Friday, January 9, 2009

2 South Florida Theatres in The Wall Street Journal.

Columnist's nameMissy McArdle tipped me off to this article in the Wall Street Journal. Apparently, their drama critic visited Florida over the holidays. Terry Teachout's days might have been spent on the beach (or the links), but he obviously spent at least two evenings at the theatre.
South Florida has its virtues -- especially in January -- but I doubt that many art-loving people would reflexively associate any part of that cheery region with high-quality drama. Yet the land of year-round tans is also home to a good-sized number of professional theater companies, several of which have outstanding reputations and two of which are currently putting on shows that couldn't be much eggheadier.
Of course, this isn't news to the faithful readers of the South Florida Theatre Scene!

He first reviews The Chairs at Palm Beach DramaWorks, and it's hard to imagine a better review:
It is, in fact, a close-to-ideal piece of work, vibrantly staged by J. Barry Lewis and acted with colossal gusto by Barbara Bradshaw, Dan Leonard and Shel Shanak in a set designed by Michael Amico that looks like a long-abandoned waterfront warehouse.

All hail Palm Beach Dramaworks for dishing up such formidable fare, and doing it in high style.
By my count, this is the fifth glowing review of The Chairs. Here we have a respected theatre critic from New York City, arguable the theatre capital of North America, and he's raving about a locally produced show featuring local talent. What are you waiting for? Go see it!

Mr. Teachout also made it down to Coral Gables, where he took in the current GableStage offering of Adding Machine. It's a show he's seen before, and he was glad of a chance to see another production of it.
GableStage's production, staged by Joseph Adler, the company's artistic director, is highly impressive but noticeably different in tone from the Chicago-to-Off-Broadway transfer of "Adding Machine." The earlier version, directed by David Cromer, was deliberately, at times off-puttingly, chilly -- emphasizing the show's brilliance at the occasional expense of its humanity. Mr. Adler and his fine cast, by contrast, have softened the edges of "Adding Machine," treating the characters less as symbols than as flesh-and-blood creatures who are cartoonish but still recognizably human. I admit to having found the results quite a bit more engaging, if perhaps less true to what Messrs. Loewith and Schmidt had in mind.

Improbable as it may sound, GableStage is located in the Biltmore Hotel, a palatial resort for tourists whose tastes would appear to run more to swimming and golf than the sort of serious theater that Mr. Adler and his colleagues have on tap. Yet the company shows every sign of flourishing, and rightly so...
I'd say "congratulations" to both theatres, but what I really want to say is "thank you." Thank you for bringing us productions of the highest quality. Thank you for recognizing that we have the talent to produce shows as good as you will see anywhere.

Thank you for showing the world that the South Florida Theatre Scene is as good as it gets.

Oh, and congratulations, of course!

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