Monday, August 31, 2009

SIGHTINGS: Michael Vines

Mikey Vines was a founding member of MadCat Theatre, and appeared in shows at GableStage, New Theatre, Actors' Playhouse, and Mosaic Theatre, before heading up to Chicago to break into that scene.

He's currently appearing in Taming of the Shrew, at the Theo Ubique theatre company. It's just been recommened to the Jeff Awards. For those of you who don't know, the Jeff Awards are much like our Carbonell Awards: to be considered, it must first be recommended to the judges.

Here's some reviews: SteadStyleChicago;;

Mondays are Dark

Here is your Monday reading list for the last day of August.

Making it Happen
As anyone in regional theatre can attest, we can't do it without the help of volunteers.  The Sun-Sentinel spends an afternoon with Peter Neirouz, who coordinates the 1,000+ volunteers that help make the Broward Center for the Performing Arts one of the top venues on the planet.

Dave's Next Musical
Laughing my way through CANNIBAL; The Musical over the weekend, I reflected that Dave Arisco is usually the one putting on stupid-funny musicals.  But honestly, I don't think he could have done a better job with it. Different? Sure. 

Arisco's next project is The Marvelous Wondrettes, and you can read about it on

Squeezed Off Stage

It's not just South Florida's theater community feeling the pinch.  Caddy-corner across the country, Seattle actors suddenly find themselves without a gig for the whole season.  Here in South Florida, several of the more established companies have tended to bring in talent from out of town, although it seems that that will happen less in the near future due to transportation and housing costs.  But that doesn't mean that there's as much work this year as last year.

Who rocks Broadway
Well, a member of The Who, anyway.  The Guardian reports that Pete Townsend is writing another musical.
"I am writing a new musical," Townshend blogged. "Floss is an ambitious new project for me, in the style of Tommy and Quadrophenia. In this case the songs are interspersed with surround-sound 'soundscapes' featuring complex sound effects and musical montages."
I guess he needed something to do, now that The Who seems to have finally disbanded.

Tick Tock
Mission Paradox discusses rehearsal time versus financial realities.
More rehearsal time is an artistic decision that is closely tied to a financial decision.

So we can't really talk about your desire for more rehearsal time without talking about your marketing.

And your fundraising.
Yes, everything is connected to everything else, it seems.

Oh, Ye of Little Faith!
The Screwtape Letters is coming to the Coral Springs Arts Center, and BroadwayWorld has the story.  This adaptation of the C.S. Lewis story is presented by Fellowship for the Performing Arts, a company dedicated to producing "theatre from a Christian worldview that is engaging to a diverse audience."

uVu The Harder They Come
The Harder They ComeNot, it's not some porn film, it's the reggae musical now playing at the Arsht Center.  Watch the uVu blog video featuring footage of the show, and interviews with the director and various members of the cast.
...the play features a cast of 16 Jamaican born performers. Popular songs such as Higher and Higher and By The River of Babylon are performed by a killer band of outstanding reggae musician and the cast.

The Producer Editorializes
The Producer's Perspective addresses, or doesn't, the results of Jeremy Piven's arbitration with the producers of Speed the Plow.  Instead, he turns to the movies:
...we're going to focus on a film called The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard which featured a very interesting cast.

And that very interesting cast conjured up a sickly 29% on the tote board.
Rotten Tomatoes? Sounds like sour grapes to me.  Not really.  Personally, I find Piven to be vastly over-rated.  I'd rather pay to see Bill Macy any day of the week.

BTW, I'd really like to work for this producer; he knows how to take care of his employees.  Well, while mine haven't taken me to an amusement park, they did give me this two-week vacation, so I'm not complaining.

Improv/Sketch comedy Versus Theater
Every couple of months I get an email from someone pointing out that The Scene doesn't list improv or sketch comedy groups. "Hey, we're theatre, too!" they cry.

The Playgoer has run into this same question:
Earlier this week, I saw the latest Second City mainstage production America: All Better and my companion posed an interesting question: Do theater critics review comedy shows in Chicago?
She pondered this, and while Chicago does have people writing about comedy in the Windy City, by and large theatre critics don't review the comedy offerings.
...aside from being a live performance in a theater, in terms of dramatic flow, are sketch comedy and theater really all that similar? Second City revues are scripted, but there’s not usually a plot.
That's basically the definition I use here at The Scene; theatre is a scripted show with a plot that tells a story through dialogue and movement, and can include music.  By this definition, sketch comedy isn't theatre, ballet isn't theatre, and even opera isn't theatre.  Nothing against those artforms, but I needed to draw a line, and that's where I drew it.

