January 08, 2014

Miami Theater Center, City Theatre seeking new work

Two South Florida companies, the Miami Theater Center and City Theatre, are putting out the call for new projects (MTC) and plays (City).

Octavio campos headshot 2013_photo_Mitchell Zachs

The Miami Shores-based MTC is asking artists from varied performance disciplines to submit project ideas for its 2014-2015 SandBox Series.  Funded by a $100,000 Knight Arts Challenge grant, the series will allow artists to develop and present new, sometimes experimental work.

Those with ideas should submit a biography, an artist's statement, a written project narrative, a two-minute video of themselves describing the project and two brief video clips of prior work.  All projects must be new, and applicants have to be at least 18 and eligible to work in the United States.

Applications are due by 6 p.m. Feb. 14.  To complete an online application, visit MTC's web site. Applications and supporting materials must be sent to the Miami Theater Center SandBox Series, 9806 NE Second Ave., Miami, FL 33138.  Questions should be directed to series producer Octavio Campos at octavio@mtc.org.  The five artists chosen by a panel of theater professionals will be announced in July, and residencies/performances will take place from October 2014 to June 2015.  All selected artists receive a commissioning fee, three weeks to rehearse and the opportunity to present six performances over two weekends.

Miami's City Theatre is reprising its successful LBGT-themed Shorts Gone Wild project and is seeking new 10-minute plays for Shorts Gone Wild 2.  The rules:  The plays must be new works never produced in South Florida.  Each writer is limited to one submission of a play running 10 minutes or less (10 pages maximum), with no more than six actors required.

Scripts must have a title page with the title, writer's name, email address, mailing address and phone number.  A cast listing, set requirements, synopsis, short playwright biography and information on any productions outside of South Florida are also required.  Submissions can be made online as a single PDF document, and the deadline is Jan. 24.  No materials will be returned, but those whose work is being considered will be contacted by City Theatre and Island City Stage.  For City Theatre info, call 305-755-9401; for Shorts Gone Wild 2 questions, email Susan Westfall at susan@citytheatre.com

 (Photo of Octavio Campos by Mitchell Zachs)

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.

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 26, 2013

After Thanksgiving, take in a show

It may be that Thanksgiving stuffing (yours, not the turkey's), an early Hannukah, college football overload and Black Friday shopping will have you looking for something else to do this coming weekend.  You can catch one of the many holiday shows that are already open, but a few other options -- two of them one-night-only events -- are on the horizon too.

DSC_0451Carbonell Award-winning actor and teacher Elena Maria Garcia performs her funny, insightful solo show Do You Speak Mexican? in tandem with Chris Perez's one-man show Flying Lessons.  Her show is about growing up as a Cuban-American in South Florida.  His is about a father who leaves Cuba to find a better life for his son in the United States.

The solo shows happen at 8 p.m. Saturday at Backstage at the Fillmore, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach.  Ticket prices are a most affordable $15 for adults, $10 for students.  For information, call 954-292-4095.  Get tickets at the box office or online via Ticketmaster.

Also on Saturday, Melissa Almaguer and Ivan Lopez, the founders of White Rose Miami, will present Stories: An Evening of Theatre as a one-night-only benefit for the Boy Scouts of America's South Florida Council.  There's a reception at 6 p.m., with the show following at 7 p.m. at the Main Street Playhouse, 6766 Main St., Miami Lakes.  Benefit tickets are $50, and you can purchase them via the Main Street Players web site.

IMG_0305Dan Goggin's forever-popular Nunsense is the latest offering from the Boca Raton-based Showtime Performing Arts Theatre's adult series.  Using Goggin's updated script -- which features new jokes, additional lyrics, two new arrangements and a new song -- the company will perform through Dec. 15 at 503 SE Mizner Blvd.  Beverly Blanchette directs Gail Byer, Julie Cotton, Sara Perry Greenberg, Helen Buttery and Lisa Boskovic in the show that proves nuns can be funny.

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $22 ($18 for seniors and students).  For info, call 561-394-2626 or visit the Showtime 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.


November 16, 2013

New Theatre changes venue

Anyone planning to go to the opening weekend of Megan Breen's My First, My Fist, My Bleeding Seeded Spirit needs to know that the company's home base -- the Roxy Performing Arts Center at 1645 SW 107th Ave., Miami -- had a major water problem and is closed temporarily.  But artistic director Ricky J. Martinez and managing director Eileen Suarez were determined that the show must go on, so they found a new space for the Saturday and Sunday performances.

