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7 posts from December 2009

December 17, 2009

More holiday laughs

SteveSolomon--HFTH Solo performer Steve Solomon explores the best (or most stressful) of both holiday worlds in My Mother Is Italian, My Father's Jewish and I'm Home for the Holidaysthis weekend in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

Solomon plays not just himself but myriad members of his extended dysfunctional family in Holidays, which features a family dinner, plenty of funny bickering and 35 not-so-shy people fighting to use one bathroom.

Performances are at 7:30 pm. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.  Tickets are $25 and $35.  The Broward Center is at 201 SW Fifth Ave. in Fort Lauderdale.  Call 954-462-0222 or visit the center's web site.

December 16, 2009

A new 'Jewtopia'

Jewtopia It's Hannukah, so what do Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson have to give their fans? The World of Jewtopia, a followup to their long-running Off-Broadway hit Jewtopia. The latter played the Broward Stage Door Theatre in 2005, with a different cast.  This time, former stand-up comics Fogel and Wolfson are coming to South Florida themselves for a run in the new show at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts.

World of Jewtopia mixes material from their book Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People, comedy, multimedia and audience participation.  The two say they want to take it to Broadway, so if you want to see it first (and for less money), head to Coral Springs.  Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday at the arts center, 2855 Coral Springs Dr.  Tickets are $32.33-$38.69.  For info, call 954-344-5990 or visit the center's web site.

December 11, 2009

Miami celebs pen plays for New Theatre

04samson20A_vote_mhd_cpjNew Theatre's annual fund-raising event, Miami Stories 2009, takes place on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Westview Country Club.  Modeled on a similar long-running benefit for Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater, the New Theatre bash will feature the world premieres of short plays by a trio of Miami celebrities-turned-playwrights: Florida Marlins president David Samson (pictured here), who co-wrote his piece with his cousin Josh; attorney Richard C. Milstein, and Miami Herald columnist Ana Veciana-Suarez.

Without getting into titles or details -- those are secrets being kept until Sunday -- we'll spill that all three plays have something to do with love.

If seeing the shows or simply helping New Theatre appeals to you, you can still go.  Tickets are $150 for an individual, $275 for a couple.  Miami Beach tourism director Michael Aller hosts, and the day also includes music, a brunch and a silent auction. Westview Country Club is located at 2601 NW 119th St., Miami. For information or reservations, call New Theatre at 305-443-5909 or visit the company's web site.

December 10, 2009

McKeever's award-winning 'Melt' to return

McKeever Michael McKeever's Melt is a play that explores, through compelling stories of Hispanic, black and Jewish famillies, the interactions of diverse cultures in melting-pot Miami.  It debuted in 2007 at Coral Gables' New Theatre, winning McKeever the Carbonell Award for best new work, and had subsequent productions at Sarasota's Florida Studio Theatre, Miami's Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, and a staged reading at New York's Primary Stages.

In February, alumni of Leadership Miami, which presented Melt at Gusman to nearly 900 high school students, are bringing back a play they considerer a poignant, provocative reflection of Miami's diversity.  The group's effort, dubbed One Community, One Play, will see Melt staged at Actors' Playhouse, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, Feb. 10-28, 2010.  Stuart Meltzer will direct a cast that includes John Felix, Teresa Maria Rojas, Nick Richberg, Javier Siut and Tara Vodihn. Leadership Miami Alumni is planning to underwrite a large number of tickets so that young South Floridians can see the show, which will be followed by post-show talkbacks.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, with tickets priced at $30 ($25 for seniors, $20 for students).  For info or tickets, visit the Actors' Playhouse web site or call the box office 305-444-9293.

Santaland poster McKeever, by the way, is about to demonstrate another of his many talents by giving four performances as the harried, sardonic elf in David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries.  The show, directed by Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre executive director Kenneth Kay, is the second offering from a new troupe, The Burt Reynolds Under-the-Bridge Players, a group based in the movie star's Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum in Jupiter.  (Reynolds himself kicks things off tonight at 8 playing legendary actor John Barrymore in a three-performance staged reading of William Luce's Barrymore.)

The Santaland Diaries will be presented at 8 p.m. Dec..16-19, at the museum, 100 N. U.S. Hwy. 1, Jupiter.  Tickets are $25 ($100 for the theater's five-show season).  For information, call 561-743-9962 or visit the Institute's web site.

December 09, 2009

An 'Oz' mash-up at Broward College

Bubble_wizard Jett Canary, an associate professor of theater at Broward College, has worked with his students to create All About Oz, described as "a performance art piece that pays tribute to the musicals The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz and Wicked," as well as celebrating the 70th anniversary of the famous movie version of L. Frank Baum's story.

The show, recommended for theatergoers 18 and older, is set in a college philosophy classroom where an annoyed sub turns his inattentive students into characters from Oz.  Songs, scenes, monologues and original material follow.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday at the college's Fine Arts Theatre, 3501 Davie Rd., Bldg. 6, Second Floor, in Davie.  Tickets are $4 for students, faculty, staff and seniors, $8 for everyone else.  Call 954-201-6884 for info.

December 07, 2009

New Vista is out of business

Odd coupleThe economy has claimed another arts victim, this time the Boca Raton-based New Vista Theatre.  Artistic director Avi Hoffman (he's on the left in the photo with Gary Marachek, his co-star in New Vista's The Odd Couple) e-mailed colleagues, patrons and supporters over the weekend to confirm that both the 11-year-old National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts and its theater division, New Vista, are out of business.

New Vista, which performed most recently in a huge high school auditorium in far west Boca Raton, had been struggling for some time.  After presenting its last large-scale production, Enter Laughing,just over a year ago, the company cancelled a production of Mel Brooks' The Producers set for last winter.  Instead, it  presented a new show by Hoffman titled Still Jewish After All These Years, a followup to his popular Too Jewish? and Too Jewish Two shows.  The company held benefit performances last spring, but its efforts weren't enough.

Hoffman and his colleagues, Peter Librach and Shari Klages, thanked both the theater professionals and donors who tried to help save New Vista but added, "The financial support we have received has been highly appreciated, but insufficient to carry us through these difficult economic times."

The artists involved in New Vista will continue working elsewhere -- Hoffman will be in a show at GableStage later this season -- but unfortunately, Palm Beach County now has one less professional theater company.

December 02, 2009

At New World, a vintage musical

How To Succeed The musical theater program at Miami's New World School of the Arts kicks off December with a production of How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Frank Loesser's 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical. 

Forty New World high school students (including, left to right in photo, Sarah Crane, Alexis Scheer, Lauren Csete and Brenda J. Lucas) appear in this sassy, funny, tuneful take on the early-'60s corporate world.  James Randolph directs, and both high school and college music division students will play in the show's orchestra.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 13.  Tickets are $12 ($5 for students and seniors). The show goes on in the Louise O. Gerrits Theatre, 25 NE Second St., Miami.  Call 305-237-3541 or visit the New World web site for information.

(Photo by Ahymara Gonzalez)

***

Monday, that traditional day off for theater folks, is the annual meeting and holiday party for SouthFloridaTheatre.com (formerly known as the Theatre League of South Florida).  Reps from theatrical unions will be on hand, and there will be food and drink aplenty. It happens from 7 to 10 p.m. at Bimini Boatyard, 1555 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale.  The fun is free for members, $20 for non-members.  RSVP to Andie@southfloridatheatre.com.