Sunday, April 5, 2009

South Florida Theatre News Round-up

There are a number of theatre-oriented stories in this weekend's papers. Even the Sun-Sentinel has a couple of stories, although it seems the increasingly inept webmaster does their level best to keep us from finding them.

First, Christine Dolen of the Herald tells us about Jersey Boys, which opens this coming Wednesday at the Broward Center. She even has audio clips from the Broadway production to share. It's a solid feature that really tells us about the show, the Four Seasons, and what you're going to see.
''When we started doing our excavation on the story of the four guys, it became clear and obvious that they had an extraordinary rags-to-riches story,''
Des McAnuff, Director, Jersey Boys
In her blog The Drama Queen, Dolen tells us about some local stages will be graced with TV stars in the next couple of months. Hopefully, this will help fans of Showtime's Dexter and ABC's Ugly Betty discover the joys of live theatre.

Rod Stafford Hagwood, one of the editors that the Sun-Sentinel hasn't fired, interviews Joseph Leo Bwarie, who plays Frankie Valli. It's hard to take an interview that includes "what was your best showbizzy moment" seriously, but sadly this is the kind of writing that typifies the zombified corpse of the Sun-Sentinel.
"Debbie Allen kissed my cheek. I didn't wash that cheek for days."
Joseph Leo Bwarie, Actor, Jersey Boys
Writing isn't a completely lost art at the Sun-Sentinel: they bring in Bill Hirschman to write up the month of April for us.
April may be the cruelest month for harried critics, but it's pure joy for South Florida theater lovers. Virtually every company in the region has something on the boards.

In addition to a half-dozen shows already running, at least 12 professional companies are opening shows this month. That doesn't count play readings, shows for young audiences, plus a dozen offerings from semi-pro, community and college theaters.
There's also a brief mention of Monday's Carbonell Awards ceremony at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
The streamlined program staged by Amy London will bestow plaques rather than the expensive bronze sculptures. Hey, during World War II, the Oscars were made of plaster. David Arisco, artistic director of Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables, will receive the George Abbott Award for outstanding achievement in the arts. A special tribute will be presented to Carbonells' co-founder Jack Zink, who covered the arts for all the region's major newspapers for nearly 40 years before his death last summer.
Hirschman also mentions the little dust-up that was first reported on The Theatre Scene:
It would take a Congressional inquiry to dope out the charges and counter charges in every turn of this saga. A cast member in The Life contended in an e-mail that the New York-based actors were not paid what they were owed, then stranded in Florida when the production closed. Waldman denies those allegations, saying the actors were not owed anything and citing unprofessional behavior in both this and the Simon cast.
What's the Simon cast, you ask? The Sound of Simon was the previous "grand opening production" for the 26th Street Theatre, when it opened back in January. And what happened to it? According to Hirschmann:
...The Sounds of Simon that Waldman closed after one weekend in January because he acknowledged the abysmal quality of the production.
Hirschman winds up with a quick summary of show line-ups at area theatres next season.

The Palm Beach Daily News tells us about Florida Stage's Young Playwrights Mentor Lab.

In a conference room at the back of Florida Stage's office in Manalapan, three aspiring playwrights are hunched over a big table. Andrew Rosendorf, who is leading the Young Playwrights Mentor Lab, has given them their assignment.

"For the next 10 minutes, I want you to write the most boring monologue you can imagine. Don't think. Don't plan. Just write," he told them and left the room.

This program shouldn't be confused with Florida Stage's Young Playwrights' festival, set for the same day as the Carbonell Awards. That's a one-shot deal, and the Mentor Lab has been going on since October.

Miami Today News reports that the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts has aked Miami-Dade County to pony up an additional $700,000 for "operating expenses and capital-improvement projects."

The proposed request for the additional funds follows a near doubling of the Arts Center's annual operations subsidy from the county in 2007 to $7.6 million.
The trust is now seeking an additional $113,000 annually to cover an expected 10% increase in insurance costs plus a 2% hike in utilities and security. Additionally, if the trust approves its fiscal 2010 budget at the next meeting, it will ask for a one-time $543,000 capital funds injection that, according to Ken Harris, center vice president of operation, will go toward replacing worn-out building parts and keeping the facility in line with fire- and handicap-access requirements.

The Center has also taken a hit by the failure of the Concert Association of Florida:

The center's "staff, committee and others worked diligently to salvage the Concert Association of Florida's season," said trust Chairman J. Ricky Arriola. "It was estimated to have an $800,000 negative impact on the center's operating budget.

At Miami ArtZine, Andi Arthur interviews playwright Marco Ramirez, whose play Broadsword opens next week at Mad Cat Theatre Company.

Ramirez is another Miami success story—a local playwright who has gone on to make his presence known throughout the national theatre scene. He’s gone from being produced at local venues such as City Theatre and Mad Cat Theatre (where his new play Broadsword will be produced in April) to being commissioned by the Kennedy Center and twice produced at the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival. He has twice won the Heideman Award for short plays, two years ago for I am not Batman and this year for 3:59 am, which was produced at Mad Cat, part of MixTape last Fall.

The play is being directed by MadCat's artistic director Paul Tei, who has had to arrange the rehearsal schedule around his shooting schedule for BURN NOTICE. Tei has a regular role as a childhood friend of the show's central character, Michael Westin. He plays "Barry, the Money-Launderer."

BroadwayWorld tells us about the next play at New Theatre: the regional premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius.

Under the direction of New Theatre's Artistic Director, Ricky J. Martinez, and sponsored in part by Carol & Judge Robin Faber through United Way of Miami-Dade, and also in part by the Dramatists Guild Fund, New Theatre veterans Kim Ehly, Israel Garcia, Michael McKeever, and Bill Schwartz join Michaela Cronan, who will be making her New Theatre debut to form part of a fine cast. Returning to New Theatre will be Production Stage Manager Clint Hooper, Costume Designer K. Blair Brown, Set and Lighting Designer Jesus Casimiro and Sound Designer Ozzie Quintana.


  1. Here's the thing: everyone read Mr. Hagood's article.

  2. Here's the real thing: I linked to it so people can do exactly that.

    Like any critique, I don't make it to get my jollies: I make it in the dim hope that you will improve your writing and become a worthwhile read. Right now, you're mostly not (although you did very well with that Legally Blonde interview - but it read more like a story on fashion. Since you're the fashion editor, that makes sense.

    Read the other articles I link to, Rod. Learn the form, learn the job, and start doing better. Theatre patrons are not children, and we deserve articles on theatre that use whole sentences, proper grammar, and form coherent ideas. We deserve articles written by people who understand the art form, because that knowledge informs the writing.