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17 posts from January 2010

January 12, 2010

Mad Cat plays it for laughs

Mad catMiami's Mad Cat Theatre Company has done plenty of funny plays during its 10-year history, but its one-time-only revival of Shepherd's Pie has been specifically crafted for laughs.

Written by Mad Cat founder Paul Tei and Ivonne Azurdia, Shepherd's Pie was one of the company's earliest efforts, debuting around St. Patrick's Day in 2001.  That's appropriate: The play is about an Irish acting troupe -- the Velvet Shamrock Players -- who have received a grant to tour the United States in order to share the real story of St. Patrick with all the faux folk who spend every March 17 celebrating their "Irish" heritage.

Tei is directing a cast that, besides Azurdia, includes Erik Fabregat, Betsy Graver, Todd Allen Durkin, Sofia Citarella and Amy McKenna.  Mad Cat is resurrecting Shepherd's Pie for the South Beach Comedy Festival, performing at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach.

Tei, who appeared in an episode of CSI: Miami on Monday (and who has a recurring gig as Barry the Money Launderer on USA Network's Burn Notice), has been rehearsing with his cast at GableStage, and he says Shepherd's Pie is continuing to evolve.

"Ninety percent of it is a new piece -- new songs, new jokes, a singalong with the audience," he says.  "It's very blue, take-no-prisoners stuff. You have to be able to laugh at yourself."

Tickets to the show, a co-presentation of the Miami Light Project and the South Beach Comedy Festival, are $25 in advance, $30 at the door (or, if you pay $50, you get the close-up seats and an after-party with the cast).

If that sounds like your cup of Irish coffee, check Ticketmaster or the Miami Light Project site for info.

January 11, 2010

Florida Stage explores the new

Web%20Announcement%20copy Florida Stage has always celebrated new work -- some of its seasons contain one world premiere after another -- but for the past three years, Louis Tyrrell and Nancy Barnett have given their audiences an extra helping of the new via the company's annual 1st Stage New Works Festival.

The company, which moves this summer from Manalapan to its new home in West Palm Beach's Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, has just announced the lineup for its fourth annual festival, a four-day collection of staged readings, panels, speeches and parties.

This year's fest runs March 7-10, and features readings of Plowing the Seaby Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, Silverhill by Thomas Gibbons, Goldie, Max and Milk by Karen Hartman, The Cha-Cha of a Camel Spider by Carter W. Lewis, Wasteland by Andrew Rosendorf and Land's End by Jack Staub.

The keynote address, in the past delivered by prominent playwrights, will be given this year by Teresa Eyring, executive director of the Theatre Communications Group, a vital national organization of not-for-profit theaters.  And a special workshop dubbed Playwriting 101 will be taught by Lewis, whose The Storytelling Ability of a Boy winds up its world premiere run at Florida Stage on Sunday.

Details -- cost, exact schedule and so on -- are still to come, but tickets will go on sale Feb. 1.  For info, ,check the Florida Stage web site.

January 08, 2010

Latino playwrights look back

In_this_house_102opencover Elena Maria Garcia and Chris Perez are latino theater artists who grew up in bilingual South Florida.  Both lived in the worlds of their Spanish-speaking families and English-speaking friends, and each has now mined the past to create a solo show.  The paired pieces, under the title In This House Solamente Español, will run for three weekends at the Barry University's Pelican Theatre starting Jan. 14.  Both are performed in English.

Perez, a New World School of the Arts grad who was born in a Havana suburb, performs Flying Lessons,  a play about a father finally confronting a memory he refuses to accept.  Garcia's play, Do You Speak Mexican?, is about her family's experience "migrating" north from Miami to Broward.  Both plays are being presented under the banner of Garcia's Underdog Productions.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, from Jan. 14-30.  Tickets are $15 (students with ID pay $10).  And Garcia notes that the start time is for real: "All show times 8 on the nose, not Latin time!"

The Barry campus is at 11300 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores. For info, call 954-292-4095. 

January 07, 2010

Lessons on campus

Special programs on two Miami campuses next week will highlight a serious issue and the actor's art.

