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15 posts from July 2008

July 09, 2008

The Boomer's lament -- with laughs

Your feet hurt. Your glasses are getting thicker.  The biological clock is at 11:59 p.m.  The razor-sharp memory is more like a butter knife.

Mid_life_photo You could cry, of course.  But Bob Walton and Jim Walton, authors of Mid Life! The Crisis Musical, would rather make you laugh.

The musical vignettes, about folks in their 40s and 50s, play out in a month-long run through Aug. 10 at Actors Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables.  Artistic director David Arisco has assembled a first-rate South Florida musical cast -- Margot Moreland, Maribeth Graham, Wayne Steadman, Allan Baker, Lourelene Snedeker and Barry Tarallo (they're in the photo at left) -- to deliver numbers like Biological Clock, Another Trip to the Doctor and What Did I Come in Here For?  If you're laughing knowingly, you're probably in the target audience.

Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; no Wednesday showsas of July 30, and additional matinees July 16 and July 23.  Tickets are $46 Friday and Saturday evenings, $38.50 for other performances (student, senior and group discounts available, with restrictions).  Call the theater at 305-444-9293 or visit the web site.

July 08, 2008

South Florida celebrates urban theater

Urban theater -- plays and musicals that deal with myriad aspects of black American life, shows that often draw such huge crowds that producers at smaller theaters can only look on and weep -- will get its celebratory due in South Florida at the end of the month.

Utef_webblast1_3The second Urban Theatre & Entertainment Awards Festival will take place July 29-Aug. 2 at locations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.  The brainchild of promoters and business partners Julia Brown and Ed Haynes, the event -- which includes a lavish opening-night awards gala, performances of plays (ranging from issue-oriented shows to biographical pieces to plays-with-music), workshops and spoken word performances -- is designed as a companion celebration to the National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Celebrities expected to participate include gala hosts Melba Moore and Jo-Marie Payton, and TV veteran Jackee Harry.  Tickets to most performances are $25, though gala admission is $250 ($150 to representatives of non-profit groups, $50 for seniors); some events, however, are free.

For information, call 1-877-947-6877 or visit the festival's web site.

July 07, 2008

A Tony winner does her own thing

Idinawicked_3 Idina Menzel won a Tony Award for creating the role of Elphaba -- the not-so-scary green witch who soars as she sings  Defying Gravity -- in Wicked on Broadway.  Before that, she played the kooky bisexual performance artist Maureen in Rent, a show that brought her an unexpected bonus: fellow cast member Taye Diggs, who became her husband.

Idinataye_2 Menzel has now recorded a CD for Warner Brothers, I Stand, and she's bringing its songs to the Parker Playhouse.  She wrote each of the songs on the CD, which is a collection of ballads and pop tunes.  Menzel appears at the Parker, 707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale, at 8 p.m. on July 25.  Tickets are $45.25 and are available from Live Nation or Ticketmaster.

July 03, 2008

Help a kid get to Scotland

03tupac07_mdp_cpj Meshaun Labrone Arnold (in the white shirt at right) is an intense, expressive actor who will open next week in The Hate U Gave: The Tupac Shakur Story, a Ground Up & Rising production of Arnold's play about the slain rapper.

What you may not know is that Arnold is also a high school drama teacher, and a very good one:  In his first year at Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School, his inventive production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot was accepted for inclusion in the American High School Theatre Festival that runs in conjunction with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.

Godot Arnold set the play's action in a version of Purgatory, one that exists during the first Gulf War.  (That's Sarah Melendez at left as Lucky.)  Vladimir and Estragon are Marines -- soldiers who have already died, but don't realize it -- and they wait, wait, wait for Godot and their next mission.

Arnold says Hialeah-Miami Lakes is the first non-magnet school to have a production accepted into the festival.  Now, he has to raise $60,000 to get the cast to Scotland for 13 days.  It is an experience he fervently wants to share with his students, some of whom have never been away from Miami, since his own trip to England during his student days at Florida International University was so instrumental in expanding his own vision of what his career and life might be.  For more info, message Arnold.

July 01, 2008

A French classic is read in English

Lorenzaccio Rafael de Acha's Theater by the Book continues its march through the world's dramatic literature this Sunday with two readings of Lorenzaccio, John Strand's adaptation of the 19th century play by Alfred de Musset.

Musset's play, about the murder of Florentine tyrant Alessandro de Medici by his cousin Lorenzo, will be read by 10 actors -- Linda Bernhard, John Felix, Steve Gladstone, Peter Haig, Tony Prinzi, Nick Richberg, Javier Siut, Jana Tift, Cecila Torres and Pilar Uribe -- at 2 and 6 p.m. at the Alliance Francaise, 618 SW Eighth St., Miami.  Best of all, the experience is free, and the actors will participate in a talk-back after the matinee reading.  For information, phone 305-859-8760 or visit the Theater by the Book web site.