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, 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.

June 11, 2013

The sounds of musicals fill the summer

If you're a voracious theater fan, you may be feeling that your summer calendar looks kind of light -- and you'd be right, mostly.  There aren't dozens of full-fledged productions, though we do have City Theatre's Summer Shorts, Slow Burn Theatre's The Wedding Singer, Rated P for Parenthood at Actors' Playhouse, Cock and Good People at GableStage, Brighton Beach Memoirs and Character Man at Stage Door in Coral Springs, The Facts of LIfe: The Lost Episode at Empire Stage, plus 8-Track: The Sounds of the '70s and Waist Watchers the Musical at the Plaza Theatre in Manalapan. Miami's Arsht Center will play host to two big summer shows, 8CHO and Slava's Snowshow.

There are college summer festivals at Florida Atlantic University (Side by Side by Sondheim, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Man Who Came to Dinner are on the bill) and at Florida International University (featuring an alumni showcase, Bachelorette, Reverse Psychology, A Thousand Years and a Glengarry Glen Ross featuring successful FIU acting alums), plus a Broward Center anthology event celebrating five years of work by Conundrum Stages. The 28th edition of the International Hispanic Theatre Festival plays the Arsht Center's Carnival Studio Theater in July. And there are play-reading events too, notably the Women's Theatre Project's Girl Play 2013 and the ongoing Summer Theatre Fest Stages of the Sun reading series on Mondays through Aug. 26 at various theaters.

But this summer also brings something special in the form of concert presentations of musicals at two Palm Beach County theaters.

Louis TyrrellAt the Theatre at Arts Garage in Delray Beach, this month's Summer Tune-Up is already under way.  The series, which happens at 7:30 p.m. each Thursday under the guidance of artistic director Louis Tyrrell, features reading-style concert presentations of fresh new musicals.  This week it's The Longing and the Short of it, a theatrical song cycle by Daniel Maté; on June 20, it's The Hostage Song by Clay McLeod Chapman and Kyle Jarrow; and on June 27, the musical is Dani Girl by Michael Kooman and Chris Dimond.

Admission to each event is $15-$20 ($5 more at the door).  The Theatre at Arts Garage is at 180 NE First St., Delray Beach.  Call 561-450-6357 or visit the web site for more information.

More lavish concert versions of classic musicals are planned for July and August at Palm Beach Dramaworks, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach, where Dancing at Lughnasa is in its final week.  Former Caldwell Theatre Company artistic director Clive Cholerton will helm the popular Dale Wasserman-Mitch Leigh-Joe Darion musical Man of La Mancha July 10-21, then move on to Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's Company, which will run Aug. 7-18.

Performances of both musicals are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, with tickets priced at $35.  For information, call 561-514-4042 or visit the theater's web site.



May 03, 2013

Summer Shorts plays are set

SummerShortsLogos_yellowCity Theatre's popular Summer Shorts festival goes into rehearsals in a little over two weeks, and now we know what plays the company -- Renata Eastlick, Irene Adjan, Ken Clement, Todd Allen Durkin, Rayner Garranchan and Vera Varlamov -- will be rehearsing.

This year's program consists of a dozen plays divided by an intermission, with Producing Artistic Director John Manzelli, Antonio Amadeo, Margaret M. Ledford and Mcley LaFrance doing the staging.

Seven of this year's plays are world premieres:  Kendra Blevins' iZombie, Holly Hepp-Galvan's Departure, David Bar Katz's Handing Down the Recipe and Mothra vs. the Casting Agent, An Allegory, Nina Mansfield's Bite Me, Susan Westfall's Feel the Tango and Steve Yockey's Serendipty.  Also part of this year's festival are Leslie Ayvazian's The Favor, Matt Hoverman's The Student, Rick Park's Please Report Any Suspicious Activity, Paul Rudnick's The Gay Agenda and Sheri Wilner's A Tall Order.

Summer Shorts begins June 7 and runs through June 30 in the Carnival Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center's Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.  Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, and tickets are $35.  For more information, visit City Theatre's web site.


February 19, 2013

City Theatre picks its Summer Shorts company

Irene Adjen (Emily) and Todd Durkin (David) in Green Dot Day - photo credit Rodrigo Gaya, WORLD RED EYEBlink and it will be summer, so it's no surprise that City Theatre has put most of the pieces of its 18th annual Summer Shorts festival together.  Artistic director John Manzelli has just revealed the six performers who will make up the must-be-versatile acting company, and it's a good one.  Back again are Irene Adjan and Todd Allen Durkin, two standouts from last year's troupe.  They're joined by Ken Clement, Renata Eastlick, Rayner G. Garranchan and Vera Varlamov.  Long-time festival fans will note that Stephen Trovillion, aka "Mr. Summer Shorts," isn't in the company this year, though he has appeared in nearly every festival so far.

