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5 posts from July 2010

July 16, 2010

Downtime and the season

The Miami Herald's annual Season of the Arts section will be heading your way in September, but our deadline is way earlier -- like August 15.  Send your theater's info to seasonofthearts@gmail.com to get listed and possibly highlighted.  Photos in jpg format (with complete IDs and photographer credit) are cool too.  Just be sure to include: name and address of your company, performance location if that is different, email and web site addresses, phone number for reservations, title of each production plus the opening/closing date of each.  That's it!

And while you're doing that, I'll be on vacation until Aug. 6. Au revoir!

July 14, 2010

Edinburgh preview

Playwrights and collaborators Wendy White and Vanessa Garcia are presenting two performances of their one-act plays Island Blogosphere and The Jewish Nun tonight and Thursday at 8 p.m.  Under the umbrella title Two Islands, the plays are headed for New York's 59e59 theater this Saturday-Sunday, and then to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.

In Garcia's play Island Blogosphere, two Cuban-American sisters (played by real-life sisters Vanessa and Nicole Garcia) virtually befriend courageous bloggers in Cuba.  In White's play, performed by Casey Dressler, a 19-year-old embraces celibacy in an era of free love.

Tickets to the performances are $15, with the proceeds going toward the actors' Edinburgh travel.  The shows go on at GAB Studio, 105 NW 23rd St. in Miami.  A cocktail hour precedes each performance.  For reservations, call the box office phone number at 954-829-0638; for info, visit White's New Light Gallery web site or Garcia's The Krane.

July 12, 2010

Ailing McConnell, teaching Raul

Secret_Order Gordon McConnell, one of South Florida's finest actors, became ill after performing Saturday's matinee of Secret Order at the Caldwell Theatre Company in Boca Raton.  He was hospitalized and, though he's expected to be released today, there's no word one when or if he might be returning to the play.  No definitive word either on why he became ill.

Though Saturday evening's performance was canceled, director Tom Bloom stepped into McConnell's role, playing a research lab director opposite the young scientist played by Nick Duckart.  Bloom is to continue performing, book in hand, this week, though he hopes to be off book -- to have the role memorized -- late this week.

The irony here is that in March, it was McConnell who came to the rescue when a different Caldwell actor became ill.  David Pendleton, who was playing the title role in The Old Man and the Sea, was hospitalized after suffering a stroke, and McConnell took over.  Here's hoping that this terrific actor is back in action soon.  For Caldwell info, visit the theater's web site; the show runs through Aug. 1.


Raul07_Babalu_Dade_CWGRaúl Esparza just finished his brief run in Babalu at the Arsht Center, and he's soon heading for Los Angeles to star in the Broadway-bound musical Leap of Faith.

But before the Miami-raised four-time Tony Award nominee leaves his hometown, he's making time to give back to a program that gave much to him (he participated in YoungArts in 1988 and received an alumni award in 2009).  From 3:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Esparza will deliver a workshop titled Approaching Broadway to talented high school students as part of YoungArts Miami's regional summer program.  Students will learn how to "act" a song as they present two short excerpts from Broadway songs (bring sheet music).  Esparza requested that one of the two be by Stephen Sondheim, an artist whose work the actor knows well:  He starred in both Sunday in the Park With George and Merrily We Roll Along during the Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration, then went on to earn one of his Tony nominations for playing Bobby in the Broadway revival of Company.

Participation is limited to Miami-Dade high school students, who must pre-register by emailing miami@youngarts.org or calling 305-377-1140, ext. 1309.  Space is limited, and the session takes place at the Peacock Education Center in the Arsht's Knight Concert Hall, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.

(Esparza photo by the Miami Herald's C.W. Griffin)

July 07, 2010

A theater company is born

ZOETIC STAGE LOGO South Florida's theater landscape is about to get richer, thanks to a determined -- and demonstrably talented -- group of playwrights, directors and actors.

The new Zoetic Stage (that's the troupe's logo) is the brainchild of two couples: artistic director Stuart Meltzer and playwright Michael McKeever, and playwright Christopher Demos-Brown and his wife Stephanie, who serves as president of the group's board of directors.  The founders' vision is to produce new and existing plays and musicals, some that will reflect life in South Florida, and to do thought-provoking theater that will give talented artists a place to create work that can resonate beyond the region.

Company members include some of South Florida's most celebrated artists.  Signing on to Zoetic's roster so far are actors Irene Adjan, Stephen G. Anthony, Jeffrey Bruce, Nick Duckart, Lela Elam, John Felix, Elena Maria Garcia, Maribeth Graham, Margery Lowe, Amy McKenna, David Perez-Ribada, Jerry Seeger, Barry Tarallo, Laura Turnbull and Tom Wahl.  Directors Amy London and Kim St. Leon are also part of Zoetic.

WRONGFUL POSTER (SMALL) Many questions have yet to be answered:  Where will Zoetic perform?  What will the not-for-profit company's budget be?  Most significantly, how good will the art be?  Zoetic is in negotiations for a first home, with show dates to be announced after a deal is reached.

The first season's shows, however, are set.  The company will launch with the world premiere of McKeever's South Beach Babylon, a play about five South Beach artists in the weeks leading up to Art Basel.  (Side note: McKeever, who is responsible for Zoetic's logo and posters, knows art -- he's an accomplished artist as well as an award-winning playwright and actor.)

Next is the Florida premiere of David Adjmi's award-winning play Stunning, about a wealthy Syrian Jewish couple living in Brooklyn and their relationship with their African-American maid.

The world premiere of Demos-Brown's Wrongful Death, a satirical play about a personal injury lawyer trying to land the case of her life, is Zoetic's third show. (A second side note: Demos-Brown knows his way around a courtroom -- he's a successful lawyer, playwright and screenwriter.)

Last in Zoetic's first-season lineup is Carlos Murillo's Diagram of a Paper Airplane, a play about four former friends who haven't been able to forgive or forget.

Zoetic's web site isn't quite up yet -- give it about two weeks -- but when it's live, the address will be www.zoeticstage.com

The company's future will, of course, be only as good as its work.  But on paper? Zoetic looks really promising.

July 01, 2010

'Broadsword' redux

BroadswordThe Atlanta-based Actor's Express Theatre Company has just announced its 2010-2011 season, and in the lineup is the world premiere of a Marco Ramirez play titled Broadsword.  The company already has a moody, cool image created for the production (check it out here), which will run Jan. 13-Feb. 12, 2011, and a star in Chris Kayser of the troupe's previous production of Mauritius.

At this point, particularly if you're a fan of Miami's Mad Cat Theatre Company, you might be thinking: world premiere?  Didn't Mad Cat already do this play -- twice?  Well, yes and no.

Mad Cat indeed staged Broadsword, first in April 2009 at its old home in the Miami Light Project's Light Box, then in late April/early May of this year in a brief run at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.  But those were "developmental" productions, meaning Ramirez was continuing to work on his script.  And he is perfectly within his rights to decide when he's ready for one of his works is ready for its world premiere.

Still, if you're thinking, "Hey, I saw Broadsword, and I liked it," you're not alone. I did too.

But if you happen to be in Atlanta and want to check out the finished, world premiere version early next year, here's the link to the Actor's Express web site.