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17 posts from January 2010

January 28, 2010

Short plays wanted

SFWA_Larger_Logo-Birds_196181734 This isn't a call for scripts from City Theatre's annual Summer Shorts Festival.  The South Florida Writers' Association, a group whose members do all kinds of writing, is sponsoring a one-act play contest with a modest prize -- $150 -- but the opportunity for a staged reading as well.

Here's what SFWA is looking for:  A play that doesn't go over 30 minutes in playing time, submitted in contemporary play format.  Use 12-point font, type the play on 8 1/2 by 11 paper with one-inch margins.  Number each page at the top right, but playwrights should put their names only on the title page, which should include the writers address, phone number and e-mail address.

The entry fee is $5.  Send the play, the fee and a self-addressed stamped envelope to Short Plays Context, P.O. Box 56-2652, Miami, FL 33256.  The deadline is Feb. 15.  For more info, visit the SFWA's web site.

January 27, 2010

Moving on

Ramir08_shorts_TROP_EPF Marco Ramirez, the South Florida playwright whose very clear talent (and string of honors) got him into the highly competitive play-writing program at Manhattan's Juilliard School, has landed a gig writing for the FX television series Sons of Anarchy.  He has left New York for Los Angeles, and if the TV thing works out, who knows how much time/interest he'll have in continuing to write plays?

One Ramirez play that has already had a production by Miami's Mad Cat Theatre Company -- Broadsword, about guys in a heavy metal band who reunite when one of their own vanishes -- is coming back this spring, this time in a larger venue.  Mad Cat will revisit Broadswordin a coproduction with Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.  The show plays the Carnival Studio Theater April 29-May 9. 

Alex Fumero, Ramirez's pal and sometime collaborator in the Foryoucansee Theater company (it presented the original reggaeton/sci fi show Toners in Timein June),has also relocated to L.A.  Fumero is attending the Atlantic Theater Company's conservatory, where students study with the likes of David Mamet, William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman.  

January 26, 2010

Stage notes

Florida Stage's production of Israel Horovitz's Sins of the Mother -- directed by the prolific playwright himself -- is the major show opening in South Florida this week, but an escapist touring show and a couple of on-campus pieces are options too.

GirlsNight The Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale plays host to a six-performance run of Girls Night: The Musical.  Louise Roche's show is about five women in their 30s and 40s who decide to hit the stage at a karaoke bar, alternating their look-at-me moments in the spotlight with talk about their lives.  Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday at the Parker, 707 NE Eighth St.  Tickets are $28.50 and $38.50.  Call 954-462-0222 or visit the Parker's web site.

Florida International University's theater department is tackling Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind, a play about the enduring effects of violence in an extended family.  Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday (the same schedule is repeated Feb. 11-14) at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center, 10910 SW 17th St., Miami.  Tickets are $12 ($10 for students, alumni and seniors).  Call 305-348-0496 or visit FIU's ticketing web page.

MartiPoster-image At Miami Dade College North on Friday at 7 p.m., Marti: A Musical Biographygets a world premiere from the Pen Players Readers' Theater.  Film professor Mario Beguiristain has crafted an English-language libretto, combining his own words with the writings of Cuban writer and revolutionary philosopher José Marti.  Part of MDC's culturaMIA celebration of Hispanic culture, the performance is free.  It happens in the Wolfson Center, Bldg. 2000, Room 2147, on the campus at 11380 NW 27th Ave. in Miami.  Call 305-237-8319 for more info.

Also this weekend, teen actor-playwrights in the Academy of Arts & Minds theater program in Coconut Grove will present Red-Handed, a piece written by and starring Simone Lorenzo and Andres Monsalve.  Larry Villanueva directs the play about the joys and pains of young romantic love.  Performances are 8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday through Feb. 13.  The show goes on in the Abanico Theater, 3138 Commodore Plaza, fourth floor.  Tickets are $10 (free for the school's students).  Call 305-448-1100.

