« September 2009 | Main | November 2009 »

12 posts from October 2009

October 30, 2009

Plays (and a musical) get "read"

Play readings give the authors of new work a chance to hear their script come to life (and often, to figure out what might need fixing before the play gets a full production).  And sometimes, theaters offer staged readings of older works they're considering for a future season or simply as a way of augmenting their programming.

Three readings on the horizon for November offer audiences the chance to share in different facets of that process, at little or no cost.

First, Conundrum Stages, a company that specializes in play readings, will tackle Bernard Slade's Tribute,a play about a terminally ill actor who tries to reconnect with his long-estranged son.  Before the reading, singer David Meulemans and pianist Jim Welles will perform, then the cast (Sheldon Cohen, Linda Ellis, Peter Librach, Danielle Tabino, Wendi Librach, Bill Dobbins and Lory Reyes) takes over.  The event happens at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, at the Tamarac Theatre of the Performing Arts, 7143 N. Pine Island Rd., Tamarac.  Tickets are $10.  Call 954-726-7898 for information.

Header_homeOn Monday, Nov. 9, GableStage offers a rare musical "reading"  of Come Back, Little Sheba, a 1974 version of William Inge's play.  With book and lyrics by Miamian Lee Goldsmith and music by Clint Ballard, the musical premiered in Chicago (with Kaye Ballard as Lola) and was revived in 2001 at Connecticut's White Barn Theatre with Donna McKechnie in the lead role.

GableStage's reading stars Elizabeth Dimon, Nick Duckart, Wayne LeGette and Julie Kleiner, with Amy London directing.  It happens at 7 p.m., and admission is free.  For information, call 305-445-1119 or visit the GableStage web site.

Christopher Demos-Brown, a playwright and attorney whose play When the Sun Shone Brighter (about a Miami mayor undone by sex, lies and ambition) will get its world premiere at Florida Stagelater this season, will get a reading of another script at GableStage at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23. The free reading of Tropical Depression, which the playwright describes as "a dark comedy about a family...trapped by a hurricane," will be directed by Stuart Meltzer; in the cast are Deborah Sherman, Todd Allen Durkin, David Sirois, Barbara Bradshaw, Bill Schwartz, Amy McKenna and Ivette Viñas.

October 28, 2009

Spooky tales and a new play

WEiRD-webpage-580x859 Area Stage's Conservatory has come up with a Halloween week double header:  a haunted house and a program of short plays and musical numbers aimed at middle schoolers and high school students.

Weird Tales and Other Amazing Stories, a collection of plays by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Dylan Guerra and Flavia Pallozzi, will be performed tonight-Friday at 7 p.m., and on Halloween night (Saturday) at 5 and 8 p.m.  The actors include playwrights Guerra and Pallozzi, as well as Ani Mesa, Ale Mesa, Brandon Flynn, Daniel Gerchakov, Daniella Pereira, Jonjon Rodaz, Katie Erwin, Kevin Rios, Manuel Jaquez, Marilyn Caserta, Mia Pennekamp, Natalia Ochoa, Natasha Sedan, Rachel Rodaz and Sasha Neufeld.  There's also an on-site Haunted House, and on Halloween, a costume contest.

Admission to the Haunted House and show is $20 ($10 for students).  For the Haunted House only, it's $3 or two for $5.

Area is based at the Riviera Theatre, 1560 S. Dixie Hwy. in Coral Gables.  Call 305-666-2078 or visit the web site for more information.


If you're a grown-up theater lover looking for something new and different (and free) to experience tonight, head on over to New Theatre at 4120 Laguna St. in Coral Gables.  The company is doing a reading of Kirk Citron's play But Not for Lunch.  The play is about a successful attorney who retires and wants his younger wife to do likewise, but she doesn't agree.  For info, call 305-443-5909 or visit New Theatre's web site.

October 26, 2009

Another way to honor South Florida theater

The annual Carbonell Awards, coveted and often controversial, have honored South Florida's theater artists for more than three decades.  But tonight during the closing party of the South Florida Theatre Festival, the much younger Silver Palm Awards will recognize a variety of outstanding work done in the region between Sept. 1, 2008, and Aug. 31, 2009.

Angie00_radosh_wknd_ES Receiving Silver Palms for performance are Angie Radosh(pictured, as Amanda Wingfield, with Cliff Burgess as Tom), for Speaking Elephantat the Women's Theatre Project and The Glass Menagerie at New Theatre; Israel Garcia, for Mauritius and The Taming of the Shrew, both at New Theatre; Barbara Bradshaw, for The Chairsat Palm Beach Dramaworks and Dead Man's Cell Phoneat Mosaic Theatre; John Archie, forRadio Golf at Mosaic and The Whipping Manat the Caldwell Theatre Company; Gregg Weiner, for Speed-the-Plowat GableStage, The Seafarer at Mosaic and Dumb Showat The Promethean Theatre Company.