And I drew this line as someone who has, yes, performed in ballet, opera, and improv/sketch comedy. 

That said, if you think this should be included in The Scene, I will gladly sign you up to cover these other performing arts.  The pay sucks, but you get a email address.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Polar Opposites Attract The Whipping Man and CANNIBAL; the Musical (live on stage) have been enjoying such packed houses that the producers of each play decided to extend. But talk about polar opposites; one is a tightly scripted drama, the other a sophomoric spoof on musical comedies. Even the producing companies are at opposite ends of the spectrum: Caldwell Theatre Company is one of South Florida's oldest regional theatres operating from its third facility, The Promethean Theatre is a scrappy newcomer working out of a university black box. And yet both plays have drawn in record crowds.

The good news is that you have an extra week to see both shows; the better news is that there are still a lot of seats available during the extension weeks.

Which one should you see? Do what I did: see them both. They're both worth it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Scene for August 28, 2009

It's the end of August. I really can't believe how fast this summer went! Things are really starting to slow down as theatres take a break and regroup for the new season - and I can't blame them. I'll be on vacation the next couple of weeks. Look for Mondays are Dark and The Scene at their usual times, but other updates may be more sporadic.

But that doesn't mean that there's nothing happening in the Theatre Scene this week; quite the contrary, there's still a lot of great plays to see.


The Taming of the Shrew opens tonight at New Theatre and plays through September 27.

Take Me Out opens Friday at Rising Action Theatre, and plays until October 5th.

Pony opens Saturday at Area Stage (in Spanish with English supertitles.) (Read about the production on The Drama Queen).

still playing:

CANNIBAL! The Musical
at The Promethean Theatre through September 6.

No, No, Nanette at the Broward Stage Door Theatre through September 27.

The Whipping Man at the Caldwell Theatre Company through August 30 has been extended through September 6! Congratulations, all!

Speed The Plow plays at GableStage through September 13.

last chance to see...

Speaking Elephant at The Women's Theatre Project closes August 30.

Some Kind of Wonderful! at Florida Stage also closes August 30.

passing through...

The reggae musical The Harder They Come opens Saturday at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and plays through September 13.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Broward Stage Door: No No Nanette (1 review)

Broward Stage Door's production of No, No, Nannette opened on August 21, 2009, in Coral Springs, Florida.
This is the story of Jimmy Smith and all the trouble he gets into and out of on a summer weekend. Included in the score are two of the most famous show tunes ever written: Tea for Two and I Want to Be Happy. The whole experience is refreshing, silly and uplifting!
Dan Kelly directs a cast that includes Jonathan Bauchman, Chris Chianesi, Sabrina Cohen, Erin Dowling, Lissen Ellington, Eliana Ghen, Kaia Marguerite, Kristen Marie, Kimberley Xavier Martins, John Ramsey, Elissa Solomon, Shain R. Stroff, Jonathan Van Dyke, Conor Walton, Joey Zangardi, and Lauren Zapko. Musical Direction by Phil Hinton, choreography by Chrissi Ardito.

John La Riviere reviewed for
The Stage Door Theatre production of No, No, Nanette is completely charming. It is artfully choreography by Chrissi Ardito in a style reminiscent of a Busby Berkeley musical. Well known songs "Tea for Two" and "I Want to Be Happy" are sung and reprised with long tap dance sequences featuring the members of the ensemble in a variety of combinations. These changing combinations, and entrances and exits of the dancers, provide layers and visual texture to the dancing that holds the audience's interest. While the ensemble dancing is uniformly crisp, dancer Shain R. Stroff seems the best at making it all look effortless.
The costuming for this production is surprisingly good. It steers away from the stereotypical fringe and beads of the flapper, and concentrates on the color schemes, drop waists, geometric prints and head pieces of the era. There are some nice details are in the coordination of the ensemble's color scheme, which is an area frequently overlooked. The closing number dress for Sue (played by Kimberley Xavier Martins) is indeed sensational. It looks like it was made just for her as its cut and pattern colors hit her figure in all the right places.
The cast has great on-stage chemistry and an understanding of the acting style required of this genre. If you are fan of the old-fashioned musical, you will find exactly what you are looking for in this production of No, No, Nanette.
No, No, Nanette plays at the Broward Stage Door Theatre through September 27, 2009.

