February 13, 2009

Interactive theater slays me

If given the choice of going to an interactive theater production or getting a root canal, I have to say that in my case, the dentist might win out.  Sure, I know craft and effort are involved in the shows, and I know some folks have a ball at faux weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs and the like.  So call me crazy, but II prefer to participate in the ceremonies of life when I actually know the people being celebrated or mourned.  And if I want to see a great show, I'll buy a ticket to one; if I want a great meal, I'll go to a restaurant.  The interactive theater combo, for me, seldom delivers.

But anyone who would heartily disagree might want to know that another interactive show opens next week, joining the already-running The Boychick Affair: The Bar Mitzvah of Harry Boychik, at which you can have a laugh and a nosh through March 8.

The Broward Center for the Performing Arts, which has already played host to Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding (at least twice -- though I've stopped counting), has invited a bunch of wannabe wise guys over for Murdered by the Mob.  The premise is that a newly anointed Godfather is throwing a little celebration dinner, and youse all are invited. 

The show runs Feb. 19 to March 1 in the Abdo New River Room at the Center, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.  Tickets are $59.50, and the tab includes an Italian dinner.  Performances are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday, 1 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.  Call 954-462-0222 or check the web site, so you shouldn't have to sleep with the fishes.  Me? I'll be at the dentist.

February 05, 2009

A Broadway diva sings; long-lost love returns

BernadettePeters credit Tim WhiteThe ageless, inimitable Bernadette Peters comes back to South Florida next week, dipping into the Broadway songbook under the musical direction of Marin Laird.  Though she has lately become a children's book author (Broadway Barks is hers), she is a celebrated singer-actress whose talents have won her two Tony Awards, and whose credits include Gypsy, The Goodbye Girl, Annie Get Your Gun, Mack and Mabel, On the Town, Sunday in the Park With George, Song and Dance -- well, it's a long list.

Peters performs at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.  Tickets are $39.50-$99.50 -- Broadway divas don't come cheap.

Want to go? Call the Broward Center at 954-462-0222 or visit the web site.


Que cuarenta años no es nada 022 Spanish-speaking audiences in Miami are getting more and more theatrical options of late (Defendiendo al cavernicola at the Arsht Center, Se quieren at TeatroAreaStage, Enema at Teatro en Miami Studio).  Friday brings another:  Que cuarenta años no es nada at Teatro 8 in Little Havana.  The Argentinian comedy by Alicia Muñoz stars Marcos Casanova as a guy reunited with the woman (played by Martha Picanes) he has loved for 40 years.  Will he get the courage to confess his feelings this time?

The Hispanic Theatre Guild production is at 8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through March 14 at Teatro 8, 2101 SW Eighth St.  Tickets are $25 (students and seniors get discounts).  Call 305-541-4941 or visit the web site.

January 05, 2009

Music permeates a pair of Jewish-themed works

Those_were_the_days_2 Two shows -- one a musical by Montreal's Yiddish Theatre, the other an original music-theater work by the New York-based Nine Circle Chamber Theatre -- arrive in South Florida this week for brief runs.

Those Were the Days by Zalmen Mlotek and Moishe Rosenfeld runs Tuesday through Sunday in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.  The nine cast members (including Karen Karpman, Aron Gonshor and Michelle Heisler, shown in the photo) perform song-and-dance numbers that take the audience on a journey from turn-of-the-century Europe to New York in the 1930s.  Performed in a mixture of English and Yiddish (projected translations are shown during Yiddish portions of the show), Those Were the Days has performances at 3 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday and Saturday.  Tickets are $34.50.  Call the box office at 954-462-0222 or visit the Broward Center web site.


The music-theater piece Falling Bodies: When Galileo Met Primo Levi has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it performance at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday only at the Jewish Museum of Florida, 301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Written by Jonathan Levi with music by Bruce Saylor, the Nine Circles Chamber Theatre production imagines a meeting between two persecuted Italian scientist-poets from different centuries:  Galileo Galilei and Primo Levi, the latter sent to Auschwitz during World War II.  Tickets are $20, and they include admission to the museum's exhibitions.  For information, call 305-672-5044, ext. 3175, or visit the Jewish Museum web site.

October 09, 2008

Bringing back Baltimore

Hairspray_2John Waters' Hairspray is the movie that became a Broadway musical that became a movie musical. The bubbly, tongue-in-cheek stage version is headed back to South Florida.  Winner of the 2003 Tony Award as best musical, Hairspray has been here before, and it's not part of the official touring Broadway lineup at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

But its short run (Oct. 17-19) does usher in a season's worth of big Broadway musicals coming to the Broward Center, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami and the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach.  Will star Brooklynn Pulver (pictured here with hairspray-wielding dancers) will be a memorable Tracy Turnblad?  We'll see. But one thing is for sure: You can never hear Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman's homage-to-the-'60s score too often.

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.  Tickets are $25-$65.  The Broward Center is at 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. For information, call the box office at 954-462-0222 or visit the center's web site.

September 08, 2008

Kids and a flying car

Chitty_3The most spectacular part of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, audiences and critics alike have agreed, is the musical's wondrous flying car.  But just staring at a flying car for a couple of hours wouldn't be very interesting, now, would it?  It takes people to make this or any musical fly.

To that end, the Broadway Across America folks are holding Fort Lauderdale auditions for six children ages 8 to 12 to appear in the road company of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when the show touches down at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts Nov. 18-30.  There's no pay, but the chosen kids get professional experience.

Auditions are in the Broward Center's Abdo New River Room at 10 a.m. Sept. 28.  Each child, accompanied by a parent or guardian, should show up by 9:45 a.m. ready to sing 16 bars of an up tempo song a cappella.  Auditioners will also need to learn and perform simple choreography.  Six kids and two alternates will be picked to play orphans in Act Two.  Break a leg (but not literally).

August 21, 2008

Seated in a wheelchair, an actor inspires

Art Metrano is a funny, funny man.  If you saw him perform Metrano's Accidental Comedy at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in 2001-- or as Lt. Mauser in the Police Academy movies, or as the goofy "Amazing Metrano" on the Johnny Carson-era Tonight Show -- you already know that Metrano knows his way around a joke.

Art_metrano But as a performer-playwright, Metrano can also make you cry.  He stirs both laughter and tears in his retitled Art Metrano's Jews Don't Belong on Ladders...An Accidental Comedy, a play in which he tells the story of just why he has spent most of his waking hours over the past 19 years in a wheelchair.

In conjunction with the Kennedy Center's Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference now at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Metrano is performing his show at the Amaturo Theater tonight through Sunday.  Performances are 8 p.m. tonight-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.  Tickets are $25 and $35.  Tonight's opening performance will also be signed, close-captioned and performed with audio description.

For information and tickets, call 954-462-0222 or visit the center's web site.