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6 posts from August 2010

August 26, 2010

Zoetic stages McKeever's shorts

ZOETIC STAGE LOGO The new Zoetic Stage is dipping into founder-playwright Michael McKeever's collection of funny short plays for a second benefit performance, with the proceeds going toward its inaugural production, the world premiere of McKeever's South Beach Babylon Dec. 2-12 in the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

After a successful fund raiser at Boca Raton's Caldwell Theatre Company, Zoetic is taking its act to Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theater, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, at 7 p.m. Monday.  Six McKeever gems -- American Gothic, Craven Tutweiler (The Real Life Story of), Tina Thompson Tries the Tuba, Laura Keene Goes On, Knowing Best, Splat! and Move On, or Sondheim at Studio 54 -- are on the bill in Actors' Balcony Theater.

Zoetic artistic director Stuart Meltzer is staging the plays, which will be performed by company members Irene Adjan, Elena Maria Garcia, Margery Lowe, Barry Tarallo, Tom Wahl and the multitasking McKeever.  A talk-back and reception follow the show.

Admission is by donation ($20 is suggested).  For info, visit the company's web site;to RSVP, phone Meltzer at 305-741-3180 or reply to rsvp@zoeticstage.com.

August 23, 2010

Arsht expands Carnival programming

Scott Shiller, executive vice president of Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, has long wanted the center's Carnival Studio Theater to be a place where high-quality theater from many sources -- local, national, international -- could be showcased. For 2010-2011, Shiller thinks he's found a blend that will be successful with what he calls "the three a's:" artists, audiences and accountants (the latter signifying solid business at the box office).  The Arsht's investment in the Carnival programming? An estimated $1.1 million.

Shiller has loosely grouped the Carnival's offerings into three categories:  partnerships with South Florida arts groups, new work, and critically acclaimed theater from elsewhere.  Some of the offerings include dance and performance art, Herald critic Jordan Levin's specialty, but there's plenty of theater news to share here.

Kristina Production Photo The Best of South Florida programming starts Nov. 18-20 with Mad Cat Theatre's production of actor-comedian Kristina Wong's Going Green the Wong Way.  Wong's piece, which she is shaping under Mad Cat artistic director Paul Tei's guidance, is about the pitfalls of a dedication to green living, one in which her dead  biodiesel car leaves her at the mercy of a less-than-reliable public transportation system.  Tickets go on sale to Arsht Center members Aug. 30, to everyone else Sept. 12.

SOUTH BEACH BABYLON 2 The births of a new theater company and a new play coincide when Zoetic Stagepremieres Michael McKeever's South Beach Babylon Dec. 2-12The comedy by the Carbonell Award-winning McKeever explores the lives of five South Beach artists int he weeks leading up to the chic insanity that is Art Basel.

Miami's M Ensemble will present Regina Taylor's Crowns -- a play about the culture clash that happens when a Brooklyn girl with a hip-hop sensibility is sent to live with her South Carolina grandmother after her brother's death -- at the Carnival.  The production happens during Black History Month in February, with exact dates still being worked out.

Also back as part of the Best of South Florida lineup at the Carnival are City Theatre's Summer Shorts festival (June 2-26) and Teatro Avante's XXVI International Hispanic Theatre Festival (July 7-24).

The Carnival's new works lineup are all dance/performance art pieces, so we'll skip to the theater stuff.

Catwalk Forbidden Broadway, with new material sending up the likes of In the Heights, Jersey Boys and Young Frankenstein (all scheduled to play South Florida this season), returns Dec.14-26.  David Lamb's From the Auction Block to Hip Hop, the followup to his popular Carnival hit Platanos and Collard Greens, plays Feb. 3-6.  Catwalk Confidential, a solo show by Miami Beach-raised supermodel Robyn Peterson, comes to the Carnival March 17-20.

