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16 posts from June 2009

June 11, 2009

Family boredom buster

Shorts4kidsThough the kids are barely out of school for the summer, we're betting that more than a few parents have already heard that familiar yelp: "I'm bored!"

So take them to the theater already.

Shorts 4 Kids, the family-friendly portion of City Theatre's Summer Shorts Festival, is running at Miami's Arsht Center through June 21.  Shows are at 11 a.m. Thursday-Friday, 1 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.

For $17 per person, you get to see eight short plays and songs written by Michael McKeever, Marco Ramirez, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Shel Silverstein, Jennifer Maisel, Maggie Bandur, Cyndi Lauper and Lisa Loeb.  Shorts 4 Kidshas its own fine acting company too:  Katherine Amadeo, Chris Dall'au, Nick Duckardt, Vanessa Elise, Betsy Graver and Joshua Robinson.

To reserve at the Arsht, call 305-949-6722 or visit the center's web site.  If you'd drather take the kids to see the program when it moves to the Broward Center June 25-28, call 954-462-0222 or visit that web site.

June 10, 2009

Girls' night out

Girl%20Play%20Back Fort Lauderdale's Womens' Theatre Project (WTP), which specializes in theater "by women, about women and for everyone," is trying something new with The First Annual Lesbian Play Reading Festival.

The event features two programs of short lesbian-themed plays performed by professional actors and directed by WTP artistic director Genie Croft, Steven Chambers, Karla DiBenedetto, Gail Garrisan and Marjorie O'Neill-Butler.

The fun happens at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center, 2040 N. Dixie Hwy., Wilton Manors, at 8 p.m. June 27 and 2 p.m. June 28.  A donation of $10 gets you in, and a special "Luscious Lesbian Martini" will be for sale.

For info, call 954-462-2334 or visit the WTP web site.

June 09, 2009

Playwrights meeting in Miami

Priced00_sosom_wknd_gsAfter a successful gathering during City Theatre's Summer Shorts last year, the Dramatists Guild is sponsoring a workshop and panel discussion before this Saturday's Shorts performances.

From 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Carlin Room at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Gary Garrison (the guild's executive director of creative affairs) and Andie Arthur (the guild's Florida regional representative) will offer an information session about the guild, talk about new programs and answer questions.

Following that first session, several of South Florida's key artistic directors will talk about trends in theater and play-writing.  Garrison, whose play Storm on Stormis part of the Signature Shorts program, will moderate a panel that will include City's Stuart Meltzer, Ricky J. Martinez of New Theatre, Louis Tyrrell of Florida Stage, Meredith Lasher of the Women's Theatre Project and Andrew Kato of the Maltz Jupiter Theatre.

Space at both events is limited, and though anyone can attend, priority is given to Dramatist Guild Members. The Arsht is at 1300 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami. To register, e-mail lpontius@dramatistsguild.com by Thursday.  City Theatre is also inviting the folks attending to stick around for its Signature Shorts program at 7 p.m. and its bawdy Undershorts program at 10 p.m. (the photo is from Ken Brisbois' Sodom & Gomorrah: Priced To Sell).  For information on Summer Shorts, call the Arsht box office at 305-949-6722 or visit City Theatre's web site.

June 08, 2009

Mosaic plans a rocking season

Mosaic_theatre_redPlantation's Mosaic Theatre  has just revealed four of the five shows of its 2009-2010 season, and artistic director Richard Jay Simon looks to be mixing it up a little more than in seasons past.

Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll, the theater's single drama (at least so far), kicks off the lineup Sept. 10-Oct. 4  The Broadway hit is set in Prague and Cambridge between 1968 and 1990, years of vast political change, and it focuses on a rock-loving Ph.D. candidate, his Marxist professor and a "flower child." 

Christopher Durang's recent Off-Broadway hit, Why Torture Is Wrong, and The People Who Love Them, follows the Stoppard Nov. 19-Dec. 3.  Durang's twisted, absurdist comedy mixes the fear of terrorism with the possibility that those who arouse suspicions just might be plain crazy.

The music of William Finn, composer of Falsettos and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, fuels the revue Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn, which will run Feb. 25-March 21, 2010.  Next is last season's Broadway hit, Boeing Boeing, a '60s French farce about a playboy juggling an international trio of flight attendant fiancees.  That one runs April 15-May 9, with a to-be-announced final play following June 10-27.

