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Art & Life with Dennis Manning and Ronnie Larsen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dennis Manning and Ronnie Larsen.

Ronnie and Dennis met by chance in April 2018. Dennis was attending a new show of Ronnie’s, and they talked casually before the show. Ronnie said, “what do you do?” Dennis replied, “I sell mattresses …and I play the acoustic guitar and write music and sing.” Ronnie asked to hear some of the music. A week later Ronnie came over, and Dennis played through song after original song (4-hours later) it started….the musical “Now & Then” come to be. 4-months later, “Now & Then” is on the stage at the Wilton Theatre Factory with 15-original Manning songs, a cast of 6 actors and played for 18 performances in front of 1100+ audiences members.

They formed Now & The Productions, LLC and currently have three new, original musicals on the creative board exploring new ideas and new themes!

Ronnie has produced/directed 16 productions in South Florida. Larsen has had five shows Off-Broadway as well as productions in four foreign countries. This summer he has had shows in London, New York City and Utah.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
The Art – The stage. We are creating work to reach people. Make them laugh, make them think, look inside and look no further than the moment. Ronnie is bringing to South Florida the first run of the Off-Broadway show “Afterglow” that will start February 14.

With the musical “Now & Then” the story was based on Dennis’s life (though this is not an autobiography) and what the audience said night after night was, “…that’s my story…I went through that…yep we were at that same stage in our relationship…you made me cry…you made me feel things I had forgotten…”

The music and lyrics are honest, from the heart, real, clear, and people said they felt immediately connected. We are very excited of the new work we are creating together.

Ronnie as a playwright continues to work in many current themes that resonate with the south Florida population.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
The role of the artist is to take us (the audience/viewer) out of ourselves and see for a time something different and then to bring it back inside and make a connection. This connection may bring laughter, reflection, joy and a host of other emotions. Current events shape the art that we produce, create and experience. Rather than divide a community, we do feel that art, in whatever form you value, can and should bring us together. Ronnie said last night, “I want to build connections and grow. I feel sad when I spent time with someone, and we missed that opportunity.”

We say to ourselves again and again (and this not our original phrase): Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them so go out and start creating.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Ronnie’s plays are currently locally performed at the Wilton Theatre Factory. Get out to see live theatre.

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Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Claudia

    March 14, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    So proud, happy and excited for you Den! Very cool ❤️

  2. Tara Bonang

    March 17, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Wow! What a great story!

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