January 25, 2010

Elam goes back to class

LelaLela Elam's dazzlingly versatile performance in Nilaja Sun's No Child was one of the highlights of GableStage's 2008-09 season.  If you missed her multi-character solo exploration of life inside one tough classroom, you have another chance to see it -- if you're anywhere near Key West or willing to do a road trip.

The production at Key West's Waterfront Playhouse at Mallory Square was directed by former South Floridian Rich Simone (Joseph Adler did the honors at GableStage), but the situation and star are the same. Carbonell Award winner Elam plays several teachers, an elderly janitor and numerous students whose lives are changed for the better when learning inspires them.

Here's just a bit from my review last April:

"Perhaps the most awe-inspiring moments in No Child,at least for anyone who couldn't begin to do what Elam does, are the scenes in which Ms. Sun is working with the class. Technically speaking, she is alone onstage. But she's so good at suggesting the chaotic mix of voices in a classroom, so good at conveying those sparking moments of connection that when she lets some of the characters share her final bows, it feels just right."

No Child opens Tuesday and runs nightly at 8 through Feb. 6 at the Waterfront.  Tickets are $35 ($20 for teachers, $15 for students under 18),  For info, call 1-305-294-5015 or visit the theater's web site.

(Photo by Peter Arnow)

January 21, 2010

Spelling s-u-c-c-e-s-s

Putnum-web-page-copy When The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee became a surprise success Off-Broadway, on Broadway and on tour, the kids in the show's fictional spelling bee were played by a succession of talented adults.

When the show opens on Friday at Area Stage in Coral Gables, those funny, poignant kids really will bekids.  Joseph Barbosa, Stphanie Diggles, Jordan Edwards, Isabella Lopez, Ani Mesa, Krystal Ortiz, Amanda Reyes, Kevin Rios and Joel Vazquez -- teens who study at the Area Stage Conservatory -- will play the spellers and adults in the musical by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin.  John and Maria Rodaz share directing duties, and three musicians play the score.

Of course, there's always the chance to show off your own spelling skills, since four audience "volunteers" are recruited before every performance.  Bad spellers beware!

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday, through Jan. 30.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students 25 and under.  Area is at 1560 S. Dixie Hwy., Coral Gables.  For info, call 305-666-2078 or visit the company's web site.


The Grand Opening Cabaret at the Little Stage Theater on Miami Beach, which opened New Year's night, also enjoyed success -- so much so that the run has been extended through this weekend.  Additional shows happen at 9 p.m. this Friday and Saturday at 2100 Washington Ave.  Admission to the SoBe Arts tribute to '30s-'40s cabarets is $25.  For info, call 305-674-9220 or visit the group's web site.

January 20, 2010

Laugh and learn

Pie If you're on the fence about going to Mad Cat's one-night-only performance of Shepherd's Pie tonight, maybe this picture by director-coauthor Paul Tei (Ivonne Azurdia is the other playwright) will inspire you to get your Irish on.

The South Beach Comedy Festival performance features Azurdia, Sofia Citarella, Amy McKenna, Todd Allen Durkin, Erik Fabregat and Betsy Graver. (Durkin, Fabregat and Graver will soon reteam in GableStage's production of Sarah Kane's shattering, controversial Blasted.)

Shepherd's Pie, though, is strictly for laughs, as an Irish theater troupe tours America to teach a nation of fair-weather Irishmen the real story of St. Patrick.

Tickets are $30 ($50 for VIP seating), and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach.  Visit Mad Cat's web site, call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or buy tickets on Live Nation's site.

January 19, 2010

Jennylin Duany passes away

JennylinPerformer, creator and arts executive Jennylin Duany passed away Sunday after battling hepatitis and pneumonia.  Just 39, she was the proud mother of a nine-month-old daughter, Anelisse, and wife to composer Ricardo Lastre.  To learn more about her creative life and her impact on South Florida arts, read Jordan Levin's story in today's Miami Herald.

