Actor/musician Philip Michael Thomas seems to be spending his career surrounded by animals. TV partner Sonny Crockett's pet, Elvis the alligator, and brutal drug kingpins bedeviled him on the Eighties drama Miami Vice. Now he is coming up against creatures again -- Martin the Frog, Dolly the Duck, Harriet the Owl, and Ray the Rat. This time, however, the beasts are of his own conjuring as lyricist and composer for the play Sacha and the Magic Cookie Maker. Offering an uplifting message, the piece was born from a record of children's songs Thomas, a father of twelve, created at the urging of friend Sandi Morais, a teacher and actress he met on the set of Miami Vice. Songs led to illustrated storybooks and now, three years later, to a full-length musical. (The title character is inspired by one of Thomas's daughters, age 27, and her fascination with a cookie factory she visited as a child).
Previously produced in Hampton, Virginia, and Fort Lauderdale, the play will run briefly in Miami this weekend. Neither Morais, who will direct, nor Thomas appear in the cast, which consists mainly of locals, a few of whom are New World School of the Arts students. But don't be fooled: "It's not a children's show. It's a family show," Thomas stresses. Although Morais, mother of a 17-year-old daughter, assures, "All our kids are woven into this piece in some shape or form."
While Morais and Thomas hope for a series of regional performances and an eventual Broadway run, this isn't the last we'll hear from them. Morais is working on a piece about a developmentally disabled student she taught, and Thomas confesses he has "an arsenal of things that I have created over the years that are yet to be born.... This is just one in a continuation of many," he pledges. "I hope that I will live a long time and make them come to fruition."