November 25, 2011

'Red,' 'Prisoner' extended

RED Image 2In the middle of Black Friday madness, two theaters are feeling confident enough in their current productions (and their patrons' devotion to culture) to extend the shows' runs.

At GableStage in Coral Gables' Biltmore Hotel, John Logan's Red has proven a hit with both regular audiences and weekday morning high school crowds.  So Gregg Weiner will get an extra week of playing painter Mark Rothko, with Ryan Didato as the intense artist's assistant Ken.  The play now runs through Dec. 11, with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $37.50-$50, and the theater is located in the hotel at 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  Call 305-445-1119 or visit the theater's web site for info.

Also extended through Dec. 11 is the Miami Beach Stage Door Theatre production of Neil Simon's 1971 comedyThe Prisoner of Second Avenue.  The show, featuring Derelle Bunn and Dan Kelley, goes on at the Byron Carlyle Theater, 500 71st Ave., Miami Beach, at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $42 ($38 on Friday).  You have to call 305-397-8977 to order.


November 17, 2011

See stars at Mosaic, GableStage

_DCS9134Plantation's Mosaic Theatre and GableStage in Coral Gables both have hit shows at the moment:  Eric Simonson's Lombardi, about legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, at Mosaic, and Red, about abstract expressionist Mark Rothko, at GableStage.  Both plays are running through Dec. 4, with some performances sold out or nearly so, so if you're interested in going and have been procrastinating, call or click for tickets. 

Mosaic artistic director Richard Jay Simon is helping drive his show's solid box office with a series of celebrity talk-backs after certain performances.  This weekend original Broadway Lombardi star Dan Lauria and the coach's daughter, Susan Lombardi, will chat with the audience after the 7 p.m. Sunday performance.  Columnist Dave Hyde and ex-Dolphins player Jim "Crash" Jensen are to talk after tonight's 8 p.m. show.  Columnist Ethan Skolnick is seeing the show at 8 p.m. this Saturday.

Other special guests who have confirmed are CBS4's Jim Berry (8 p.m. Nov. 25), the Herald's Greg Cote (3 p.m. Nov. 26), Local 10's Will Manso (2 p.m. Nov. 27) and Local 10's Andrea Brody (8 p.m. Dec. 2).

DanLauriaWith Lauria in town this weekend, Simon has engineered a fundraiser for both his theater and GableStage.  The actor, who played the dad on the popular TV series The Wonder Years, has written a dark comedy called Dinner With the Boys. He, Mosaic's Lombardistar Ray Abruzzo and actor Richard Zavaglia will do two benefit staged readings of the play.

The first is Monday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. at GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  Admission is $25 for subscribers, $30 for others.  Wine and light refreshments come with the cost of the ticket.  For GableStage info, call 305-445-1119 or visit the theater's web site.

Mosaic's reading is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22, in its theater at the American Heritage Center for the Arts, 12200 W. Broward Blvd., Bldg. 3000, Plantation.  Again, subscribers pay $25, others $30, and you get wine and munchies.  Call 954-577-8243 or visit the Mosaic web site.

Go to either, and you're seeing stars while helping a not-for-profit theater company fund its work.

(Photo of Ray Abruzzo as Vince Lombardi by George Schiavone)

August 09, 2011

Adler unveils a hot GableStage season

Adler5 adler MHD bpfGableStage artistic director Joseph Adler takes his time in putting together a season, vying for hot titles, making repeated trips to New York to check out the plays that might be a good fit for South Florida's consistently edgiest theater.  But as GableStage's loyal subscribers would tell you, the wait usually pays off in an exciting lineup.  The just-announced 2011-2012 season looks like no exception.

First up is John Logan's Tony Award-winning Red, the intense play about painter Mark Rothko.  Running Nov. 5-Dec. 4, the drama focuses on the master-student relationship of the volatile, brilliant Rothko and a new assistant.  And B06 broadway mds jpAdler already has his cast:  Carbonell Award-winning actor Gregg Weiner will play Rothko, Ryan Didato the young painter who has come to learn from the great man.

 Next up, running Jan. 7-Feb. 5, is Stephen Adly Guirgis' recent Broadway hit The Motherf**ker with the Hat.  The searing dark comedy is about a clean-and-sober guy on parole who's trying to stay that way (despite the pull of his non-sober girlfriend) with the help of his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor.

Keith Huff's A Steady Rain, the 2010 Broadway hit about two Chicago cops whose friendship goes back to childhood, will follow Guirgis' play March 3-April 1.  Next is Time Stands Still by Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies.  Running May 5-June 3, the play centers on the relationship of a wounded photojournalist and a foreign correspondent. 

David Mamet's provocative, stinging play Race will run July 7-Aug. 5, 2012.  That one is about three lawyers, two black and one white, who are asked to defend a white man charged with a crime against a black woman.