Matthew William Chizever wins the Silver Palm as outstanding new talent for his work in Cannibal the Musical at Promethean and La Cage aux Folles at Broward Stage Door Theatre.  Barbara Stein is being honored for her producing work on 1776 and Les Miserables at Actors' Playhouse.  Clive Cholerton gets a Silver Palm for his direction of Vices: A Love Story and The Whipping Man at the Caldwell; Margaret Ledford for Cannibal the Musical, Dumb Show and The Banality of Love at Promethean; and Bill Castellino for Cagney and Some Kind of Wonderful at Florida Stage.  Castellino's collaborator, Christopher McGovern, is being honored for his outstanding musical direction of both shows.

The Silver Palms are also honoring GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler for his support of the theater community and his consistently outstanding work; stage manager Lara Kinzeland her crew for their work on Palm Beach Dramaworks' Private Lives; and both Becon Television and Florida Media News for their support of theater in the region.

Also at tonight's bash, Barry Steinman and Antonio Amadeo will receive the Theatre League's annual Remy Awards for their service to the league.

League members get in free, but anyone is welcome to attend the party at Revolution Live, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.  Admission is $20, and the fun begins at 7:30 p.m.  E-mail andie@southfloridatheatre.com to make a reservation.

October 23, 2009

Ground Up tackles a chilling tale

The Pillowman_photoflyerIn case you were looking for some sort of Halloween weekend activity that's both scary and artistically captivating, Ground Up & Rising has just the play for you:  Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman.

GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler, who's been a supportive mentor to the Ground Up & Rising gang, did the first South Florida production of McDonagh's horrifying play about a writer who finds himself being questioned -- then tortured -- because of the similarities between his short stories and a series of child murders.  Adler's production in August 2006 won several Carbonell Awards, including the ones for best play, best director and best actor. But there's always room for different interpretations of a great script.

Ensemble members Carlos Alayeto, Arnaldo Carmouze, Reiss Gaspard, Jennifer Lorenzo and Bechir Sylvain are in the production, with Carmouze directing.  The only dispiriting news is that The Pillowman is being done for just four performances:  8 p.m. Oct. 30-31 and 3 p.m. Nov. 1 at ArtSouth Sanctuary Performing Arts Center, 250 N. Krome Ave. in Homestead; 9 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Byron Carlyle Theater, 500 71st St., Miami Beach, as part of the Sleepless Night festival.  Tickets to the ArtSouth run are $15 ($10 for seniors, students and military personnel); during Sleepless night, the show is free.  For more Ground Up & Rising info, call 305-529-6233 or visit the group's web site.

Ground Up & Rising is a collective of talented young theater artists hampered by their lack of an intimately sized ongoing performance location, too-short runs and problems in getting the word out about their shows.  Founder/artistic director Arturo Fernandez is aware of those issues and is working hard to resolve them.  But in the meantime, there is The Pillowman -- the kind of shocking, exciting theater that Ground Up & Rising is all about.

October 22, 2009

Alex Weisman wins a Jeff

HistoryBoys_14Alex Weisman is 22, finishing up his senior year in the theater program at Northwestern University outside Chicago. When he got cast in Alan Bennett's The History Boysat the TimeLine Theatre Company, he juggled performing with classwork -- for a much-extended, 25-week run, as it turns out.

On Monday, the multitasking paid off in an unexpected way for the actor who intends to stay in Chicago after he graduates.  He received the prestigious Joseph Jefferson Equity Award as best actor in a supporting role/play  for his performance as Posner. TimeLine's History Boyswon five Jeffs, more than any other production in theater-rich Chicago.

Weisman's mom Betsy, who works as accounting manager of the Broward Center's Broward Performing Arts foundation and who serves as a Carbonell Awards panelist here in South Florida, was in the audience with hubby David on Monday. On Wednesday, she was still bubbling and giddy as she noted that Alex will soon play the Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol at Chicago's famed Goodman Theatre.  Since  graduating from the University School at Nova Southeastern University, she says, her son has been in 20 shows -- and counting.


(Photo of Donald Brearley as Hector and Alex Weisman as Posner by Lara Goetsch.)

October 21, 2009

A Big Easy, love-filled "Twelfth Night"

Twelfth Night Directors love to mess around with William Shakespeare's plays -- they can stand up to lots of transformative interpretations, and besides, what's Shakespeare going to do about it? -- so it doesn't come as a shock that Barry University's Hugh M. Murphy has come up with a doozy of a take on Twelfth Night.  Dubbed The Twelfth Night Project, Murphy's production moves the comedy from Illyria to New Orleans in the late 1960s.

Mcley LaFrance (left) plays Sir Toby Belch to Jason DeWitt's Malvolio in a show that incorporates songs like Amy Winehouse's Rehaband Flo Rida's (You Turn Me) Right Round remix.  Sounds groovy, no?

Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday at Barry's Broad Auditorium on the campus at 11300 NE 115th St. in Miami Shores.  Best of all -- it's free. 

October 20, 2009

Tango gets (even more) theatrical

Tanguera-club Tanguera -- The Tango Musical got mixed reviews (some adoring, some not) during its recent New York run, but given the born-again popularity of dance on television thanks to shows such as Dancing With the Stars, you can bet that tango fans will turn out when the 30-plus actor-dancers of Tanguera hit the stage at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts this Wednesday through Sunday.

The Argentine show has toured the world and in telling its story features such classic tangos as La Cumparsita, Derecho Viejo, Danzarin and El Choclo, along with new tangos.

Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday at the Broward Center, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $25 to $75.  Call 954-462-0222 or visit the Broward Center's web site for information.

October 19, 2009

Mad for "Shepherd's Pie"

LeprechaunNo, this isn't a blog entry about one of my favorite Irish dishes.  It's a heads up that Mad Cat Theatre Company is revisiting one of its earlier original productions, a collection of short plays titled Shepherd's Pie

A collection of short plays written by Mad Cat founder Paul Tei and Ivonne Azurdia, Shepherd's Pieis going to be presented at the Colony Theater on Miami Beach Jan. 20 as part of the South Beach Comedy Festival.  But as a warm-up, actors Erik Fabregat, Todd Allen Durkin, Erin Joy Schmidt, Sofia Citarella, Betsey Graver and Azurdia will do a fundraiser reading of the show tonight at 7 p.m. at Miami Light Project's Light Box, 3000 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.

Admission is free, but the company is asking for donations to help make the January performance happen.  Irish beer and goodies will be part of the experience tonight.  Interested? RSVP to ann@skymar.com.  

October 15, 2009

"Doll's House" and in-depth drama

Eyes300 Palm Beach Dramaworks opens its season Friday at 8 p.m. with a production of Henrik Ibsen's 1879 classic A Doll's House. Margery Lowe gets one of theater's great parts as Nora Helmer, the housewife who feels increasingly caged within her traditional marriage.  Michael St. Pierre plays her husband Torvald, and the cast also includes Nanique Gheridian, Colin Lane, Gregg Weiner, Michelle Botindari and Beverly Blanchette.

Performances of A Doll's House are at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (some 3 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Sunday shows).  Tickets are $44 for evenings, $42 for matinees.  The theater is at 322 Banyan Blvd. in downtown West Palm Beach.  Call 561-514-4042 or visit the company's web site for more information about a season that will also include productions of Michael Frayn's Copenhagen, David Mamet's American Buffalo and Edward Albee's Three Tall Women.

The company is also offering its third "Master Playwright Series" this season, focusing on Tennessee Williams, Mamet and Noel Coward.  The series kicks off with scenes from different Williams plays Oct. 26-27 and Nov. 2-3, and a staged reading of The Glass Menagerie Nov. 9-10 and Nov. 16-17.

Mamet's work will be explored Dec. 28-29 and Jan. 4-5, with a reading of his one-act trilogy The Old Neighborhood Jan. 11-12 and Jan. 18-19.  Scenes from Coward's plays will be read May 10-11 and May 17-18, with readings of Hay Fever May 24-25, June 1 and June 4.  Individual tickets are $15, with a $75 discount ticket available for all six presentations.  Check the web site for times and details.

October 13, 2009

Pulitzer winner, Broadway diva hit town

Fans of terrific playwrights and/or captivating Broadway actor/singers, heads up:  This week brings appearances by both kinds of artists in Miami.

Nilo photo Nilo Cruz, the Cuban-American playwright who won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Anna in the Tropics (which was commissioned by and premiered at tiny New Theatre in Coral Gables), kicks off the Make Art Work lecture series at the New World School of the Arts.  Speaking on the topic Exploring the Imagination and Possibilities in the Theater, Cruz will discuss his dramatic process, including character development.  The hour-long talk happens on Wednesday -- that's tomorrow -- at 1:15 p.m. in the Louise O. Gerrits Theater at 25 NE Second St., Eighth Floor, Miami.  Spending an hour with the articulate, creative, inspiring Cruz costs nothing, and the event is open to anyone.  For more information, call 305-237-3502.

Scott Sherie Rene - 01 Also this week, Sherie Rene Scott -- whose Broadway credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Little Mermaid and Aida (plus the upcoming Broadway production of Everyday Rapture)-- kicks off the Arsht Center's Cabaret & Cocktails series in the Carnival Studio Theater. 

Scott's cabaret debut, with the space set up like a jazz club, happens Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 15-17.  Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday.  Tickets are $45, with the "cocktails" part of Cabaret & Cocktails available for purchase at the theater.  For information, call the box office at 305-949-6722 or visit the Arsht web site.