That show will be followed by a long run (April 7-May 1) of The Sparrow, a hit play by Chicago's House Theatre. The piece, about a girl who returns home 10 years after being the sole survivor of a tragic accident that killed all her classmates, is an imaginative mystery in the vein of TV's Heroes.  Last in the lineup is Celebrity Autobiography (May 5-15), a show in which the famous read from celeb memoirs with comic results that the original authors probably didn't intend (the stars who will do the deed in Miami haven't been announced yet).

Several shows go on sale to Arsht Center members Aug. 30, to everybody else Sept. 12.  Call the box office at 305-949-6722 or visit the center's web site for more info.

August 18, 2010

Rising Action makes a move

Fort Lauderdale's Rising Action Theatre has left its home on Oakland Park Blvd. for new digs in the chapel at the Sunshine Cathedral complex.  Its next show, Judy and Liza Together -- Live!, will be done Aug. 26-28 at the Manor, 2345 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors.  Then a new season begins at Sunshine Chapel, 1480 SW Ninth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.

In the new lineup are Nicky Silver's Fit To Be Tied (Sept. 24-Oct. 24), Mart Crowley's The Boys in the Band (Nov. 5-Dec. 12) and Frank Murray's The Killing of Sister George (Jan. 5-Feb. 6).  Anyone buying a four-show subscription for $100 by Aug. 25 gets tickets for two free drinks at a performance.

Rising Action's move, says business manager Jerry K. Jensen, will cut the group's rent and allow a greater seating capacity, boosting the potential audience size from 88 to 150.

Contact info remains the same: 1-800-595-4849 for tickets or visit the group's web site.

August 17, 2010

GableStage reveals a hot 2010-2011 lineup

GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler is usually among the last of South Florida's major theater company leaders to reveal his choices for a new season; he likes to take his time assembling the puzzle pieces of a just-right lineup of recent titles, edgy plays and the provocative works that speak to him and to his theater-savvy audiences.  His 2010-2011 picks, all southeastern premieres, are no exception, but Adler has finally settled on what looks like a killer six-play season.

Adler will kick off his season Oct. 23-Nov. 21 with the southeastern premiere of Martin McDonagh's recent Broadway hit A Behanding in Spokane, a bloody dark comedy about a guy searching for his missing hand.  The director has a strong track record with McDonagh's wild work, winning best play Carbonell Awards for his 2006 production of The Pillowman and 2007's The Lieutenant of Inishmmore.

Sharon_Gless The season's second show brings some star power to the intimate theater, with Burn Notice star Sharon Gless appearing in Jane Prowse's stage adaptation of Jane Juska's A Round-Heeled Woman.  The Emmy-winning actress, a veteran of both Cagney & Lacey and Queer as Folk, will play a retired teacher who hasn't had sex in three decades but decides to jump back into the world of the flesh via a personals ad in The New York Review of Books. A Round-Heeled Woman will be at GableStage Dec. 30-Jan. 30..

Superior Donuts, the latest Broadway play from Pulitzer Prize winner Tracey Letts (whose award-winning August: Osage County is part of the new season lineup at Actors' Playhouse), will play GableStage Feb. 26-March 27. Letts' smaller-scale work is about the friendship of a cranky white donut shop owner and a black Chicago teen with something to hide.

MacArthur "genius" grant winner Sarah Ruhl's recent Broadway play In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play, a witty piece about marriage and intimacy turning on a 19th century doctor's use of a new device to treat "hysterical" women," runs April 30-May 29.

Israeli playwright Ilan Hatsor's Masked is next, running July 2-31.  The play about a family torn between survival and betrayal focuses on a trio of Palestinian brothers living on the West Bank in 1990.

Window00_playwright_wknd_GFAdler's final play in the new lineup, which will run Aug. 27-Sept. 25, 2011, is a South Florida milestone of sorts. Tarell Alvin McCraney, who grew up in Liberty City, got his high school diploma at the New World School of the Arts, did his undergrad work at Chicago's DePaul University and earned a graduate degree in play writing from the Yale School of Drama, has become one of the hottest and most honored young playwrights in the United States and Great Britain.  But the brilliant work that helped make his reputation hasn't been produced in his hometown -- yet.