SIGHTINGS: Janet Dacal

Janet DacalTheatre Mania reports that South Florida native Janet Dacal has left In The Heights to star as Alice in Frank Wildhorne's new musical, Wonderland: Alice's New Musical Adventure.

It goes into previews in Tampa on November 24, and opens on December 5, 2009.

If you want to follow the progress of the production, they have a blog.  You can also visit the show's website.

Caldwell Theatre: The Whipping Man (5 reviews)

The Caldwell Theatre Company opened its production of Mathew Lopez' The Whipping Man on August 12, 2009.
The day Lee surrendered to Grant was the first day of Passover in 1865, and the play takes place during the middle of that period. The house was once the grand home of the DeLeons, an influential, Jewish, southern family. The DeLeons' slaves adopted their faith. The former slaves and self-identified Jews are forced to face their own contradictions as they celebrate the historic freeing of the Hebrews from captivity.
Clive Cholerton directed a cast that includes Nick Duckart, John Archie, and Brandon Morris.

The Palm Beach Post reports that this run has been extended through September 6!

The Sun-Sentinel has declined to review this production.*

John Lariviere reviewed for
This production... features an elegantly faded set, tattered clothes and unshaven faces. There is a dark, gruesome reality to Caleb's injury, and the amputation of his leg, that help to flavor this piece from the beginning. Nick Duckart as Caleb palpably swallows his fears and secrets. Though he is a man, there is the essence of him still being the callow, privileged child groomed to be the master. Brandon Morris as John sounds a bit too contemporary in his speech for a slave born in this time. His restless energy and intensity feel just right for the role, however. John Archie as Simon is at once strong, wise, and filled with anguish. Simon really owns his character and this play from start to finish with a truly commanding performance. With a good script and some fine acting, this play is well worth seeing.
Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times:
The Whipping Man, by Adam Lopez, is the second show of (Cholerton's) run as EAD, and at this moment in South Florida theater, there is nobody stomping on the terra with such ferocity as he.
...The Whipping Man is anything but superficial. It digs, painfully and shockingly, right down to the marrow.
Most of Brandon's review is an examination of the story and its characters: it seems that he's once again failed to separate the actors from the roles they are playing. That's not necessarily a bad thing; while it doesn't give the actors anything to paste in their scrapbook, it does mean that they are identified as completely with the characters as anyone could hope for.

So we can take it as stipulated that the players hit the mark, given Brandon's conclusion:
The Whipping Man is a wonderful play for this single scene and for a dozen others. See it and feel rare things. And when the specific effects of this play wear off, take a few seconds to marvel at the happy fact that in Boca Raton, at the Caldwell's grand digs, a powerful voice in South Florida theater is just beginning to clear his throat.
Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
Clive Cholerton, the new artistic director at Boca Raton's Caldwell Theatre Company, kicked off his tenure recently with the sizzling world premiere of Vices: A Love Story. His gripping new production of The Whipping Man further demonstrates that under Cholerton, the Caldwell is becoming a different theater -- and so far, an exciting one.
Cholerton directs with the surest of hands, bringing out the script's comedy (yes, there are laughs), the altered power structure within the home, the story's historic resonance. Set designer Tim Bennett delivers the stripped shell of a home, and costume designer Alberto Arroyo contributes distressed period clothes that look as though they smell bad.
...Cholerton's best decisions were his casting choices. Duckart plays Caleb's unenlightened, entitled attitudes, but he blends just enough vulnerability into the character that he becomes someone richer than a villainous caricature. The charismatic Morris also straddles a line, this one between cockiness and fear. Archie, first among equals, is simply mesmerizing -- commanding, real, tender, raw.
(Hat tip to Tony Finstrom for pointing out this review - the Herald's RSS feeds seem to be a little off lately)

