theater

South Florida’s Push For Theater Art And Relief Goes on

Apr 16, 2020
Florida International University

It’s mid-April, a month into isolating at home, and South Florida’s theater artists and companies are busily engaged in virtual programming, classes and relief efforts. Here’s a roundup of initiatives, some new, others ongoing.

FAU THEATRE LAB

Theatre Lab’s Online Original Monologue Festival (#OOMF) in March was a hit, so now the Florida Atlantic University company is planning a slightly different April edition of its virtual effort to help the region’s theater artists.

South Florida Theater Community Plans For Its Next Act Following COVID-19

Apr 1, 2020
STIAN ROENNING

In the good ol’ days of early March, people in South Florida were still congregating like crazy – going out for dinner or drinks, flocking to sporting events, attending school, working on tans at the beach, packing movie theaters, planning to see one or more of the height-of-season shows the region’s theaters were getting ready to open.

Joan Marcus

The coronavirus has upended daily life, shutting down most large events and public spaces, including the theater.

Broadway singer Laura Benanti, who's known for her Tony-award winning role in the 2008 revival of "Gypsy," recently tweeted about the impact the closures would have on high school students, many of whom had planned to perform upcoming musicals.

"As I know for so many of us, I know for me, my high school musical was like a life saver,” she said on Twitter.

One-Woman Show 'Pretty Fire' Delivers Multitude Of Messages For Women's History Month

Mar 10, 2020
Courtesy of African Heritage Cultural Arts Center

When the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center wanted to select a play for its Women's History Month celebration, Charlayne Woodard's NAACP award-winning, one-woman show, "Pretty Fire," was top of mind.

"Pretty Fire" is a five-part story that moves through the discrimination and oppression experienced by African-Americans in the 1950s and 1960s. The play, which Woodard performed in its 1992 premiere in Los Angeles, is autobiographical.

Nick Reuschel / Courtesy of Melissa Errico

Broadway star Melissa Errico fell in love as a child with the music of French composer Michel Legrand.

“My entire life, I was raised by a concert-pianist father who's obsessed with Michel Legrand. He’s a surgeon and a concert pianist and obsessed with Michel,” says Errico, who performs an all-Legrand concert Sunday evening at Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

Review: Arsht Center's 'Hamilton' Lives Up To Its Reputation, In Every Way

Feb 21, 2020
Joan Marcus

Last season, undisputed honors for the hottest theater ticket in town went to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Hamilton” in its regional debut at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

This season, the “Hamilton” love continues unabated, albeit with a different touring company of the same show. Fresh from three weeks at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, the “Angelica” cast has begun a four-week run at Miami’s Arsht Center.

Review: 'Miami Motel Stories: North Beach' Tries Something Different

Feb 13, 2020
Pedro Portal

“Miami Motel Stories,” Juggerknot Theatre Co.’s immersive gift to a theatrically diverse South Florida, is back for another round. This time, resident playwright Juan C. Sanchez has interwoven historically inspired short plays with an overarching concept, pushing boundaries yet remaining true to the immersive style that has won Juggerknot so many loyal fans.

Titled “Miami Motel Stories: North Beach,” the show begins in the inviting lobby of The Broadmoor Hotel on Miami Beach’s Ocean Terrace.

Review: M Ensemble's 'Ain't Misbehavin'' Doesn't Fully Hit Its Stride

Feb 11, 2020
DEBORAH GRAY MITCHELL

Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller was a prodigious composer, a great entertainer and a plus-sized pianist whose life ended way too early when he died of pneumonia on a cross-country train trip in 1943. He was just 39.

Thanks in part to the 1978 Tony Award-winning revue, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” Waller’s musical legacy lives on. His wit (and that of his frequent lyricist, Andy Razaf), joy and famous stride piano style have been enjoyed by generations born long after Waller’s Harlem Renaissance heyday.

Review: 'The Cubans' Marks Debut Of Playwright With A Voice Worth Experiencing

Jan 28, 2020
JUSTIN NAMON

An observant, funny, moving slice of Miami life is occupying the stage of Miami Beach’s Colony Theatre just now, thanks to Miami New Drama’s world premiere of Michael Leon’s “The Cubans.”

A New York-based actor who grew up in Miami and graduated from Florida International University, Leon has said he wrote “The Cubans” in part because he didn’t see his community and culture represented in the complex family plays that spoke to him so powerfully.

Review: 'Mamma Mia!' At Actors' Playhouse Is Escapist Theater Of The Best Kind

Jan 28, 2020
ALBERTO ROMEU

Feeling joyous is not so easy these days, given the country’s toxic politics, global climate change, potential pandemics — well, pick your anxiety-producing crisis.

But at least temporarily, joy can be experienced for the price of a theater ticket.

Zoetic Stage's 'American Son' Represents South Florida Theater At Its Finest

Jan 13, 2020
JUSTIN NAMON

Like many contemporary plays, Christopher Demos-Brown’s “American Son” is a small-cast drama, one that unfolds in a taut 84 minutes. But those minutes hold a story of uncommon depth, one that is straightforward yet layered, observant, achingly real and ultimately devastating.

Demos-Brown’s finest play to date was created in Miami and is set here, though its world premiere was in 2016 in Massachusetts, followed by a high-profile Broadway run in 2018 and a Netflix debut in 2019.

WLRN

The future plans for the Coconut Grove Playhouse, a theater built in the 1920s that was center stage to a plethora of  performances over the years, has become a political topic. 

'Viva La Parranda' Immerses Theatergoers In Venezuelan Music, Culture & Food

May 9, 2019
Courtesy of the Colony Theater

A new musical at the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach tells the story of Afro-Caribbean band Parranda El Clavo. The band comes from the small village of El Clavo nestled in Venezuela’s jungle. They regularly play house concerts around the village and are an essential part of the community.

PETER ANDREW BOSCH / Miami Herald

A controversial plan to revive the historic, long-shuttered Coconut Grove Playhouse that requires demolition of its auditorium narrowly won the endorsement of Miami commissioners on Wednesday, but backers are not celebrating as the potential for a mayoral veto looms.

Peter Cunningham

In the opening scene of Christopher Demos-Brown's play "American Son," a black woman sits alone in the waiting room of a Miami police station, desperately waiting for word of her missing 18-year-old son.

Demos-Brown says the impetus for the story was a number of deadly interactions between American police officers and young black men in recent years. But he says his past experience working in the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office gave him a glimpse of the relationships between law enforcement officers that eventually made it onto the stage.

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