August 12, 2014

GableStage swaps out a show in its 2014-2015 lineup

Artistic director Joseph Adler announced his new GableStage season a couple of days ago, but he's making a switch in solo shows.  Instead of Terry Teachout's Satchmo at the Waldorf, Adler will present I'll Eat You Last, a comedy by Red author John Logan.  Bette Midler starred as Hollywood super agent Sue Mengers when the play was done on Broadway in the spring of 2013, and Adler has decided to showcase a still-to-be-cast powerful actress in that slot next summer.

GableStage winds up its run of Samuel D. Hunter's The Whale on Sunday, and the official last show of the current season is Terrence McNally's Mothers and Sons, which runs Sept. 20-Oct. 19.

IMG_Tarell_McCraney_4_1_IB2P78GH_L68676250The 2014-2015 lineup begins with Joshua Harmon's Bad Jews, a comedy about the grandchildren of a Holocaust survivor fighting over his religious heirlooms, Nov. 22-Dec. 21.  Next is Tarell Alvin McCraney's Choir Boy, a play about a gay student named leader of a gospel choir at a black prep school, running Jan. 24-Feb.  22.  David Ives' New Jerusalem, a play about 17th century philosopher Baruch De Spinoza defending himself at an Amsterdam synogogue against charges of atheism, runs March 28-April 26.

Harvey Fierstein's Casa Valentina, a Tony Award-nominated play about straight men who gathered in the Catskills in 1962 to indulge their passion for cross dressing, runs May 30-June 28.  I'll Eat You Last runs throughout August 2015.  The new season's final show is Irish playwright Conor McPherson's The Night Alive, which runs Oct. 3-Nov. 1.

GableStage memberships are priced at $225 for renewals, $260 for new subscribers.  They allow flexibility in choice of performance, and subscribers can bring guests at $5 off the regular ticket price. The company performs at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  For information, call 305-445-1119 or visit the theater's web site.

September 06, 2013

McCraney's 'Antony and Cleopatra' has its cast

IMG_Tarell_McCraney_port_2_1_6V362J91Tarell Alvin McCraney's set-in-Haiti version of William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, a collaborative effort by South Florida's GableStage, Great Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company and New York's Public Theater, now has its Mark Antony, its Cleopatra, an international cast and a full creative team.  And the production, which will debut at the RSC's Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon Nov. 7-30 before moving to Miami Beach's Colony Theater Jan. 11-Feb. 9 and the Public Feb. 18-March 23, involves a trio of grads from Miami's New World School of the Arts.

First among them, of course, is McCraney, who graduated from New World's high school then went on to earn degrees from DePaul University and the Yale School of Drama.  The Miami-raised playwright, a rising star in the United States and England, has moved the action of the play to the late 1700s in Saint-Domingue on the eve of the Haitian Revolution against the French.  He is also directing the play, which begins rehearsals this month in England,

Haitian-American choreographer Gelan Lambert, also a New World grad, will create the production's dances and movement.  And New World graduate Charise Castro-Smith, an actor, playwright and Yale Drama School grad, has been cast as Iras and Octavia.

Five of the play's performers are American:  Castro-Smith, Joaquina Kalukango (Cleopatra), Ian Lassiter (Agrippa and Thyreus), Chivas Michael (Mardian, Eros and The Soothsayer), and Henry Stram (Lepidus and Proculeius).  England's Jonathan Cake will play Mark Antony, with fellow British performers Samuel Collings (Octavius), Ash Hunter (Pompey, Alexas and Scarus), Chukwudi Iwuji (Enobarbus) and Sarah Niles (Charmian and Menas) rounding out the cast.

The set is being designed by the RSC's Tom Piper, with Stephen Strawbridge doing the lighting and Michael Thurber composing the music.

GableStage is doing its run of Antony and Cleopatra at the Colony on Miami Beach's Lincoln Road because of the venue's greater seating capacity.  In addition to regular performances, the company will bring in Miami-Dade County students to experience McCraney's action-packed take on Shakespeare at special free shows.

For information on Antony and Cleopatra in South Florida, call the GableStage box office at 305-446-1116 or visit the theater's web site.

