December 05, 2013

Theater gets busy

The Thanksgiving arts lull is over, and though it may seem as though there's nothing going on this week in South Florida except Art Basel, that's just not true.  Not at all.

From Coral Gables to Jupiter, there are 10 shows opening over the next four days.  And that, of course, isn't counting the already-running ones like The Book of Mormon at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale, My Name Is Asher Lev at GableStage in Coral Gables, White Christmas at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton, The Last Night of Ballyhoo at the Stage Door in Coral Springs, New Theatre's world premiere My First, My Fist, My Bleeding Seeded Spirit (and there's more). 

So if you're looking for a new theatrical adventure this week (and this month), consider these possibilities:

Making God LaughMaking God Laugh -- Sean Grennan's comedy brings to Actors' Playhouse the world of empty-nest parents and their grown "children." Michael Focas, Angie Radosh, Peter Haig, Deborah Sherman and Gregg Weiner star in the play, which takes place at different holiday celebrations over a 30-year period.  The show is in the upstairs Balcony Theatre at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, through Dec. 29.  Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday (extra matinee 2 p.m. Dec. 11).  Tickets are $48 Friday-Saturday, $40 other shows (10 percent off for seniors, $15 student rush tickets, excludes Saturday-Sunday).  Call 305-444-9293 or visit the theater's web site.

Once This Island 4*  The New World School of the Arts presents its high school junior and senior theater students in Once on This Island, the Broadway musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.  Faculty member Stuart Meltzer directs the musical love story about an impoverished Caribbean island girl who rescues and falls in love with a privileged young man.  Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, through Dec. 15 in the Louise O. Gerrits Theater on the eighth floor of the New World building at 25 NE Second St., Miami.  Tickets are $15 ($10 for students and seniors).  Call 305-237-3541 or visit the school's web site.

BrSch.128 (2)*  Comedian-turned-actor Brian Schiller performs his solo show Even Dr. Phil Can't Fix This! at 8 p.m. this Saturday and Dec. 14 at the Main Street Playhouse, 6766 Main St., Miami Lakes.   It's funny, yes, but its serious content includes sexual abuse, mental illness, self-discovery and healing through therapy.  Tickets are just $15, available by calling 305-558-3737, at the door or via the Main Street Players web site.

Santaland_Pic*  The edgy favorite The Santaland Diaries starts a three-week run at Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale.  Jamie Morris plays the David Sedaris role of a guy who earns his holiday pay by working as an elf at Macy's flagship store in Manhattan.  Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday, through Dec. 22.  Tickets are $30.  Call 954-678-1496 or visit the Empire Stage web site.

DSCN1067a*  Nicky Silver's Broadway hit comedy The Lyons opens in a Women's Theatre Project production running through Dec. 22.  Kevin Reilly plays a dying family patriarch in a cast featuring Jacqueline Laggy, Jessica K. Peterson, Clay Cartland, Carolyn Johnson and Matthew Korinko.  Performances are at the Willow Theatre at Sugar Sand Park, 300 S. Military Trail, Boca Raton.  Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Dec. 12-13 and Dec. 19-20; 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 11, Dec. 14-15, Dec. 18-19 and Dec. 22.  Tickets are $25.  For information, call 561-347-3948 or visit the Women's Theatre Project web site.

Respect: A Musical Journey of Women begins its long run this weekend in the Studio Theatre at the Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Sharyn Peoples, Carla Bordonada, Nicole Kinzel and Ziarra Washington perform some 60 woman-power songs and snippets under the musical direction of Phil Hinton.  Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Wednesday and Sunday, through Jan. 5.  Tickets are $38.  Call 866-811-4111 or visit the Boca Raton Theatre Guild's web site.

*  James Sherman's comedy From Door to Door is the newest offering from the West Boca Theatre Company.  Phyllis Spear, Renee Rogoff and Clelia Patrizio star in the Shari Upbin-directed play about three generations of women.  The West Boca Theatre Company production runs at the Levis Jewish Community Center's Beifield Auditorium, 21050 95th Ave., Boca Raton, through Dec. 22.  Performances are 2 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $20.  Call 561-852-3241 for information.

