Monday, September 29, 2014

Mondays are Dark

Tra-la!  The new theatre season has begun!
Not only are more shows opening, but more stories about upcoming shows are showing up in our media feeds.

Here’s our pick of the litter for your Monday reading list:
 
Everybody Loves Lucy
South Florida native Euriamis Losada returns as Ricky Ricardo in the national tour of I Love Lucy Live On Stage, opening this week at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing ArtsThe Miami Herald spoke with the creators and Losada, and it seems The Sun-Sentinel attended the same press conference.  Miami ArtZine also has an article, but only has photos from a previous tour.
 
Romance
Broadway World reports that Broward Stage Door will be opening The Last Romance next week, and they’ve got a big gun to direct:
Arthur Whitelaw has been producing, directing, writing and acting for the past 61 years. His productions have won every major industry award including the Tony, Oscar, Emmy, Olivier, Evening Standard, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, etc. He has discovered many future stars starting with his first production, Best Foot Forward which introduced Liza Minnelli and Christopher Walken to the New York stage. Others include: Marvin Hamlich, Stephen Schwartz, Gary Burgoff, Blyth Danner, Paul Michael Glaser, Christen Chenowyth to name only a few.
  
Tearing Down The Fourth Wall
Florida Theater On Stage checks in on the production of Murder Ballad, opening next week at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theater.
Actors Playhouse has ripped up some of its second floor balcony auditorium to reconfigure it. It will not be just a cockpit theater-in-the-round, but features tables and chairs cramming the main performing area like a nightclub.
You can find extensive photos of the work in progress here.
 
Let’s Do The Time Warp Again
Entr’Acte Theatrix is opening The Rocky Horror Show just in time for Halloween, according to Broadway World:
This is the second time Entr'Acte Theatrix will present The Rocky Horror Show at the Delray Beach Center for the Arts' Crest Theatre. Their 2012 production was so successful that when an encore presentation was suggested, it was a 'no brainer'!
 
Top Ten
American Theatre Magazine posts its list of the Top Ten Most Produced Plays of 2014-2015.  Several of them are on the calendar for local theaters, and few have already played South Florida.
  
Another Theater’s Season AnnouncedBroadway World reports that Island City Stage has announced its new season at Empire Stage.
 
Pondering The Cuban School
HowlRound offers some thoughts on Cuban Theater.
Despite profound decentering from its source, Cuban theater has had a consistent representation in Miami. Mirrored by a repertoire of embodied theatrical practices, Cuban theater constitutes an important system of knowing and transmitting knowledge about Cuban culture... Overall, the retention of the art form and the formation and maturity of Miami’s exiled actors has depended on the Cuban modern theater performed in exile.  
Theater in the Gardens
Broadway World posts the next season by KWP Productions at The Borland Center for Performing Arts, in Palm Beach Gardens. 

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Scene for September 28, 2014

It’s official: the summer has come to an end!  Of course, RAINY season still has a while to go.
 
A few more shows opening this week: but we warn you, the next two weeks is CRAZY for how many shows are opening.
  
Don’t forget that Conundrum Stages’ Ghost Light Series continues Tuesday at Empire Stage; this week, it’s Support Your Local Playwrights, and evening of of shorts, music, and poetry
    
Here’s what’s playing on The Scene this week:
  

opening...
 

Jamaica Farewell opens at Empire Stage, through October 19, 2014.

  


you still haven't missed...
     
GableStage presents its production of Terence McNally’s Mothers and Sons through October 19, 2014.
   
Microtheatre Miami is running its MicroTheatre Festival Wednesdays and Thursdays at the CCE Plaza through October 2, 2014.  See their website for playtimes in English.
 
Broward Stage Door’s production of What’s New Pussycat has been extended through October 19..
 
 

coming and going...
 
The Orphan Train plays at The Broward Center for the Performing Arts this Friday and Saturday only.
  

last chance to see...

 
Ground Up and Rising has reappeared on the scene with Dying City.  It winds up its run at Artistic Vibes  September 28.

  
Evening Star Production’'s The Subject Was Roses concludes its run at the Sol Children’s Theatre this Sunday, September 28, 2014,
   
 

community and conservatory...

  

Andrews Living Arts Studios presents Veronica’s Room through October 5, 2014.
 
The Crucible plays at Florida Atlantic University through September 28.

 

Florida International University opens An Ideal Husband, which plays through October 5.

 

Spring Awakening awakens at The Main Street Playhouse, through October 12.

