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5 posts from January 2013

January 30, 2013

'The Whole Caboodle'....and even more

This weekend is one of those when a theater lover could be driving from Miami to West Palm Beach to catch the four (yes, four) new productions that are opening -- and that's not counting the forever-popular Wicked, which has returned to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts for a run through Feb. 17.

CABOODLE SPLAT! (SM)Triple Carbonell Award nominee Michael McKeever, the very successful South Florida playwright whose 1998 play 37 Postcards is going to be produced (in Russian) at the Boshoi Drama Theatre in St. Petersburg starting in June, has proven he can write it all:  comedies, dramas, full-length plays and short ones.  The Whole Caboodle, a collection of seven short McKeever plays, opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Studio Theatre in the Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton.

Parade Productions is presenting the show, which features several plays McKeever originally wrote for Naked Stage's 24-Hour Theatre Project and City Theatre's Summer Shorts Festival.  On the bill are American Gothic, Craven Tutweiler (The Real Life Story Of), Laura Keene Goes On, Knowing Best, Splat!, Love Machine,Rusted and Move On, or Sondheim at Studio 54.

In the versatile cast are Elena Maria Garcia, Clay Cartland, Jacqueline Laggy, Casey Dressler, Candace Caplin and the multitasking McKeever. Kim St. Leon is directing. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, through Feb. 24.  Tickets are $35 and $40.  Call 1-866-811-4111 or visit the Parade Productions web site.

SSChristine1Also in Boca Raton, but way out west, Slow Burn Theatre is mounting yet another lavish musical, this one the rarely produced Side Show.  Kaela Antolino plays Daisy Hilton, and Courtney Poston is Violet Hilton, real-life conjoined twins who became famous in the 1930s and appeard in the Tod Browning movie classic Freaks.

Also in the large cast are Carbonell nominee Matthew Korinko, Rick Pena, Jerel Brown, Conor Walton, Karen Chandler, Krissi Johnson, Lisa Kerstin Braun, Sabrina Gore, Alisha Todd, Justin Schneyer, John Corby, Dan Carter, Michael Mena and Bruno Faria. Patrick Fitzwater is directing and choreographing the show.

The musical, by Bill Russell and Henry Krieger, runs through Feb. 10 at the West Boca Performing Arts Theatre, 12811 W. Glades Rd., Boca Raton.  Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $35 ($30 for seniors, $20 for students).  Call 1-866-811-4111 or visit the Slow Burn web site.

Duo300Palm Beach Dramaworks takes a fresh look at an American classic with its production of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, about a black Chicago family in the 1950s arguing over how to use an insurance payment to change its future.  Carbonell Award nominee Ethan Henry plays Walter Younger, Pat Bowie his mother Lena, in a cast that also includes Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Shirine Babb, Marckenson Charles, Dave Hyland, McLey LaFrance, Jordan Tisdale, Mekiel Benjamin, Joshua Valbrun, Lanardo Davis and Jeffrey Brazzle.  Seret Scott is the director.

Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday, through March 3.  Tickets are $55.  Dramaworks performs in the Don & Ann Brown Theatre, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach.  Call 561-514-4042 or visit the company's web site.

AGNES photo AMiami's New Theatre is also tackling a classic drama beginning this week:  John Pielmeier's Agnes of God.  Christina Groom plays a novice nun accused of murdering her newborn baby.  Pamela Roza plays the psychiatrist trying to get to the heart of the shocking mystery, while Barbara Sloan is the young nun's protective Mother Superior.  Ricky J. Martinez is staging the play.

Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, through Feb. 17 (no late show Feb. 3).  Tickets are $40 ($35 Thursday and Sunday evening; $15 student rush tickets, and the first 25 students under 25 get in free opening weekend).  New Theatre performs at the Roxy Performing Arts Center, 1645 SW 107th Ave., Miami.  Call 305-443-5909 or visit the theater's web site.

Yes, it's a way busy theater weekend with many promising choices.  But get ready: Next weekend is even busier.


January 29, 2013

Harper out, Powers in as star of 'Looped'

IMG_Valerie_Harper_2_1_A25LIRQHValerie Harper has forged a post-Rhodacareer playing powerful, larger-than-life women onstage -- including, in 2010, Tallulah Bankhead in Looped on BroadwayHarper was to have reprised that performance, launching a national tour of Matthew Lombardo's play, Feb. 26-March 3 at Fort Lauderdale's Parker Playhouse.

But Harper has had to leave the show for unspecified medical treatment, though she recently revealed in her memoir I, Rhoda that she was treated for lung cancer in 2008.  She and husband Tony Cacciotti have gone home to Los Angeles, and actress Stephanie Powers will be taking over as Bankhead.