"I think change is a good thing sometimes," Manzelli says.  "I'm sure Steve will be back.  I've wanted to work with Ken for a long time, and I'm excited to bring Irene and Todd back."

Manzelli will be sharing most of the directing duties for the festival, which will run June 6-30 in the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, with Margaret M. Ledford.  Mcley LaFrance will direct one of the short plays, and another guest director will stage one play.

The lineup of plays and playwrights is coming soon.  But Manzelli says that the Arsht program, while presented as a single production, will have an intermission separating six plays dubbed Program A, six in Program B.  The annual CityWrights playwrights' weekend will return too, with the program to be announced shortly.

The Miami lineup won't travel to Broward. Instead, City Theatre will coproduce a four-week short-play program with Island City Stage in August.  That program will focus heavily on work by South Florida playwrights, Manzelli says.

Also on the horizon is a January-February Florida tour for Dr. Wonderful, the company's musical for family audiences.  And Manzelli is working toward a regional/national tour of Summer Shorts next season.

For more information, call the Arsht Center box office at 305-949-6722, visit the Arsht web site or visit City Theatre's web site.

(Photo of Irene Adjan and Todd Allen Durkin by Rodrigo Gaya of World Red Eye.)


January 23, 2013

Help get a play on...and have some fun

Murder, Fugettaboutit Poster (final)Putting on a play is never easy nor cheap, at least if you're aiming for high-quality professional work presented in a major performing arts center.  Alliance Theatre Lab is in the midst of a campaign to raise $5,000 for its March 7-24 production of Brothers Beckett, the David Michael Sirois comedy about twentysomethings who are finding adult life none too easy.  The award-winning play was a major hit for Alliance when the company did it almost two years ago at the Main Street Playhouse in Miami Lakes, but mounting a full production in the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is way more pricey.

So the company has come up with a couple of fun fundraisers to augment its ongoing Indiegogo campaign, which will soon hit $2,000.  First up is a comic murder mystery-Italian dinner night this Sunday at 8 p.m. at Dellaventura's Pizzeria, 4120 SW 64th Ave., Davie.  (Alliance company member Mark Della Ventura, who's in the Brothers Beckett cast, is a driving force in the fundraising.)  The cost for the interactive murder mystery show, a family-style dinner and two glasses of beer or wine is $50 per person, advance reservations required.  Visit the Alliance site for reservations and info.  

Super Bowl for Beckett (portrait)On Monday, Feb. 4, the Beckett boys (and girls) will go bowling at SpareZ Bowling Alley, 5325 S. University Dr., Davie, to raise some more dough.  If that's more up your alley, the event happens from 8 to 10 p.m., with a 7:30 p.m. check-in.  Cost is $20 in advance, $25 at the door.  Again, visit the Alliance site or call 305-259-0418.  Proof that arts fundraising doesn't have to be all earnest and stodgy.

January 21, 2013

Zach Braff sees his play, Miami-style

Zach Braff1The talented (and very busy) Zach Braff, part of the soon-to-open movie Oz: The Great and Powerful, took a break from project-juggling in Los Angeles for a quick trip to Miami over the weekend.  He had heard from his dad Harold (who lives in South Florida) and others that the current Zoetic Stage production of his first play, All New People, was really good and rather different from the play's 2011 New York production and the 2012 London production in which Braff played the suicidal yet appealing Charlie.

So he flew to Miami with his girlfriend and saw the Saturday night performance with her, his dad and other family members.  The verdict, according to Zoetic artistic director Stuart Meltzer?  He liked it.

To be there for Braff's hush-hush visit, Meltzer drove back to Miami from Key West, where he's directing a production of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks for the Waterfront Playhouse (it previews Jan. 29-30, opens Jan. 31 and runs through Feb. 16).  After the show, the former Scrubs star posed for photos with the cast, offered positive feedback, and then everyone went to the nearby City Hall restaurant for a happy late-night dinner.

DSC_6965All New People winds up its run in the Arsht's Carnival Studio Theater on Sunday.  Performances are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday, with tickets priced at $40 and $45.  Meltzer says the shows have been packed, to a large degree with theater lovers 40 and younger.  If you want to see what Braff wrote -- and what he saw -- call the Arsht at 305-949-6722 or visit the web site. The Carnival is in the Ziff Ballet Opera House at 1300 Biscayne Blvd.