*  The popular musical revue I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change explores the giddiness and challenges of love in a new production at Manalapan's Plaza Theatre.  Wayne LeGette, Mia Matthews, Mike Westrich and Leah Sessa perform the musical vignettes under Kevin Black's direction.  Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Wednesday and Sunday through Dec. 22.  The Plaza is at 262 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan. Tickets are $45.  Call 561-588-1820 or visit the Plaza's web site

Portrait300*  James Goldman's The Lion in Winter, about the warring King Henry II and his estranged wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, gets a handsome new production at Palm Beach Dramaworks, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach.  Under William Hayes' direction, C. David Johnson plays Henry, Tod Randolph is Eleanor.  Also in the cast are Katherine Amadeo, Justin Baldwin, Cliff Burgess, Chris Crawford and Pierre Tannous.  The play runs through Jan. 5.  Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday.  Tickets are $60.  Call 561-514-4042 or visit the Dramaworks web site.

3*  The always-popular Annie, that Broadway smash with cute orphan girls, the lovable dog Sandy and one heck of a Christmas scene, is at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre through Dec. 22.  New Yorker Clara Young plays the red-haired optimist whose meeting with Daddy Warbucks changes her life.  Performances are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday, through Dec. 22 at the Maltz, 1001 E. Indiantown Rd., Jupiter.  Tickets are $52-$79.  For information, call 561-575-2223 or visit the theater's web site.

November 22, 2013

Holiday fare takes the stage

The world of ballet has The Nutcracker, and theater has, well, lots of other shows to get arts lovers in a holiday frame of mind.  This year, South Florida has shows for grownups and kids, sprinkled from Coral Gables to Boca Raton.  Here's a quick peek at what's on or opening soon.

DSC_0377(1)*  A lavish production of Irving Berlin's White Christmas is the second show from the new Wick Theatre (formerly the Caldwell) in Boca Raton.  Based on the 1954 Bing Crosby-Danny Kaye movie, the musical focuses on a pair of Army veterans who fall for two singing sisters.  Heading the cast are James Cichewicz, Cannon Starnes, Kelly Shook, Julie Kleiner Davis and Missy McArdle.

The show runs through Dec. 25 at the Wick, 7901 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton.  Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday and Saturday-Sunday.  Tickets are $58.  For info, call 561-995-2333 or visit the Wick's web site.

BSDLNOB9625 (2)*  For a different kind of holiday show, catch Alfred Uhry's The Last Night of Ballyhoo at the Broward Stage Door Theatre. The Tony Award-winning play focuses on a German Jewish family in 1939 Atlanta, as the members find their prejudices brought into sharp relief by an outsider.  The comedy with plenty of serious undertones features Alex Salup, Mary Sansone, Greyssan Filipe, Janet Weakley, Miki Edelman, Larry Kent Bramble and Stephen Kaiser.

The Last Night of Ballyhoo runs through Dec. 31 at Stage Door, 8036 W. Sample Rd., Coral Springs.  Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday.  Tickets are $38 (students pay $16).  Call 954-344-7765 or visit the theater's web site.

1.Madeline.web*  For the kids, Actors' Playhouse is presenting Madeline's Christmas.  In that one, Madeline and her schoolmates in Paris face not being able to go home for Christmas when everyone except little Madeline gets the flu.  The show runs through Dec. 22 at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables.  Performances are 2 p.m. Saturdays with special holiday performances at 7 p.m. Dec. 21 and 3 p.m. Dec. 22.  A special sensory-friendly performance is set for 11 a.m. Dec. 14.  Tickets are $23.  Any child who brings a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Neighbors 4 Neighbors holiday program by Dec. 7 will get a free ticket to a future Musical Theatre for Young Audiences show.  For information, call 305-444-9293 or visit the Actors' Playhouse web site.

Also at Actors' in the upstairs Balcony Theatre is Sean Grennan's Making God Laugh.  Previewing Dec. 4-5 and opening Dec. 6, the play focuses on a couple of empty nesters (Peter Haig and Angie Radosh) and their grown kids (Michael Focas, Deborah Sherman and Gregg Weiner) at different holidays -- including Christmas -- over a 30-year period.  The play runs through Dec. 29, with performances at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday (additional matinee 2 p.m. Dec. 11).  Tickets are $40-$48 (previews $35, student rush tickets $15, seniors get a 10 percent discount except Saturday-Sunday). 

