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19 posts from September 2008

September 16, 2008

This just in: Mosaic Ruhls

Sarah Ruhl is one of America's hottest playwrights, the winner of a MacArthur "genius" grant, an incredibly theatrical writer whose plays (including The Clean House, Passion Play and Eurydice) have earned her a reputation for being adventurous, emotionally provocative and intellectually engaging.  The only professional production of a Ruhl play thus far in South Florida was the Caldwell Theatre Company's Clean House in April 2007.  But that will soon change.

RuhlsarahPlantation's Mosaic Theatre, which has just kicked off its 2008-2009 season with a terrific production of August Wilson's Radio Golf, has dropped its planned production of David Mamet's vintage A Life in the Theater and replaced it with Ruhl's most recent hot play, Dead Man's Cell Phone.  The play, which debuted at Washington D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and played at Off-Broadway's Playwrights Horizons last spring, is a mind-bending comedy about a woman who answers a dead man's ringing cell phone, only to embark on a journey through his past.

The play will run at Mosaic Feb. 26-March 22, part of a season that includes Conor McPherson's recent Broadway hit The Seafarer, Winter Miller's In Darfur and Neil LaBute's In a Dark, Dark House.

Artistic director Richard Jay Simon knows a good season when he has one, so at this point, Mosaic is selling only season subscriptions (not single tickets) for the plays beyond Radio Golf.  Prices are $149 for the five shows ($128 for seniors 65 and older, $64 for fulltime students); for a regular subscription, that represents a savings of $26.  For info, call 954-577-8243 or visit Mosaic's web site.

September 15, 2008

Getting up the nerve to look for love

Nerve9c The Naked Stage, which had planned to do a production of Macbeth this fall, has reversed course and opted for something newer with a far smaller cast.  Nerve by Adam Symkowicz is a funny-if-dark play about the world of online dating.  Artistic director Antonio Amadeo plays Elliot, a guy new to cyber dating; his wife Katherine is Susan, a gal who has had way too many such dates.  But she's willing to try once more.

Nerve runs Nov. 7-30 (no show Nov. 16) at the Pelican Theatre on the campus of Barry University, 11300 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores.  Tickets are $25 (seniors 60 and older pay $18, students $12).  Performances will be 8 p.m Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Call 954-261-1785, visit the company's web site or order tickets through Theatermania by calling 1-866-811-4111.

September 12, 2008

In Spanish, and most intriguing

Though Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz lives part-time in Miami, he doesn't often work in South Florida -- but next weekend brings an exception.

Maderamen Cruz is directing a production of Anton Arrufat's La Repeticion, described as "an original piece about human solitude, a humorous picture of everyday life that...reveals our illusions, our struggles for survival, our search for love and our infinite tendencies for repetition."  Arrufat is a Cuban playwright who was denied the right to publish from 1968 to 1982, but in 2000 he received Cuba's national prize in literature.

The play is a co-production of the Latin Quarter Centro Cultural and Maderamen, a company created by Cruz, Javier Siut and the men's former teacher and mentor, Teresa Maria Rojas.  Siut and Rojas star in the play along with Hannia Guillen, whose TV credits include Burn Notice and Passions.

La Repeticion, performed in Spanish, happens at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 20 and Sept. 27, 6 p.m. Sept. 21 and Sept. 28 at the Miracle Theatre (home of Actors' Playhouse), 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. Tickets are $30-$40. Call 305-444-9278, email Maderamen or visit the company's web site.

September 10, 2008

Gay marriage inspires a play

The prolific celebrated playwright Terrence McNally has written both plays (Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Master Class, Love! Valour! Compassion!) and the books for musicals (Ragtime, The Full Monty, Kiss of the Spider Woman).  Some of his pieces have gay themes, some don't. Some Men, which starts performances Sept. 24 at Oakland Park's Rising Action Theatre, definitely does.

Ricardo_and_dan_some_men_romantic The 2006 play is a kind of dramatic (and comedic) collage of gay life from 1922 to the present.  Gay marriage inspired the play, but McNally explores many facets of gay mens' lives in it.

Ricardo Rodriguez and Daniel Lugo (at left, in one of the few David Vance photos we can use) are part of a large cast that includes David Leddick, Larry Brooks, Joseph Long, Larry Williams, John Hernandez and Ted Dvoracek.

The show begins at 8 p.m. Sept. 24 and runs through Nov. 2.  Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $30.  Rising Action's theater is at 840 E. Oakland Park Blvd.  For more information, call 1-800-595-4849 or visit the theater's web site.

September 09, 2008

Casting news, times four

Palm Beach Dramaworks producing artistic director William Hayes has announced the casts for all four of the company's 2008-2009 productions (something only ultra-organized New Theatre founder Rafael de Acha used to do), and he has assembled an impressive company.

