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Theater leaders brainstorm, and a musical needs a composer

As part of its 2009 Festival of the Arts running through March 21, the North Campus of Miami Dade College is hosting an event called the South Florida Theater Summit at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday, March 12.  The discussion is a highlight of the festival, which focuses on student performances, a new music competition and the visual arts.

Octavio Roca, interim chair of the college's Arts and Philosophy Department, will preside over the summit, which features Joseph Adler, producing artistic director of GableStage;  Ricky J. Martinez, the New Theatre artistic director; and Scott Shiller, vice-president of Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.  One topic sure to come up:  how theaters are coping with the withering economy.

The free session is in the college's Lehman Theater at the Pawley Arts Center, Bldg. 5, 11380 NW 27th Ave.  For information, call 305-237-1450 or visit the MDC North festival web site..


Two theater professors at Florida International University are putting out a call for a composer who thinks he or she could write the score to a new musical based on Charles Dickens' Hard Times.

MERCADO23_idol_MHD_MCBPhillip Church, who is working on the project with fellow prof Marilyn Skow, observes: "It is ironic...that the world today is experiencing a major technological 'revolution' while poverty and homelessness continue to rise exponentially as unemployment figures skyrocket..."  Church says that Hard Times is close in nature to Les Miserables but that he envisions the new musical being done with a spare instrumentation reflective of the "impoverishment of society itself."

Church says the role of Sissy Jupe is being written with Syesha Mercado in mind.  Mercado, last season's third place finisher on American Idol, is an FIU theater grad. 

Interested composers can phone Church at 305-348-3358 or email him at churchp@fiu.edu.