Winding up Adler's next season is Lynn Nottage's 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined, which runs Sept. 8-Oct. 7, 2012. Inspired by Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage, the play takes place in a Congolese brothel as war rages.

And a note: You needn't wait 'til November to sample GableStage's work.  Hot Miami-raised playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney begins rehearsals today for the first South Florida production of his much-praised smash The Brothers Size.  McCraney is directing the play, whose cast includes his friend and former mentor, Teo Castellanos.  The Brothers Size, part of McCraney's trilogy the Brother/Sister Plays, opens Sept. 3 and runs through Oct. 2.

Flexible six-show subscriptions to the new season are $225, which saves as much as 25 percent over single tickets.  Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday. GableStage is located in the eastern end of Coral Gables' historic Biltmore Hotel at 1200 Anastasia Ave.  For information, call the box office at 305-445-1119 or visit the theater's web site.

(Photo of Joseph Adler, top, by Barbara P. Fernandez; photo of Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne in the Broadway production of Red by Johan Persson.)

August 08, 2011

Rosenfarb play to be read at GableStage

If you're looking for an intriguing arts experience tonight, how about a free reading of a new play by award-winning playwright Michelle Rosenfarb?

Avi Smile '11 A Barren Man is the new script from the playwright whose The Gates of Choice had its world premiere at New Theatre in 2008. Directed by Avi Hoffman, the play focuses on a young Orthodox Jewish man living in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood.  Wanting to save his two-year marriage and maintain his faith, he seeks counseling to deal with his repressed urges and issues surrounding his sexual identity.

In the cast are Lela Elam, Howard Elfman, Abdiel Gabriel, Rachel Keller and Andrew Wind. 

The reading is tonight at 7:30 at GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  For information, call 305-445-1119 or visit the GableStage web site.


May 10, 2011

'Red,' 'Ruined' headed to GableStage

Alfred00+broadway06+MDS+HO GableStage producing artistic director Joseph Adler takes his time planning seasons, but when he finally pulls back the curtain on his choices, the lineup is (more often than not) an exciting one.

He's taking it slowly for 2011-2012, revealing just his first two choices so far.  But both are intriguing, prize-winning dramas.  Exact dates aren't yet set, but the titles are.

First up is Red, John Logan's Tony Award-winning play about painter Mark Rothko. Played by Alfred Molina in London and on Broadway, Rothko is portrayed as an intense and demanding artist, doing intellectual battle with his assistant as the two work on Rothko's murals for Manhattan's Four Seasons restaurant.

Adler's next choice is Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined, a harrowing play set in a brothel in war-torn Congo.  The director had planned Ruined for his current season but moved it when he added A Round-Heeled Woman starring Sharon Gless to this season's lineup.

GableStage subscribers who re-subscribe by June 15 get six shows for $185, the same rate as for the current season, plus one additional ticket to any upcoming show.  The theater is located in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  For info, call the box office at 305-445-1119 or visit the GableStage web site.


(Photo of Alfred Molina in Red by Johan Persson) 

February 15, 2011

Carbonell nominations share the love

BLASTED_Image_2 Nominations for the 35th annual Carbonell Awards -- our region's version of the Tonys, the Helen Hayes Awards, the Joseph Jefferson Awards and so on -- have just been announced, and the results are a little more equitable than they have been for the past few years.  (That is, unless you're associated with the Caldwell Theatre Company, New Theatre, The Naked Stage, The Promethean Theatre or the Women's Theatre Project, which got a single nomination apiece.)

Still, people from 13 different companies have reason to go to the ceremony at the Broward Center's Amaturo Theatre on April 4.  Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County theaters collected 36 nominations each, while Broward theaters came back strong with 27.  Top nominated musical? Miss Saigon at Actors' Playhouse, with 11. Top play? Blasted at GableStage, with 7.

For all the details and a complete list of nominees, check out my story at

January 21, 2011

Reading benefits Alliance Lab

149671_173886905956129_100000044629433_584743_2369996_n GableStage is turning over its space yet again for a benefit reading of Mark Della Ventura's Small Membership. New World School of the Arts grad Della Ventura wrote and performs the one-person piece, described as a play about "a big boy with a small problem." Hmm.

The event will raise funds for the Miami Lakes-based Alliance Theatre Lab and its upcoming world premiere of David Michael Sirois' Brothers Beckett March 17-April 3.  Sirois is directing Della Ventura's reading and says they plan to share a bit of Brothers Beckett with the audience as well.

