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4 posts from January 2012

January 30, 2012

Guirgis is heading to GableStage

TMFWTH Image 1Stephen Adly Guirgis, award-winning playwright and one of the three artistic directors of New York's hot LAByrinth Theater Company, is coming to Coral Gables to check out GableStage's smash version of his play The Motherf**ker With the Hat.  But seeing Joseph Adler's production of a play that has won raves from South Florida critics and the Wall Street Journal's Terry Teachout (he called Motherf**ker "the best new play of 2011") isn't the only thing Guirgis will be doing during his visit.  Like Adler himself so often does, Guirgis will be giving back to the region's theater community.

On Monday, Feb. 6, the playwright whose works include Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, Our Lady of 121st Street, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and The Little Flower of East Orange will lead a free writing workshop from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at GableStage -- but the session is open only to members of Actors' Equity and the Dramatists' Guild, Theatre League members, and students or faculty from college or university theater departments.  Anyone who wants to attend must email Adler at jadler@gablestage.org

Guirgis[1]Guirgis describes the workshop this way:  "You don't have to be a writer to do the class...this is to encourage self-empowerment...experienced writers are free to come.  Attendees should bring pen and paper.  The substance of the workshop is a few writing exercises flcused on writing from a personal place, mixed in with conversation demystifying the writing experience.  There will also be time for questions and discussions about anything writing- or theater-related."

The playwright, whose fellow LAByrinth company members include Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Bobby Canavale, David Zayas, Eric Bogosian, Sam Rockwell and numerous other actors and playwrights, is also sticking around for a special industry-only performance of The Motherf**ker With the Hat at 8 p.m. next Monday at GableStage, which should be a special thrill for cast members Arturo Fernandez, Gladys Ramirez, Ethan Henry, Betsy Graver and Alex Alvarez.

But again -- only those South Florida theater community members, theater faculty and theater students can attend, and they must request a free ticket by emailing Adler.  GableStage is, of course, located at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  Check out its web site for more info on the company.

January 26, 2012

'In the Next Room'....and other theater news

Publicity pictures 203Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) got its professional South Florida debut in May at GableStage.  Now the play about Victorian women, their sexual repression and expression, gets a university production directed by the imaginative, daring Jesús Quintero.

In the Next Room, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, runs this weekend at Florida International University's Wertheim Performing Arts Center, 10910 SW 17th St., Miami, with performances at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.  The show resumes Feb. 8-12, with those performances at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are $15 ($12 for seniors and FIU faculty or staff, $10 for FIU students and alumni association members).  Because of the adult content and language, those involved with the production recommend it for audiences 16 and older.

Two free special events are connected with the play.  A 45-minute panel discussion about the ideas expressed in In the Next Room will follow this Sunday's matinee.  And at 7 p.m. Feb. 8, a half-hour look at how the production was put together, featuring input from cast members and the production team, will precede the performance.

For info, call 305-348-0496 or visit the FIU theater web site.


In recognition of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami, in association with the Holocaust Memorial of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, will present two concert performances of Ghetto Tango.  Performed by Yiddish artists Zalmen Mlotek, Daniella Rabbani and Avram Mlotek, the concert features edgy, sad and sardonic songs that were sung in underground cabarets in Europe's Jewish ghettos during World War II.

The performances are 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  Tickets are $36 (students pay $10).  For info, call 305-284-6882 or email Maxine Schwartz at mschwartz@miami.edu.


The Miami Lakes-based Alliance Theatre Lab is betting on young play-writing talent for its 2012 season. 

The lineup kicks off with the world premiere of David Sirois' Off Center of Nowhere March 16-April 8. New World School of the Arts grad Sirois, a best new work Carbonell Award nominee for last year's Brothers Beckett at Alliance, this time focuses on a high school student whose revelation of a secret leads to confessions that might destroy her family.

Sirois' friend and fellow New World grad, Mark Della Ventura, is up next with an expanded version of his solo show Small Membership.  Running June 1-24, the play focuses on an insecure young man as he grapples with issues of love, heartbreak and more.  Della Ventura also has another play, roomies, set to close out the Alliance season Nov. 9-Dec. 2.  That one is about five acting conservatory grads living together as one tries to write a play about them.

Alliance performs at the Main Street Playhouse, 6766 Main St., Miami Lakes, and its shows are presented at 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $25 ($15 seniors, $10 students).  For info, call 305-259-0418 or visit the company's web site.


Times are tough, but the Maltz Jupiter Theatre has some happy news to share.  The company has received a three-to-one challenge grant that will likely result in the company having a $10 million endowment.  The Maltz Family Foundation will give the theater $7 million if the company, which already has $500,000 in its endowment, raises $2.5 million by June 30.  The theater has already raised more than $1.62 million of its share.  For info, visit the theater's web site or email managing director Tricia Trimble at ttrimble@jupitertheatre.org.

