If you're fond of gents in dresses and unorthodox takes on Christmas classics, Cinema Paradiso has a live pre-holiday treat for you.
New Orleans-based performers Varla Jean Merman (a.k.a. Jeffery T. Roberson), Yvette Hargis and Ricky Graham are doing a wee tour of Scrooge in Rouge: A British Music Hall Christmas Carol, and they're bringing it to Cinema Paradiso Nov. 27-29. The three tackle more than 20 characters and provide a Christmas Carol unlike any that have come before it.
Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday at Cinema Paradiso, 503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $45 ($30 for Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival members). Visit the FLIFF web site for info.
Congrats to Mario Ernesto Sánchez and the International Hispanic Theatre Festival (IHTF), which was honored Oct. 30 with the FIT de Cádiz-Atahualpa del Cioppo Award. The award recognizes the festival, which will turn 25 in July, for its championing of "the values of Ibero-American theater."
Sánchez, founder of Miami's Teatro Avante and the IHTF's longtime artistic director, picked up and award in Cadiz and remarked, "Despite the difficult time the world's economy is going through, all our sponsors, volunteers, artists, technicians, researchers, academics, programmers and audiences enable us to keep our commitment to the survival, continuity and development of our Hispanic cultural heritage, which contributes so much to everyone's quality of life."
The playwrights and works that will be showcased at the 34th annual Humana Festival of New American Plays -- the country's best-known new play fest -- have just been announced.
No South Florida playwrights made this year's cut, but Deborah Zoe Laufer, whose plays End Days, The Last Schwartz and The Gulf of Westchesterall premiered at Manalapan's Florida Stage, got one of the slots with her new play Sirens(which was also to have been featured at Florida Stage this season, 'til it got pulled for further "rewrites"). It's described in the Humana Fest materials this way: "Enchanting music, memories of passionate youth and Facebook Scrabble conspire against drifting empty-nesters Sam and Rose in this captivating comedy. Will a 25th anniversary cruise to the magical and mythical Greek Isles rekindle their relationship? Rose hopes so, but Sam has other ideas."
Also on the bill at this year's festival Feb. 21-March 28, 2010, are Fissures (lost and found) by Steve Epp, Cory Hinkle, Dominic Orlando, Dominique Serrand, Deborah Stein and Victoria Stewart; Ground by Lisa Dillman; Phoenix by Scott Organ; The Method Gun by Kirk Lynn and the Rude Mechs; The Cherry Sisters Revisited by Dan O'Brien (music by Michael Friedman); and Heist! by Sean Daniels and Deborah Stein.
The 34th Humana Festival takes place at Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky, with single ticket prices ranging from $30 to $56. Special ticket packages for theater professionals, new play lovers, educators and students are available starting Friday. For information, call 1-800-428-5849 or visit the Actors' Theatre web site.
(Humana Festival poster by Richard Wilkinson)