                                (Photo of Tarell Alvin McCraney by George Schiavone)

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.



November 27, 2012

GableStage gets NEA grant for McCraney 'Hamlet'

Theater_Antony_and_CleopatraGableStage, which will join with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and New York's Public Theater in premieringTarell Alvin McCraney's set-in-Haiti Antony and Cleopatra next season, has just been awarded a $10,000 National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant to support its upcoming production of Hamlet.  The 90-minute adaptation by McCraney and Bijan Sheibani, commissioned by the RSC, will run at GableStage Jan. 12-Feb. 10, then be performed free for 15,000 Miami-Dade County Public Schools students at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium in Liberty City and the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay.

The NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for the Art Works grants from not-for-profit groups seeking more than $74 million in support.  GableStage's is one of 832 approved grants totalling $22.3 million.

McCraney will direct his adaptation, and he has now settled on his cast.  Edgar Sanchez will play Hamlet, with Dylan Kammerer as Horatio, James Randolph as Claudius and the Ghost, Alana Arenas as Gertrude, Peter Haig as Polonius, Ryan George as Laertes and Rosencrantz, Mimi Davila as Ophelia and Arielle Hoffman as Guildenstern and a player.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday (no evening show the first weekend).  Tickets range from $37.50-$50.  GableStage performs in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  For information, call 305-445-1119 or visit the theater's web site.

September 06, 2012

Naked Stage's 24-Hour Theatre Project returns

24_2012_take_3_copyThe Naked Stage recently wrapped up an impressive, much-lauded production of the spooky Turn of the Screw at Barry University's Pelican Theatre.  Now comes word that artistic director Katherine Amadeo and her hubby-colleague, Antonio Amadeo, have a date and a venue for the sixth edition of their way-popular 24-Hour Theatre Project.

This year's celebration of the quick-turnaround talents of South Florida playwrights, actors and directors will happen Nov. 12 at GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel.  That's where the annual fundraiser was born in 2007, and after taking it to Actors' Playhouse and the now-in-limbo Caldwell Theatre Company, Naked Stage is returning the event to its intimate roots.

GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler says, "It's a pleasure to have them back.  I thought their production of Turn of the Screw was terrific, and I want to see Naked Stage continue."

Participating artists and specifics are still being worked out. But you can bet that an array of playwrights will gather on Sunday, Nov. 11, to get titles, actors and directors for their unwritten short plays.  They'll write all night, then early Monday morning, their casts, directors and the rest of the 24-Hour staff will gather to bring the short scripts to life.  That evening, fans will assemble to see just how much fun speedily assembled theater can be.

To track updates on the event, visit The Naked Stage's blog.

August 29, 2012

Hot casting news

_DCS0020-2 finalSouth Florida's artistic directors do compete for the services of actors they like working with, and increasingly they find find some stage veterans unavailable due to shooting schedules for made-in-Miami TV shows like Burn Notice and Magic City. Those realities may factor into some early -- and exciting -- casting news.

At GableStage in Coral Gables, Joseph Adler is getting ready to open his production of Lynn Nottage's Ruinedon Sept. 8, but he has already picked the duo who will star in David Ives' Venus in FurNov. 10-Dec. 9.  Matthew William Chizever plays a playwright auditioning actresses for his stage adaptation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's 19th century erotic novel; Betsy Graver is the young actress who turns out to be just right for the part.

Ken ClementPlantation's Mosaic Theatre is opening its season Sept. 20-Oct. 14 with Nikolai Gogol's Diary of a Madman, adapted by David Holman along with Neil Armfield and Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush.  Ken Clement gets the dazzling role of Russian civil servant Poprischin, a man driven crazy and delusional by bureaucracy.