The play will get a stripped-down world premiere at Artistic Vibes, 12986 SW 89th Ave., Miami.  It's a small space in a warehouse area near the Falls Mall.  Performances there are at 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday, and tickets are $25.  Visit New Theatre's web page for directions and details.

October 28, 2013

'Book of Mormon' holding Miami auditions

Phyre Hawkins, Mark Evans, Christopher John O'Neill THE BOOK OF MORMON First National Tour photo Joan Marcus 2013If you’re a South Florida actor-singer-dancer who just might be interested in appearing in one of the hottest shows on Broadway or on tour, the casting folks for The Book of Mormon want to hear from you.

They’re coming to Miami to hold auditions on Friday, Nov. 1, and Sunday, Nov. 3, by appointment only, trying to fatten their files for future replacements on Broadway and the show’s two touring companies.  Mormon wannabes ned to submit a photo, resume and any relevant additional material via email to jrichcasting@gmail.com no later than Saturday, Nov. 2 (sooner, of course, if you’re hoping to be seen on Friday).  Appointments are at the discretion of the casting staff, which will supply detailed information about location and times to those they'd like to see.  Equity and non-union actors can submit, and actors have to be 18 or older.

The show itself, of course, comes to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts  Nov. 26-Dec. 22 as the hottest item on South Florida's Broadway touring menu this season.

Here’s the breakdown of what Rich and company are seeking. 

ARNOLD CUNNINGHAM (Early 20's-Late 20's to play 18): Caucasian. Seeking a true character actor. Must be a physical contrast to the other good looking, All-American Mormons. Dweeby, dorky, nerdy, overweight or all four combined. Arnold is a pathological liar but his heart is in the right place. He is a total screw-up but not for lack of trying, he always wants to do the right thing. Must be fantastic comedic actor who sings well. Tenor. We are also particularly interested in comics who sing.

 KEVIN PRICE (Early 20’s-Late 20’s to play 18): Caucasian. All-American. Very handsome. Head of the class, always optimistic. Heroic Mormon. Must be a great comedic actor and a fantastic pop-rock high tenor to a B. Should be at least 5’10" or taller.

 NABALUNGI (18- Late 20’s to play 20): Black African. Pretty. Takes the hardships of her village very seriously and wants to help her people find a better life. Must have great comic timing. Strong alto. Belt to an E.

ELDER MCKINLEY (early 20s to late 20s to play 18): Caucasian. District leader of the Mormon missionaries in Uganda. All- American, wide-eyed and hopeful. Often struggles to cover his flamboyant tendencies and adhere to his Mormon morals. Must be a fantastic comedic actor and great singer. High baritone who can pop out high B-flats for comedic effect.

MAFALA HATIMBI (40s): Black African. Father of Nabalungi. Has come to accept the hardships in the village where they live but is a discerning community leader and tries to bring joy to their lives. Must be a great comedic actor and singer. Also interested in actors who sing.

PRICE’S DAD/MISSION PRESIDENT/VARIOUS ROLES (40s): Caucasian. All-American good looks and physique. Plays several parts from the picture-perfect head of a Mormon household, to the stern missionary president to Joseph Smith, so must have the ability to be transformative. Must be a great comedic actor and good singer. High baritone to an A-flat.

MALE and FEMALE AFRICAN VILLAGERS: (Early 20s-Late 30s) Characters are black Africans. Seeking great singers and great comedic actors who can move.  Seeking tenors (to high B), baritones, gospel sopranos (to high B-flat), gospel belters (to E) and altos.

(Book of Mormon tour photo by Joan Marcus)

October 27, 2013

24 Hour Theatre's plays are in the works

24 FrameThe hour glass -- well, the 24-Hour glass -- is off and running for the 2013 edition of The Naked Stage's popular 24 Hour Theatre Project.  Artistic director Katherine Amadeo and this year's eight playwrights gathered at Palm Beach Dramaworks Sunday evening so the writers could choose play titles and, randomly, directors and actors for the brand-new short plays that will get their one-night-only world premieres at 8 p.m. Monday.

The playwrights' mode right now?  Creativity laced with panic.

What will you see if you go to the show on Monday?

South Florida Theatre League executive director Andie Arthur is writing The Legend of Hitchhiker Jones, which will be directed by Kutumba Theatre Project's Kim Ehly.  Margery Lowe and her hubby Clive Cholerton are in the cast, along with Matt Stabile and Nanique Gheridian.

Christopher Demos-Brown, whose new full-length play Fear Up Harsh gets its world premiere Nov. 7-24 at Miami's Zoetic Stage, is writing Till Beth Do We Part.  Island City Stage artistic director Andy Rogow is directing Meredith Bartmon, Beverly Blanchette, Irene Adjan and Gregg Weiner in the play.

