Returns to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts
By Denny Patterson
Back by popular demand, the Silver Palm Award-Winning interactive theatrical experience “Diego & Drew Say I Do” is coming back to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts February 6-16, 2020. Originally premiering in 2016, this critically acclaimed musical comedy has been proclaimed “the wedding of the year!”. I mean, what’s more fabulous than a gay wedding?
“Diego & Drew Say I Do” is the story of Diego Torres and Andrew Boudreaux III who are cordially inviting you to join them on their special day as they head down the aisle. Two eccentric-yet-lovable families, an uptight wedding planner, an ex-boy band crooner, and a drag diva create the perfect storm of hilarity. From the moment the doors open, you will have the opportunity to participate in the ceremony, trade zingers with Big Daddy, and dance the night away with these kooky families. Plus, dinner will be served! The festivities are complete with a Southern/Puerto Rican feast. OutClique had the opportunity to chat more with the blushing grooms about the show. Ben Antipuna (Diego) and Eric O’Keefe (Drew) are ecstatic to play these roles and get married all over again.
Denny Patterson: Hi, guys! Thank you for chatting with me today. What can audiences expect from “Diego & Drew?”
Ben Antipuna: I think when they come, audiences can expect a very interactive experience where it will feel like they are attending the wedding of two friends. During the wedding, they will participate in the dancing, the ceremony, the dining, and as we’re progressing through the show, the hilarity will begin with the feuding families because one is very southern and traditional while the other is Latino and from South Florida. The families do things differently. Also, a great thing about the show is that it shows the audience, especially those who may not be familiar with a gay or non-traditional wedding, that the two grooms are the normal ones and the families are the outlandish, crazy ones.
Eric O’Keefe: Exactly. This show is fun and interactive with a lot of dancing, eating, and music. Audiences can expect to attend almost a real wedding.
DP: Ben, what do you enjoy most about playing Diego?
BA: For me, I think the interaction with the audience. We all sit in the same room and the characters will come up to your table and ask how you’re doing. They’re like your long lost cousin. Being able to stay in character and play improv with the audience throughout the show is one of my favorite moments.
DP: Same question to you Eric regarding Drew. What do you enjoy most about playing him?
EO: Well, Drew is from the south and he has a southern accent which is a little different for me. Actually, everything about it except for living here is very different for me [laughs]. Drew is a lot and there’s a lot going on in the show. Everything about Drew is kind of different for me. I really like getting to play around, like this is his wedding and he really loves Diego, so he kind of just runs around and chases after Diego for most of the show and tries to make everything for him. Drew’s family is crazy. Well, both families are crazy, but he has some homophobic grandparents and stuff like that.
DP: Are you two excited to work with your stage husband again?
BA: Definitely. It’s funny because when we first did this show three years ago, Eric was younger and just starting out in his career, so I got to lead him through this and make sure he had his food and water. You know, keeping tabs on “my husband.” We kept in touch over the years and he has done a lot of great theatre here in South Florida, so it’s going to be an interesting dynamic going back into this with someone who is now more experienced. It’s going to be exciting for both of us.
EO: Of course! Especially now, since this is the second time we have done this show. Since we have known each other for a couple years, it will be better this time. Ben is awesome and he is great to play around with. A lot of this is improv and because of that, we are kind of bouncing off each other and making stuff up, and it’s a lot of fun.
DP: Why did you initially want to be in “Diego & Drew?”
BA: Good question! At the time, I was on a contract for a Norwegian cruise line, and a friend said I should audition. I remember being in my tiny cabin at sea reading the script and not thinking anything of it because I was so far removed from the situation. Hearing shortly after that I got the part, I was like, wow, that’s awesome! I was excited to come back and work on this brand-new show at the Broward Center.
EO: Honestly, I got asked to be in it. Either way, if I had not known about it, something like this is very fun. Improv is great because it is different every time you do it. The show turns out different every night. I have never done something like this before because I normally just do musicals. It has been great to be involved with a very interactive show.
DP: And why did you want to come back and reprise your roles?
