Monday, June 29, 2009

Mondays are Dark; June 29, 2009

Last week, I was hard pressed to find material. Of course, I was also working all weekend. But lots of good stuff turned up this week:

"David Kingery, Miami’s in-demand director, is directing"
Broadway World reports that two one-act plays are coming to Fort Lauderdale's ArtServe: Mr. Charles, currently of Palm Beach, by Paul Rudnick, and Mexico City, by David Leddick. "Both plays will star Mr. Leddick," we're told. The first play is currently being performed at GableStage as part of Paul Rudnick's The New Century.

No, I haven't heard of Miami's 'In-Demand director,' David Kingery. This is also the first time I've seen the production manager included in the promotional material. I'm a production manager, and I know that while I'm acknowledged in a lot of programs, I've never been included in a press release. I guess I have a new request next time I re-negotiate my contract.

A Family Affair
On the other hand, I have heard of John Rodaz and Maria Banda-Rodaz, who are featured in this Miami Herald interview.
He was tidying the lobby of the former Lincoln Road shoe store he had turned into a 49-seat theater called Area Stage. She was on a business trip from her native Ecuador and thought the little theater -- and the guy sweeping it -- looked interesting. She went in to chat. They fell in love, married and became partners in life and theater
I auditioned for John many years ago, and I spoke with him about designing a show a few years back. Neither case worked out for me, but Rodaz and his wife and partner have returned to the South Florida theatre scene in a big way. The original Area Stage in the Lincoln Road Mall was legendary for the quality of work it produced. It's been re-born in Coral Gables at the old Riviera Theater. The new Area Stage produces plays in Spanish with English subtitles.

Two Months to Save the Whole Shebang
Palm Beach ArtsPaper reports that Avi Hoffman, founder and artistic director of the New Vista Theatre, hasn't given up hope of reviving his theatre, but has set a deadline. Adrienne Arsht gave Miami's struggling Performing Arts Center $30 million dollars: New Vista only needs $500,000. Maybe she could check her seat cushions.

Caldwell's Cholerton Quashes Rumors

Despite the rumors, the Caldwell won't be closing anytime soon, according to the Palm Beach Post. They've cut salaries, staff, and rented space. In a move that's a boon to local actors, the company will no longer keep apartments for actors, intending to do 95% of its casting locally.
Despite the numerous challenges, Cholerton is bullish on the Caldwell’s immediate future.

“We can get this turned around,” he said. “We’re working on having a great summer and having a great next year.”

Finger Lickin' Good
As reported here last week, Promethean Theatre is doing Cannibal! The Musical! Now Broadway World and the Drama Queen have stories up. I don't know why the Broadway World story is accompanied by a photo of a beach. Too many episodes of Gilligan's Island, I guess.

It's Ella-mentary
Speaking of summer musicals: a little while back, Florida Stage commissioned a new book for a musical that originated at TheatreWorks in Connecticut. The result was Ella, a biographical musical about Ella Fitzgerald that has now been produced around the country. From the story in Variety:
"Ella" also offered an unusual business model between the show's creators and the theaters where it played.

Managing directors at regional houses wanting to book the show negotiate separately with the attached talent and creative team. If successful, the theater pays a royalty and gets rights to the show.

"They need to secure the artistic personnel first," says Ruggiero of the six Equity cast members. "You can't buy the production without it. I wanted to maintain the integrity of the show."

The theater acquires a fully realized production without the costs of weeks of rehearsals, housing the company during that time and building the show from scratch...
Productions of the play have grossed $3 million dollars for its producing theatres, so far. Florida Stage and TheatreWorks each get a royalty, since both theatres developed it. So everybody's takin' home the bacon.

South Florida Represented!
The Public Theatre's production of Twelfth Night is getting raves, and Raul Esparza is right there.
"Mr. Esparza’s exasperated glower and wry line readings give the character an appealing, underdog humanity."
- the New York Times
Oh, and some girl named Ann Hathaway is in it, too.
''She is a goddess!'' declares Esparza, talking excitedly about Hathaway in his dressing room. ``First of all, Annie has managed to feel like a consummate stage professional in a span of just a few weeks, and she hasn't that much experience on stage. She's certainly never done Shakespeare before. She's also good people. She works really hard.''

This Column Just Got Harder to Write
"How do you do it?" I'm asked. Well, among other things, I read American Theatre Web. At least until tomorrow: Time Out New York reports that the site adminstrator is pulling the plug to pursue work at Theatre Mania.
Through ATW, Andy has been collating and creating content since 1998, a time when other theater blogs were but a twinkle in the Internet’s roguish eye. But Andy has had enough of self-publishing (which included a vicious site hack that he survived last year), and he has decided to hie himself off to Theatermania, where his meticulous reporting will continue with technical support! A paycheck! And maybe a corner office!
Ironically, I found the Time Out article by reading American Theatre Web. I'm doomed. Doomed, I tell you! But best wishes to Andy Propst; his work on ATW certainly shaped a lot of what I do at The Scene.

Lessons from London

No, not our esteemed colleague Amy London the director, but the city. The Producer's Perspective lists 12 things he learned during a recent visit to London. Not all of them are useful, but I saw some points to ponder:
Take anything to your seat: ice cream, fancy pink drinks (Priscilla, again), even Coke brought in from outside (that was me). Their theaters are older but they're happy to clean up after you if it makes you happy.
Look at this pic. It looks like a standard cast board that you'd see in any theater, right? Wrong. It's actually a video cast board. In several theaters, the cast board and the understudy boards are on video monitors. More aesthetically pleasing, easier to edit, and cheaper in the long run. Why don't all of our theaters have these? I hate when we get beat.

Psst! Joe! She's on to ya!
Alexis over at The Playground saw The New Century, and may have stumbled across the secret workings of a director's mind....
The shows he produces can be a bit dark, or twisted, or off-beat (you saw Adding Machine, right?), and because of that anywhere from 2-6 people end up walking out (or at least in my experience). This could also explain why there is never an intermission in his shows...
Well, to be fair, you don't want to stick an intermission in until about an hour into the show. On the other hand, you hate to take 15 minutes for an intermission and then only have twenty minutes until the end of the show. I'm not saying you're wrong, mind you; I'm just sayin'.

Making It Up as They Go Along
The 2009 Miami Improv Festival is coming to the Just The Funny Theater. No, seriously, that's what the place is called. Read about it in Broadway World.


  1. True, it is unnecessary to have an intermission for a 90 minute show, but if Joe ever did longer shows I still feel like there would be no intermission... he would lose half his audience. Much like when Actors' did Floyd Collins... a lot people walked out, but the show still won all the Carbonells.

  2. There was an intermission for LT OF INISHMORE.

    And boy, did the house staff beg us to skip intermission for Floyd Collins!