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3 posts from February 2014

February 27, 2014

New World steps 'Into the Woods'

Into the woods1South Florida's Zoetic Stage just enjoyed a long, successful run of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, and now the New World School of the Arts college music theater program is getting into its own Sondheim groove with Into the Woods, directed by faculty member James Randolph.  Inspired by Grimm's Fairy Tales, the 1986 musical by Sondheim and James Lapine incorporates familiar characters -- Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk) -- and imagines what happens after the happily ever after.

An all-star movie version will be released next Christmas, but you can check out New World's stage version this weekend at the Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach.  Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $20 ($15 for students and seniors).  For info, call 305-237-3135 or visit New World's web site.

(Cast photo by Juan E. Cabrera)

February 04, 2014

Covenant House benefit honoring Paige O'Hara

Ft. Laud. Native Paige O'Hara with BelleShe didn't appear as the bookish, beautiful Belle in Disney's Oscar-winning 1991 smash Beauty and the Beast -- but that's only because the movie was animated.  Take a look at Paige O'Hara's photo, though, and you see that the animators may have drawn some of their inspiration from the woman who gave voice (spoken and musical) to Belle.

On Saturday at 6:30 p.m., the Fort Lauderdale native will be back home as one of two honorees at the Night of Broadway Stars, a benefit for Covenant House, which provides shelter and services to homeless young people.  Produced by Neil Berg, the show will feature performances of Broadway classics by professional singer-actors and some of the Covenant House residents.  O'Hara will perform alongside Broadway-tested talents Alan H. Green, John Treacy Egan, Rita Harvey, Capathia Jenkins, Ted Louis Levy and Natalie Toro.

Honored along with the late Kevin Koenig, co-founder of City Furniture, O'Hara has been dedicated to showbiz since she began acting with the Fort Lauderdale Children's Theater.  She got training at Parkway Middle School and in the arts program at Nova High, then went to New York.  Among her theater roles:  Ellie May in Showboat, Fantine in Les Miserables, Nellie Forbush in South Pacific.

The gala evening takes place at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.  Tickets are $225, and the event includes the performance, dinner and a post-show reception.  Roxanne Vargas of NBC6 will emcee.  For information, contact Elisa Stone of Covenant House at 954-568-7914 or via email at estone@covenanthousefl.org.

February 03, 2014

An honored Nilo Cruz bringing 'Sotto Voce' to Miami

Sotto_IMG_8164Miami's Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, recently announced as the 2014 winner of the Greenfield Prize, is in New York at the moment, working hard on the world premiere of his newest play, Sotto Voce.  Commissioned by the Theater for the New City, the play (which Cruz is also directing) explores the relationship of an elderly German-born novelist and a young Cuban man who forge a bond based on their individual ties to the World War II voyage of the S.S. St. Louis.


The play's New York run begins with previews Feb. 13-14, followed by performances Feb. 15-March 9.  But South Florida Cruz fans needn't travel to Manhattan to experience this metaphysical love story born of a long-ago tragedy, when a ship packed with Jewish refugees was turned away by Cuba, the United States and Canada, sending desperate asylum-seekers back to Europe and doom.  Working in partnership with Miami's Arca Images, the playwright plans to bring 'Sotto Voce' home once its New York run ends.

Cruz, who recently directed a Spanish-language version of his play Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams at Miami-Dade County Auditorium's On.Stage Black Box theater, will offer the English-language Sotto Voce in the same venue March 20-23.  Presented with Spanish supertitles, the play will feature the New York cast:  Franca Sofia Barchiesi, a veteran of two Cruz plays and numerous regional theater productions, as the novelist Bernadette; Miamian Andhy Mendez as the young man, Saquiel; and Arielle Jacobs as Bernadette's Colombian maid Lucila.

Nilo color 002c (1)The production, which Cruz hopes will be just the first in an ongoing relationship between Theater for the New City and the Miami theater projects he's doing with Arca, will get four performances in South Florida:  8:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $25 ($20 for seniors, students and groups), available by calling 786-327-4539 or visiting the Arca web site.  The entrance to the On.Stage Black Box is behind the auditorium building at 2901 W. Flagler St., and the theater really is an onstage experience for both actors and audiences.

Once the Sotto Voce runs are over, Cruz can turn his attention to the prestigious Greenfield Prize and the future piece that its $30,000 in funding will enable.  Created in 2009, the prize has gone to two other playwrights, Craig Lucas and John Guare.  Cruz is the first Floridian and first Latino to win the prize, which will allow him two years to write a new play, with some of the work being done at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood, south of Sarasota.  When the play is ready, it will be produced at Sarasota's Asolo Repertory Theatre.  Olympia Dukakis will be the keynote speaker when Cruz is honored at this year's Greenfield Prize dinner April 12.