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8 posts from February 2011

February 25, 2011

Theater potpourri

A few fleeting items of interest to theater fans, this weekend and beyond:

*  At Barry University's Broad Auditorium, award-winning actor-director Elena Maria Garcia has put together a piece titled What Do You Make?, based on the work of spoken word artist Taylor Mali.  The play celebrates teaching and the love of learning, runs an hour and is free to all.  Performances are 7 p.m. tonight-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday on the campus at 11300 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores.

9753260103 *  Avery Sommers, Paul Bodie and Summer Hill Seven will read scenes from a variety of August Wilson's plays, including Fences, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and The Piano Lesson, as part of Palm Beach Dramaworks' Master Playwright Series.  The overview program, with a look at Wilson's life and work plus the readings, happens at 7 p.m. Monday and March 7, 3 and 7 p.m. Tuesday and March 8.  A staged reading of Wilson's Radio Golf will be done at 7 p.m. March 28, 3 and 7 p.m. March 29.

Admission to each program is $15.  Palm Beach Dramaworks is at 322 Banyan Blvd., West Palm Beach.  Call 561-514-4042 or visit Dramaworks' web site.

* Both Mark Della Ventura's solo show Small Membership and Mosaic Theatre's runaway hit The Irish Curse are about guys fretting over their size.  And we don't mean height.  So it was probably inevitable that Della Ventura would bring his show to Mosaic.  That happens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, and it's free of charge.

Mosaic is in the American Heritage Center for the Arts, 12200 W. Broward Blvd., Bldg. 3000, Plantation.  Call 954-577-8243 or visit Mosaic's web site for info.

February 24, 2011

Asolo's 'Las Meninas' headed to new Miami-Dade arts center

Meninas8084The Arquitectonica-designed South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay hasn't even opened yet, but news of one of its first theatrical offerings has already arrived.  Sarasota's Asolo Repertory Theatre will bring its production of  Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage's Las Meninas to the center's 966-seat South Florida theater after its March 18-May 15 Asolo run.

Inspired by the true story of an illicit romance between French Queen Marie-Thérèse and Nabo Sensugali, an African dwarf who was her servant, Las Meninas considers whether the mysterious Black Nun of Moret was actually the product of the affair.  It is set in the court of King Louis XIV and takes its title from the 17th century Diego Velázquez painting.  And it is, say both Nottage and Asolo's Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards, a piece that's full of humor.

Smdcc Edwards, who directed the play's world premiere at San Jose Rep in 2002, says, "We are mounting only the second professional production of this important and largely unknown great American play, by a playwright who over the course of the last decade has become one of the most celebrated living theater artists...We are also thrilled to be able to take this production to Miami and share it with even more people through this new...collaboration."

The play has a cast of 15, including three resident company members and two guest artists.  Edwards anticipates bringing the majority of the actors in for the Miami-Dade run, perhaps adding two University of Miami students to the company. 

The play' will have a short run at Miami-Dade's new $38 million facility, from May 20-22, as part of the center's "soft" opening (the official opening will be in October).  But the Asolo's announcement adds that the company hopes the run of Las Meninas will "foster a further artistic exchange between the two cities and the two organizations, and lead to more projects."

Eric Fliss, managing director of the new center, agrees.

"I've been going to Sarasota for the past five years, and once I met Michael, this took off," he says.  "Part of the reason we're bringing in Las Meninas is to introduce the Asolo to the community, demonstrate the quality of their work and establish the boutique style of theater that will happen at the center."

Fliss adds, "I hope that this will lead to further collaboration.  Part of the conversation is developing material that will work in Sarasota and Miami."

For more information on the Sarasota run of Las Meninas, call the box office at 1-800-361-8388 or visit the Asolo Rep web site.

(Photo of Will LIttle, Devereau Chumrau and Lindsay Marie Tierce in Las Meninas by Scott Braun.)

February 21, 2011

A blessed 'Curse'

_DSC0762 Mosaic Theatre's production of Martin Casella's The Irish Curse -- a funny and touching play about a self-help group whose members have come up short both physically and emotionally -- is a mighty big hit at the Plantation theater's box office.  The company has added Sunday evening performances, and Casella has decided to fly in to see for himself what all the buzz is about.

Several performances are sold out or nearly so.  Casella will be at the 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, March 5, and will hang around for a talk-back with the actors and audience afterwards.

The Irish Curse runs through March 6 at Mosaic in the American Heritage Center for the Arts, 12200 W. Broward Blvd., Bldg. 3000, Plantation.  Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday (evening performance Feb. 26, which is Mosaic's annual fund-raising gala, and matinee Feb. 27 are sold out).  Tickets are $37 ($31 for seniors 65 and older, $15 for students). For information, call 954-577-8243 or visit the Mosaic web site.

February 18, 2011

On campus

South Florida's professional theaters are opening shows at a fast and furious pace -- tonight brings the world premiere of Juan C. Sanchez' The Bearded Lover at Davie's Promethean Theatre, plus the opening of Danai Gurira's Eclipsed at The Women's Theatre Project -- but student theater programs are keeping up the same frenzied pace.

Miami's New World School of the Arts winds up its run of the Broadway hit The Drowsy Chaperone this weekend with performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday in the Louise O. Gerrits Theater on the eighth floor of the New World building at 25 NE Second St.  Tickets are $12 ($5 for students and seniors).  Call 305-237-3541 or visit the school's web site.

