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14 posts from March 2010

March 11, 2010

News about Cruz, Heuer and Whitehead

It's the thick of the season, and though this weekend brings a little lull in the recent frenzy of openings, there's still plenty of arts news to share.

NiloThe lineup for the 2010 Ringling International Arts Festival has just been announced, and among the four premieres that will kick off the festival at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13, is Capricho, a brand-new commissioned work by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz.

Cruz is writing and directing the piece, which will premiere in the historic Asolo Theater at Sarasota's Ringling Museum.  It will be a busy time for him: The world premiere of another Cruz play, The Color of Desire, is slated to kick off the 2010-2011 season at Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables Oct. 6-Nov. 11.

Premiering at the Ringling Fest at the same time as Cruz's play are world premiere dance solos featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov and David Neumann; Tim Fain premiering a violin piece by Philip Glass; and Czech circus "nomads" the Forman Brothers performing the music-puppetry piece Obludarium.

Also part of the next festival are Moscow's Theater Art Studio performing The Boys (based on The Brothers Karamazov) in Russian, and British performer Andrew Dawson in Space Panorama; cabaret performers Sanda Weigl and The Takeishis in Gypsy in a Tree, and jazz performer Kate Davis; and dance performances from Les Slovaks Dance Collective, Rubberbandance Group and the John Jasperse Company.  The festival, a collaboration of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and New York's Baryshnikov Arts Center, happens Oct. 13-17 at the bay-side Ringling complex in Sarasota.  Package tickets are on sale now, with tickets to individual events going on sale May 15.  Call 941-360-7399 or visit the festival web site for more information.

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Translate21_Heuer_TROP_EKMRobert Heuer, the General Director of the Florida Grand Opera, was honored last month with a spectacular concert celebrating his 25 years of leading the company.  Now comes word that next month, Heuer will collect another honor for his South Florida arts leadership.

Heuer has just been chosen the 2010 recipient of the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts in recognition of his work with Florida Grand Opera and the key role he played in getting Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts built. The Abbott, which recognizes achievement in any facet of the arts, is the major award presented at the annual Carbonell Awards (which, of course, honor the best work in South Florida theater during the previous year).

This year's ceremony takes place at 7:30 p.m. April 12 in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.  Tickets are $25.  Call the Broward Center box office at 954-462-0222 or visit the center's web site for more information.

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Reggie2And speaking of Carbonell winners, Miami's own Reggie Whitehead has been touring in a production of Porgy and Bess, winning raves for his performance as the charismatic Sportin' Life -- check out a sample on You Tube.  The tour of this George Gershwin-Ira Gershwin-DuBose Heyward masterpiece brings Whitehead back home, quite briefly, for a performance at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami.

Orchestra Miami performs the glorious score, and the cast features soprano Kishna Davis as Bess, bass-baritone Patrick Blackwell as Porgy.  Charles Randolph-Wright staged the production.

Tickets cost $25 to $65.  For information, call 305-547-5414 or get tickets via the Orchestra Miami site or via Ticketmaster.  And a special note, if you happen to be older than 12 but younger than 23:  Culture Shock Miami is offering tickets to Porgy and Bess for just $5 each.

March 08, 2010

A disturbing play gets a reading

Dark_Angel Johanna Adams' Angel Eaters is the first part of a trilogy that premiered at New York's Flux Theatre Company.  Tonight at 7, the Alliance Theatre Lab will do a benefit reading of the play at New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St. in Coral Gables.  Be prepared.

The play, says Alliance, is about a family cursed with the ability to raise the dead.  A poor widow and her two daughters, trying to cope just after the death of the woman's husband, have to decide whether to listen to a pair of con men who say they can bring the dead man back to life. 

Angel Eaters kicks off a bimonthly Alliance reading series designed to showcase new work by small theaters.  In the cast are Barbara Sloan, Meredith Bartmon, Anne Chamberlain, Jameson Hammond, Wayne Robinson, Aubrey Shavonn and Scott Douglas Wilson.  Tickets are $5, and there's a talk-back after the reading.  Call 305-259-0418 or visit the Alliance blog for more info.

