City Theatre's Summer Shorts Festival opened Shorts4Kids on May 30, 2009.
Intended for family audiences, Shorts4Kids includes mini-musicals by Cyndi Lauper (with William Wittman) and Lisa Loeb,(with Dan Petty & Michelle Lewis), as well as plays by Michael McKeever, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Marco Ramirez, Shel Silverstein, and Maggie Bandur.
Directors include James Randolph, Stuart Meltzer, Jeff Hess, Patrice Bailey, Deborah Mello, Marjorie Butler O'Neill, and Sean Paul Bryan, and they direct a cast that includes Katherine Amadeo, Christopher Dall-au, Troy Davidson, Nick Duckart, Vannessa Elise, and Betsy Graver.
Kimberly Grant reviewed for the South Florida Times:
Now, I can’t critique all eight shorts because I don’t have enough space, but I will address my three favorites. Monster, Regina and Tea all have some kind of female empowerment spin. I guess because I’m all for feminism, I connected with these three more. Not to diminish the other five plays, but these spoke to me the most.
Monster is about little brothers trying to come up with a reason why their older sisters turn from sweet girls into teenage monsters. It’s quite hilarious and poses a different perspective of teenage hormones. Regina is about little Regina Flector, whose science project is better than her peers’, but they make fun of her because she had to do the entire project by herself. Her family had other things to do. Regina seems to be the underdog, but her project is a winner; a good lesson for young people.
Tea & Sorcery is about three little girls who have a tea party. They discuss the latest happenings and the silliness of their mothers’ not giving them real tea for their tea party. One of them, Emily (played by Vanessa Elise), writes a short story about little girls who get older and fall under a magic spell; they become old and ugly. It’s pretty farfetched, but it does speak to the glorification of youth in our society.
The ensemble cast includes Katherine Amadeo, Christopher Dall’au, Troy Davidson, Nick Duckart, Elise and Betsy Graver. All six performers are terrific actors. But the stand out performers are Amadeo, Davidson and Elise.Shorts4Kids is presented by City Theatre at the Arsht Center through June 21. It then moves to the Broward Center June 25th - 28th
Amadeo is a performer at heart. She makes so many faces and uses so many voice inflections, she changes before the audiences’ eyes.
Elise is a total chameleon. She has a different type of character from one short to the next. So it’s no surprise that she is the only actor to perform in all eight of the shorts. Davidson is obviously not afraid to get up in front of an audience of people and be silly for his craft.