Oh, and Meltzer says Braff is warm, humble and very nice. That's not always the case with Hollywood types, but it's refreshing to hear that the director, writer and star of Garden State is one of the good guys.

(Photos of Braff solo and Braff with cast members Todd Allen Durkin, Betsy Graver, Nicholas Richberg and Amy McKenna by Nathan Valentine/World Red Eye.)

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.

August 24, 2012

Storm scrubs Sunday 'Donkey Show'

IMG_3185The Donkey Show is racing toward its final performance on Sept. 2, but due to the uncertainty surrounding Tropical Storm Isaac's impact on South Florida, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts has canceled the 7:30 p.m. show for this Sunday, Aug. 26.

The center's popular melding of A Midsumnmer Night's Dream and Studio 54 goes on as scheduled this Friday-Saturday at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m., then has its closing weekend performances at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 2.

Harry Casey of K.C. and the Sunshine Band hosts tonight's shows and each of next weekend's performances.  Tickets range from $25 to $75, depending on the performance, and there are discount deals.  For information on the show or ticket exchanges for this Sunday's canceled show, call the Arsht at 305-949-6722 or visit the center's web site.

(Photo by Justin Namon)

August 06, 2012

'Donkey' extends, New Theatre picks, Ground Up resurfaces

Some late-Monday random theater news you can use:

19donkey071212 donkey show ADD*  The Arsht Center's big summer deal, The Donkey Show, is extending through Aug. 18.  But the center wants more booty-shakers at its disco remixed Midsummer Night's Dream, so special weekend theme nights and discounts are being offered.  The 7:30 p.m. shows on Friday have a girls' night out theme; groups of five or more using the promo code GIRLS get a discount.  After-parties follow the Friday shows at Ricochet (Aug. 10) and Will Call (Aug. 17).  Show your Donkey Show ticket stub to get free admission and a cocktail.

Guys get a boys' night out experience at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, with groups of five or more getting a price break. Use the promo code BOYS on the Arsht's web site. Harry Casey, the KC of KC and the Sunshine Band, hosts earlier Boogie Nights performances at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Regular prices are $45-$60 for the dance floor, $60-$75 for VIP seating, depending on the performance. Need info? Call the Arsht box office at 305-949-6722 or visit the web site.

* New Theatre has filled in the other half of its four-play 2012-2013 season lineup.  The world premiere of Robert Caisley's Happy kicks off the lineup Sept. 7-23. Then comes a fresh production of Willy Russell's Educating Rita, to be directed by Steven A. Chambers; that one runs Nov. 30-Dec. 16.  The world premiere of artistic director Ricky J. Martinez's play Road Through Heaven runs Feb. 1-17, and the season winds up with a Martinez-directed production of John Pielmeier's Agnes of God April 26-May 12.  The theater is also inaugurating a late-night series of edgy theater dubbed BOOMFrog, which will run Oct. 19-27 and March 15-23.  Subscribers will get admission to two BOOMFrog performances with their season passes.

Subscriptions are $160 if you buy before Aug. 17, $210 after.  New Theatre performs at the Roxy Performing Arts Center, 1645 SW 107th Ave., Miami.  Call 305-443-5909 or visit the company's web site for more info.

-GA- JC PP #1 2012*  Ground Up & Rising is resurfacing on Saturday with two free performances of an hour-long adaptation of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.  Curtis Belz did the adaptation and appears in the show along with Collin Carmouze (who also directs), David Gallegos and Jenny Lorenzo.  Future Ground Up plans include a free hour-long Macbeth and a black-box production of John Patrick Shanley's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea.

Julius Caesar happens at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday at the Miami Beach Botannical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach.  Call 305-673-7256, ext. 201, for info.

May 21, 2012

Hispanic Fest celebrates Latino theater in the U.S.

IMG_47-MarioSanchez-7788_6_1_R82UTN3PThe 27th annual International Hispanic Theatre Festival doesn't kick off until mid July, but producing artistic director Mario Ernesto Sánchez already has nearly all the pieces of an always-challenging puzzle assembled.

After paying tribute in past festivals to the theater of Mexico, Colombia and other countries, this year's festival will focus on Latino theater in the United States.  And its offerings -- some in English, others in Spanish, still others bilingual -- are casting a wide net in terms of audience inclusion.

The festival gets an early launch June 8 with an invitation-only cocktail reception to reveal artist Roberto Silva's poster.  A jazz concert from the Jaume Vilaseca Trio of Barcelona will keep the party going from 7 to 10 p.m. in Miami Dade College's Wolfson Campus Auditorium.

