June 14, 2013

Durang's Tony winner, McCraney play top GableStage season

A little earlier than is his custom, GableStage's Carbonell Award-winning artistic director Joseph Adler has put all the pieces of his new season puzzle together -- and the lineup for 2013-2014 is full of enticing titles.

Vanya0050rHot from its Tony Award as Broadway's best play last Sunday, Christopher Durang's Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will be produced at GableStage next spring.  Durang's smart satire of Anton Chekhov's characters and themes will run May 17-June 15, 2014.

The new season begins Nov. 23-Dec. 22 with Aaron Posner's still-running Off-Broadway hit My Name Is Asher Lev.  Based on a novel by Chaim Potok, the play focuses on a talented Jewish painter torn between his Hasidic upbringing and his dreams of artistic success.

IMG_Tarell_McCraney_port_2_1_6V362J91Next is Miamian Tarell Alvin McCraney's set-in-Haiti adaptation of William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra.  A collaborative effort of the Royal Shakespeare Company, New York's Public Theater and GableStage, the play will be presented by GableStage at Miami Beach's Colony Theatre Jan. 11-Feb. 9.

Katori Hall's The Mountaintop, a play set at Memphis' Lorraine Motel on the night before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, runs March 15-April 13.

After the Durang play, Samuel D. Hunter's The Whale takes audiences into the world of a 600-pound recluse and his angry teenager daughter.  That one runs July 19-Aug. 17, 2014.  The next season wraps up Sept. 20-Oct. 19, 2014, with David West Read's The Performers, a play about high school friends reconnecting at the Adult Film Awards in Las Vegas.

(And a side note: GableStage's current season isn't over yet.  David Lindsay-Abaire's Good People runs July 20-Aug. 18, with Stephen Karam's Sons of the Prophet closing out the 2012-2013 season Sept. 21-Oct. 20.)

GableStage is offering its new lineup to current subscribers for $225 and to new subscribers for $260, and with each subscription, theatergoers get an additional complimentary ticket to one show.  Single ticket prices will be going up for the new season, and a subscription provides a savings of nearly 40 percent.

The theater is located in Coral Gables' historic Biltmore Hotel at 1200 Anastasia Ave.  For information, call the box office at 305-445-1119 or visit the company's web site.

(Photo of the Broadway production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Carol Rosegg; photo of Tarell Alvin McCraney by George Schiavone)

June 11, 2013

The sounds of musicals fill the summer

If you're a voracious theater fan, you may be feeling that your summer calendar looks kind of light -- and you'd be right, mostly.  There aren't dozens of full-fledged productions, though we do have City Theatre's Summer Shorts, Slow Burn Theatre's The Wedding Singer, Rated P for Parenthood at Actors' Playhouse, Cock and Good People at GableStage, Brighton Beach Memoirs and Character Man at Stage Door in Coral Springs, The Facts of LIfe: The Lost Episode at Empire Stage, plus 8-Track: The Sounds of the '70s and Waist Watchers the Musical at the Plaza Theatre in Manalapan. Miami's Arsht Center will play host to two big summer shows, 8CHO and Slava's Snowshow.

There are college summer festivals at Florida Atlantic University (Side by Side by Sondheim, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Man Who Came to Dinner are on the bill) and at Florida International University (featuring an alumni showcase, Bachelorette, Reverse Psychology, A Thousand Years and a Glengarry Glen Ross featuring successful FIU acting alums), plus a Broward Center anthology event celebrating five years of work by Conundrum Stages. The 28th edition of the International Hispanic Theatre Festival plays the Arsht Center's Carnival Studio Theater in July. And there are play-reading events too, notably the Women's Theatre Project's Girl Play 2013 and the ongoing Summer Theatre Fest Stages of the Sun reading series on Mondays through Aug. 26 at various theaters.

But this summer also brings something special in the form of concert presentations of musicals at two Palm Beach County theaters.

Louis TyrrellAt the Theatre at Arts Garage in Delray Beach, this month's Summer Tune-Up is already under way.  The series, which happens at 7:30 p.m. each Thursday under the guidance of artistic director Louis Tyrrell, features reading-style concert presentations of fresh new musicals.  This week it's The Longing and the Short of it, a theatrical song cycle by Daniel Maté; on June 20, it's The Hostage Song by Clay McLeod Chapman and Kyle Jarrow; and on June 27, the musical is Dani Girl by Michael Kooman and Chris Dimond.