Read more...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

GableStage: Mothers and Sons (reviews)

mothers_adGableStage opened its production of Terence McNally’s Mothers and Sons on September 20, 2014.
At turns funny and powerful, the play portrays a woman who pays an unexpected visit to the New York apartment of her late son's partner, who is now married to another man and has a young son. Values clash as they struggle to reconcile their vastly different worlds. A timely and provocative new work that explores our evolving understanding of family in today's world.
Joseph Adler directed a cast that featured Michael McKeever, Jeremiah Musgrove, Angie Radosh, and Gabe Sklar.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
What theater does better than any other art form is depict close-up the devastating pain when deep emotional wounds inflicted decades earlier are ripped open again… That’s what GableStage’s production of Terrence McNally’s script Mothers And Sons does even better than last spring’s world premiere on Broadway…
Everyone here is at the top of their game from Adler’s pitch perfect guidance to the paste-it-in-your-scrapbook performances of Angie Radosh, Michael McKeever and Jeremiah Musgrove.
Radosh’s absolutely outstanding performance is not better or worse than Daly’s but different…  Radosh alchemically makes us sympathize with Katharine’s loneliness and lack of connection even as we know she has inflicted much of it herself. We can see Katharine’s pain just below the carefully-applied makeup and tightly-controlled smile because the sorrow seeps out of Radosh’s eyes and echoes in her tight dry voice. That makes her angst credible as bits of her psychological backstory slip out in anguished revelations. The suffering that Daly successfully refused to expose is what Radosh so convincingly lets slip out of Katharine under the volcanic pressure of her interactions with Cal.
McKeever spends the first half exuding his trademark geniality as Cal’s natural politeness and compassion under pressure prevail over Cal’s banked anger and resentment at the woman he believes had emotionally blighted the man he loved. McKeever has shown this side of his acting skill set many times in light comedies. But as we saw last season in his concentration camp denizen in The Timekeepers, McKeever is an equally capable virtuoso at strategically pulling emotions out of his spleen.
Musgrove skillfully creates a 21st century denizen with an up-to-the-minute attitude. Musgrove’s Will sees no more reason to put up with homophobia any more than a black man would put with overt racism.
Young master Sklar is appropriately winsome in his non-judgmental directness and inquisitiveness that reflects a mental health we can only wish we could preserve as we get older.
Of course, these performances result in large part due to the emotional choreography of Adler at his best. He and his company have created a moving and illuminating evening writ large in letters of fiery pain and tear-stained regret.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
The Tony Award-nominated Mothers and Sons, which was on Broadway just last spring, is now getting a fresh production at GableStage. Director Joseph Adler has sculpted a show that is at first dominated by guarded politeness, occasional jolts of comedy or absurdity, and a precisely controlled undercurrent of tension. But by the end of a 90-minute drama that grows in intensity, most in the audience are as deeply moved as McNally’s characters.
Radosh makes the tiny glimpses of vulnerability, the revealing moments when it’s clear how Katharine contributed to making her late life so empty, hit home.
McKeever’s innate warmth and likeability are a good fit for Cal. But working with Adler, he gets to a place of righteous fury that makes Cal someone who can pierce Katharine’s armor.
The appealing Musgrove makes the generational differences between Will and the 15-years-older Cal — and the differences in parenting styles — seem organic. And though Bud’s inquisitiveness includes plenty of awkward questions, Sklar is unfailingly sweet and adorable.
Mothers and Sons isn’t McNally’s best-ever play, but it’s another enlightening encapsulation of a moment in history. And at GableStage, it’s memorable theater.
Roger Martin reviewed for Miami ArtZine:
This is a one act history of the acceptance of gay life since the eighties. And perhaps this is why the whole thing seems familiar. The stories and the attitudes are not new; they can't be. But the strong performances of the actors do much to lessen the obviousness of a mother's grief, her belief that her son was not to blame for his own death, her bitterness at the unfairness of her unloved husband deserting her by dying, and the appalling knowledge of her own loneliness.
Radosh with her hooded stare is the complete pseudo grande dame. McKeever disappears completely into the deeply passionate Cal and relative new comer Musgrove is the well grounded, would be perfect husband and father.
Director Joseph Adler, despite the murmurings of "poor me" throughout the script, has delivered an intense piece, every sin exposed, every wish granted in a production that brought the opening night crowd to its feet.
John Thomason wrote for The Miami New Times:
Terrence McNally's Mothers and Sons, which opened last weekend at GableStage, is a profound inquiry into the human condition, delivered in a sweepingly emotional experience that fully justifies the art form. It's been far too long since I left an auditorium as teary, speechless, and physically affected. This production is why theater exists.
…Mothers and Sons is about the fact that times have changed even if people haven't. While McNally most obviously identifies with Cal and Will, he never demonizes Katharine for her regressive views, instead chipping away at the character until all of her emotional wounds are exposed.
 
Director Joseph Adler understands all of this, building McNally's lengthy, unbroken scene with the patience of an architect overseeing a building's construction one brick at a time. The performances of Radosh and McKeever are his towering accomplishment. McKeever dominates the first several pages of the script, but don't be surprised if your eyes spend more time on Radosh, overdressed-to-impress in a fur coat and sparkling brooch, her lips pursed, her eyes weary and judging. She at first seems to lack a reason to scream and cry at her overly polite host. It's a dynamic and beautifully restrained introduction, conveying a full worldview with a minimum of words.

Radosh and McKeever are at their finest when spilling forth their characters' guts and exposing their souls. They are consistently in the moment, never acting and always reacting. If we expect such immersion from Radosh, it's still something of a pleasant surprise (though it shouldn't be) that funny­man ­McKeever proves so capable of digging so deeply into a drama so powerful. Both actors' climactic breakthroughs are moving beyond words.
It's no accident that McNally pluralized the title of his play. It's not just about one mother and one son; it's about all of us.
GableStage presents its production of Terence McNally’s Mothers and Sons through October 19, 2014.

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