This year the festival will give its lifetime achievement in the performing arts award to Teresa María Rojas, founder of Prometeo Theatre and a prominent theater educator who was the first mentor to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz. She'll receive the honor immediately after the opening night performance July 12.

That show is a production of Miguel Piñero's incendiary Short Eyesby the Los Angeles-based Urban Theatre Movement.  It kicks off the festival at 8:30 p.m. July 12-13 in the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. For mature audiences, the play features brief nudity and is performed in English.

At 8:30 p.m. July 13-14, Prometeo Theatre will perform Marco Antonio de la Parra's Infieles (Unfaithful), a play about being unfaithful personally and politically.  That show will be presented in the Wolfson Auditorium. 

The Los Angeles-based Latino Theater Company will perform Evelina Fernández's play Solitude, a work inspired by Octavio Paz's The Labyrinth of Solitude.  The play will be done at the Carnival Studio Theater in English at 8:30 p.m. July 14, 5 p.m. July 15.

Flor de un Día, a company from Buenos Aires, will present Santiago Loza's Nada del amor me produce envidia (Nothing About Love Produces Envy), a musical theater piece about a seamstress who gets orders for identical dresses -- one coming from Eva Perón.  That show goes on in Spanish at 8:30 p.m. July 18-19 in the Prometeo Theatre at Miami Dade's Wolfson Campus.

Mexico City's La Máquina de Teatro performs Juliana Faesler's Malinche/Malinches in Spanish at 8:30 p.m. July 19-20 at the Carnival Studio Theater.  New York's Teatro Zero will present Diana Chery-Ramírez's Aviones de papel (Paper Airplanes), a piece that considers lack of communication, isolation and domestic violence, in Spanish at 8:30 p.m. July 20-21 at Prometeo Theatre.

At 5:45 p.m. July 21 at the Key Biscayne Community Center, New York's Teatro Sea will present the free bilingual family play El encuentro de Juan Bobo y Pedro Animal (The Encounter of Juan Bobo and Pedro Animal) by Manuel Antonio Morán.

A production of Oscar Martinez's Ella en mi cabeza (She's On My Mind) by Arte & Friends from Bogota, Colombia, will be done in Spanish at the Carnival Studio Theater at 8:30 p.m. July 21, 5  p.m. July 22.

The festival's free annual International Children's Day runs from 2 to 7 p.m. July 22 at Miami Dade College's InterAmerican Campus.  The bilingual programming includes a 3 p.m. performance of Cristina Ferrari's Yo la llama Rusita Rojas (I Call Her Rusita Rojas) by Miami's Teatro Doble and a 6 p.m. performance of El Encuentro de Juan Bobo y Pedro Animal.

The festival winds up with performances from two companies.  Ecuador's Contra el Viento Teatro performs Patricio Vallejo Aristizábal's  La flor de la Chukirawa (The Flower of Chukirawa)at 8:30 p.m. July 27-28 in Spanish at Prometeo Theatre.  And artistic director Sánchez's company,
Teatro Avante, closes out the festival at 8:30 p.m. July 26-28, 5 p.m. July 29, with Virgilio Piñero's play El no (The No), adapted by Gilda Santana and presented in at the Carnival Studio Theater in Spanish with English supertitles.

Special events during the festival include a Spanish-language educational conference on trends in Latino and Latin American performing arts from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. July 13-14 at Miami Dade's Wolfson Campus, Room 2106.  Prometeo will also do a free staged reading at 8:30 p.m. July 16 of three short plays by Julio Matas (The Change,Tonos and The Ladies' Game) at its Wolfson Campus theater.  The company will do another free reading at 8:30 p.m. July 17 of Luis Enrique Gutiérrez Ortiz Monasterio's The Girls from the 3.5 Floppies, a play for mature audiences.  Both evenings are in Spanish.

Tickets to individual festival shows are $30 each, but they're discounted to $25 each for three or more shows, seniors, students or those with disabilities.  For tickets to events at the Arsht Center's Carnival Studio Theater, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, call 305-949-6722 or visit the center's web site.  For tickets to events at Prometeo, 300 NE Second Ave., Miami, call 305-237-3262 or visit Prometo's site.  Miami Dade's InterAmerican Campus is at 627 SW 27th Ave., Miami; the Key Biscayne Community Center at 10 Village Green Way, Key Biscayne. Both of those venues have free parking.

For festival questions, call Teatro Avante at 305-445-8877.

 (Photo of Mario Ernesto Sánchezby Mitchell Zachs)