Adler and GableStage will take a long-overdue leap by closing out next season with McCraney's The Brothers Size, one part of the trilogy he dubbed The Brother/Sister Plays.  Distinctive in voice and style, McCraney's piece is about two Louisiana brothers, family loyalty and the tug of erotic connection.

Regular tickets for the new shows at GableStage, which has just opened a sizzling production of Michael Weller's Fifty Words, will be $37.50-$47.50.  Subscriptions cost $200, a savings of up to $130 depending on the performance. Shows are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday. GableStage is located in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. Call the box office at 305-445-1119 or visit the GableStage web site for info.

August 10, 2010

Actors' gets another world premiere

Actors' Playhouse, which plans to begin its 2010-2011 season with the world premiere of The Color of Desire by Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz, has just filled in the last gap in its schedule with another world premiere.

Maribeth Graham See Jane Run!,

by actor-singer-writer Maribeth Graham and composer Dana P. Rowe, will premiere as Actors' summer musical July 13-Aug. 14, 2011.  The edgy musical about 21st century women is described as the story of an everywoman who is trying to decide "what makes her run, who she's running from and where she's running to."

Graham, who divides her time between South Florida and New York, is a veteran performer and three-time Carbonell Award winner who has appeared Off-Broadway and in most of the region's major theaters.  Rowe's shows include Zombie Prom, The Fix and The Witches of Eastwick, the latter two earning him Olivier Award nominations.

In between the world premieres, Actors' has another gem -- Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning August: Osage County -- plus productions of Oliver!, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps.

Six-show subscriptions range from $185 for previews to $435 for opening night. Call the box office at 305-444-9293 or visit the web site for season info.

August 09, 2010

Readings near and far

Though no one could claim South Florida is theatrically dead in the summer -- just this week, for example, Boca Raton's Caldwell Theatre Company opens its world premiere of Joel Gross' The Comfort of Darkness on Friday, and GableStage is opening its production of Michael Weller's recent Broadway play Fifty Words on Saturday -- the madness of a jam-packed fall season has yet to begin.

So if you're looking for a bit of theatrical variety, how about these three readings (even though for one, you'd have to be in New York):

*  Conundrum Stages will offer a staged reading of the Five Lesbian Brothers' The Secretariesat 8 p.m. Tuesday at Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale.  Michael Yawney directs Dana Colagiovanni, Michelle Domb, Elizabeth Garrard, Nathalie Nodarse and Olivia Williamson in the wild comedy about conniving secretaries at an Oregon lumber company.  Admission is free, but donations are welcome.  Call 954-678-1496 for info.

*  If you happen to be in the Big Apple and are a fan of Miami-raised playwright Marco Ramirez and/or Broadsword, the play gets a high-profile reading as part of the Atlantic Theater Company's Latino Mixfest.  Ramirez, who is listed as a "Los Angeles" playwright (he's living in L.A., writing for television now), will see the official world premiere of his play about the reunion of a New Jersey metal band at Atlanta's Actors' Express in January (though the play has already had two kick-butt "developmental" productions by Miami's Mad Cat Theatre Company).  The New York reading happens at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

*  You can help send a playwright to grad school -- specifically the MFA Dramatic Writing Program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts -- by going to a 7:30 p.m. reading of Michelle Rosenfarb's The Gates of Choiceon Sunday at GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  Rosenfarb's play, set in an Ultra Orthodox Israeli community, received its world premiere at Coral Gables' New Theatre and got a Carbonell Award nomination as best new work.  In the cast are Valentina Izarra, Angie Radosh, Bill Schwartz, Kim Ehly, Nick Duckart and Mark Della Ventura, withPilar Uribe narrating.  Suggested donations are $20 ($15 for Actors Equity and South Florida Theatre League members, $10 for students).  Call GableStage at 305-445-1119 for reservations,