April 08, 2010

City Theatre cooks up a musical

Loeb PhotoAs City Theatre gears up for its 15th anniversary Summer Shorts festival in Miami in June, the company is focusing on something not-so-short for July.

Working from an idea by City producing artistic director Stephanie Norman, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb and playwright Marco Ramirez are collaborating on the new musical Camp Kappawanna.  The show tells the story of 12-year-old Jennifer Jenkins, who is going away to summer camp, thus leaving home for the first time.

The family-oriented show is to debut July 1-3 at Nova Southeastern University (exact details to come), but you can get a sneak peek this Sunday at a family fun day sponsored by Temple Dor Dorim, 2360 Glades Circle in Weston.  Pizza (at $2 a slice) and an art contest happen at 11 a.m., with the free preview at noon. The event is open to the public.

For more info on City Theatre, visit the company's web site.

March 12, 2010

A musical, a play, a reading

Guys & dollsSeventy young gals and guys hit the stage tonight at 8 when the Roxy Theatre Group begins its three-weekend run of the Broadway classic Guys and Dolls. Gabriel Bonilla, 19, plays Skye Masterson to 16-year-old Stephanie Volero's Sarah Brown in Frank Loesser's lively, tuneful show, based on New York characters from the imagination of Damon Runyon.

Students from 10 to 22 star in the show, which features accompaniment by the Greater Miami Youth Symphony.  The show runs through March 28 at the Roxy Performing Arts Center, 1645 SW 107th Ave., Miami.  Tickets are $20 (tonight's gala, which includes an after-party and benefits Roxy's scholarship fund, costs $50).  Regular performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday (final Sunday show is at 3 p.m.).  Call 305-226-0030 or visit the Roxy web site for info.


FrannieFormer stand-up comic Frannie Sheridan brings her solo show -- Confessions of a Jewish Shiksa: Dancing on Hitler's Grave! -- to Miami Beach's Colony Theater for two performances this weekend.  Sheridan's parents, both Holocaust survivors, escaped to Canada and, after an anti-Semitic attack, converted to Catholicism.  Years later, Sheridan discovered the truth about her heritage, a truth she explores in the show.

Performances are 8 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday at the Colony, 1040 Lincoln Rd.; call 305-674-1040 for information. Tickets are $25, available at the box office or via Ticketmaster.


Check out a free reading of Bag of Stones, a play written and directed by Richard Janaro, on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at GableStage.  The plot is sizzling (and, in South Florida, familiar-sounding):  A Catholic priest continues to have a relationship with his high school girlfriend, who is now grown up and married.  Nick Duckart, Scott Genn, Betsy Graver, David Hemphill, David Kwiat and Harriet Oser are in the cast. GableStage is in the Biltmore Hotel at 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. Call the box office at 305-445-1119 or visit the theater's web site for info.

February 24, 2010

A free musical at Barry

CharlieBrown1 copy It isn't unusual for a play reading to be free.  But a lavishly designed musical? That's something special.

From Thursday through Sunday, Barry University's Department of Fine Arts is presenting the 1999 Broadway version of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.  The original Clark Gesner-John Gordon musical, which features the core gang from Charles M. Schultz's Peanuts comic strip (Lucy van Pelt, her brother Linus, Schroeder, Sally Brown, Peppermint Patty, Snoopy and the man himself, Charlie Brown), got an update with new dialogue by Michael Mayer and additional songs/orchestrations by Andrew Lippa.

Assistant theater professor John Manzelli directs the student cast.  Shows are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday at the Broad Center for the Performing Arts at Barry, 11300 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores.  Call 305-899-3291 for information  or visit the Barry web site for directions.

January 21, 2010

Spelling s-u-c-c-e-s-s

Putnum-web-page-copy When The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee became a surprise success Off-Broadway, on Broadway and on tour, the kids in the show's fictional spelling bee were played by a succession of talented adults.

When the show opens on Friday at Area Stage in Coral Gables, those funny, poignant kids really will bekids.  Joseph Barbosa, Stphanie Diggles, Jordan Edwards, Isabella Lopez, Ani Mesa, Krystal Ortiz, Amanda Reyes, Kevin Rios and Joel Vazquez -- teens who study at the Area Stage Conservatory -- will play the spellers and adults in the musical by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin.  John and Maria Rodaz share directing duties, and three musicians play the score.

Of course, there's always the chance to show off your own spelling skills, since four audience "volunteers" are recruited before every performance.  Bad spellers beware!

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday, through Jan. 30.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students 25 and under.  Area is at 1560 S. Dixie Hwy., Coral Gables.  For info, call 305-666-2078 or visit the company's web site.


The Grand Opening Cabaret at the Little Stage Theater on Miami Beach, which opened New Year's night, also enjoyed success -- so much so that the run has been extended through this weekend.  Additional shows happen at 9 p.m. this Friday and Saturday at 2100 Washington Ave.  Admission to the SoBe Arts tribute to '30s-'40s cabarets is $25.  For info, call 305-674-9220 or visit the group's web site.

