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8 posts from August 2011

August 30, 2011

New Theatre has a deal

New Theatre, which has just kicked off its 26th anniversary season with Ronald Mangravite's adaptation of Henry V, is reaching out to that coveted, elusive younger audience in a smart way.  Students under 25 can buy a six-play student season pass for just $60.  That's less, in most cases, than the cost of one ticket to a touring Broadway show.

For that $60, subscribing students get to see Henry V (running through Sept. 10), A. Rey Patamat's Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (Oct. 14-30), the world premiere of Chambers Stevens' Twain and Shaw Do Lunch (Dec. 2-18), the world premiere of Robert Caisley's Winter (Jan. 27-Feb. 12), the commissioned world premiere of Juan C. Sanchez's Property Line and one other to-be-announced show (May 18-June 3). 

Sure, there are other inexpensive ways for students to sample Miami's cultural riches, particularly via Culture Shock Miami, where students 13-22 pay $5 for admission to select shows/events or get two museum admissions for $5.

But New Theatre's deal is a thrifty way for theater-curious young people to see a season's worth of shows, the majority of them new contemporary plays.  Pretty cool.

New Theatre is at 4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables.  For info, call 305-443-5909 or visit the company's web site.

August 26, 2011

Menzel, Esparza coming to Arsht Center

Idina photo A pair of Broadway stars, Idina Menzel and Raúl Esparza, will give concerts this season at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

First up is Menzel, the Tony Award-winning star of Wicked -- she was the complicated green heroine Elphaba in the original Broadway production.  And she played Rachel's lookalike mom on Fox's Glee

With a full orchestra, Menzel will perform at 8 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Knight Concert Hall, singing rock, pop, jazz and Broadway songs.  Last spring, her hubby (Practice star Taye Diggs, whom she met when the two were in the original cast of Rent) performed his nightclub show at the Arsht's Prelude by Barton G.  Now it's Menzel's turn.

Act07 Babalu Dade CWG Also headed to the Arsht is Esparza, the Miami-raised star who stole the show in Babalu and performed at the Arsht's five-year anniversary celebration.  At his 8 p.m. concert Feb. 11, 2012, the four-time Tony nominee will perform the show that won him raves at Lincoln Center this past season, singing everything from Cuban music to Broadway songs.

Tickets for each concert range from $50 to $125.  They go on sale to Arsht Center members on Monday, to the public on Sept. 18.  The Arsht is located at 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.  For information (starting Monday), phone the Arsht box office at 305-949-6722 or visit the center's web site.

August 25, 2011

Catching up with casting

With the busy start of the theater season fast approaching, we have some casting (and directing) news to share.

Sally00 Theater Trop CWG The Miami Lakes-based Alliance Theatre Lab is taking some of its efforts east to the Pelican Theatre on the Barry University campus. The company's second stage productions begin Sept. 8 when a production of Marsha Norman's Pulitzer Prize-winning'night, Motheropens on the campus at 11300 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores.  Sally Bondi (in photo) plays an aging, dependant mother, with Aubrey Shavonn Kessler as her daughter in Norman's gripping play.  Alliance ensemble member and resident playwright David Michael Sirois is staging the play, which runs through Sept. 25 with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $25 ($15 seniors, $10 students).

Also at the Pelican, Alliance will present The Lab Project, a serious of short plays by Sirois.  Troy Davidson and Barry students appear in the shows, and Barry alum Mcley Lafrance directs.  The lab shows happen at 8 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 10:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12-23.  Admission is $10 ($5 for Barry students).  For info or tickets, call 305-259-0418 or visit the Alliance web site.

308 Amy McKenna will play the manipulative Alexa Vere de Vere inthe Rising Action Theatre's production of Douglas Carter Beane's As Bees in Honey Drown, with Andrew wind playing opposite her as gay writer Evan Wyler. 
Also in the cast are Sahid Arnaud-Pabon, Peter Librach, Clelia Myers and Breeza Zeller. The play, previously done in South Florida at the Caldwell Theatre Company, will be directed by Avi Hoffman.  The show runs Sept. 9-Oct. 9 at Fort Lauderdale's Sunshine Cathedral, 1840 SW Ninth Ave.  Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $35.  Call 1-800-595-4849 or visit the Rising Action web site for details.

MV5BMTk2MjI5Mzg5M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTAwMTQ2MQ@@__V1__SX214_CR00214314_-204x300 Plantation's Mosaic Theatre, which kicks off its season Sept. 15-Oct. 9 with Michael Weller's Side Effects (starring Carbonell Award winners Deborah L. Sherman and Jim Ballard, directed by Richard Jay Simon), has signed a veteran TV actor to star in its Nov. 10-Dec. 4 production of Eric Simonson's Lombardi.  Ray Abruzzo, whose credits include The Sopranos, The Practice and Dynasty, will play legendary Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi opposite Carbonell-winning actress Laura Turnbull.