Admission to each event is $15-$20 ($5 more at the door).  The Theatre at Arts Garage is at 180 NE First St., Delray Beach.  Call 561-450-6357 or visit the web site for more information.

More lavish concert versions of classic musicals are planned for July and August at Palm Beach Dramaworks, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach, where Dancing at Lughnasa is in its final week.  Former Caldwell Theatre Company artistic director Clive Cholerton will helm the popular Dale Wasserman-Mitch Leigh-Joe Darion musical Man of La Mancha July 10-21, then move on to Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's Company, which will run Aug. 7-18.

Performances of both musicals are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, with tickets priced at $35.  For information, call 561-514-4042 or visit the theater's web site.

 

 

May 28, 2013

Actors' Playhouse rounds out its next season

Scott and HemActors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables has finalized its six-show lineup for 2013-2014, and it's an eclectic one split 50-50 between musicals and plays.

The season begins Oct. 9-Nov. 3 with the Off-Broadway satire Ruthless! The Musical, a look at a diva of a third grader who would kill for a starring role.  Next is Sean Grennan's play Making God Laugh(Dec. 4-29), a moving comedy about empty nesters who welcome their grown kids home over holidays spanning three decades.

Peter Quilter's Broadway hit End of the Rainbow gets its regional premiere Jan. 15-Feb. 9.  The play-with-music focuses on the legendary Judy Garland as she prepares for her London comeback try in 1968.

Spamalot, the season's big musical offering, runs March 5-30.  The wildly funny Tony-winning show by Monty Python's Eric Idle and composer John Du Prez follows a decidedly different version of King Arthur and his knights as they go on a quest to find the Holy Grail.

Mark St. Germain's play Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah runs May 14-June 8, 2014.  The barbedplay focuses on literary giants F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway on a particular night in 1937 at the Los Angeles resort the Garden of Allah.

The traditional summer musical revue for 2014 is Mid-Life 2! (The Crisis Continues).  Running July 16-Aug. 17, the Baby Boomer-friendly show looks at all the joys, laughs and concerns that go along with becoming eligible for an AARP card.

Subscriptions to the season range from $185 for previews to $435 for the gala opening night performances.  The cost is $239 for Wednesday-Thursday evenings and Sunday matinees, $275 for Friday-Saturday evenings, $279 for VIP flexible/anytime tickets for premium seats at any performance.

Actors' Playhouse performs at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables.  For information, call 305-444-9293 or visit the theater's web site.

May 22, 2013

Outré Theatre goes 'BOOM!'

Ttb141Boca Raton's Outré Theatre Company, which launched in November with Andrew Lippa's musical The Wild Party, is turning to an autobiographical musical by Rent creator Jonathan Larson for its next production.  tick, tick...BOOM! began as a solo show performed by Larson in 1990.  After his tragic death on the night before the first preview of Rent -- the musical that would make his reputation and win him a posthumous Pulitzer Prize -- playwright David Auburn restructured tick, tick...BOOM! as a piece for three actors.  Miami's Raúl Esparza won an Obie Award for his performance as Jon in the 2001 Off-Broadway production.

In the Outré production, Michael Westrich plays Jon, an aspiring composer whose fast-approaching 30th birthday has him questioning whether to follow or drop his dreams.  Sabrina Gore is Susan, Jon's dancer-girlfriend, and Jerel Brown is his pal Michael, a former actor who has given up showbiz for a more lucrative corporate life.

The show opens Friday and runs through June 9 at the Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton.  Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $30 ($25 for seniors, $20 for students).  For info, call 954-300-2149 or visit the Outré web site.

 (Outré Theatre photo of Jerel Brown, Michael Westrich and Sabrina Gore)

May 16, 2013

New Theatre's Martinez debuts 'Road Through Heaven'

ROAD...HEAVEN photo ARicky J. Martinez, the artistic director at New Theatre, has been working on a trilogy of plays for a long time -- over 10 years, actually, starting before his graduation from Miami's New World School of the Arts.

The first play, Sin Full Heaven, debuted at New Theatre in 2007.  Now another one, Road Through Heaven, is getting its world premiere at New Theatre this weekend (the third, Heavenly Hand, is still to be produced).

Like the others, Road Through Heaven is part of what Martinez calls In God's Land: An Island Trilogy.  It is set on "a forgotten island" in the Caribbean, focusing on three people whose lives become entwined:  Jesus (Javier Cabrera), a 21-year-old who was orphaned at the age of 12;  Dolores (Evelyn Perez), a tough woman in her late 30s; and Victor (Martinez), a hard worker devoted to his woman and, increasingly, to the younger man.