November 23, 2009

Beyond "The Nutcracker"

Though there's nothing wrong, nothing at all, with the ubiquitous holiday ballet The Nutcracker (particularly Miami City Ballet's beautiful production), South Florida theater fans young and old have several non-dance options for their post-Thanksgiving entertainment.

Another Night Before Xmas The most intriguing looks to be the two-character musical Another Night Before Christmasat Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables.  Written by Sean Grennan and Leah Okimoto, whose Married Alive!was a summer hit at Actors', the show stars Carbonell Award winners Irene Adjan and Ken Clement -- she plays a lonely social worker, he's a homeless guy who may or not be Santa Claus.

Another Night Before Christmas plays in the upstairs Balcony Theatre at Actors', 280 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, from Dec. 2-27. Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday (extra matinee on Dec. 9, no show on Christmas Eve.  Tickets are $48 Friday-Saturday, $40 other shows (10 percent senior discount, $15 student rush tickets Wednesday-Friday).  Call 305-444-9293 or visit the theater's web site for more info.

* Also at Actors', the musical Madeline's Christmas is running in the large downstairs theater on Saturdays through Dec. 26.  The family show has performances at 2 p.m. each Saturday, with extra public performances at 5 p.m. Dec. 20 and Dec. 24.  Tickets are $15.

ChristmasCarol *  Another family-friendly show, a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, plays the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Dec. 1-6.  The classic tale about a miser changed by visions of Christmases past, present and future has performances at 10 and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (with an extra show at 11 a.m. Saturday).  Tickets are $17.50 (but on Dec. 1-2, they're just $7).  Call 954-462-0222 or visit the Broward Center web site for info.

*  If you can't wait to kick off Christmas and have a slightly more adult/askew sensibility, remember that Scrooge in Rouge starring Ricky Graham, Varla Jean Merman and Yvette Hargis will be performed live at Cinema Paradiso, 503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale, Friday-Sunday at 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday at 2 p.m.  Tickets are $40 ($30 for members of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. Call 954-525-3456 or visit the film fest site.

*  If you're a procrastinator, here's the show for you. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is coming to the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise -- afterChristmas.  The spectacle-filled holiday extravaganza runs Dec. 29-30 at the center, 2555 NW 136th Ave. (Panther Parkway), Sunrise.  The Rockettes will get their kicks in at 7 p.m. Dec. 29-30, with additional shows at 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 30. Tickets are $45.25-$99 for adults, $39.25-$49.25 for kids.  Visit the BankAtlantic web site for more info.

November 04, 2009

Jump-starting the holidays

Lyra If you've been in almost any kind of store lately, you know that holiday decorations (which used to show up a few weeks before Thanksgiving) have been piled on shelves since way before Halloween.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a new show from Neil Goldberg and the folks that took Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy to Broadway, is bringing some early holiday cheer to Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino tonight through Sunday.

The family-oriented show, featuring a cast of aerialists, acrobats, singers, dancers and musicians, serves up everything from snowmen to toy soldiers to a 24-foot-tall "magical" Christmas tree.

Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday in the Hard Rock complex in Hollywood (just north of Stirling Road, off State Road 7/US 441).  Tickets are $35 to $65.  Call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or visit the Ticketmaster web site.

October 28, 2009

Spooky tales and a new play

WEiRD-webpage-580x859 Area Stage's Conservatory has come up with a Halloween week double header:  a haunted house and a program of short plays and musical numbers aimed at middle schoolers and high school students.

Weird Tales and Other Amazing Stories, a collection of plays by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Dylan Guerra and Flavia Pallozzi, will be performed tonight-Friday at 7 p.m., and on Halloween night (Saturday) at 5 and 8 p.m.  The actors include playwrights Guerra and Pallozzi, as well as Ani Mesa, Ale Mesa, Brandon Flynn, Daniel Gerchakov, Daniella Pereira, Jonjon Rodaz, Katie Erwin, Kevin Rios, Manuel Jaquez, Marilyn Caserta, Mia Pennekamp, Natalia Ochoa, Natasha Sedan, Rachel Rodaz and Sasha Neufeld.  There's also an on-site Haunted House, and on Halloween, a costume contest.

Admission to the Haunted House and show is $20 ($10 for students).  For the Haunted House only, it's $3 or two for $5.

Area is based at the Riviera Theatre, 1560 S. Dixie Hwy. in Coral Gables.  Call 305-666-2078 or visit the web site for more information.


If you're a grown-up theater lover looking for something new and different (and free) to experience tonight, head on over to New Theatre at 4120 Laguna St. in Coral Gables.  The company is doing a reading of Kirk Citron's play But Not for Lunch.  The play is about a successful attorney who retires and wants his younger wife to do likewise, but she doesn't agree.  For info, call 305-443-5909 or visit New Theatre's web site.