Cig300In West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Dramaworks has announced some key casting for its entire season, which begins Oct. 12-Nov. 11 with Erin Joy Schmidt and Brian Wallace starring in Lanford Wilson's Talley's Folly.  Edward Albee's searing drama A Delicate Balance, which runs Dec. 7-Jan. 6, will star Broadway (and Albee) veteran Maureen Anderman, along with Carbonell Award winners Angie Radosh and Dennis Creaghan.  Ethan Henry gets the lead role in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, running Feb. 1-March 3.  The infinitely watchable Colin McPhillamy will star in Eugene Ionesco's absurdist classic Exit the King March 29-April 28.  Julie Rowe and Margery Lowe close out the season May 24-June 23 with Brian Friel's Tony Award-winning Dancing at Lughnasa.

Don't know about you, but the prospect of seeing these actors at work makes me eager for the season to start.

(Photos of Betsy Graver and Matthew William Chizever in Venus in Fur and Ken Clement by George Schiavone; photo of Angie Radosh, Dennis Creaghan and Maureen Anderman in A Delicate Balance by Alicia Donelan)



January 30, 2012

Guirgis is heading to GableStage

TMFWTH Image 1Stephen Adly Guirgis, award-winning playwright and one of the three artistic directors of New York's hot LAByrinth Theater Company, is coming to Coral Gables to check out GableStage's smash version of his play The Motherf**ker With the Hat.  But seeing Joseph Adler's production of a play that has won raves from South Florida critics and the Wall Street Journal's Terry Teachout (he called Motherf**ker "the best new play of 2011") isn't the only thing Guirgis will be doing during his visit.  Like Adler himself so often does, Guirgis will be giving back to the region's theater community.

On Monday, Feb. 6, the playwright whose works include Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, Our Lady of 121st Street, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and The Little Flower of East Orange will lead a free writing workshop from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at GableStage -- but the session is open only to members of Actors' Equity and the Dramatists' Guild, Theatre League members, and students or faculty from college or university theater departments.  Anyone who wants to attend must email Adler at

Guirgis[1]Guirgis describes the workshop this way:  "You don't have to be a writer to do the class...this is to encourage self-empowerment...experienced writers are free to come.  Attendees should bring pen and paper.  The substance of the workshop is a few writing exercises flcused on writing from a personal place, mixed in with conversation demystifying the writing experience.  There will also be time for questions and discussions about anything writing- or theater-related."

The playwright, whose fellow LAByrinth company members include Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Bobby Canavale, David Zayas, Eric Bogosian, Sam Rockwell and numerous other actors and playwrights, is also sticking around for a special industry-only performance of The Motherf**ker With the Hat at 8 p.m. next Monday at GableStage, which should be a special thrill for cast members Arturo Fernandez, Gladys Ramirez, Ethan Henry, Betsy Graver and Alex Alvarez.

But again -- only those South Florida theater community members, theater faculty and theater students can attend, and they must request a free ticket by emailing Adler.  GableStage is, of course, located at the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  Check out its web site for more info on the company.

January 26, 2012

'In the Next Room'....and other theater news

Publicity pictures 203Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) got its professional South Florida debut in May at GableStage.  Now the play about Victorian women, their sexual repression and expression, gets a university production directed by the imaginative, daring Jesús Quintero.

In the Next Room, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, runs this weekend at Florida International University's Wertheim Performing Arts Center, 10910 SW 17th St., Miami, with performances at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.  The show resumes Feb. 8-12, with those performances at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are $15 ($12 for seniors and FIU faculty or staff, $10 for FIU students and alumni association members).  Because of the adult content and language, those involved with the production recommend it for audiences 16 and older.

Two free special events are connected with the play.  A 45-minute panel discussion about the ideas expressed in In the Next Room will follow this Sunday's matinee.  And at 7 p.m. Feb. 8, a half-hour look at how the production was put together, featuring input from cast members and the production team, will precede the performance.

For info, call 305-348-0496 or visit the FIU theater web site.


In recognition of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami, in association with the Holocaust Memorial of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, will present two concert performances of Ghetto Tango.  Performed by Yiddish artists Zalmen Mlotek, Daniella Rabbani and Avram Mlotek, the concert features edgy, sad and sardonic songs that were sung in underground cabarets in Europe's Jewish ghettos during World War II.

The performances are 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  Tickets are $36 (students pay $10).  For info, call 305-284-6882 or email Maxine Schwartz at


The Miami Lakes-based Alliance Theatre Lab is betting on young play-writing talent for its 2012 season. 