Converse300 In addition to South Florida-based actors Todd Allen Durkin, Barbara Bradshaw, Peter Haig, Michael McKeever, Dan Leonard, Dennis Creaghan and Margery Lowe, as well as Kati Brazda, Lena Kaminsky and Christopher Swan, Hayes has hired Broadway veteran Frank Converse (pictured here) to be in the winter production of Conor McPherson's The Weir.  Converse, you may remember, played opposite Elizabeth Ashley in the Coconut Grove Playhouse's terrific production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1997.  Just imagine seeing him in a space as intimate as Dramaworks' home.

The company's season begins Oct. 17-Nov. 30 with a production of Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten.  Next is Eugene Ionesco's The Chairs (Dec. 19-Feb. 1), followed by The Weir (Feb. 20-April 5). The season ends with Albee's At Home at the Zoo, the pairing of his classic Zoo Story and the new Homelife (April 24-June 14).

Tickets are $42 for evening performances, $40 for matinees.  Palm Beach Dramaworks is at 322 Banyan Blvd. in West Palm Beach. For information, call 561-514-4042 or visit the web site.

September 08, 2008

Kids and a flying car

Chitty_3The most spectacular part of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, audiences and critics alike have agreed, is the musical's wondrous flying car.  But just staring at a flying car for a couple of hours wouldn't be very interesting, now, would it?  It takes people to make this or any musical fly.

To that end, the Broadway Across America folks are holding Fort Lauderdale auditions for six children ages 8 to 12 to appear in the road company of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when the show touches down at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts Nov. 18-30.  There's no pay, but the chosen kids get professional experience.

Auditions are in the Broward Center's Abdo New River Room at 10 a.m. Sept. 28.  Each child, accompanied by a parent or guardian, should show up by 9:45 a.m. ready to sing 16 bars of an up tempo song a cappella.  Auditioners will also need to learn and perform simple choreography.  Six kids and two alternates will be picked to play orphans in Act Two.  Break a leg (but not literally).

September 05, 2008

Promethean adds a Diament world premiere

The artists who run Davie's Promethean Theatre, Promethean_2 just back from a successful run of Juan C. Sanchez's Red Tide at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, have some world premiere news to share.  Rounding out an adventurous season -- which begins with Barton Bishop's Still the River Runs (Oct. 17-Nov. 2) and includes Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire's Kimberly Akimbo (March 27-April 12) and the whimsical Cannibal! The Musical (sometime next July) -- is a brand-new work by Argentina-born, Miami-based Mario Diament.

Promethean's second play this season will be Diament's A Report on the Banality of Love, a piece about the love story of German philosopher Martin Heidegger and his Jewish student, Hannah Arendt.  Margaret M. Ledford will direct the play about the passion that united two great minds.

A Report on the Banality of Love will run Jan. 9-25 at the Mailman Hollywood Theatre at Nova Southeastern University, 3301 College Ave., Davie. Tickets will be $25 ($15 for seniors, $10 for students). For information, call 786-317-7580, send an E-mail or visit the theater's web site.

September 04, 2008

McCraney delves into drag

Wigout008r_crosegg Miami playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney continues on his ascendant career path with his new play Wig Out!, which begins performances on Wednesday (Sept. 10) at Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre.  Acclaimed director Tina Landau is staging the play.

McCraney tells the story of Eric (Andre Holland), a young black man who meets Wilson (Clifton Oliver), a drag performer with the House of Light.  Wilson becomes Eric's guide into a world of fantasy, competing drag houses and more.  Among the play's stars are Erik King (standing in photo), one of the stars of TV's Dexter, and Nathan Lee Graham (seated).  King plays Lucian, the founding father of the House of Light, and Graham is Rey Rey, the family's flamboyant mother.

Wig Out! officially opens Sept. 30 and runs through Oct. 19.  Performances are 7 p.m. Tuesday, 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $20 to $55.  The Vineyard is at 108 E. 15th St. in New York.  Call 212-353-0303 or visit the Vineyard web site for tickets.

One more thought: It would be nice to see this play somewhere in South Florida, which McCraney still calls home.

(Photo by Carol Rosegg)

September 02, 2008

Illness hits a Shakespearean reading

Tbtb_2 Theater by the Book reads the classics like no other South Florida theater.  But the company's Saturday and Sunday readings of Falstaff and Hal -- about Prince Henry (Hal), Sir John Falstaff and Henry Percy (Hotspur) of William Shakespeare's Henry IV -- have been scrubbed due to the illness of one actor's mother and two other ailing actors.  The reading was to have featured Nicholas Richberg, Avi Hoffman, Peter Haig, Carlos Orizondo, Steve Gladstone, Kimberly Daniel, Pilar Uribe, Tony Prinzi and Theater by the Book founder Rafael de Acha.  Both Saturday's reading at Vizcaya and Sunday's at Books & Books are cancelled, though De Acha hopes to reschedule them.

However, the company's show will go on Oct. 5 with a 1 p.m. reading of Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart at the Bass Museum on Miami Beach. For more information, visit the company's web site.