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'The Twentieth-Century Way' play chronicles scheme by two actors to entrap gay men

Island City Stage at Empire Stage in Fort Lauderdale makes an impressive debut


There’s a new theater company on the South Florida scene, and if its debut production is any indication, Island City Stage will be a troupe worth watching.

Performing initially at Fort Lauderdale’s Empire Stage, Island City hopes to get its own space in Wilton Manors or Oakland Park. Artistic director Andy Rogow notes that the company wants to “…produce works that explore the values and issues that art of interest to the LGBT and progressive communities.”

The first show, Tom Jacobson’s The Twentieth-Century Way, hews to that mission in fascinating fashion.

The play is inspired by a real moment in gay history. In 1914, two out-of-work actors, B.C. Brown (Michael Westrich) and W.H. Warren (Clay Cartland), convinced the Long Beach, Calif., police department to let them conduct an operation entrapping and arresting gay men in public restrooms. The title refers to the combination of modern cleanliness, public facilities and the introduction of the zipper (vs. trouser fly buttons) – which made quick, anonymous oral sex more appealing and easier to accomplish.

Click here to read more.


  • What: ‘The Twentieth-Century Way’ by Tom Jacobson
  • Where: Island City Stage and Empire Stage coproduction at Empire, 1140 N. Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale
  • When: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday, through Sept. 9
  • Cost: $30
  • Info: 954-678-1496, www.smarttix.com


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