(Photo of Michelle Antelo in FIU's In the Next Room by Marilyn Skow)

January 19, 2012

Barry on Broadway, Lowery at Sundance

IMG_Dave_headshot_2009.j_2_1_DG3QUKP6Pulitzer Prize-winning Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry, the prolific author and occasional Rock Bottom Remainders rocker, has more than promoting his new comic novel Lunatics (co-written with former Saturday Night Live writer Alan Zweibel) on the horizon.  The news from New York today is that Peter and the Starcatcher, a play-with-music based on Peter and the Starcatchers by Barry and Ridley Pearson, will begin previews at Broadway's Brooks Atkinson Theatre March 28.  Tickets for the show, which has its official opening April 15, go on sale Feb. 13 via Ticketmaster.

Adapted for the stage by Jersey Boys co-author Rick Elice, the play features a dozen actors playing 50 characters in the "prequel" to Peter Pan.  Twice extended during its spring 2011 run at Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop, the show won the 2011 Obie Award for its two directors, Alex Timbers (Tony Award nominated for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and Roger Rees (Tony winner for his leading performance in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby).  The two will team again to stage the show on Broadway, but the cast hasn't been announced yet.


Sc000106e0Barbara Lowery, a much-admired actress, director and long-time drama teacher, got a wonderful surprise last week when she learned just how much she still means to actor Rob Morrow, who was her student at Miami Sunset High School from 1978 to 1980.

Morrow, the film and television actor who was a regular on Northern Exposure and Numb3rs, nominated Lowery for the non-profit Creative Coalition's 2012 Teachers Making a Difference award.  She'll receive it on Monday at a program and luncheon in Park City, Utah, during the Sundance Film Festival.

This is a big deal for the woman who followed her five years at Sunset with 19 at Miami Dade College's North Campus.  She's one of only two teachers being honored.  The other is Sister Marionette Gibson, who taught actress Alfre Woodard.  Actor Wilmer Valderrama is serving as moderator, conducting a conversation with each teacher-actor pair, and Morrow will present Lowery with her award.

Lowery, who earned her master's degree from the University of Miami, studied at both Stella Adler and the H.B. Studio in New York. She is a Carbonell Award-winning director who has staged professional productions for the now-defunct Acme Acting Company, City Theatre's Summer Shorts, New Theatre and the Coconut Grove Playhouse.

She says of the honor, "Excited, shocked and touched are the words that come to mind.  Rob was not only obviously talented as a teenager, he was extraordinarily focused...in pursuing his dream."

How great that a now-famous student's long memory has led to celebrating the work of a superb teacher who really did make a difference in his life.


January 10, 2012

Stage Door sets a season

In November, Broward Stage Door Theatre founders David Torres and Derelle Bunn revealed that they were in negotiations with Costume World founder and CEO Marilynn Wick to sell the two-theater Coral Springs company they founded 18 years ago in a former movie theater.  The duo had taken on a new venture in the Miami Beach Stage Door Theatre at the Byron Carlisle last summer and felt they were ready to focus on their new venture.

Apparently, that deal for the Coral Springs theater isn't panning out. Torres sent a message Tuesday with titles for a planned 2012-2013 season at the original Stage Door location, explaining, "Due to the fact that ongoing negotiations seem to be stalling and are likely to not come to fruition, the Stage Door is moving ahead with plans to announe the '12-13 season as if there will be no deal."

So here's the lineup, a mixture of comedies, musicals and a thriller:

The new season will kick off with Neil Simon's Rumors Oct. 19-Nov. 11, followed by Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks Nov. 9-Dec. 2.  Fiddler on the Roofis the December highlight, running Dec. 7-31.  The World Goes 'Round, a revue celebrating the music of John Kander and Fred Ebb, runs Dec. 28-Jan. 20, 2013. The Golden Age Broadway classic Damn Yankees runs Jan. 18-Feb. 10, 2013.  Then come Deathtrap Feb. 8-March 3, the Jerry Herman revue Jerry's Girls March 1-2 and Beau Jest April 5-28, all in 2013.

Torres and Bunn have tinkered with their current-season Miami Beach lineup as well. Jon Peterson returns in Song Man, Dance Man Jan. 20-29, with shows at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.  From Feb. 17-March 11, Miami Beach Stage Door will present Ira Levin's comic thriller Deathtrap.

 Need more info? Call 954-344-7765 or visit the Coral Springs theater's web site; for Miami Beach info, call 305-397-8977 or visit the new web site.

Costume World's Wick offered her own perspective on Wednesday, issuing a statement that said Stage Door management rejected her second offer to buy the theater.

"I am extremely disappointed that I could not put this financial package together," she wrote.  "I had many high hopes for the space, including a renovation, working with the vast array of talented artists and technicians in professional theater in South Florida, and showcasing our incredible costume inventory.  But I guess it wasn't meant to be."

Wick leaves open the possibility that a deal may still be worked out and says, "In the meantime, I will continue to support and encourage the Broward Stage Door and their faithful audience, and I wish them all success with their exciting new season."