BA: Because the show was so different down here in the South Florida community. We got a huge response and we did a lot of outreach to local charitable organizations and businesses. Like we did the engagement party at Matthew’s Jewelers, who also made custom wedding bands for us. We were really involved with the community at the time. When I heard “Diego and Drew” was going to be performed again, I was like, I must do it again. Typically, shows come in and there’s no community outreach or involvement. It was nice to see business owners and their friends come have them hear their names and businesses mentioned during the show. It was a great experience.
EO: I’m in love with this cast. We have such a great cast and it’s the same this time around, plus a few new faces and I know a lot of them as well. It’s exciting to see how different the show will be this time. I feel pretty attached to it.
DP: Have you always had a passion for acting and performing?
BA: Yes. I think I started in 7th or 8th grade after going to a local production of “Annie” and seeing some of my classmates in it. I was involved throughout high school then went off to college and studied musical theatre. After that, I moved to the Fort Lauderdale area to work with Cirque Dreams and was with them on and off for 15 years. I did cruise ships, theme parks, national tours, then eventually got into the more managerial side of theatre. Now I work here at the Broward Center full-time and just got off the road in February with “The King and I.”
EO: I grew up in New York, so I grew up seeing a whole bunch of shows. Not just on Broadway, but ballets and that kind of stuff.
DP: What do you do to prepare for your roles?
BA: It’s interesting because a lot of it is interactive. You feed off the audience and in rehearsals, we go over scenarios because the audience will try to stump you and ask questions like where we met, where we’re from, what do our siblings do, etc. They try to get a lot of questions out of you like that and you just have to know your responses immediately. During rehearsal, besides going over blocking and things of that nature, we go over these scenarios of what life is like for us.
EO: I have to start speaking in my accent to myself while getting ready or else that will flip in and out. I am just trying to be more like Drew and focus on that this time around. Practicing all possibilities with Ben because the show is not going to be the same as last time. It changes every night, but this time I will be more comfortable.
DP: It sounds like this production has been quite challenging for you both.
BA: I would say so, but it’s very enjoyable because the director allowed us to bring our characters to life with what we had.
EO: Definitely. I’m not a big dancer and I have had to do a lot of shows where I had to dance a lot, so this production is a different kind of challenging. It’s weird to go from knowing exactly what’s going to happen each night to knowing only about 10% of what’s going to happen.
DP: What have you learned the most by being in “Diego & Drew?”
BA: Going with the flow. Diego is the title character of the show, but audiences are watching everyone because so much is going on. We may not be directly involved, but everyone is looking in our direction and looking for our reaction to the situation. I also had to learn to take a step back and follow everyone else and be in the moment.
EO: I would agree with Ben. You’re not going to know what happens next, so just go with the flow.
DP: Eric, you recently got married in real life. Congrats! Was your wedding as stressful as Diego and Drew’s?
EO: Stressful in a different way [laughs]. Diego and Drew’s wedding is kooky, so I wouldn’t say anything that crazy happened at my wedding. My wedding was pretty smooth, so I am thankful for that because their wedding doesn’t go as planned.
DP: Do either of you have anything lined up after “Diego & Drew?”
BA: As of right now, no. Like I said, I work full-time at the Broward Center. During the day I will be in the accounting department handling finances, then I will come down for the show. I’m looking forward to it.
EO: I do, but I am not allowed to talk about it just yet. Something coming in May at the Kravis Center.
Matthew’s Jewelers – Official Engagement Party Host and Designer of Custom Wedding Bands for the Grooms
Men’s Wearhouse – Provider of the Grooms Attire
Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar – Where the Grooms 1st Met
Bring your ticket stub from Diego & Drew Say I Do and receive 20% off food purchases.
Jennifer McClain’s Cast Party at Tropics Grille – Official Cast Party Host
Cabaret Barbershop – Where the Grooms get coiffed!
Stop by the Cabaret and see Tomy and Kalo for your next big event.
Event Décor Direct – Provider of select décor for the ceremony.
World Aids Museum and Educational Center –
Certain proceeds raised during each performance of Diego & Drew Say I Do will benefit WORLD AIDS MUSEUM & EDUCATION CENTER in Wilton Manors, Florida. Make sure to bring cash to the show so that you may to dance with your favorite groom, and help this worthy organization!