September 21, 2009

A little (more) free theater

Free night of theater

Touted as part of the South Florida Theatre Festival Oct. 12-26, the national Free Night of Theater is a terrific idea:  Give folks who may have never tried your theater (or, just maybe, have never tried any theater) free tickets, hoping they'll like what they experience and want to come back.

Sponsored by the Theatre Communications Group, this year's fifth edition of the Free Night of Theater actually runs Oct. 15-Oct. 31.  It's up to the more than 700 theaters around the country to decide which nights -- and for how many nights -- they want to offer free tickets.

The event's web site is up and running, and as of Tuesday, he South Florida page is growing -- overnight, listings for Florida Stage and the Women's Theatre Project were added, and Actors' Playhouse should be on there later today.  Maybe more to come.

What's definite so far is that you can get tickets to Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House at Palm Beach Dramaworks at 7 p.m. Oct. 25; tickets to the Fort Lauderdale Children's Theatre production of Pippin at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 and Oct. 23, 2 p.m. Oct. 18 and Oct. 24; tickets to Neil LaBute's Reasons To Be Pretty at GableStage at 8 p.m. Oct. 23 and Oct. 29; tickets to Florida Stage's Two Jews Walk Into a War at 8 p.m. Oct. 20; and tickets to the Women's Theatre Project's Naked Women Fully Clothed at 8 p.m. Oct. 22 and Oct. 24, and 2 p.m. Oct. 25.  Actors' Playhouse plans to offer tickets to The Marvelous Wonderettes Oct. 15-18.

Know this, though:  Demand is sure to be steep, and though some theaters are giving away lots of free tickets (100 at Florida Stage, for instance), others are not (16 total at Actors' Playhouse). You can start trying to get them at 4 p.m. Oct. 1 on the Free Night of Theater web site.

June 11, 2009

Family boredom buster

Shorts4kidsThough the kids are barely out of school for the summer, we're betting that more than a few parents have already heard that familiar yelp: "I'm bored!"

So take them to the theater already.

Shorts 4 Kids, the family-friendly portion of City Theatre's Summer Shorts Festival, is running at Miami's Arsht Center through June 21.  Shows are at 11 a.m. Thursday-Friday, 1 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.

For $17 per person, you get to see eight short plays and songs written by Michael McKeever, Marco Ramirez, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Shel Silverstein, Jennifer Maisel, Maggie Bandur, Cyndi Lauper and Lisa Loeb.  Shorts 4 Kidshas its own fine acting company too:  Katherine Amadeo, Chris Dall'au, Nick Duckardt, Vanessa Elise, Betsy Graver and Joshua Robinson.

To reserve at the Arsht, call 305-949-6722 or visit the center's web site.  If you'd drather take the kids to see the program when it moves to the Broward Center June 25-28, call 954-462-0222 or visit that web site.

April 27, 2009

Theater for the kids

InnannhomepageNEWer With schools slashing positions for arts teachers, it's more important than ever for parents to take advantage of the enrichment exposure to theater, dance, music and the visual arts can bring to a child's creative and intellectual development.

This week brings three opportunities for kids to see shows and even interact with theater professionals.  At the PlayGround Theatre in Miami Shores, Stephanie Ansin and Fernando Calzadilla's Inanna and the Huluppu Tree is running through May 22.  Based on a Sumerian myth, it tells the story of a young goddess who restores harmony to a city besieged by storms and angry deities.  On Saturday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the theater is holding a Behind the Curtain workshop.  For $70, kids can learn about all the elements of the show and get two tickets to any performance.  Regular tickets to Inanna are $15.  The PlayGround is at 9806 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores. Call 305-751-9550 or visit the theater's web site for more information.

09kidsfestposterxAt Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables, this weekend brings the 14th annual National Children's Theatre Festival.  The key productions this year are the musical Miss Nelson Is Missing and the Caribbean-flavored Once on This Island Jr.  Kids also get hands-on experiences at "hall pass" stations, hear selections from the musical Mary Poppins and interact with characters from Alice in Wonderland.  Miss Nelson runs  through May 30 at 2 p.m.each Saturday, but the festival happens Friday-Sunday, May 1-3.  Tickets to three different combinations of shows and activities are $15 each. Actors' Playhouse is in the Miracle Theatre at 280 Miracle Mile.  Call 305-444-9293 or visit the web site for detailed information.

SC_postcard_EMAIL Another theater experience, this one for older kids, is the Miami Childrens Theater production of the musical Sweet Charity.  Kids and teens are the stars of MCT's productions, playing Charity, the dreamer of a dance hall girl, and her Manhattan pals.  Shows are at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday through May 10.  The company performs at the Alper Jewish Community Center's Russell Theater, 11155 SW 112th Ave., Miami.  Call 305-274-3595 or visit the MCT web site for information.