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Franklin playwright's road to Broadway

Posted at 10:16 PM, Jul 10, 2024

ST. MARY PARISH — The heart of theater, New York City, will soon be Franklin playwright Ed "Tiger" Verdin's stage.

"I'm excited to be able to represent Louisiana and Acadiana in New York City at BroadwayCon, on Broadway,” Verdin said.

Verdin, who wears many hats at the Teche Theatre was invited to BroadwayCon, after his play "Undying Love,” which he starred in alongside his wife Stacey, gained attention in the theater world.

The play, which premiered at the Teche Theatre, is about a husband and wife in one of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

The three-day convention is an opportunity for Broadway fans to see actors, enjoy activities, and hear from panelists like Verdin.

"They've been hearing about this story since 2020 when Leonard Marshall and I kind of put it out there that we were looking at a Broadway run with it,” Verdin said.

This year Verdin will be speaking at a session called "Righting History by Writing History."

"It's important that we take Louisiana culture, but tell those stories that aren't being told in history books, that may have been unrecognized or forgotten,” Verdin said.

Many of Verdin’s works are historical fiction based on research. His writing ensures those in Louisiana’s history are not lost in time.

“I wrote the story of Emma Wakefield-Paillet, who was Lousiana’s first African American female doctor,” Verdin said.

“The Iberia African American Historical Society asked me to write that play. Did not get Dr. Wakefield recognized by the state of Louisiana until 2017, although she had graduated in 1897."

His musical “The Quarters," performed at the Teche Theatre and in festivals, won 10 Broadway World Awards.

"The whole history play about slavery in south Louisiana, it kind of gave an important look at the families and the quarters as opposed to the plantation homes and the owners,” Verdin said.

The Dramatist Guild of America memember will be bringing along another Franklin native, two-time Super Bowl Champion Leonard Marshall who is producing one of his plays.

Marshall hopes diving into the world of theater shows his hometown all things are possible.

"For the city of Franklin, this is a chance to put our little place on the map,” Marshall said.

“And let the people of the world see that all good things come from small places just like I did."

Verdin is currently writing a play called "Operation Jubilè" which tells the story of a Second Lieutenant from Franklin, who was the first American to die in World War II.

He will be speaking at the session on July 28, and will also be accompanied by award-winning playwright Ifa Bayeza.