Mad Cat playwright, actor and company member Jessica Farr is writing Area 54, which will be directed by The Project Theatre's David Hemphill.  Adam Simpson, Wayne LeGette, Clay Cartland and Mia Matthews are in that cast.

Playwright and Silver Palm Awards executive committee member Tony Finstrom is writing The Curse of Willoughby, which Michael Leeds is directing.  That cast features Tracey Barrow-Schoenblatt, Karen Stephens, Niki Fridh and Shane Tanner.

Playwright, actor, designer and Zoetic Stage co-founder Michael McKeever is writing The Seven Deaths of Rhona Banks.  Desmond Gallant will direct Cliff Burgess, Abby Perkins, Dave Corey and Pierre Tannous in that one.

Marj O'Neill-Butler's play is The Ritual, which will be staged by Adalberto Acevedo.  Alex Alvarez, Noah Levine, George Schiavone and Patti Gardner are in the cast.

Actor and Promethean Theatre founder Deborah Sherman is writing Unearthed.  Leland Patton will direct the play, which features Laura Hodos, David Meldman, Sally Bondi and Barry Tarallo.

Mad Cat founder Paul Tei is creating a piece titled Smile as the Hearse Goes By.  Kim St. Leon will stage it, and Nick Duckart, Amy McKenna, Lela Elam and Natalia Coego are the actors.

This creative gathering of South Florida's far-flung theater community happens at Dramaworks' Don & Ann Brown Theatre is at 201 Clematis St..  General admission tickets are $30, VIP tickets (with reserved seating and a souvenir poster) run $50.  For info or tickets, call 561-514-4042, ext. 2, or visit the Dramaworks web site.





October 25, 2013

Silver Palm Award recipients announced

Carbonells0327 i epfThe six-year-old Silver Palm Awards for theatrical excellence aren't like the much older, more formal Carbonell Awards.  The Silver Palms vary in number from year to year, avoid categories and competition, and are decided upon by an executive committee -- playwright Tony Finstrom, actress and Becon TV talk show host Iris Acker and Florida Media News/ENV Magazine critic Ron Levitt -- based on recommendations sent to them by South Florida critics.

This year, Silver Palms go to 20 recipients in honor of the South Florida Theatre League's 20th anniversary.  They're for work done between Sept. 1, 2012, and Aug. 31, 2013, and they'll be presented at the League's annual holiday party in Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 2.

Honored this year are producer-writer-director-actor-designer Antonio Amadeo, for his multifacted original work in A Man Puts on a Play at The Naked Stage; Miami Theater Center playwright and director Stephanie Ansin for her production of The Three Sisters; Ann Kelly Anthony for her work as executive director and board chair at Mad Cat Theatre Company; Andie Arthur, for six years as executive director of the South Florida Theatre League; Matt Corey, for his sound design of Mosaic Theatre's The Birds; Lela Elam, for her outstanding performance in Ruined at GableStage; James Danford for 30 years of outstanding work as a South Florida stage manager.

IMG_Erin_Joy_Schmidt_as__2_1_Q0768O8MAlso receiving Silver Palms are Patrick Fitzwater for his direction and choreography of Slow Burn Theatre's Side Show; Ethan Henry, for his outstanding lead performances in Palm Beach Dramaworks' A Raisin in the Sun and M Ensemble's King Hedley II; Andrew Kato for his outstanding work as producing artistic director of the Maltz Jupiter Theatre; Jan McArt for her outstanding work developing new plays via the Lynn University New Play Reading Series; Harriet Oser for her outstanding performance in Driving Miss Daisy at the Plaza Theatre.

Other Silver Palm honorees are artistic director Skye Whitcomb and Outré Theatre, as the year's outstanding new professional company; Nicholas Richberg for his outstanding performance in Cock at GableStage; Erin Joy Schmidt for her oustanding performances in Mad Cat's Blow Me and Other Desert Cities at Actors' Playhouse; Nicole Stodard for her challenging productions at Thinking Cap Theatre and her outstanding adaptation/production of The Rover; John Manzelli of City Theatre and Andy Rogow of Island City Stage for their coproduction of Shorts Gone Wild, the outstanding LGBT theater piece of the season; Tom Wahl for his outstanding performance in Zoetic Stage's I Am My Own Wife; Mike Westrich, for his outstanding performance in Outre Theatre's tick...tick...BOOM!.  I am also getting a Silver Palm, recognizing my 34 years of theater criticism at the Miami Herald.  And I swear I didn't suggest that to the committee.