The lineup kicks off with the world premiere of David Sirois' Off Center of Nowhere March 16-April 8. New World School of the Arts grad Sirois, a best new work Carbonell Award nominee for last year's Brothers Beckett at Alliance, this time focuses on a high school student whose revelation of a secret leads to confessions that might destroy her family.

Sirois' friend and fellow New World grad, Mark Della Ventura, is up next with an expanded version of his solo show Small Membership.  Running June 1-24, the play focuses on an insecure young man as he grapples with issues of love, heartbreak and more.  Della Ventura also has another play, roomies, set to close out the Alliance season Nov. 9-Dec. 2.  That one is about five acting conservatory grads living together as one tries to write a play about them.

Alliance performs at the Main Street Playhouse, 6766 Main St., Miami Lakes, and its shows are presented at 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $25 ($15 seniors, $10 students).  For info, call 305-259-0418 or visit the company's web site.


Times are tough, but the Maltz Jupiter Theatre has some happy news to share.  The company has received a three-to-one challenge grant that will likely result in the company having a $10 million endowment.  The Maltz Family Foundation will give the theater $7 million if the company, which already has $500,000 in its endowment, raises $2.5 million by June 30.  The theater has already raised more than $1.62 million of its share.  For info, visit the theater's web site or email managing director Tricia Trimble at

(Photo of Michelle Antelo in FIU's In the Next Room by Marilyn Skow)

December 09, 2011

'Mother,' 'Normal' casts chosen

The directors of wo scorching-hot shows opening next month -- Stephen Adley Guirgis The Motherf**ker with the Hat and the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal -- have chosen their casts.  Now comes the hard work of rehearsals that will hopefully lead to opening-night magic in January.

ARTURO00 20UNDER40ARTS TROP CTJFirst up, running at GableStage Jan. 7-Feb. 5, is The Motherf**ker with the Hat (aka the play that got Chris Rock to make his Broadway debut last season).  Though the play isn't running on Broadway now, it has been in the news lately because Guirgis openly criticized the current production at TheaterWorks in Hartford, Conn., for using white actors in the key roles of a recovering addict and his girlfriend -- both Puerto Rican.  GableStage's Joseph Adler is certainly not going to come in for that kind of criticism.

Arturo Fernandez (pictured) will play Jackie, a newly sober guy who's on parole, with Gladys Ramirez as his decidedly unsober girlfriend Veronica.  Alex Alvarez plays Jackie's cousin Julio.  Ethan Henry plays Ralph D (the Rock role), Jackie's AA sponsor, and Betsy Graver is Ralph's unhappy wife, who finds Jackie way hot.

The show has performances at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday (no late show Jan. 9).  Tickets are $50 on Saturday, $47.50 for the Sunday matinee, $42.50 Thursday-Friday and $37.50 Sunday evening.  GableStage is in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. For info, call 305-445-1119 or visit the theater's web site.

Sarah A in Rent Apr 10Actors' Playhouse is following up its triumphant production of Tracy Letts' August: Osage County from last season with another Pulitzer winner:  the searing, rock-driven musical Next to Normal.  The 2009 Broadway hit, which won three Tony Awards, centers on a wife and mother who is battling bipolar disorder, and it delves into grief, suicide, drug abuse and medical ethics.

For a cast with plenty of Broadway and touring experience, David Arisco has chosen Jodie Langel (currently starring as the Narrator in the Maltz Jupiter Theatre's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) to play the troubled mother Diana.  Eddy Rioseco, a New World high school grad, plays her son Gabe, with Mark Sanders as Diana's husband Dan. University of Miami grad Sarah Amengual (pictured) is Diana's daughter Natalie, and New World grad Nick Duckart is Diana's shrink.  Still to be cast is the role of Henry, a boy interested in Natalie.

Next to Normal will preview Jan. 18-19 and open Jan. 20, running through Feb. 12 at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables.  Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.  Tickets are $40-$48.  For info, call 305-444-9293 or visit the Actors' Playhouse web site.