HouseMosaic's final show of its current season, Neil LaBute's In a Dark Dark House, continues through June 21.  Featuring a trio of expertly unsettling performances by Ricky Waugh, Terry Hardcastle and Miriam Wiener, the play focuses on a pair of couldn't-be-more-different brothers,

Drew (Waugh) and Terry (Hardcastle).  Drew's what-the-hell lifestyle -- booze, drugs, dishonesty, flings with other women -- helped get him disbarred and finally landed him in rehab.  Trembling from withdrawal and the sheer effort of facing the truth sober, Drew asks the noticeably testy Terry to corroborate the childhood trauma he blames for his dysfunction:  abuse by a drifter who was Terry's idolized friend.

LaBute, who adds the drifter's flirtatious 16-year-old daughter into the mix, explores truth, deception, revenge and jealousy in a script that tantalizingly reveals plot points that really aren't so surprising if you're familiar with the playwright's style -- twisted, deliberately shocking though undeniably intriguing.  Simon gets richly faceted performances from all three actors, and set designer Sean McClelland finds an unsettling symbol of the brothers' topsy-turvy reality:  their boyhood tree house, set on its side but seemingly viewed from above.

In a Dark Dark House has performances at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $35 ($29 seniors, $15 students).  Mosaic performs at the American Heritage Center for the Arts, 12200 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation. Call 954-577-8243 or visit Mosaic's web site for details.  June 21 is also the deadline for getting 2009-2010 subscriptions at the current rate:  $149 for adults, $128 for seniors, $64 for students.

June 05, 2009

Spanish-language plays, contemporary and classic

Two plays in Spanish open this weekend, one a contemporary piece by Venezuelan Gustavo Ott, the other a translation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagullas the first venture of the new Dream Theatre Productions.

Stair28_Ternura_Gal_HmgOtt's Tu ternura Molotov (Your Molotov Kisses)opens tonight (June 15) at 8:15 p.m.at Area Stage after previewing last weekend.  Carlos Orizondo and Ivette Viñas (shown in the photo) star in the John Rodaz-directed play about a couple who finds life getting crazy after the FBI sends them a mysterious package.  In Spanish with English subtitles, Tu ternura Molotov runs through July 5, with performances at 8:15 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday. 

Area's novel pricing structure encourages togetherness:  singles pay $25 Friday and Sunday, $30 on Saturday; couples pay $40 Friday and Sunday, $50 on Saturday. Find Area at 1560 S. Dixie Hwy. in Coral Gables.  For reservations, call 305-666-2078 or visit the company's web site.  If you go to the play Saturday or after, you just might get to meet Ott, who is coming to town to check the show out.

Also in the Gables, Dream Theatre Productions does a rare-for-here production of a classic in Spanish.  Artistic director Fabian de Cardenas has translated and adapted The Seagull, giving it the Spanish title La gaviota.  The company is performing at New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St., and New Theatre's Ricky J. Martinez is staging the production.

La gaviota runs through June 14 with performances at 8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $30, with a portion going to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).  Call 305-338-3189 or visit the company's web site.

June 04, 2009

UM-New York Connections

Motherline-flyer-website_145212757Jennifer Vellenga, an assistant professor of theater at the University of Miami, has launched a new company -- the Ibis Theatre Project -- with several colleagues who (like Vellenga) have extensive experience working in America's top regional theaters.  Their first project:  a production of Chantal Bilodeau's new play The Motherline, which is described this way:

"The Motherline is a lesson in the roots of love.  Claire, an unborn soul, has chosen her mother, but her mother isn't getting pregnant anytime soon.  Will exchanging lives with her mother's Buddhist cat get Claire close enough to win the love she desires?"

Ibis is taking The Motherlineto the New York Fringe Festival in August.  But first, the play gets four public performances this weekend at UM's Jerry Herman Ring Theatre.  Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, and tickets are a mere $8.  For more information, visit the Ibis web site

Townhall2 .More good news for a University of Miami educator.  Jo Lynn Burks, musical director and teacher of voice for UM's Frost School of Music, won the award for Best Revue or Special Material at the annual Manhattan Association of Cabarets (MAC) Awards last month.  Burks and performing partner Daryl Glenn earlier won both the Nightlife Award and the Back Stage Bistro Award for Nashville, a show inspired by Robert Altman's movie.