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4 posts from August 2014

August 21, 2014

Coconut Grove Playhouse proposal to get public presentation


The Coconut Grove Playhouse Advisory Committee, a special committee of the Coconut Grove Village Council, is inviting anyone interested in the future of the Coconut Grove Playhouse to a meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Miami City Hall for a presentation by the Coconut Grove Theater Foundation.

Attorney Lewis "Mike" Eidson, chairman of the Performing Arts Center Trust and a former member of the playhouse board, heads the foundation, which was formed in May.  The group is proposing that a larger 750-seat regional theater be added to plans for a 300-seat theater on the site, which is jointly leased by Miami-Dade County and Florida International University.  Under the county's current plan, the award-winning GableStage company would operate the smaller theater.

The historic theater, which closed during its 50th anniversary season under the weight of $4 million in debt, has sat vacant and deteriorating since 2006.  But with $20 million in bond money available, the debt cleared and proposals being submitted to the county by architects, the theater where Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot had its American premiere in 1956 finally seems poised for a comeback.

At Friday's meeting, those attending will get an update on the status of county plans, then Eidson and other Foundation members will detail their ideas for the larger theater on the site.  A question-and-answer session will follow.

Miami City Hall is located at 3500 Pan American Dr. in Coconut Grove.


August 18, 2014

'On Your Feet' sets an opening, a theater and Miami auditions

IMG_NEDERLANDER_ORGANIZA_2_1_9U2D2164_L58054614On Your Feet, the upcoming Broadway bio musical about Miami music superstars Gloria and Emilio Estefan, is less than a year away from its tryout run at Chicago's Oriental Theatre.  On Monday, producers James L. Nederlander, Estefan Enterprises and Bernie Yuman announced a worldwide casting search for all the roles in the show -- including the chance to play the leading lady, the most successful Latin crossover artist in history.

The casting search -- dubbed Reach Gloria (#ReachGloria) -- has three facets:  online, a Sept. 9 open casting at New York's Pearl Studios, and another open casting Sept. 21 at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. 

"Finding the right performers to tell our story on the Broadway stage is the most important step in this project.  Our own journey together started in Miami, a city that has been such an inspiration to us both, and it only felt right that the city be a cornerstone of our search for the next generation of bright talent," Gloria Estefan said in a statement.

Audition videos can be submitted via www.OnYourFeetMusical.com, which also has more details and a submission link.

The musical's Chicago tryout runs June 2-July 5, then the show moves to Broadway's Marquis Theatre.  New York previews start Oct. 5, and the official opening night is Nov. 5, 2015.

Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell is directing On Your Feet, which features a script by Alexander Dinelaris and music drawn from the Estefans' vast catalog of hits, including 1-2-3, Conga, Rhythm Is Gonna Get You and Mi Tierra.  Sergio Trujillo, whose credits include Jersey Boys and Memphis, will be the choreographer.

August 12, 2014

GableStage swaps out a show in its 2014-2015 lineup

Artistic director Joseph Adler announced his new GableStage season a couple of days ago, but he's making a switch in solo shows.  Instead of Terry Teachout's Satchmo at the Waldorf, Adler will present I'll Eat You Last, a comedy by Red author John Logan.  Bette Midler starred as Hollywood super agent Sue Mengers when the play was done on Broadway in the spring of 2013, and Adler has decided to showcase a still-to-be-cast powerful actress in that slot next summer.

GableStage winds up its run of Samuel D. Hunter's The Whale on Sunday, and the official last show of the current season is Terrence McNally's Mothers and Sons, which runs Sept. 20-Oct. 19.

IMG_Tarell_McCraney_4_1_IB2P78GH_L68676250The 2014-2015 lineup begins with Joshua Harmon's Bad Jews, a comedy about the grandchildren of a Holocaust survivor fighting over his religious heirlooms, Nov. 22-Dec. 21.  Next is Tarell Alvin McCraney's Choir Boy, a play about a gay student named leader of a gospel choir at a black prep school, running Jan. 24-Feb.  22.  David Ives' New Jerusalem, a play about 17th century philosopher Baruch De Spinoza defending himself at an Amsterdam synogogue against charges of atheism, runs March 28-April 26.

Harvey Fierstein's Casa Valentina, a Tony Award-nominated play about straight men who gathered in the Catskills in 1962 to indulge their passion for cross dressing, runs May 30-June 28.  I'll Eat You Last runs throughout August 2015.  The new season's final show is Irish playwright Conor McPherson's The Night Alive, which runs Oct. 3-Nov. 1.

