in the evening is the farewell party that was hosted this year at the beautiful home of Judy Blume and George Cooper.
Jolly, Kate, Kathy and Effie
Mark, Curt and Kerry
Usually I am so exhausted at the final party, that I can barely interact with anyone, but due to the smoothness and success of this year’s seminar, I felt pretty refreshed and happy. I almost wished there was a second session. I plan on attending more workshop events than usual next week to keep the enthusiasm going. Judy and George hosted a wonderful party and we were able to say goodbye to the departing panelists and hello to the arriving workshop leaders including two of my favorite writers and people, Kristen-Paige Madonia and Diana Abu-Jaber who were each here with their wonderful families and will each be teaching workshops.
KP and family
Dale, Fran and Rebecca
Doug and Kathy
Arlo and Aviva