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3 posts from November 2012

November 27, 2012

GableStage gets NEA grant for McCraney 'Hamlet'

Theater_Antony_and_CleopatraGableStage, which will join with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and New York's Public Theater in premieringTarell Alvin McCraney's set-in-Haiti Antony and Cleopatra next season, has just been awarded a $10,000 National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant to support its upcoming production of Hamlet.  The 90-minute adaptation by McCraney and Bijan Sheibani, commissioned by the RSC, will run at GableStage Jan. 12-Feb. 10, then be performed free for 15,000 Miami-Dade County Public Schools students at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium in Liberty City and the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay.

The NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for the Art Works grants from not-for-profit groups seeking more than $74 million in support.  GableStage's is one of 832 approved grants totalling $22.3 million.

McCraney will direct his adaptation, and he has now settled on his cast.  Edgar Sanchez will play Hamlet, with Dylan Kammerer as Horatio, James Randolph as Claudius and the Ghost, Alana Arenas as Gertrude, Peter Haig as Polonius, Ryan George as Laertes and Rosencrantz, Mimi Davila as Ophelia and Arielle Hoffman as Guildenstern and a player.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday (no evening show the first weekend).  Tickets range from $37.50-$50.  GableStage performs in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  For information, call 305-445-1119 or visit the theater's web site.

November 13, 2012

24-Hour Theatre delivers magic at warp speed

IMG_0594The one-night-only performance of the eight little plays created for Naked Stage's 24-Hour Theatre Project 2012 has come and gone.  Hopefully, the sleep-deprived playwrights are starting to feel human again today, thanks to much-needed zzzzs and the satisfaction of a job well done.  As for artistic director Katherine Amadeo and her multitasking hubby Antonio Amadeo (the author, director, designer and star of the current A Man Puts on a Play at Barry University's Pelican Theatre), after being up for 48 hours straight, they deserve a week at a spa. But the fact that they are parents to school-age daughter Lara and baby son Max makes that an unlikely fantasy.

IMG_0613Naked Stage's annual fundraising event has become a much-anticipated opportunity for South Florida's theater community to show just how impressive its work can be under the tightest of time constraints.  After the playwrights did their thing over the hours when Sunday evening morphed into Monday morning, actors, directors, stage managers and interns arrived at the Biltmore Hotel at the raw hour of 7 a.m. Monday to learn their newly created lines, get the plays up on their feet, and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse before the single 8 p.m. public performance at GableStage, the place where 24-Hour Theatre began six years ago.  The free hosting of the event was, once again, thanks to GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler; as Antonio Amadeo noted from the stage, Adler supports the theater community again and again by turning over his space for readings, performances and events like 24-Hour Theatre.

IMG_0620This year, the audience of theater folk and theater fans got a lot of bang for their ticket price bucks.  As always, there were hits, misses and messes, but overall, South Florida theater did itself proud.

For me, the loveliest and fullest play of the evening was Stuart Meltzer's Pieces of Lisa.  Staged by Amy London and driven by Nicholas Richberg's quietly magnetic performance as a grieving son, the play explored the different mourning styles of three disparate brothers and their stoic father.  Meltzer's writing was funny, clever and touching, and Pieces of Lisa is clearly a short play worthy of a future life.

Christopher Demos-Brown went for smart, funny dialogue mixed with a snippet of meta theater in The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, a comedy about four parents at a tony private school who have been called on the carpet for the sin of sending a kid to school with a banned peanut butter sandwich. Funniest moment: When Tracey Barrow-Schoenblatt as a sexy mom and Oscar Cheda as a gay dad looked at an exquisitely attired, ridiculously in shape Jim Ballard and voiced the same simultaneous thought: "He's hot."  With some tweaks, Peanut Butter could stick around too.

IMG_0555Also on the plus side: Juan C. Sanchez's Splintered, a play about a man (Clive Cholerton) certain that his departed wife (Barbara Sloan) isn't really gone; Michael McKeever's Goldfish Don't Bounce, a neat comedy about a newly-in-love young couple (Arielle Hoffman and Adam Simpson) and an unhappily married pair (Lela Elam and Wayne LeGette) "celebrating" their 14th anniversary; and Andie Arthur's Mermaids in the Attic, a haunting piece (featuring Troy Davidson, Julie Kleiner and Hunter McConnell) about the loss of two generations of women in a family.

Tony Finstrom's Myth America aspired to be a raucous Southern Gothic comedy about a family's secrets spilled onstage.  Christopher DePaola's dark Pontius Co-Pilot featured Anne Chamberlain as a deceptively wholesome-looking drug dealer.  Marjorie O'Neill-Butler's Satan's Cheerleaders was an idea that proved hellish, in the end.

A large cross-section of South Florida's far-flung theater artists gather and mix three times a year:  At the annual Carbonell Awards, which honor some of the best work done during the previous year; at the Theatre League's annual holiday party, where the Silver Palm Awards are bestowed; and at the 24-Hour Theatre Project.  Naked Stage's event isn't about competition.  It's about creativity and community-building.  And on that score, 24-Hour Theatre delivered as it always does -- impressively.

(Photos of 24-Hour Theatre Project 2012 by George Schiavone)







November 11, 2012

24-Hour Theatre 2012 is off and running

24-2012-art2It's Sunday night -- do you know where your playwrights are? For eight South Florida writers, the answer is that they're somewhere in the regal elegance of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, sweating bullets. 

By Monday at 8 p.m., those currently-in-process short plays will be in front of the audience at this year's 24-Hour Theatre Project, the Naked Stage's popular annual fundraiser and theater community bonding experience.  Right now, the plays are still swirling around in the playwrights' heads, making the transition into their laptops.  But thanks to the luck-of-the-draw ceremony that took place at GableStage earlier tonight, the playwrights now have their titles, directors and casts.

If you go to the one-and-only performance at GableStage Monday evening, here's what you'll see:

Mermaids in the Attic by Andie Arthur, directed by Dan Kelley, featuring Troy Davidson, Hunter McConnell, Julie Kleiner and Shane Tanner.

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy by Christopher Demos-Brown, directed by Michael Leeds, featuring Jim Ballard, Oscar Cheda, Tracey Barrow-Schoenblatt and Matthew William Chizever.

Pontius Co-Pilot by Christopher De Paola, directed by Skye Whitcomb, featuring Anne Chamberlain, George Schiavone, Mcley Lafrance and Karen Stephens.

Myth America by Tony Finstrom, directed by Avi Hoffman, feautring Sally Bondi, Patti Gardner, Amy Miller Brennan and Andy Quiroga.

Goldfish Don't Bounce by Michael McKeever, directed by Andy Rogow, featuring Lela Elam, Wayne LeGette, Arielle Hoffman and Adam Simpson.

Pieces of LIsa by Stuart Meltzer, directed by Amy London, featuring Clay Cartland, David Perez-Ribada, Dan Leonard and Nicholas Richberg.

Satan's Cheerleaders by Marjorie O'Neill-Butler, directed by Nicole Stodard, featuring Meredith Bartmon, Sabrina Lynn Gore, Dave Corey and Amy McKenna.

Splintered by Juan C. Sanchez, directed by Hugh Murphy, featuring Alex Alvarez, Noah Levine, Clive Cholerton and Barbara Sloan.

You can be a part of the first and only audience to see the world premieres of these eight new plays, which open and close Monday at GableStage in the Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  Tickets are $35 ($50 for a reserved VIP seat and a souvenir poster).  Call 1-866-811-4111 or visit the Naked Stage web site for tickets.