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Lincoln Road pioneers return

John_maria_rodaz_ecuador_08_2John Rodaz and his wife, producer Maria Banda-Rodaz ran one of South Florida's most accomplished small theater companies -- that would be Area Stage -- from 1989 to '99 on Lincoln Road in South Beach.  Skyrocketing rents and upscale retail outlets led them to shut down, and though the couple presented occasional plays at various venues over the past decade, they haven't had another theatrical home -- until now.

The two will launch their revamped company, dubbed TeatroAreaStage, on Jan. 30 with a production of Pierre Palmade and Muriel Robin's Se quieren.  Directed by Rodaz, starring Carlos Cruz and Marisol Calero, the play about a bickering married couple will run through March 1.  This one is in Spanish, but some of their future shows will be done in English, and they plan to offer dance, music, poetry and art exhibitions in their 271-seat space at the former Rivera Theatre, 1560 S. Dixie Hwy. in Coral Gables.  The first exhibition in their Galeria del Teatro, Perimetro, is by Omar and Carlos Estrada.  Curator Arelys Hernandez recently arrived from Cuba, where she ran Havana's Galeria 23 y 12.

Their mission, the Rodazes say, is "to create world-class theatrical productions that help tear down barriers and bridge cultural gaps; to emphasize our similarities and to encourage an appreciation of our differences."

Performances of Se quieren are 8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $20 and $30 ($5 off for seniors and students on Friday and Sunday).  For information, call 305-666-2078 or visit TeatroAreaStage's web site.

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