Robert Hooker, Tony Priddy and Jim Gibbons founded Fort Lauderdale's Sol Theatre Project in 2001. Eight years later, Hooker and Priddy -- partners in life as well as business -- are moving on.
It isn't really the rotten economy (though Priddy was a victim of downsizing) nor lack of success with the company that convinced the two that it's time to start a new chapter in their lives. Hooker's parents, who live in South Carolina, are getting older, and he's considering a college teaching job there so he can be closer to them.
So for those reasons, Sol is for sale. The funky little 67-seat theater across from the railroad tracks that run along Flagler Drive just north of Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale just happens to be one of the coolest, cosiest theater spaces in South Florida. Patrons sits on chairs and sofas. They take wine, beer and munchies with them. The atmosphere is part art, part party.
Through its eight-year history, Sol has tackled wildly eclectic fare: Shakespeare's The Tempest, Athol Fugard's The Road to Mecca, Diana Son's Stop Kiss, Wallace Shawn's Aunt Dan and Lemon, Edwin Sanchez's Trafficking in Broken Hearts, David Auburn's Proof, Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. Some of the productions were quite good, others not so much, and that vacillating about artistic identity may have been what kept Sol from growing larger.
Right now, Sol is doing Eric Bogosian's Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll with three actors, and Hooker says he has one more show in mind before he and Priddy head up I-95. The two don't own the building where Sol is located, but the rent is decent, and they're offering the 1,800 square foot theater space with all the equipment included. For more info on Sol, visit the web site.
Here's hoping the right person or group gets the space, and that good theater will flourish there. Andthat Hooker and Priddy find continued artistic fulfillment a little farther north.