"I wrote the plays because, as a first generation Cuban-American, I was trying to figure out who I was," says Martinez.  "I was influenced in this one by images of mules, men, the sky, the occult, unconditional love, balance and the suspension of time."

Martinez hadn't intended to play Victor, but when the production was moved to May and the actor who was originally cast became unavailable, director Margaret M. Ledford convinced the playwright to take on the role.

"I told him, 'I think you're perfect,'" she says.  "This is a very haunting script.  The magical realism takes everyday relationships and has them [ascend] onto an ethereal plane."

Martinez calls Ledford "an amazing visionary.  She sees that the play is more than lyricism. She can extract the realism too."

Road Through Heaven has its first performance at 8 p.m. Friday, then gets its press opening at 8 p.m. Saturday.  The show runs through June 2 at the Roxy Performing Arts Center, 1645 SW 107th Ave., Miami.  Regular performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday (no evening show this Sunday).  Tickets are $40 ($35 Thursday and Sunday evening).  Students 25 and younger can get $15 rush tickets, based on availability, and the deal on opening weekend is even better:  The first 25 students under 25 get in free.

For information on New Theatre and Road Through Heaven, call 305-443-5909 or visit the company's web site.

(Photo of Javier Cabrera, Evelyn Perez and Ricky J. Martinez by Eileen Suarez)

May 03, 2013

Summer Shorts plays are set

SummerShortsLogos_yellowCity Theatre's popular Summer Shorts festival goes into rehearsals in a little over two weeks, and now we know what plays the company -- Renata Eastlick, Irene Adjan, Ken Clement, Todd Allen Durkin, Rayner Garranchan and Vera Varlamov -- will be rehearsing.

This year's program consists of a dozen plays divided by an intermission, with Producing Artistic Director John Manzelli, Antonio Amadeo, Margaret M. Ledford and Mcley LaFrance doing the staging.

Seven of this year's plays are world premieres:  Kendra Blevins' iZombie, Holly Hepp-Galvan's Departure, David Bar Katz's Handing Down the Recipe and Mothra vs. the Casting Agent, An Allegory, Nina Mansfield's Bite Me, Susan Westfall's Feel the Tango and Steve Yockey's Serendipty.  Also part of this year's festival are Leslie Ayvazian's The Favor, Matt Hoverman's The Student, Rick Park's Please Report Any Suspicious Activity, Paul Rudnick's The Gay Agenda and Sheri Wilner's A Tall Order.

Summer Shorts begins June 7 and runs through June 30 in the Carnival Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center's Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.  Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, and tickets are $35.  For more information, visit City Theatre's web site.

 

April 30, 2013

Mad Cat is making a move

Mad Cat Artistic Director Paul TeiFresh off its South Beach Comedy Festival debut of Jessica Farr's Charming Acts of Misery, Miami's 13-year-old Mad Cat Theatre Company is on the move.  No, not to Los Angeles, which Farr and Mad Cat founder-artistic director Paul Tei now call home.  These theater cats are setting up shop at Miami Theater Center in Miami Shores, where a full-length version of Farr's play -- retitled B**w Me (it's about fashion muse Isabella Blow, so you can fill in the asterisks yourself) -- will get its world premiere Aug. 16, running through Sept. 1.

Since its founding in 2000, Mad Cat has had a long and happy symbiotic relationship with the Miami Light Project, first working in the old Light Box space on Biscayne Boulevard, then moving to Miami Light's new venue, the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse in Wynwood.

Erin Joy Schmidt.Blow Me.Isabella BlowBut the company began looking for quarters that might replicate the intimacy of its first home, finding that combination in MTC's 50-seat SandBox space.

  "With a move to Miami Theater Center as our core venue, we look to return to our roots and expand our mission.  It's a prospect we are all looking...forward to.  A new homecoming," Tei said in a statement, also expressing gratitude to Miami Light Project for the organization's long time support of Mad Cat.

MTC artistic director Stephanie Ansin, wanting to grow her facility as a place where many companies and artists can work, noted, "We are doing what we can to creatively and collaboratively respond to [challenges in the arts] so we can strengthen, mobilize and preserve the theater community in South Florida."

MTC's SandBox is located at 9816 NE Second Ave. in Miami Shores.  For updates on Mad Cat's move and the production of B**w Me, visit the company's web site.

