HIS TOASTMASTERS HISTORY PAYING OFF BIG TIME, HARRY WAS A HIT.
he has written five plays, some of which have been produced at Theatre Conspiracy’s play reading series in Fort Myers. “Brevity is a virtue,” a writing coach once told him. “You have it.” That, Maxeiner says, “took the lid off.” His provocative play Belief involves themes of long-term commitment, fatherhood, ardent faith and impending death.
Belief was staged at Theatre Conspiracy in 2015, and is now in the hands of director and producer Robert Kalfin, founder of the Chelsea Theater Center, with the promise of production in New York City.
TAPPING IN AT 55
A former elementary school teacher, Brenda Kensler discovered her inner thespian after raising her children. “I always wanted to [perform], but I was afraid” she says. Then, when she was 47, a neighbor asked her to take dance classes. Seven years later, she auditioned for the musical 42nd Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “I was 55, tapping in 42nd Street!”
Kensler went on to perform in a number of productions,
including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,
Sweet Charity and Hair, the first show she’d ever seen on Broadway. She asked for a part in Hair. Instead of a younger “Tribe” member, Kensler played the role of Mother.
In Southwest Florida, she has performed a number leading roles, mostly for the Laboratory Theater of Florida. “I started looking at plays and thinking, ‘Oh, I would have done this differently.’ ” So she started directing for the Lab: Calendar Girls,
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune and Cabaret, something she’d wanted to do for 20 years. “I’d listen to the music and choreograph it in my head. I did the costumes, choreography, directing, casting … everything,” she says.
Recently, and with 24 hours’ notice, she filled in as an understudy at the Off Broadway Palm. “I walked through my role once and bam! I went in and I did it ,” she says. “I started late and wonderful things happened. I try to do things that scare me. That’s what you do. It’s called living.”
Harry Lichtcsien (seated left) is the namesake of Harry’s Senior Moment. Harry's fellow performers are Marilu Holmes (seated), Leigh Shein, Steve Cobb and Bill Owens. The improv troupe returns next May to the Off Broadway Palm in Fort Myers.