Delray stage show has a familiar theme

February 22, 2009

It's opening night at the Delray Beach Playhouse, and Florence Seidelman is working the crowd.

The Philadelphia Social Club bought 91 tickets, and she sold 50 to her friends, so the audience is made up largely of native Philadelphians like her who live in the active adult developments. Florence surveys the folks waiting to take their seats, and shout-outs include Valencia Pointe, Kings Point, Ponte Vecchio, The Grove, Aberdeen, Palm Isles and Valencia Shores.

If the name sounds familiar, this is the same Florence Seidelman, 77, who, with no previous experience, wrote the screen treatment, raised the money and managed to get a motion picture, The Boynton Beach Club, made and distributed in theaters a few years ago. It was shot in her Valencia Isles community, and in and around western Boynton Beach. Her friends were the extras.

Now she has moved on to the theater as co-producer of Millions of Miles, a play by Elliott Taubenslag, who lives here in Covered Bridge. It was scheduled but never quite made it to Broadway, after the star, Rue McClanahan, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Marci ShatzmanMarci Shatzman

Bob Goldman, the co-producer, said Elliott did a reading in their clubhouse and he decided to "come out of retirement for the fourth time" and back the show. He had heard Florence give a talk about the movie when it came out, and he convinced her to read the script. "She called me and said, 'When do we start?'"

The first reading was at the Cuillo Center for the Arts in West Palm Beach, and then it was workshopped at the Caldwell Theatre Company in Boca Raton. They brought it to Randolph DelLago at the playhouse, and he directed the production, which closes today.

It has pretty much the same theme as the movie Florence made, looking for love and sex in older age. With a small cast and no scenery changes, she hopes it will go on to run in other theaters around the country because it's easy and inexpensive to produce. She's confident it will find an audience. "There's a lot more interest in seniors now," she said.

Florence wasn't the only one a little nervous before the curtain went up. So was the playwright. "I miss not getting excited, but I am tonight," said Elliott, who used to run a children's theater in New York. "I rewrote this many times. Now I'm working on another play."

"Good evening young people," DelLago said to welcome the crowd. "Tonight, we have a world premiere."

Everyone laughed in all the right places. There were no reviews the next day, but Florence was happy with the feedback. She's also gotten involved in promoting the new Andy Griffith movie, Play the Game, with a similar plot of dating in the 80s — the age, not the year. It opens Feb. 27. She has turned The Boynton Beach Club into a musical and is looking for a venue for that venture.

So while other women her age are playing Canasta and mah-jongg, Florence is carving out a career niche promoting movies and shows that showcase the real romantic and sex lives of seniors after they're widowed and have to learn how to play the field again.

Her daughter Susan Seidelman, who's a director, couldn't be prouder.

"She's the Energizer Bunny," she said about her mother. "She's my role model."


The Feb. 15 Adult Communities column misidentified the development where Catherine Fucci works. She is the social director at Villaggio.

Marci Shatzman writes about the gated adult communities in western Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Lake Worth, and in Wellington. You can reach her at and read her last six columns at