This year's party goes from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Dec. 2 at Stache, 109 SW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale.  Theatre League members get in free, but anyone can come for a $25 admission fee.  For more info, contact Andie Arthur at 954-557-0778 or visit the Silver Palms web site.

(Photo of Ethan Henry by the Miami Herald's Patrick Farrell; Erin Joy Schmidt photo from Mad Cat)

October 18, 2013

24 Hour Theatre Project readies its crazy, creative '13 edition

Carbonells0327 d epfArtistic director and actor Katherine Amadeo is a talented, glamorous presence both on and offstage.  But come the evening of Oct. 28, the Naked Stage cofounder (she launched the company with hubby Antonio Amadeo and pal John Manzelli) may be looking a little sleep-deprived and frazzled.  That's because she'll be near the end of the seventh edition of the popular 24 Hour Theatre Project, a creative fundraiser that brings South Florida's theater community together for some made-overnight art.

This year, the peripatetic event takes place at Palm Beach Dramaworks.  At 7 p.m. Oct. 27, eight playwrights -- Andie Arthur, Christopher Demos-Brown, Jessica Farr, Tony Finstrom, Michael McKeever, Marj O'Neill-Butler, Deborah Sherman and Paul Tei -- will gather to choose titles, some deliberately bizarre, from a list devised by Amadeo.  The writers will draw the names of directors and actors from a hat, then scurry to a private place to spend the night creating brand-new short plays.

Early on the morning of Oct. 28, the eight shows go into rehearsal.  And that evening at 8 p.m., the one-time-only performance of 24 Hour Theatre 2013 takes place.

24 FrameInvariably, conflicting work commitments cause some of the participating artists to jump ship before the event (sending Amadeo into crisis control mode).  But at this point, the directors are slated to be Adalberto Acevedo, Kim Ehly, Desmond Gallant, David Hamphill, Michael Leeds, Leland Patton, Andy Rogow and Kim St. Leon.  This year's actors are Irene Adjan, Alex Alvarez, Tracey Barrow-Schoenblatt, Sally Bondi, Cliff Burgess, Clay Cartland, Oscar Cheda, Clive Cholerton, Natalia Coego, Dave Corey, Nick Duckart, Lela Elam, Patti Gardner, Nanique Geridian, Laura Hodos, Wayne LeGette, Dan Leonard, Noah Levine, Margery Lowe, Amy McKenna, David Meldman, Nicholas Richberg, George Schiavone, Adam Simpson, Karen Stephens, Shane Tanner, Pierre Tannous, Barry Tarallo and Gregg Weiner.  Lots of Carbonell Award winners and nominees in that bunch.

For plenty of hardcore South Florida theater fans, 24 Hour Theatre is a can't-miss event, no matter where it's taking place.  Dramaworks' Don & Ann Brown Theatre is at 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach, right in the heart of the city's lively downtown.

General admission tickets are $30, VIP tickets (with reserved seating and a souvenir poster) run $50.  For info or tickets, call 561-514-4042, ext. 2, or visit the Dramaworks web site.

(Photo of Katherine Amadeo by Miami Herald photographer Patrick Farrell)

September 26, 2013

'From Scratch' celebrates new plays

One of the milestones in the developmental life of a new play -- a high-profile staged reading -- happens Sunday for the four playwrights in Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs' Playwright Image001Development Program.  Four writers mentored by award-winning playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer will hear their works read at the From Scratch festival at the Deering Estate at Cutler -- and you can take it all in for free.

First up at noon is Andie Arthur's The Secret of the Biological Clock, a piece recommended for teen audiences.  It centers on 16-year-old Jasmine, a girl determined to find her real dad with the help of a teen detective.

Flashing LIghts, a play by Edward G. Excalibur, is next up at 2 p.m.  That one is about a woman whose marriage is falling apart as she battles insomnia and binge eating.  Adult language is part of this play and the next two.

Susan Westfall's Two Weekends, which will be read at 5 p.m., is about change that affects old friends "confronted by love, loss and the arrival of the new neighbor lady."

VG pic 1The final reading, at 7 p.m., is of Vanessa Garcia's The Cuban Spring.  In it, Siomara Gonzalez faces an identity crisis that threatens her, her marriage and her oldest child.

The historic Deering Estate at Cutler is at 16701 SW 72nd Ave. in Miami.  For more information, call 305-235-1668, ext. 233, or visit the facility's web site.

(Photos show Deborah Zoe Laufer, top, and Vanessa Garcia)