December 01, 2010

New Theatre signs a star

0512270854As part of its premiere-filled season, Coral Gables' New Theatre has already announced its production of Shirley Lauro's The Radiant, a play about Marie Curie.  Now, via its new e-newsletter, the 25-year-old troupe has revealed that Angelica Torn will star as the scientist whose work in the field of radioactivity won her two Nobel prizes.

Torn, daughter of Rip Torn and Geraldine Page, last appeared in South Florida in the 2005 production of Edge, a solo show about poet Sylvia Plath at the Coconut Grove Playhouse.  She won a Carbonell Award for her earlier appearance as Honey in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Playhouse.

The Radiant will be at New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St. in Coral Gables, March 25-April 17, 2011.

Also just announced are this year's celebrity playwrights for New Theatre's annual Miami Stories fundraiser on Feb. 17: businessman and arts leader Ricky Arriola, attorney Marlon Hill and outgoing Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorenson.

For info on New Theatre, where Rogelio Martinez's Fizz (a wild comedy about former Coca-Cola CEO Roberto Goizueta and the flop that was New Coke) opens this weekend, call 305-443-5909 or visit the company's web site.


June 10, 2010

New Theatre sets its new season

Ricky j Living up to its motto/mission -- "New Voices - New Works & The Classics" -- Coral Gables' New Theatre has revealed four of the six plays planned for its 25th anniversary 2010-2011 season.

Artistic director Ricky J. Martinez kicks off the lineup with the theater's traditional end-of-summer Shakespeare production, this year The Tempest, which runs from Aug. 27-Sept. 26.

Next is Fizz by the terrific Rogelio Martinez.  The comedy about the failure of the "New" Coke runs Oct. 8-Nov. 7.  A still-to-be chosen production runs Nov. 19-Dec. 19, then Shirley Lauro's The Radiant, a play about the life of Marie Curie, gets its world premiere Jan. 14-Feb. 13.

Another TBA slot is Feb. 25-March 27, then the season ends with a production of Tennessee Williams' American classic A Streetcar Named Desire April 8-May 8.

New Theatre is located at 4120 Laguna St. Five-play flexible subscriptions are $165 or get six plays for $180. For more info on the company and its new season, phone 305-443-5909 or visit its web site.

October 28, 2009

Spooky tales and a new play

WEiRD-webpage-580x859 Area Stage's Conservatory has come up with a Halloween week double header:  a haunted house and a program of short plays and musical numbers aimed at middle schoolers and high school students.

Weird Tales and Other Amazing Stories, a collection of plays by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Dylan Guerra and Flavia Pallozzi, will be performed tonight-Friday at 7 p.m., and on Halloween night (Saturday) at 5 and 8 p.m.  The actors include playwrights Guerra and Pallozzi, as well as Ani Mesa, Ale Mesa, Brandon Flynn, Daniel Gerchakov, Daniella Pereira, Jonjon Rodaz, Katie Erwin, Kevin Rios, Manuel Jaquez, Marilyn Caserta, Mia Pennekamp, Natalia Ochoa, Natasha Sedan, Rachel Rodaz and Sasha Neufeld.  There's also an on-site Haunted House, and on Halloween, a costume contest.

Admission to the Haunted House and show is $20 ($10 for students).  For the Haunted House only, it's $3 or two for $5.

Area is based at the Riviera Theatre, 1560 S. Dixie Hwy. in Coral Gables.  Call 305-666-2078 or visit the web site for more information.


If you're a grown-up theater lover looking for something new and different (and free) to experience tonight, head on over to New Theatre at 4120 Laguna St. in Coral Gables.  The company is doing a reading of Kirk Citron's play But Not for Lunch.  The play is about a successful attorney who retires and wants his younger wife to do likewise, but she doesn't agree.  For info, call 305-443-5909 or visit New Theatre's web site.

October 26, 2009

Another way to honor South Florida theater

The annual Carbonell Awards, coveted and often controversial, have honored South Florida's theater artists for more than three decades.  But tonight during the closing party of the South Florida Theatre Festival, the much younger Silver Palm Awards will recognize a variety of outstanding work done in the region between Sept. 1, 2008, and Aug. 31, 2009.

Angie00_radosh_wknd_ES Receiving Silver Palms for performance are Angie Radosh(pictured, as Amanda Wingfield, with Cliff Burgess as Tom), for Speaking Elephantat the Women's Theatre Project and The Glass Menagerie at New Theatre; Israel Garcia, for Mauritius and The Taming of the Shrew, both at New Theatre; Barbara Bradshaw, for The Chairsat Palm Beach Dramaworks and Dead Man's Cell Phoneat Mosaic Theatre; John Archie, forRadio Golf at Mosaic and The Whipping Manat the Caldwell Theatre Company; Gregg Weiner, for Speed-the-Plowat GableStage, The Seafarer at Mosaic and Dumb Showat The Promethean Theatre Company.