Lys Big Love UM At the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre on the University of Miami campus, Aristophanes' Lysistrata and Charles Mee's The Big Love continue their repertory run through Feb. 27. Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday at the Ring, 1312 Miller Dr., Coral Gables.  Tickets are $18 Friday-Saturday, $16 other shows (with discounts for students, seniors, faculty, staff and alumni).  Call 305-284-3355 or visit the Ring's web page to see the performance schedule for each show.

For a free theater experience, check out Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead on the Kendall campus of Miami Dade College.  Performances are 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, through Feb. 27 at the Studio Theater, Bldg. M, 11011 SW 104th St., Kendall.  Call 305-237-2282 or visit the web site for info.

Also in south Miami-Dade, the Roxy Theatre Group is presenting a huge student cast in the Broadway classic Damn Yankees through March 5.  Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday (with an additional matinee March 5) at the Roxy Performing Arts Center, 1645 SW 107th Ave., Miami.  Tickets are $20.  Call 305-226-0030 or email SusannePinedo@gmail.com.

Up north in Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic University is presenting the Jane Martin inside-theater comedy Anton in Show Business through Feb. 27.  Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday in the Studio One Theatre on the campus at 777 Glades Rd.  Tickets are $20 ($12 for students, faculty, staff, alumni and children under 12).  Call 1-800-564-9539 or visit the FAU web site.

(Photo of Elizabeth Nestlerode in Big Love, left, and Grace McCabe in Lysistrata by Kent Lantaff.)

February 15, 2011

Carbonell nominations share the love

BLASTED_Image_2 Nominations for the 35th annual Carbonell Awards -- our region's version of the Tonys, the Helen Hayes Awards, the Joseph Jefferson Awards and so on -- have just been announced, and the results are a little more equitable than they have been for the past few years.  (That is, unless you're associated with the Caldwell Theatre Company, New Theatre, The Naked Stage, The Promethean Theatre or the Women's Theatre Project, which got a single nomination apiece.)

Still, people from 13 different companies have reason to go to the ceremony at the Broward Center's Amaturo Theatre on April 4.  Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County theaters collected 36 nominations each, while Broward theaters came back strong with 27.  Top nominated musical? Miss Saigon at Actors' Playhouse, with 11. Top play? Blasted at GableStage, with 7.

For all the details and a complete list of nominees, check out my story at MiamiHerald.com.

February 11, 2011

Florida Stage picks a season

Carter Lewis, Louis Tyrell and Israel Horovitz The new play-driven Florida Stage just held its fifth annual 1st Stage New Works Festival last weekend, and artistic director Louis Tyrrell isn't letting any dust gather on three of the seven scripts that were read to a cumulative crowd of more than 1,000 adventuresome theater fans.

Among the most buzzed-about works, each for different reasons, were Christopher Demos-Brown's Captiva, Carter W. Lewis' The Americans Across the Streetand Israel Horovitz's Beverley, now retitled Fighting Over Beverley, which featured Tony Award winner Frances Sternhagen as the title object of two seventysomething men's affections.

The world premieres of Demos-Brown's and Lewis' plays and the southeastern premiere of Horovitz's will be part of the company's 25th anniversary 2011-2012 season at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach.  Also in the lineup are the National New Play Network "rolling" world premiere of Stephen Sachs' comedy Bakersfield Mist, a still-unrevealed new musical, and a summer musical that will either be brand-new or a remounting of a past musical hit.  Audiences will get to vote on a new show or a new production of Backwards in High Heels, Beyond the Rainbow, Cagney or Dream a Little Dream.

Bakersfield Mist kicks things off Oct. 19-Nov. 20, followed by Captiva Dec. 7-Jan. 8, Fighting Over Beverley Jan. 18-Feb. 19, the new musical March 21-April 22, The Americans Across the Street May 9-June 10 and the summer musical June 20-Sept. 2.

For subscription information, call 1-800-514-3837 or visit the Florida Stage web site.

(Photo of Carter W. Lewis, Louis Tyrrell and Israel Horovitz courtesy of Florida Stage.)



February 08, 2011

Donna McKechnie takes another turn

Tony Award-winning actress-singer-dancer Donna McKechnie, the original Cassie in Michael Bennett's A Chorus Line, is performing her solo show My Musical Comedy Life at the PlayGround Theatre this weekend.

I chatted with this terrific, warm show biz survivor over lunch at Joe Allen last week.  Check out my story on the Miami Herald's web site.

February 01, 2011

A White Rose blooms

Proof_WRM_Melissa Almaguer and Ivan Lopez_Photo by Christina Perdomo FernandezMelissa Almaguer and Ivan Lopez met as theater students at Florida International University.  After professional detours -- she to the PlayGround Theatre and the Jesus Quintero Studio, he to an MFA and theater work in New York -- the two have come together again to form a new company, White Rose Miami.

They're launching White Rose at 8 p.m. Friday with a production of David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof, an absorbing and surprising play about a young woman who abandoned her dreams to care for her math genius father as he slips ever deeper into mental illness.  Also in the cast are Christina Perdomo-Fernandez and Wayne Robinson Jr.  Almaguer is directing, Nicole Quintana is doing the set, and Carbonell Award winner Sevim Abaza is creating the lighting.

What's unusual about the production is that Almaguer and Lopez are taking it outside.  Proof is set on a porch, so they're performing it on a porch at the JQ Studio, 9001 NE Third Ave., Miami.  Now, the play's porch is a chilly one outside Chicago, and even with South Florida's recent run of cool weather a true-to-life frostiness is unlikely.  But Lopez and Almaguer get points for daring to be different.

The play runs through Feb. 20 with performances at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are just $10.

For info, call 305-322-2090 or email whiterosemiami@gmail.com