MAD Theatre, a community theater organization, presented Falsettos at the Shimberg Playhouse in Tampa. Falsettos featured several local residents in both the role of director and as actors.

Several local residents participated in the recent production of Falsettos at the Shimberg Playhouse in Tampa. These included Tony Gilkinson, the director, who is from Riverview; Gabrielle Ray of Brandon, who played Cordelia; Casey Vaughn from Riverview, who played Charlotte; and Marcus Blake from Riverview, who played the male lead, Marvin.

MAD Theatre is a nonprofit theater organization. It is run by community volunteers. MAD Theatre brings affordable musical theater to the stage.

Falsettos tells the story of a gay man named Marvin who leaves his wife and son to be with his male lover. With the help of the family psychiatrist and their neighbors, Charlotte and Cordelia, the family learns to grow up and face the future in the 70s and 80s through the early days of the AIDS crisis.

Gilkinson has been a performer all of his life. Falsettos is the 11th show he has directed for MAD Theatre. Gilkinson said, “One of the things about community theater is the word ‘community.’ I love our sense of community as we support each other by attending each other’s shows as often as possible.”

Gilkinson added, “The Shimberg Playhouse is a great spot for us. It is a 100-seat black box theater. We can create whatever environment the show calls for at the time. For this show, I really leaned into my lighting designer to bring a lot of emotion and character through the lighting of the show, and the end result is beautiful.”

Ray started acting in high school. Her part in Falsettos is her first with MAD Theatre. Ray said, “I think mine and Casey’s part bring a little bit of levity to what happens in the second act. I think throughout the show there is joy to be found everywhere.”

Blake said, “Music runs in my family, so I started singing very young. My first musical was in middle school, where I was a multicultural casting of The Wiz.” Blake became involved with MAD Theatre in 2008 and has done 14 musicals as well as multiple cabarets.

Vaughn said, “The best part was being able to work with a cast whose voices and hearts are beautiful. They are supportive, welcoming and fun. This made it easy to handle some long hours of rehearsal and the heavier moments of the show.”

MAD Theatre will, under the artistic direction of Gilkinson, present The Prom in June.

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