March 05, 2010

Reading and celebrating new work

Web%20Announcement%20copyFlorida Stage has long been a place where new plays are born. And for four years now, the Manalapan-based company (which will, as of this summer, be in new digs at West Palm Beach's Kravis Center) has enhanced its audiences' encounters with new work via the annual 1st Stage New Works Festival.

This year's event kicks off with an opening reception from 9 to 10 p.m. Sunday evening, then on Monday afternoon, the real fun begins.

First to be read, at 3 p.m. Monday, is Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas' Plowing the Sea, a piece about a playwright who visits a politically polarized Venezuela after Hugo Chavez's rise to power.  At 7 p.m., the featured playwrights share their views in a panel discussion, then at 8 p.m. is a reading of Karen Hartman's Goldie, Max and Milk, a play that involves a lesbian single mom, her newborn and an Orthodox Jewish lactation consultant.

On Tuesday, playwright Carter W. Lewis teaches a playwriting workshop at 11 a.m.  At 3 p.m., there's a reading of Jack Staub's Land's End, about twin theater legends who find their family embroiled in allegations of financial and sexual misconduct.  Andrew Rosendorf's Wasteland, a play commissioned by Florida Stage, examines how water-surrounded Florida has turned so dry; it gets read at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Wednesday's readings begin at 2 p.m. with Thomas Gibbons' Silverhill, a play about a utopian community founded on the principles of free love and "Bible communism."  Teresa Eyring, executive director of the Theatre Communications Group, gives the festival's keynote address at 6 p.m., followed by a 7:30 p.m. reading of Carter W. Lewis' The Cha-Cha of a Camel Spider, a play about the journey of a young female poet, a pair of mercenary soldiers and a Led Zeppelin-loving professor from Afghanistan.  The festival winds up with one last party at 10 p.m. Wednesday.

There are several festival pass options: the all-inclusive $100 Festival Plus Pass gets you admission to everything; the Festival Pass for $50 gets you into everything except the receptions; a $35 Play Pass buys admission to all six readings; and a $25 day pass gets you into all events on a given day (receptions excluded).

For info, call 1-800-514-3433 or visit the Florida Stage web site. The theater is located at 262 S. Ocean Blvd. in Manalapan's Plaza del Mar shopping plaza.

March 04, 2010

McCraney's work gets read

Erik28_broadway28_trav_ho One more time from the soapbox:  Miami's Tarell Alvin McCraney is one of the hottest young playwrights in both the United States and England, but we've yet to see a full-fledged professional production of his work here at home (though it's not for lack of trying by a couple of companies, who were turned down when they went after rights to produce The Brothers Size).

That won't change this weekend, but McCraney-curious folks can experience the power of his words and imagination when his play Wig Out!gets a two-performance staged reading as part of the Miami Made lineup at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

The African American Performing Arts Community Theater's Teddy Harrell Jr. is directing Giordan Diaz, Joseph Long, Lela Elam, Kristoff Skalet, Eric Bendross, Ya Ya Browne, David Podein, Marcell Black, Nathalia Lemos, Alexia Maxwell, Leondra Mitchell and Kevin Johnson in the free reading of McCraney's piece about two competing drag houses, and the families born of them.

Showtime is 3 p.m. Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday in the Arsht's Peacock Foundation Studio inside the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.  To request a free ticket, visit the Arsht web site.

And by the way: Three San Francisco-area theaters (American Conservatory Theater, Magic Theatre and Marin Theatre Company) are joining forces to produce McCraney's acclaimed trilogy, the Brother/Sister Plays (each will stage one part, and the three plays will run at the same time next fall).  Could that be a model for a trio of South Florida theaters?

(Carol Rosegg photo from Vineyard Theatre production of Wig Out! in New York)