Mosaic performs at the American Heritage Center for the Arts, 12200 W. Broward Blvd., Bldg. 3000, Plantation.  Shows are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $39.50 ($34 for seniors, $15 for students).  For info, call 954-577-8243 or visit the Mosaic web site.

August 23, 2011

24 Hour Theatre Project returns

Frame The Naked Stage's 24 Hour Theatre Project, that most popular and creative of fundraisers, resurfaces at 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3, at Boca Raton's Count de Hoernle Theatre (yes, that's the home of the Caldwell Theatre Company).

Artistic director Katherine Amadeo (who is simultaneously working on another project with her actor-husband Antonio -- the December birth of a baby boy) has announced the names of a number of South Florida actors, directors and playwrights who are planning to participate in the sleepless, intense creative experience of taking eight brand-new short plays from idea to performance in a day.

This year's lineup, in alphabetical order:  Irene Adjan, Steve Anthony, Andie Arthur, Nancy Barnett, Tracey Barrow-Schoenblatt, Sally Bondi, Barbara Bradshaw, Amy Miller Brennan, Cliff Burgess, Oscar Cheda,Clive Cholerton, Ken Clement, Andrea Conte, Dave Corey, Christopher Demos-Brown, Ryan Didato, Elizabeth Dimon, Todd Allen Durkin, Lela Elam, John Felix, Tony Finstrom, Betsy Graver, Laura Hodos, Avi Hoffman, Julie Kleiner, Michael Leeds, Amy London, Margery Lowe, Michael McKeever, Amy McKenna, John Manzelli, Stuart Meltzer, Leland Patton, Jackie Rivera, Juan C. Sanchez, Deborah Sherman, Adam Simpson, David Michael Sirois, Barbara Sloan, Karen Stephens, Shane Tanner, Barry Tarallo and Laura Turnbull.  And maybe more to come.

The theater is located at 7901 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton.  Tickets are $25 (VIP tickets are $50, and those buy you reserved seating an a souvenir poster).  Buy them via Ovationtix at 1-866-811-4111.  For Naked Stage info, visit the company's web site.

August 15, 2011

Alternative theater takes the spotlight

Conundrum Stages has an ambitious, four-night festival -- On the Boards: Our Alternative Theater Festival -- kicking off on Wednesday at the Tamarac Theatre of Performing Arts, 7143 Pine Island Rd. in Tamarac.  And this festival is affordable:  a suggested $10 donation gets you into any night's program.

Designed to promote South Florida theater companies, the festival also features preshow-concerts by several actor-singers.

Lisa Kerstin Braun On Wednesday, singer Lisa Kerstin Braun kicks things off, followed by a sample of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues directed by and featuring Lea Roy, who is staging the play for a fall fundraiser at the Center for Creative Growth.  The second part of Wednesday's theater bill is The Honesty Project, a theater-music-dance piece drawn from questions answered by Florida Atlantic University theater students.  FAU grad Bradford Sadler directs.

On Thursday, Palm Beach County's Immeasurable Theatre performs Paradise Lost: Wings of War, adapted and directed by Ouida Williams from the poem by John Milton.  After that, The Alliance Theatre Lab presents The Lab Project, previewing new works by resident playwright David Sirois.

Friday's program begins with a concert by john Lariviere, followed by scenes from Thinking Cap Theatre's productions of MilkMilk Lemonade by Joshua Conkel and Death for Sydney Black by Leah Nanako Winkler. Then, Vanessa Garcia's The Charms of the Gifted and Wendy White's 7 Generations get read.

Saturday's program begins with Jeanne Lynn Gray in concert.  Fort Lauderdale's Infinite Abyss Productions will perform Bare: A Trip on Songs, a collection of music featuring six singers.  After that, Three Lefts Productions performs Little Men by Gary and Edmund Entin.

All of the festival programs begin at 7 p.m.  For information, call 954-673-5124, email [email protected] or visit the company's web site.

August 11, 2011

Actor's illness, not zombies, zaps Promethean opening

SOLD LOVE linds and matt In theater as in life, stuff happens. Matthew William Chizever, one of the best horror-musical-comedy leading men in South Florida (hey, it's a genre), has been battling strep/tonsilitis leading up to tomorrow's planned opening of Song of the Living Dead, A Zombie Musical, a Promethean Theatre production in the Black Box Theatre at Nova Southeastern University.  And no matter how funny/weird the show (Cannibal! The Musical, anyone?), the lead actor has to be able to sing.

So unfortunately, producing artistic director Deborah L. Sherman had to scrub this week's shows and push Song of the Living Dead to next week.  The musical will preview Aug. 18 and open at 8 p.m. Aug. 19 in the black box at the Don Taft University Center, 3301 College Ave., Davie.  The show runs through Sept. 4, with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $25.  For info, call 786-317-7580 or visit the Promethean web site. Anyone holding tickets to this week's shows can call the Promethean number or Ovation Tix at 1-866-811-4111 to make new arrangements.

(Photo of Matthew William Chizever and Lindsey Forgey in Song of the Living Dead 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.