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3 posts from September 2012

September 14, 2012

Zoetic Stage joins National New Play Network

ZOETIC- I AM MY OWN WIFE (WAHL) 1 The National New Play Network (NNPN) has a new member company: Zoetic Stage, which will kick off its season Oct. 4-21 with Doug Wright's Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife. The play, a solo show starring Tom Wahl as Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (a German man who lived as a woman and survived both the Nazis and East German communists), will be done in the Carnival Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.  Zoetic's work is part of the Arsht's Theater Up Close series, and this particular play is one of the offerings during the center's ongoing Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project.

The NNPN affiliation is a valuable one for Zoetic in two ways.  As artistic director Stuart Meltzer observes in announcing the relationship, "It is vital to the health of every community that new writers continue to strive, question society and bring humanity back to our social media-frenzied world.  Becoming a member means that we can now include our very own playwrights on a larger circuit and recruit the work of outside playwrights to Miami."

In NNPN's model, several theaters agree to stage a "rolling world premiere" of a script they all like, giving a playwright different productions of a new play, exposing the work to audiences in different cities and allowing the writer to do ongoing developmental work between premieres.  Zoetic, which has staged world premieres by founding playwrights Michael McKeever (South Beach Babylon and Moscow) and Christopher Demos-Brown (Captiva), will now have more opportunities to help the work it originates have an ongoing life.

Miami's New Theatre, which will stage Robert Caisley's Happy Nov. 30-Dec. 16 as part of a rolling world premiere, is part of NNPN, as are the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre and Sarasota's Florida Studio Theatre.

September 12, 2012

McCraney crafts a London hit

IMG_Tarell_McCraney_port_2_1_6V362J91Miami's Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose sizzling 90-minute Royal Shakespeare Company adaptation of Hamlet (written with Bijan Shebani) will play GableStage Jan. 12-Feb. 10, is busy adding to his reputation (at home and abroad) as one of America's most talented young playwrights.

McCraney's newest play, Choir Boy, has just opened at London's Royal Court Theatre to reviews that range from appreciative to flat-out raves.

Commissioned by New York's Manhattan Theatre Club, where it will get its U.S. premiere with previews starting June 18 and an opening July 2, Choir Boy is set in a black boys' prep school celebrating its 50th anniversary.  The headmaster's nephew is at odds with Pharus, a gay student with a glorious tenor voice who is determined to become leader of the school's famous gospel choir.  In her review in The Guardian, critic Lyn Gardner writes: "Threaded with searing gospel songs, McCraney's play examines the shifting nature of truths, biblical and otherwise, and cleverly manipulates the hot-house setting to consider wider issues of black American history, from the brutal days of slavery to Obama's cry of 'yes we can!'"

The playwright, building on the reputation he established with The Brother/Sister Plays, has another important premiere this season.  Tina Landau will direct his play Head of Passes for Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, where he is an ensemble member. Running April 4-June 9, the play is a reimagining of the Book of Job set during a woman's surprise birthday party.

Here's hoping these new works will make their way to South Florida.

September 06, 2012

Naked Stage's 24-Hour Theatre Project returns

24_2012_take_3_copyThe Naked Stage recently wrapped up an impressive, much-lauded production of the spooky Turn of the Screw at Barry University's Pelican Theatre.  Now comes word that artistic director Katherine Amadeo and her hubby-colleague, Antonio Amadeo, have a date and a venue for the sixth edition of their way-popular 24-Hour Theatre Project.

This year's celebration of the quick-turnaround talents of South Florida playwrights, actors and directors will happen Nov. 12 at GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel.  That's where the annual fundraiser was born in 2007, and after taking it to Actors' Playhouse and the now-in-limbo Caldwell Theatre Company, Naked Stage is returning the event to its intimate roots.

GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler says, "It's a pleasure to have them back.  I thought their production of Turn of the Screw was terrific, and I want to see Naked Stage continue."

Participating artists and specifics are still being worked out. But you can bet that an array of playwrights will gather on Sunday, Nov. 11, to get titles, actors and directors for their unwritten short plays.  They'll write all night, then early Monday morning, their casts, directors and the rest of the 24-Hour staff will gather to bring the short scripts to life.  That evening, fans will assemble to see just how much fun speedily assembled theater can be.

To track updates on the event, visit The Naked Stage's blog.