Miami General JPG*  Teatro de Broadway's lavish musical comedy Rescatando la Navidad (Rescuing Christmas) premieres at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Miami-Dade County Auditorium.  Performed en español, the  show by Josh Rivedal follows an angel-devised plan to move the birth of the baby Jesus to Miami.  More than 20 actors and a live band perform the show, which is filled with traditional carols and headlined by José Joel and "El Gato" of 94.9 FM.

Additional performances of the show at MDCA, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami, are at 8:30 p.m. Dec. 14 and 8 p.m. Dec. 25.  Tickets are $27-$196, plus fees.  For information, call 305-547-5414 or visit the show's web site.

Santaland_Pic*  David Sedaris' popular The Santaland Diaries seems to pop up each Christmas, and for good reason:  It's a hilarious solo show about the NPR contributor's stint working as an Elf at Macy's.  This year, Jamie Morris plays Crumpet the Elf Dec. 5-22 at Fort Lauderdale's intimate Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Dr.

Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $30.  For information, call 954-678-1496 or visit the theater's web site.

Eight_reindeer_photo*  The adults-only Eight Reindeer Monologues gets three performances as a fundraiser for Kutumba Theatre Project's next full-length play, Julie Johnson.  In the Jeff Goode show, Vixen accuses Santa of sexual harrassment, and the rest of the reindeer weigh in.  Sally Bondi, Casey Casperson, Lexi Gaeta, Noah Levine, Nori Tecosky, Jessica Marion Welch and Bryan Wilson deliver the monologues.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Dec. 6-7 and Dec. 13 at the Galleria Studio Theatre in the Galleria Mall, 2542B E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale (park in the Lime garage near Dillard's section 3J or 3H.  Tickets are $25.  For info, call 954-646-1000 or visit the Brown Paper Tickets web site.


March 15, 2013

Kids and the Colony...and the Carbonells

IMG_1820 (2)Miami Childrens Theater has found a swanky professional venue for its theater summer camp:  the Colony Theater on Miami Beach's Lincoln Road.  The ambitious, very active MCT will hold its camp there from July 15 to Aug. 10, operating from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, but potential campers and their parents can get a preview this Sunday during an open house from 3 to 7 p.m.

Tuition for the camp is $1,500, but some full and partial scholarships are available by audition.  South Florida actress and director Christine Vega is leading the camp program for MCT, and she'll direct the production that will be the culmination of all that the students learn:  Disney's Beauty and the Beast, running Aug. 9-10.

ChristineYou don't need to wait until the summer, though, to see what MCT's young performers can do.  The company is winding up its run of Gypsy at 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday at the Alper JCC, 11155 SW 112th St., Miami, with tickets priced at $15.  MCT is also doing Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World at the Alper April 4-7, and Disney's The Little Mermaid at Pinecrest Gardens April 26-28. 

For information on the company or its camp at the Colony, call 305-274-3595 or visit the MCT web site.


The 37th annual Carbonell Awards, a.k.a. South Florida's "theater prom," are set for Monday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

Nominees, a wide range of theater artists, company heads and the public are all invited, and tickets are now on sale.  Those tickets are $25 ($35 the day of the ceremony), with discounts for groups of 10 or more.

CarbonellPlaywright Michael McKeever and director Stuart Meltzer are putting together the show, which will feature performances from nominated musicals -- and much more.

The Broward Center is at 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. To order tickets, call 954-462-0222 or visit the Broward Center web site.

(Photos show an MCT performer, Christine Vega and the Carbonell Award, designed by sculptor Manuel Carbonell)


September 29, 2011

Kids can become playwrights

Miami Childrens Theater has created a playwrights' festival for Miami-Dade County kids 13 to 18, but the company isn't just looking for scripts.  It is holding three free workshops (the first is from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday) to help the aspiring young writers learn how to create stageworthy short scripts.

Called "Always Write!," the contest has a deadline of Dec. 15.  A panel will choose five finalists Jan. 4, and the five scripts will be performed for a panel of writers and actors on Jan. 28.  That panel will pick a first-place winner, who gets $250, and a runner-up, who'll get a $150 prize.

The workshops take place at the Alper Jewish Community Center, 11155 SW 112th Ave., Kendall.  Attendance at a minimum of one workshop is required for anyone who wants to enter the contest; the second workshop is from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 5, the third from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 3.

Check here for more detailed info, or phone the Miami Childrens Theater at 305-274-3595.