Matthew William Chizever wins the Silver Palm as outstanding new talent for his work in Cannibal the Musical at Promethean and La Cage aux Folles at Broward Stage Door Theatre.  Barbara Stein is being honored for her producing work on 1776 and Les Miserables at Actors' Playhouse.  Clive Cholerton gets a Silver Palm for his direction of Vices: A Love Story and The Whipping Man at the Caldwell; Margaret Ledford for Cannibal the Musical, Dumb Show and The Banality of Love at Promethean; and Bill Castellino for Cagney and Some Kind of Wonderful at Florida Stage.  Castellino's collaborator, Christopher McGovern, is being honored for his outstanding musical direction of both shows.

The Silver Palms are also honoring GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler for his support of the theater community and his consistently outstanding work; stage manager Lara Kinzeland her crew for their work on Palm Beach Dramaworks' Private Lives; and both Becon Television and Florida Media News for their support of theater in the region.

Also at tonight's bash, Barry Steinman and Antonio Amadeo will receive the Theatre League's annual Remy Awards for their service to the league.

League members get in free, but anyone is welcome to attend the party at Revolution Live, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.  Admission is $20, and the fun begins at 7:30 p.m.  E-mail to make a reservation.

September 14, 2009

Theater gets festive

The Theatre League of South Florida -- or TLSF, as the group is now branding itself -- is gearing up for the fourth annual South Florida Theatre Festival, which kicks off with dual events Oct. 12 and runs through Oct. 26.  Performances, parties, a luncheon and the Silver Palm Awards ceremony are on the bill, along with local participation in the national Free Night of Theater event.

First up, both on Oct. 12, are the Naked Stage's annual 24-Hour Theatre Project, this year in the large downstairs theater at Actors' Playhouse, with a public performance of hot-from-the-laptop short plays at 8 p.m; and Florida Stage's reading of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later at 7 p.m.

Free night of theater On Oct. 15, a number of area theaters -- including Actors' Playhouse, Florida Stage, GableStage, New Theatre, Palm Beach Dramaworks, the Women's Theatre Project, the Fort Lauderdale Children's Theatre and the Miami Children's Theatre -- join with more than 450 theaters around the country to offer some free theater tickets to their shows.  The Free Night of Theater event, sponsored by the Theatre Communications Group, is still getting its full web info up and running, so check back for details. 

Miami ARTzine holds its fourth anniversary party from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 19 at Museo Vault in Miami's Wynwood Arts District, and TLSF members get $5 off the $20 admission price.  On Oct. 24 at noon at the Miami Shores Country Club, the South Florida International Press Club is honoring TV personality Cristina Saralegui, Barry University president Sister Linda Bevilaqua, philanthropist Candi Casino and a trio of arts leaders: TSLF president Meredith Lasher, Miami-Dade  Department of Cultural Affairs director Michael Spring and Broward Cultural Division director Mary Becht.  The $65 luncheon charge funds scholarships for future journalists; call Andy Alpers at 305-596-4228 for reservations.

The 2009 festival ends with a closing-night party Oct. 26 from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale.  A $20 admission charge (free for TLSF members) gets you food, drink and a chance to watch as the Silver Palm Awards honoring excellence in South Florida theater are presented.  Call TLSF at 954-557-0778 for more information.

July 08, 2009

Fresh theater at a bargain price

New Theatre hosted Foryoucansee Theater's debut production of Toners in Time the  last weekend in June, and a raucous time was had by all for just $10 a ticket.

NEW ONES photo Since the company isn't putting up its own production 'til The Taming of the Shrew opens Aug. 27, artistic director Ricky J. Martinez and managing director Eileen Suarez are opening their theater to another group of young artists.  Lili Bita's Women of Fire and Blood runs Friday-Sunday, July 10-12, followed by The New Ones Festival July 17-19.  Both productions are the work of recent New World School of the Arts alumni, and again, you can see either show for just $10 a ticket.

Betsy Graver, Ashley Olberding, Ann Marie Olson, Jackie Rivera and Gladys Ramirez are in Women, described as "edgy, raw and erotic poetry, as seen through the eyes of 'the other women' in Greek mythology."  Anne Chamberlain (in Road to Crazy Town, pictured here), Mark Della Ventura (Small Membership), Justin McLendon (I Wish), Olberding (For as Long as We Both Shall Live) and Ramirez (The Blushing Bride) are the "New Ones," actor-playwrights performing one-person shows.

The shows go on at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday.  New Theatre is at 4120 Laguna St. in Coral Gables.  Call the box office at 305-443-5909 or visit the theater's web site for more info.

May 19, 2009

On the horizon

I'm back from New York, apparently having brought the gray skies and rainy weather with me.  In a week, I saw seven Broadway plays and musicals, plus all three of Tarell Alvin McCraney's "Brother/Sister" plays at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, N.J. -- a phenomenally moving experience, about which I'll be writing soon.  Broadway was busy: Loads of successful shows, though some of the struggling ones have hired unemployed actors to pass out discount coupons to the throngs of tourists coursing down Broadway and Seventh Avenue.  This is kind of genius, a grand step up from the guys who pass out fliers for bus tours of Manhattan:  The actors actually know something about the shows and can hold forth on Eugene O'Neill, Neil LaBute and so on.