GableStage memberships are priced at $225 for renewals, $260 for new subscribers.  They allow flexibility in choice of performance, and subscribers can bring guests at $5 off the regular ticket price. The company performs at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  For information, call 305-445-1119 or visit the theater's web site.

August 08, 2014

One busy August theater weekend

South Florida theater is anything but dead in the summer.  This weekend, you have the ongoing productions of Samuel D. Hunter's The Whale at GableStage in Coral Gables, Mid-Life 2! (The Crisis Continues) at Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables, H2OMBRE at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center, Butterflies Are Free at Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs.  But there are other options too, three of them just opening.

Lovett HeraldThe catch-it-before-it-closes exception is the ambitious production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Area Stage Company in Coral Gables. Sondheim's music is challenging enough for most professional adult actors, but Area's cast is drawn from students in its highly regarded, five-year-old conservatory program. Artistic director John Rodaz, who founded the company 25 years ago on Miami Beach's Lincoln Road, cast Katerina McCrimmon as the crafty Mrs. Lovett and Javier Romero as the vengeful, murderous barber. 

The final four performances are at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Aug. 16.  Area performs at the Riviera Theatre, 1560 S. Dixie Hwy., Coral Gables.  Tickets are $10-$25.  Call 305-666-2078 or visit the company's web site for details.

Smiling AMENFort Lauderdale's Thinking Cap Theatre is offering more provocative food for thought with the opening of Young Jean Lee's Church.  The site-specific production about faith and the evangelists who preach it is taking place in a revival-style tent next to The Vanguard, the company's future home, at 1501 S. Andrews Ave.  Nicole Stodard directs Carey Brianna Hart, Scott Douglas Wilson, Ann Marie Olson and Vanessa Elise as the evangelists, and Sabrina Gore leads a praise band featuring Mariah Busk, A.J. Calaluca, Chas Collins, Michael Friedman, Amy S. London and Miles Smith. 

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday, with an additional show at 10 p.m. Saturday, through Aug. 24.  Since it does tend to rain (a lot) this time of year in South Florida, the show will move to the Muse Center for the Arts, 99 SW 14th St., Fort Lauderdale, if the heavens open up.  Tickets are $28 ($15 for students).  For info, call 813-220-1546 or visit the theater's web site.

SGW.5.webAlso in suddenly theater-jammed Fort Lauderdale, City Theatre and Island City Stage are opening Shorts Gone Wild 2, a fresh batch of adult-oriented, LGBT-friendly short plays .  On this year's program are Lion in a Bear Bar and Sarah Stein Sends a Selfie by Michael McKeever, I Alone by Christopher Demos-Brown, The Emperor Is Naked! by Michael Leeds, The Last Time I Saw Bathhouse Betty by Tony Finstrom, A Bump Between Friends by Fielding Edlow, Game On by Gary Garrison and Glamping by Carey Crim. 

Margaret M. Ledford, Teddy Harrell, Gail S. Garrisan and Leeds direct the versatile company, which features Niki Fridh, Matthew Stabile, Gladys R. Benton, Renee Elizabeth Turner, Larry Buzzeo and Craig Moody.  Shorts Gone Wild 2 is being presented at Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Dr.  Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday, through Sept. 7.  Tickets are $30.  Call 954-519-2533 or visit the Island City Stage web site for info.

Even wilder, we're guessing, is the 40th anniversary production of the 1974 revue Let My People Come opening at the Andrews Living Arts Studio, 25 NW Fifth St. in (you guessed it) Fort Lauderdale.  Staged by artistic director Robert D. Nation, the all-about-sex show features actors L'Oreal Joiner, Raibelis Paulino, Dora LaFrance, Ashley Hyde, Caleb Santos, Sujotta Pace and Brian Bonk.  Pseudonyms?  I'm betting on a few.

The show by Earl Wilson Jr. features some new music, lyrics and text, and there are interactive verbal bits (a sex trivia game, for one) that are likely to make the inhibited turn scarlet.  Not to mention artfully lit frontal nudity, and a no-one-under-18 policy.  Don't say you weren't warned.  Let My People Come runs through Sept. 6.  Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.  Tickets are $29.95.  Call 800-838-3006 or visit the ALA web site.

(Photos of Area Stage's 'Sweeney Todd,' Thinking Cap Theatre's 'Church' and City Theatre-Island City Stage's 'Shorts Gone Wild 2')