July 15, 2011

More Promethean news

IMG_romantic_beginning_2_1_4B2OBP33 Not wasting any time after the announcement of her company's summer musical -- Song of the Living Dead, a Zombie Musical (Aug. 12-Sept. 14) -- Promethean Theatre's producing artistic director Deborah L. Sherman has just announced the other two show's for the company's eighth anniversary season.

Sherman (that's her with Terry Hardcastle in Promethean's Three Days of Rain) says Promethean will begin 2012 with a production of Marc Camoletti's Tony Award-winning farce Boeing-Boeing, about a Parisian ladies' man who juggles three stewardess fiancees.  The show runs Jan. 13-29 in the Don Taft University Center's Black Box Theatre at Nova Southeastern University, 3301 College Ave., Davie.

In March, Promethean tackles Craig Wright's The Unseen, a Humana Festival hit about isolated, imprisoned men who find a way to communicate despite their totalitarian torturers' efforts.  That play runs March 9-25. 

Sherman says Promethean will also be debuting a family theater series, with performances in October, December and May.

For further information on Promethean, check out the company's web site.

(Photo by George Schiavone)

July 13, 2011

Back at 'Camp'

Lisa_loeb_2 trop fri Camp Kappawanna, the boisterous summer camp musical by singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb and playwright Marco Ramirez, has already played Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale and the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach.  But if your out-of-school kids haven't seen it and are getting antsy for a special summer event, never fear.  City Theatre is bringing Camp Kappawanna to the Colony Theater on Miami Beach for one show only at 3 p.m. this Saturday.

The musical focuses on loney Jenny Jenkins, a 12-year-old who is going away for her first summer camp experience.  After some tough times for herself and the camp, Jenny finds fun, friends and herself.

In the show, directed and choreographed by Michael Leeds, are Melanie Leibner, Jameson Hammond, Zach Held, Anne Chamberlain, Lauren Tepper and Ryan Didato.

Tickets are just $10 and are available at the Colony box office, 1040 Lincoln Road., online or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000.

(Photo of LIsa Loeb by Manny Hernandez)

April 29, 2011

Family-friendly theater in the spotlight

This weekend brings the 16th annual National Children's Theatre Festival at Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables, an Area Stage/Theater Conservatory production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (also in the Gables), and the ontinuation of the lavishly designed original play The Red Thread at the PlayGround Theatre in Miami Shores.

Kidsfest The weekend celebration at Actors' Playhouse, earns the "national" part of its title from the competition for its featured musical.  This year's winner is Emperor's New Clothes, adapted by Lani Brockman, with music and lyrics by Susan Bardsley.  The free show and activities go on at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, during the festival both Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.  The Musical Miracles will also perform, and there will be lots of creative activity stations for kids.  Call 305-444-9293 or visit the Actors' Playhouse web site for more info.

Media At Area Stage, Broadway producer Arthur Whitelaw -- the man behind the original production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown -- caught Friday's opening performance of the show, which will run through May 8.  Artistic director John Rodaz directs a cast of conservatory students in the musical about Charlie, Lucy, Snoopy and the gang.  Performances are 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday at Area, 1560 S. Dixie Hwy.  Tickets are $20 ($10 for students).  Call 305-666-2078 or visit Area Stage's web site for more info.

RedThread0413 Wedding DB Continuing through May 27 is the PlayGround Theatre's visually stunning production of The Red Thread, a play-with-music by artistic director Stephanie Ansin and Fernando Calzadilla. Based on Chinese folk tales and myths, the piece focuses on the quest of the brave youngest daughter of a weaver after she sets out to retrieve his masterwork. Public performances are at 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, with many 10 a.m. weekday performances for school groups.  Tickets are $20.

The PlayGround Theatre is located at 9806 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores.  For info, call 305-751-9550 or visit the company's web site.    


May 06, 2010

Caldwell reveals a powerhouse summer

Gordon McConnellBoca Raton's Caldwell Theatre Company, which offered a distinctly non-frothy summer lineup last year with the world premiere of Vices: A Love Story and The Whipping Man, is planning more meaty fare starring two strong actors for its upcoming summer season.

Carbonell Award-winning actor Gordon McConnell (pictured here in Mosaic Theatre's Wrecks) will star in the southeastern premiere of Bob Clyman's comedy thriller Secret Order.  McConnell plays the famous administrator of a New York research lab where a brilliant young scientist claims to have discovered a cure for cancer.Secret Order will run July 7 to Aug.1 and will be directed by Tom Bloom, who has been involved with the script through its developmental process.