(Photos of Mad Cat artistic director Paul Tei and Erin Joy Schmidt as Isabella Blow by Mitchell Zachs )

April 17, 2013

Colin McPhillamy shares an adventure

Colin300That Colin McPhillamy is an uncommonly fine actor comes as no news to anyone who has seen him in Palm Beach Dramaworks' current show, Eugene Ionesco's Exit the King.  Or to those who saw him at Dramaworks in Copenhagen or The Pitmen Painters, or in several plays at the late, lamented Florida Stage and Promethean Theatre.

The London-born, Royal Central School-trained actor is equally adept at drama and comedy (both skills on display in his current performance), and he has also been a director, teacher, producer, playwright and short story writer.

As it happens, McPhillamy knows his way around a memoir, too.  His new book, An Actor Walks Into China, details his adventures as he struggled to produce Western theater in China and Chinese theater in London.  Frustration, humor, keen observation and a sense of the dramatic (naturally) are all part of McPhillamy's entertaining story.

9781481112970_p0_v1_s260x420On Thursday at 2:30 p.m., the actor-author will read from his book at Dramaworks' Don & Ann Brown Theatre, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach.  Admission to the hour-long reading and talkback is $10, but that buys you a copy of his book.  Can't make it?  The book is also available via the actor's web site, on Amazon and at other online sites.

For information on the reading or Exit the King, call 561-514-4042 or visit the Dramaworks web site.

April 12, 2013

New World debuts new voices

Two college students and six high school students at the New World School of the Arts have written short plays that will debut at this weekend's 2013 New Playwrights Festival.

Directed by faculty members David Kwiat, LaVonne Canfield, Andy Quiroga and Scott Douglas Wilson, the plays explore topics including love, marital relationships, family, suicide and more.  On the program are Making the Cut by Freddy Valle, Rubbing Alcohol by Luna Rodriguez, Like Moths to Flames by Lauren DeLion, Poor, Poor Eleanor by Armando Santana, American Hotdog by Marie Becnel, Corners by Emily Wilson, One Week of April by Ciara Alyse Harris and Superboy by Jennie Coutrier.

Performances are Friday (that's today) at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. For info, call 305-586-9148 or 305-237-3541.  New World is at 25 NE Second St., Miami.

April 04, 2013

CityWrights offers workshops, panels, networking and more

9557120088With summer not so far away, Miami's City Theatre is gearing up for its annual Summer Shorts festival June 6-30 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts -- and for a rich week of programming in the third edition of its CityWrights gathering for playwrights.

City co-founder and literary director Susan Westfall has put together another jam-packed, enlightening symposium June 19-23 at Miami's Epic Hotel.  Two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Tina Howe will participate thanks to the Dramatists Guild Fund's Traveling Masters Program, along with master playwrights Lauren Gunderson (author of the family musical The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful and Her Dog, running June 15-30 at the Arsht) and Steve Yockey (a featured Summer Shorts playwright and stage, TV and film writer). 

Among the highlights and topics of the week:

*  Howe will send an exercise in advance to playwrights attending the conference, and the CityWrights acting ensemble will read the pieces.

*  There will be discussions or panels on how to Howe b&w finaldevelop, launch, market and legally protect work.

* Publishers and agents will offer information sessions.

*  Writing for film, theater, television and the internet will be explored.

*  Entertainment attorneys can earn continuing legal education credits and meet experts on law and the arts.

* A teacher training institute to help educators teaching middle and high school students integrate playwriting into English, language arts and theater classes is part of the conference.

* A dozen students ages 16-19 will attend the conference free, work with professionals and get a reading of their CityWrights-created work. Interested students should email CityWrights@citytheatre.com.

*  Two workshops for theater professionals, one on self-producing, the other on creating autobiographical solo shows, are part of the gathering.

114 laurenThe master playwrights and writers whose work is being produced as part of Summer Shorts will hold question-and-answer sessions about their work and careers, and the masters will read from their plays on Saturday evening.  Numerous readings will be part of the week, and the winner City Theatre's National Award for Short Playwrighting, with comes with a $1,000 prize, will be revealed at the conference launch party June 19.

Two early-bird rate all-access passes are on sale through April 30 -- $275 for regular attendees, $175 for students (those rise to $350 for a regular pass, $275 for students after the deadline).  One-day pass rates for specific programs range from $100 to $195.

To register or get more information, call 305-755-9401 or visit the City Theatre web site.

 (Photos show, top to bottom, Susan Westfall, Tina Howe and Lauren Gunderson)