Small Membership gets read at 7:30 p.m. Monday, and organizers are suggesting a donation of $10 per person.  GableStage is located in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  For info, call 305-259-0418 or email

January 17, 2011

Celebs, civilians flock to Gless play

RHW Image 6Hot stuff indeed. Jane Prowse's A Round-Heeled Woman, the GableStage production starring Burn Noticeregular Sharon Gless as a woman on a journey of sexual rediscovery, has been selling out the theater's 150-seat space again and again.  The show is such a hot ticket that, after adding four performances to the play's regular run, artistic director Joseph Adler has just announced a week-long extension with seven added shows.  The play, which was to have ended Jan. 30, will now run through Feb. 6, with final-week performances at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Regular theatergoers aren't the only folks warming to Gless' glowing performance as Jane Juska, the retired teacher who decided to end three decades of celibacy at 66 by placing a frank personals in the New York Review of Books.  Adler says Rosie O'Donnell has already been to see her friend in the play.  And on Friday, with the real Jane Juska in attendance, famed actress-director Liv Ullmann came to see it.

"I introduced her after the play ended, and I wish I had a picture of Sharon's face," Adler said Monday.

Because Gless has to return to shooting Burn Notice and many of her five fellow cast members have other commitments, A Round-Heeled Woman will definitely close Feb. 6.  But its South Florida success has undoubtedly strengthened the play's future prospects.

GableStage is located in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. For info on the added week, call the box office at 305-445-1119 or visit the theater's web site.

(Photo of Sharon Gless with Howard Elfman, Antonio Amadeo and Stephen G. Anthony by George Schiavone.)

January 05, 2011

A split personality benefit

15231855_bxj0 Shira Abergel, like all of the drama majors in the college program at Miami's New World School of the Arts, had to create and perform a solo show before graduating in 2009.  On Monday, Abergel gives her show -- Nictor/Nictoria -- its professional debut in a one-night-only performance at GableStage.  It's a showcase for her talent and creativity, for sure, but she's doing it to benefit a group of her classmates, the New World grads involved in the year-old State Theatre Project.

Led by artistic director David Hemphill, the company has presented two editions of the Living Newspaper (modeled on a similar topical roundup done during the Depression by the Federal Theatre Project) and presented the original short-play collection Beer & Cigarettes in a Coconut Grove bar.

In a week, on Jan. 13, the company opens its first full-length production:  Michael Vukadinovich's Billboard, a darkly funny, observant play about an in-debt college grad who sees salvation in getting a corporate logo tattooed on his forehead.  Billboard will run at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday from Jan. 13-22 in the Pelican Theatre on the Barry University campus, 11300 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores.  And proceeds from Abergel's show will help get the larger play on.

Nictor/Nictoria goes up at 8 p.m. Monday at GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. Admission is a suggested $20 ($10 for students, cash or check only).  For info on either show, call 1-706-284-5819 or visit the State Theatre Project's web site.

October 21, 2010

Putting the 'fun' in fundraiser

GableStage, which has often turned over its Biltmore Hotel space to other companies for readings, fundraisers and productions, has a couple of those events coming up -- capped off by its own Nov. 13 fundraiser, which will not be at the Biltmore.

Tic2_wkend07_dave_barryPulitzer Prize winning humor columnist and author Dave Barry will headline the event at Ransom Everglades School, 3575 Main Hwy. in Coconut Grove.  The location, as you may know, is on the other side of the street from the long-closed Coconut Grove Playhouse, which will (if everything goes as planned) become the new home to GableStage once a 300-seat theater is built on the site.

The event begins with a cocktail reception at 7 p.m., followed by Barry and others -- including Adolfo Henriques, Gwen Margolis, Michael Putney, Glenna Milberg, Claudia Potamkin and Jennifer Getz -- reading from his work at 8 p.m.  Also on the program are selections from GableStage's current touring production of Romeo and Juliet(adapted for school audiences by Arturo Fernandez, artistic director of the Ground Up & Rising company) and presentation of GableStage's first Outstanding Commitment to the Arts Award to outgoing Miami-Dade County commissioner Katy Sorenson.

The money from the fundraiser -- $150 per person for general admission, $250 for special seating -- goes to fund GableStage's educational programming.  For info, call 305-445-1119 or visit GableStage's web site.

As for the on-site events at GableStage, which is located in the Biltmore at 1200 Anastasia Ave. in Coral Gables, the first is a staged-reading benefit for Family Counseling Services of Greater Miami at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.  The South Florida Writers Association (SFWA) will present readings of three short plays:  Dorothy Danaher White's The Planets Speak, Margaret McLaughlin's The Strangers and Anne Dichele's Debbie Squared.  Suggested admission is $15.  Email terebend@yahoo.comor visit the SFWA web site for reservations.

On Nov. 8, the Alliance Theatre Lab takes over the GableStage space for a staged reading of Mark Della Ventura's Small Membership, a piece about male insecurity (which comes with a strong language/adult content warning).  Suggested admission to the Alliance fundraiser is $10 (students $5).  Email or phone 305-259-0418 for info.