ViewerCasting former Hart to Hartstar Powers as the hard-drinking, hard-living, often outrageous Bankhead actually makes sense when you realize that Lombardo's play is about the troubles Bankhead had re-recording one particularly notable line from the 1965 movie Die, Die, My Darling: "And so Patricia, as I was telling you, that deluded rector has in literal effect closed the church to me."  Powers, you see, played the aforementioned Patricia, the almost-daughter-in-law of Bankhead's crazed character.

After the Parker, the play will moved to Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre, Boston's Majestic and Hartford's Bushnell, with other cities still to be added.

For more information, call 953-462-0222 or visit the Parker web site. The Parker is at 707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale.

January 23, 2013

Help get a play on...and have some fun

Murder, Fugettaboutit Poster (final)Putting on a play is never easy nor cheap, at least if you're aiming for high-quality professional work presented in a major performing arts center.  Alliance Theatre Lab is in the midst of a campaign to raise $5,000 for its March 7-24 production of Brothers Beckett, the David Michael Sirois comedy about twentysomethings who are finding adult life none too easy.  The award-winning play was a major hit for Alliance when the company did it almost two years ago at the Main Street Playhouse in Miami Lakes, but mounting a full production in the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is way more pricey.

So the company has come up with a couple of fun fundraisers to augment its ongoing Indiegogo campaign, which will soon hit $2,000.  First up is a comic murder mystery-Italian dinner night this Sunday at 8 p.m. at Dellaventura's Pizzeria, 4120 SW 64th Ave., Davie.  (Alliance company member Mark Della Ventura, who's in the Brothers Beckett cast, is a driving force in the fundraising.)  The cost for the interactive murder mystery show, a family-style dinner and two glasses of beer or wine is $50 per person, advance reservations required.  Visit the Alliance site for reservations and info.  

Super Bowl for Beckett (portrait)On Monday, Feb. 4, the Beckett boys (and girls) will go bowling at SpareZ Bowling Alley, 5325 S. University Dr., Davie, to raise some more dough.  If that's more up your alley, the event happens from 8 to 10 p.m., with a 7:30 p.m. check-in.  Cost is $20 in advance, $25 at the door.  Again, visit the Alliance site or call 305-259-0418.  Proof that arts fundraising doesn't have to be all earnest and stodgy.

January 22, 2013

Teatro Avante returns with 'El no'

XXVII - IHTF - El.no.Teatro.Avante.Photo.1Teatro Avante closed out the XXVII International Hispanic Theatre festival in July with its production of Cuban playwright Virgilio Piñera's El no.  Adapted by Gilda Santana and directed by Mario Ernesto Sánchez, the play is about the eternal conflict between generations, and it boasts a powerhouse case in Isabel Moreno, Gerardo Riverón, Maribel Barrios and Julio Rodríguez.  The play is performed in Spanish with English supertitles.

Avante is bringing the play back to South Florida Thursday through Sunday for a run at the On Stage Black Box at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami.  Performances are 8:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday, with tickets priced at $30, with discounts available for seniors, students and disabled theatergoers.  Call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or the box office at 305-547-5414.

January 21, 2013

Zach Braff sees his play, Miami-style

Zach Braff1The talented (and very busy) Zach Braff, part of the soon-to-open movie Oz: The Great and Powerful, took a break from project-juggling in Los Angeles for a quick trip to Miami over the weekend.  He had heard from his dad Harold (who lives in South Florida) and others that the current Zoetic Stage production of his first play, All New People, was really good and rather different from the play's 2011 New York production and the 2012 London production in which Braff played the suicidal yet appealing Charlie.

So he flew to Miami with his girlfriend and saw the Saturday night performance with her, his dad and other family members.  The verdict, according to Zoetic artistic director Stuart Meltzer?  He liked it.

To be there for Braff's hush-hush visit, Meltzer drove back to Miami from Key West, where he's directing a production of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks for the Waterfront Playhouse (it previews Jan. 29-30, opens Jan. 31 and runs through Feb. 16).  After the show, the former Scrubs star posed for photos with the cast, offered positive feedback, and then everyone went to the nearby City Hall restaurant for a happy late-night dinner.

DSC_6965All New People winds up its run in the Arsht's Carnival Studio Theater on Sunday.  Performances are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday, with tickets priced at $40 and $45.  Meltzer says the shows have been packed, to a large degree with theater lovers 40 and younger.  If you want to see what Braff wrote -- and what he saw -- call the Arsht at 305-949-6722 or visit the web site. The Carnival is in the Ziff Ballet Opera House at 1300 Biscayne Blvd.

Oh, and Meltzer says Braff is warm, humble and very nice. That's not always the case with Hollywood types, but it's refreshing to hear that the director, writer and star of Garden State is one of the good guys.

(Photos of Braff solo and Braff with cast members Todd Allen Durkin, Betsy Graver, Nicholas Richberg and Amy McKenna by Nathan Valentine/World Red Eye.)