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3 posts from March 2012

March 22, 2012

Actors' Playhouse adds 'Other Desert Cities'

Other Desert Cities logoActors' Playhouse in Coral Gables is celebrating its 25th anniversary next season, and the theater has just filled one of two blanks in its 2012-2013 schedule with a hot show: Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities. Now running on Broadway at the Booth Theatre, the play is a clear contender for numerous awards, including this year's best play Tony.

Baitz, the creator of the television series Brothers & Sisters, has written a funny, explosive play about a conflict-laced family reunion.  Returning to celebrate Christmas at the Palm Springs home of her power-player Republican parents, a writer with a history of depression reveals she has written a memoir about family matters Mom and Dad would prefer to forget.

Coming on the heels of this season's Next to Normal and last season's August: Osage County at Actors Playhouse, Other Desert Cities promises to be a major draw for South Florida acting talent next season.

Godspell opens the Actors' season Oct. 10-Nov. 4, followed by the intimate musical The Last Five Years Dec. 5-30.  Other Desert Cities kicks off 2013 with a run from Jan. 16-Feb. 10, then comes the regional premiere of the Tony-winning musical In the Heights March 6-April 7.  Ken Ludgwig's comedy The Fox on the Fairway runs May 6-June 2, 2013, with a summer show still to be announced.

Subscription prices range from $185 for previews to $435 for opening nights.  Actors' Playhouse is located at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables.  For info, call 305-444-9293 or visit the theater's web site.


March 21, 2012

Carbonells honor Harris; justice and satire on campus

Catching up with some varied news from South Florida's always-busy theater scene.

JayHarris-NoCreditProducer Jay H. Harris has been named the 2012 recipient of the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts, an honor to be presented at the Carbonell Awards ceremony on Monday, April 2.  The Carbonells are, of course, South Florida's top theater award.  And the Abbott award, named for legendary producer-director-playwright George Abbott, is the Carbonells' most prestigious honor.  Harris has a huge theater resume, having supported productions at numerous South Florida theaters (including New Theatre's world premiere of Nilo Cruz's Anna in the Tropics, which won the Pulitzer Prize and which Harris then produced in London).  He has also produced shows in numerous other American cities and in New York, where his production of Say Goodnight Gracie was nominated for a Tony Award.  Harris also played a major role in the evolution of the Carbonell Awards program, serving on its board from 2001 to 2008 and helping devise the current voting structure.

Harris will be honored, as will a host of Carbonell nominees and winners, during a show and ceremony beginning at 7:30 p.m. April 2 in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.  Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door, and the public is invited.  Numbers from each of this year's nominated musicals are part of the show, and admission to an after-party at the Green Room, 109 SW Second Ave., is free with a Carbonell ticket.  For information, call the Broward Center box office at 954-462-0222, email carbexec@aol.com, or visit the Broward Center's web site.


IMG_helen03.jpg_2_1_8U3PHKNGSister Helen Prejean, the author of Dead Man Walking, is coming to speak about capital punishment at the Florida International University campus April 13, in a free presentation running from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the campus' Graham Center student union. In honor of her appearance the FIU Theater Department and Honors College are joining forces to present readings and a performance of three justice-themed plays.  On Thursday, students from the Honors College will do a reading of Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank's The Exonerated. David Mamet's Oleanna gets a reading by theater students on March 29. Then Phillip M. Church directs theater students in a reading of Tim Robbins' adaptation of Dead Man Walking April 5.

All performances take place at 7 p.m. in the FIU Black Box Theater at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center, 11200 SW Eighth St., Miami. Admission is free, and talk-backs follow each event.  For information, call 305-348-3394.


UTown-7Though you won't have long to go (sorry), if you've managed to miss Urinetown during its earlier South Florida stagings at Actors' Playhouse, Slow Burn Theatre and so on, you have another chance to see it this Thursday-Sunday. John Manzelli directs students from Barry University's Department of Fine Arts in the Tony Award-winning musical about the strict regulation of bathroom privileges during a drought.  Ranging stylistically from the stinging social satire in the manner of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht to spoofs of other Broadway musicals, Urinetown is provocative, funny and not for the kiddies.

Performances are at the Broad Center for the Performing Arts, 11300 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores.  And get this: Admission is free.  Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, with no reservations required.  Need info? Call 305-899-3291.

March 06, 2012

Actors' Playhouse celebrates 25 years with 'In the Heights'

9561010091Between its first home in a Kendall strip mall movie house and its current one at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, Actors' Playhouse has chalked up 24 seasons of producing award-winning plays and musicals, the newest being its production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which runs through April 8. 

The 2012-2013 season will be the company's 25th, and for that milestone, executive producing director Barbara Stein and artistic director David Arisco have chosen four of their six shows.  The big one for the silver anniversary season?  Lin Manuel-Miranda's Tony Award-winning Broadway smash In the Heights.

The season will kick off Oct. 10-Nov. 4 with another musical, Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak's Godspell.  Based on the gospel according to Matthew, a revival of the 1976 show is currently running at Broadway's Circle in the Square Theatre. Next comes Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years, an intimate musical told from the perspective of a husband and wife whose marriage is coming apart.  That one runs Dec. 5-30.

The Fox on the Fairway, another farce by Lend Me a Tenor playwright Ken Ludwig, follows Jan. 16-Feb. 10. It's a golf-themed play set at a country club.  And then, March 8-April 7, comes the first South Florida regional production of In the Heights, the vibrant Miranda-Quiara Alegría Hudes musical set in Manhattan's multicultural Washington Heights neighborhood. Two more shows are still in negotiation.

Subscriptions for the 25th anniversary season range from $185 for previews to $279 for flexible premium seat subscriptions (opening night, with its gala party and open bar, commands $435 per subscription).  Actors' Playhouse performs at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables.  For information, call 305-444-9293 or visit the theater's web site.