On Monday at 7 p.m., Florida International University theater associate professor Phillip M. Church will direct a staged reading of Body & Sold, a play about the sexual exploitation of teen girls. The play is drawn from interviews with 10 girls, and the event is part of FIU's observation of the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness.  The production happens at the university's Studio Theatre, DM 150; before the reading, a panel discussion on trafficking as a social pandemic in Florida takes place from 5 to 6 p.m. at FIU's Graham Center, 11200 SW Eighth St., Miami.  Admission is free, but donations to support Miami's Kristi House, a Miami home for victims of child sexual abuse, will be collected.  For information, call Margaret McCaffery at 305-789-0043.

Carreri_roberta On Thursday, Jan. 14, actor-teacher Roberta Carreri visits the home of Miami's Prometeo Theatre to offer a performance master class of her autobiographical piece Traces in the Snow.  Carreri, a member of Denmark's Odin Teatret, has studied with theater masters all over the world, and she'll share her wisdom in a program delivered in both English and Spanish.

Admission to the performance demonstration is $25.  It takes place at Prometeo's theater space on Miami Dade College's Wolfson campus, 300 NE Second Ave., Miami.  Call 305-237-3262 or visit the Prometeo web site for more information.

January 06, 2010

Come to a SoBe cabaret

Cabaret ad imageThe grand New Year's night opening of the Grand Opening Cabaret is over.  But SoBe Arts is still reviving the spirit of divine decadence at the reopened 1937-vintage Little Stage on Miami Beach.

Artistic director Carson Kievman has assembled a cast of singers, actors and musicians to create a contemporary evening that draws from entertainment's past to create what he calls "a fun-house ride for adults."  Songs, theatrical vignettes, animated film and live action are all part of the show.

Montserrat Franco as Betty Boop at South Beach Sleeples Night event (SoBe  Arts)Actors Ivette Viñas, Andres Lefevre (as the ghost of Cab Calloway), Philip de la Cal and Montserrat Franco (as Betty Boop) perform, along with conductor Roberrt Chumbley and musicians Kiki Sanchez, Paul Gordillo, Juan Silveira, Tony Suarez and James Quinlan.

Performances are at 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday through Jan. 17 at the Little Stage Theater, 2100 Washington Ave., Miami Beach.  Premium tickets are $25, regular tickets $10, and the cabaret holds 60 people.  Drinks and tapas are available from Red Light restaurant.

For reservations, call 305-674-9220 or visit the SoBe Arts website.

January 05, 2010

Hoffman back onstage

Avi00_hoffman_people_hoAvi Hoffman formally announced the end of the New Vista Theatre Company not so long ago, but the popular actor's South Florida career goes on, this weekend with the romantic comedy Millions of Miles.

The play by Elliott Taubenslag is about seniors opting for a second chance at love, only to find their grown children less than enthusiastic about the situation.  Hoffman's costars are Sally Bondi, Michael McKeever and Stephanie Simon.

The run is a short one, just Friday through Sunday, with performances at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.  The show goes on at the Crest Theatre, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach.  Tickets are $35, with a $4 service fee for online purchases.  For information, call 561-243-7922, ext. 1, or visit the Crest online.

January 04, 2010

Split personality silliness

Chemical Imbalance - production photo The Caldwell Theatre Company is starting off the new year with a little lunacy via Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll and Hyde Play.  Actor Tom Wahl, who burnished his goofy side in productions of Shear Madness, plays both the misguided doc and his evil twin in Lauren Wilson's script, which takes a decidedly different approach to Robert Louis Stevenson's familiar story.

Artistic director Clive Cholerton is going for over-the-top nuttiness here -- a kind of farce-meets-horror flick vibe.  And he has surrounded his leading man with a topnotch cast:  John Felix, Erin Joy Schmidt, Angie Radosh, Amy Elane Anderson, Wynn Harmon, Lindsey Forgey, Laura Turnbull and Tiffany-Leigh Moskow. (Forgey and Turnbull are the alarmed ladies in the photo.)

Screampix Chemical Imbalance officially opens at 8 p.m. Friday, but the play is in previews at 8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Wednesday.  It runs at the Caldwell, 7901 N. Federal Hwy. in Boca Raton, through Feb. 7.  Regular performances are 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday. Tickets are $34 to $55.  For info, call 1-877-245-7432 or visit the theater's web site.