In her youth, Carol Wartenberg always dreamed of a career on the stage.
She pursued roles in school, but eventually, “I realized I had to start working on my career because I wasn’t going to be a great actress … or even a mediocre one.”
Wartenberg taught physical education for a few years and went on to became a clinical psychologist, but she never abandoned her love of theater. Nearly four decades later and retired in Wilton Manors, she’s dedicating her energy to creating arts experiences for other women through the Lesbian Thespians.
She sought out “every lesbian group and talked to just about everyone in South Florida who does women’s arts,” seeking ideas and drumming up interest. She also created a Facebook group and website.
“I’m not looking to be competitive, but give women choices, things they can do a couple of times a month,” Wartenberg explained, noting that there are only about 25 lesbian bars remaining across the country and South Florida’s LGBT scene already skews heavily towards men.
A series of monthly mixers, play readings and spoken word sessions quickly grew and then a year later, the group found a new home at the local arts incubator ArtServe in Fort Lauderdale. This spring, the group presented their first full-length staged production, “The Gospel of Jesus: Queen of Heaven.”
“I’m just trying to think outside the box as much as I can,” she said enthusiastically. “It’s just so exciting and the women have been so thrilled to be able to get together in a women’s only space and be comfortable.”
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