Duany, who worked on education and residency programs for Miami Dade College's Cultura del Lobo series, was about to begin work on her followup to Cabaret Unkempt, a piece about women and body issues that was commissioned by and premiered at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

A wake for Duany takes place tonight from 5 p.m. to midnight at the Bernardo Garcia Funeral Home, 12050 SW 117th Ave., Miami.  Services for her will be held there at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

January 15, 2010

Theater with a twang

TPphoto2 Chalk it up to crazy coincidence (it has to be, right?), but the limited genre of shows featuring people who live in trailers is represented by not one but two productions opening this weekend.

At Actors' Playhouse, The Great American Trailer Park Musicalby David Nehls and Betsey Kelso features a stripper on the run, an agoraphobic housewife, her toll collector hubby and other denizens of Armadillo Acres. It also has a heckuva cast: Margot Moreland, Stephen G. Anthony, Kelly Atkins, Christopher A. Kent, Meghan Moroney, Stacy Schwartz and Gwen Hollander. 

The R-rated hootin' and hollerin' goes on at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, through Feb. 7.  Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday (extra matinee 2 p.m. Jan. 20).  Tickets are $48 Friday-Saturday, $40 other shows (seniors get 10 percent off, students pay $15, except Saturday-Sunday).  For info, call 305-444-9293 or visit the Actors' Playhouse web site.

Sordid press Broward County, which has its own share of rednecks and trailer homes (I know -- I live there), is home to Del Shore's Sordid Lives. The happily outrageous cult classic focuses on myriad shenanigans in a small Texas town.

Things get Sordidat Rising Action Theatre, 840 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, through Feb. 21.  Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $35, available by calling 1-800-595-4849 or visiting the theater's web site.

(Actors' Playhouse photo by Alberto Romeu, Rising Action photo by Howard Zucker.)

January 14, 2010

A look at Lansky

MikeBurstyn-Lansky-creditMichaelPriestPhotography Mike Burstyn works all over the world, but the actor-singer (and sometime Yiddish theater star) has lots of South Florida fans who turn out whenever he returns to the area.

He's coming back next week in the solo show Lansky, a play coauthored and directed byactor Joseph Bologna (Richard Krevolin is the other playwright).  Burstyn portrays the infamous -- and well-known in South Florida -- mobster Meyer Lansky, the organized crime financial mastermind who helped the mob turn Havana and Las Vegas into wildly lucrative gambling meccas. 

In the play, which runs Jan. 20-24 at the Parker Playhouse, Lansky looks back over his life of crime even as he schemes to spend the last days of his life in Israel.  Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday.  Tickets are $20 and $40, available by calling 954-462-0222 or visiting the Parker Playhouse web site.  The theater is located at 707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale.

January 13, 2010

Topical new theater

Living Newspaper Flyer David Hemphill and David Sirois, both currently in GableStage's production of Farragut North, were college classmates at Miami's New World School of the Arts.  Now the two have joined forces with other artist-friends to launch a theater company, The State Theatre Project. 

In April, the group intends to produce Christopher Shinn's Dying City,featuring Sirois and fellow New World alumna Betsy Graver, on dark nights at GableStage.  To raise money for the show, the State Theatre Project is bringing an original fund-raising event to GableStage at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Dubbed "An Evening of Living Newspaper," the program of four new short plays is inspired by the topical Living Newspaper series done by the Federal Theatre Project from 1935-39.  Hemphill, the founder and artistic director of the State Theatre Project, intends to turn the Living Newspaper event into an ongoing series.

For the first event, the plays are by South Florida writers Christopher Demos-Brown, Michael McKeever, Ashley Olberding and Sirois.  In the acting company are Carbonell winners Barbara Bradshaw and Gregg Weiner, Deborah L. Sherman, Robert Strain, Marckenson Charles, Jackie Rivera, Andy Quiroga, Gladys Ramirez and Sirois.

The company is asking for a donation of $15 ($5 for students) for the show.  GableStage is in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  For more information, phone 305-445-1119 or visit the GableStage web site.