Also while I was away, Havana Bourgeois opened at Actors' Playhouse, Dumb Show at The Promethean Theatre, El inconveniente at Teatro 8, and Yankee Tavern had its world premiere at Florida Stage.  I plan to catch up with the shows, but because we didn't want readers to wait, we picked up Bill Hirschman's Havana Bourgeois and Dumb Show reviews for the Sun-Sentinel and sent him to review Yankee Tavern for The Herald; Mia Leonin covered El inconveniente for us.  Just a little inside-baseball note on the Herald's continued commitment to theater coverage.


Also while I was away, New Theatre sent out an updated list of the shows for its 2009-2010 season.  New to the lineup is a production of Peter Shaffer's Equus, a play that was revived on Broadway this season with Daniel Radcliffe (of Harry Potter fame) making an impressive (if not Tony-nominated) New York stage debut.  New Theatre's Equus will run Feb. 25-March 28, 2010, following three world premieres.  For details, call 305-443-5909 or visit the theater's web site.

Two other theaters have free readings on the horizon.

Rising Action's Senior Readers Theatre is offering an evening of short plays and scenes on Friday at 8 p.m.  The theater is at 840 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; call 954-561-2225 or visit the web site for information.

On May 30 at 2 p.m., Conundrum Stages will do a staged reading of N. Richard Nash's The Rainmakerat Collins Community Center, 3900 NE Third Ave. in Oakland Park.  Elizabeth Garrard directs Arthur Bivins, Julia Clearwood, Dominick Daniel, Jeff Holmes, Dan Leonard, Summer Hill Seven and Michael St. Pierre.  Call 954-630-4500 or send an e-mail to for more info.

May 07, 2009

New Theatre, new season

Ricky J Coral Gables' New Theatre, which commissioned and premiered Nilo Cruz's Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics, has found its groove in presenting new plays.  At this year's Carbonell Awards, the theater scored four of five nominations for best new work, and though William Mastrosimone's Dirty Business at Florida Stage won the award, New Theatre's dominance of the category, under the artistic direction of Ricky J. Martinez,  certainly makes a statement.

The company's 2009-2010 season, which begins Aug. 27-Sept. 27 with its annual summer Shakespearean production (this time, The Taming of the Shrew), continues to mix the old (classic plays) and the new (world premieres).

After Shrew, New Theatre premieres David Caudle's In Development, a play set at a conference for aspiring playwrights.  This is no deadly dull meeting, however; well, deadly maybe, as the comedy's plot involves sex, dramaturgy and death. That one runs Oct. 8-Nov. 8.

Next, New Theatre will present one of the National New Play Network premieres of 26 Milesby Quiara Alegria Hudes.  A Pulitzer finalist and the book writer of the Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights, Hudes tells the story of a Cuban mother who defies a custody ruling, kidnaps her estranged Jewish daughter and hits the road.  It runs Nov.19-Dec. 20.

Sandra Riley's Hour of the Tiger gets its world premiere Jan. 14-Feb. 14, 2010.  It's about the dilemma of an American woman in Japan as she contemplates trying to rescue a geisha.

One more classic will be added to the lineup Feb. 25-March 28, followed by a final world premiere April 8-May 9.

Season subscription prices, which represent a 25 percent discount on single-ticket prices, are $180 for a six-play flexible pass, $150 for a five-play pass (which excludes The Taming of the Shrew).  For information, call 305-443-5909 or visit the New Theatre web site.

April 13, 2009

Theater lover's heaven

 The critics I know in South Florida have been joking about this week -- some loving/dreading it -- for several months.  For whatever reason, six major South Florida companies have scheduled openings of new shows within three days this week.  For theater lovers, it's bliss.  For critics, it's "what do I see when" and "thank God gas isn't over $4 a gallon any more."

I'll tell you a little more about each of these shows as the week goes on, but here's what's opening:

M Ensemble is opening I Ain't Yo Uncle: The New Jack Revisionist Uncle Tom's Cabin, Robert Alexander's biting satire of the Harriet Beecher Stowe classic, on Thursday, April 16, at 8 p.m.

Mosaic Theatre begins performances of Winter Miller's In Darfur, about the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, Thursday at 8 p.m.

MAURITIUS photo A New Theatre starts performances of Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius, about half-sisters who inherit trouble along with a rare stamp collection, at 8 p.m. Thursday. (That's Michaela Cronan pictured in Mauritius)

The Caldwell Theatre Company has previews Tuesday-Thursday, April 14-16, and a Friday opening of its Agatha Christie musical spoof Something's Afoot.

Broward Stage Door Theatre opens Stephen Sondheim's Tony-winning A Little Night Music at 2 p.m. Thursday.

And GableStage opens its production of Nilaja Sun's No Child, with Lela Elam playing 16 characters at a public school, on Saturday, April 18, at 8 p.m.

March 10, 2009

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