Cuccioli Broadway veteran Robert Cuccioli, who got a Tony Award nomination for his title performance in the musical Jekyll & Hyde, will star in the Caldwell's world premiere of Joel Gross' The Comfort of Darkness, to be directed by artistic director Clive Cholerton.  The play is described as a "slightly fictionalized" version of the story of Dr. Anton Mesmer, whose theories led to the development of hypnotism -- and to the word "mesmerizing."  Gross' drama is a love story centering around Mesmer's treatment of the young blind pianist Maria Theresa von Paradis.  It will play Aug. 11 to Sept. 5.

The Caldwell's summer shows play at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday.  Tickets are $38 and $45 (students $10), and the theater is located at 7901 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton.  Call 1-877-245-7432 or visit the Caldwell web site for info.

April 26, 2010

PlayGround gets a grant

Orangeshomepage The Miami Shores-based PlayGround Theatre has just snagged a National Endowment for the Arts grant under the NEA's Access to Artistic Excellence program.  The $15,000 grant will help artistic director Stephanie Ansin and All Children Together inclusion specialist Lee Morgenstern continue their partnership withVSA Arts of Florida to enhance the experiences of disabled kids and adults who attend PlayGround shows.  The grant will help the theater expand its use of live audio description, sign language interpreters, open captioning, wheelchair-accessible transportation and touch tours of the theater.

One of two Florida companies receiving the NEA grant (Teatro Avante is the other), PlayGround will present two "shadow-interpreted" performance of its current show, The Love of Three Oranges , May 20-21.  American Sign Language interpreters will shadow the speaking actors during the performance, mirroring their actions and communicating the dialogue.

PlayGround is at 9806 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores.  For information, phone 305-751-9550 or visit the company's web site.

April 20, 2010

Arsht taps 'Camp,' 'Dogs' and 'Aluminum' for summer

Tdscaffold Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is continuing its tradition of hot fun in the summertime with a trio of just-announced productions -- not to mention the return of City Theatre's Summer Shorts (the festival turns 15 this summer) and the 25th anniversary edition of the International Hispanic Theatre Festival.

Summer Shorts kicks off the June-through-August lineup in the Carnival Studio Theater June 3-17 with its Signature Shorts program, adding the late-night adults-only undershorts June 4-26.  In the company this year are Shorts veterans Stephen Trovillion, Elena Maria Garcia, Laura Turnbull, Erin Joy Schmidt, Chaz Mena and David Hemphill, along with Scott Genn and Breeza Zeller.

 The world premiere musical Camp Kappawanna, with a score by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb and a script by Miami playwright Marco Ramirez (who's now on the writing staff of FX's Sons of Anarchy), debuts in the Carnival Studio Theater June 17-27.  The show, a coproduction of City Theatre and the Arsht Center, is about a 12-year-old girl leaving home for the first time to go to summer camp.

Next up in the Arsht's summer lineup is Tap Dogs, the Australian show in which dancing construction worker hunks build their set as they dance up a storm.  The show, which plays the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall June 30-July 10, has been in South Florida before (at the Parker Playhouse in 1997, at the Jackie Gleason Theater in '99), but it's the kind of visual theater the Arsht likes to program for its multilingual audiences.

The International Hispanic Theatre Festival takes over the Carnival Studio Theater July 7-Aug. 1, with the focus this year a tribute to the theater of Mexico.

Aluminium_93_small The Aluminum Show, a multidisciplinary extravaganza that originated in Israel and has a European sensibility, takes over the Ziff Ballet Opera House stage July 14-Aug. 8, after a four-week developmental residency at the Arsht.  The intent, says Executive Vice-President Scott Shiller, is to work with the creators to re-scale the show so that it can tour after that and have greater appeal to American audiences.  The piece involves special effects, jazz, dance, puppetry, acrobatics, performers and, yes, aluminum.

The Arsht is also offering a one-day deal on summer season tickets.  On May 8, you can get two-for-one tickets to select performances of all the summer season shows -- the deal applies to phone, on-line or in-person sales, but there are no ticket fees if you buy at the box office.

Regular tickets go on sales to Arsht Center members April 26, to the public May 2.  Individual tickets range from $25 for Camp Kappawanna to $55 for The Aluminum Show. For more info, call the box office at 305-949-6722 or visit the Arsht Center site.