Kevin D. Thompson reviewed for the Palm Beach Post:
....Clive Cholerton’s careful direction... immediately gets your attention and sets the stage for an absorbing 90 minutes of theater you shouldn’t miss.
All three actors turn in bravura performances. Morris is particularly mesmerizing as he recalls the days he was sent to the Whipping Man, vividly described as a man who reeked of whiskey and sweat. With a thundering stomp and clap, Morris skillfully commands the stage and will make you feel his character’s pain much like Denzel Washington did in the movie Glory as that single tear slowly spilled down his cheek.
Tim Bennett’s dilapidated plantation set design is spot-on. Lighting and sound effects are also perfectly utilized...
Hap Erstein reviewed for the Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
It begins slowly, but gradually gathers momentum as national scars merge with personal histories, not unlike the apartheid saga of Athol Fugard’s Master Harold . . . and the Boys.
Carbonell Award winner John Archie heads the cast as amateur surgeon Simon, who towers over the production... Brandon Morris, recently relocated to New York, returns to South Florida to play John, a seething, bitter former slave whose own liberation is underscored by his preoccupation with liberating property from nearby homes. He, too, is harboring secrets and they surface with visceral impact.
Rounding out the dramatic triangle is New World School of the Arts graduate Nick Duckart as Caleb, able to hold his own against his two veteran cast members...
Cholerton stages The Whipping Man with a tight rein, building theatrical impact with melodramatic assurance. Tim Bennett’s anteroom unit set is simple and effective, complemented well by Chris Hill’s lighting.
While other area troupes devote the summer months to lightweight fare, the Caldwell has counter-programmed with a dramatic script that would be welcome in any season.
The Whipping Man plays at Caldwell Theatre Company through August 30 extended through September 6!

Promethean Theatre: CANNIBAL! The Musical (5 reviews)

The Promethean Theatre Company opened its production of CANNIBAL! The Musical Live On Stage on August 21, 2009.
Cannibal! is a perilous tour de force filled with cowboys, horse-love, snowmen, evil trappers, the Cyclops and other unthinkable horrors…including toe-tapping tunes! Don’t miss this cannibalistic cowboy musical. The most terrifying, gut-wrenching and hilarious musical since The Sound of Music.
Margaret Ledford directs a cast that includes: William Adams, Katherine Amadeo, Jeffrey Bower, Anne Chamberlain, James Carrey, Matthew William Chizever, Ken Clement , Phillip de la Cal, Mark Della Ventura, Mark Duncan, Ed Fitzpatrick, Lindsey Forgey, Dan Gelbmann, Noah Levine, David Meulmans, Sean Muldoon, Andy Quiroga and Patrick Jesse Watkins.

Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times:
The play's comedy has nothing to do with the story and everything to do with — get ready for it — random elements that have been thrust upon it. Example: Liane, the horse (Katherine Amadeo), does double-duty as both trusty steed and sex symbol. She's the play's sole object of erotic desire, lusted over by both Packer and the leader of a band of filthy trappers he meets in the wild
If this sounds like your will have a fantastic time watching Packer deal with gay Indians who speak pig Latin (probably a pun on Packer's real-life Indian benefactor, who had a very pig-Latinate-sounding name: "Chief Ouray"), a pus-squirting Cyclops (probably a pun on I-don't-know-what), and what seems like a dozen gallons of blood splashed willy-nilly all over the stage. If this doesn't sound like your bag, stay away. No kidding. This ain't Oklahoma!
As a 26-year-old male with a hard-on for death and destruction, I find Cannibal! to be very much my bag. So I can sit back, hip and unscandalized, and groove on the subtlety of Daniel Geldmann's set, which incorporates a delightful gimmick for allowing credible decapitations. And I can appreciate the subtle artistry of actors Chizever, de la Cal, Jeffrey Bower, James Carrey, Sean Muldoon, and Patrick Jesse Watkins as they find new ways of bringing humanity to the act of going mad and eating your friends. I can marvel at the level of thought and dedication brought to the production by Noah Levine and David Meulmans, who are not merely gay Indians but very particular and gorgeously articulated gay Indians whom we are helpless not to love as they go swishing across the Great Divide.
Hap Erstein reviewed for the Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
...the Promethean’s production is more likely to elicit giggles and guffaws than cries of gruesome horror
As Packer, square-jawed, big-voiced Matthew William Chizever wrings his musical tribute to her (When I Was on Top of You) for every single-entendre laugh.
Much of the show’s humor tends towards the downright silly, and apparently neither Parker nor Promenthean resident director Margaret M. Ledford ever met a blood squib that they didn’t like.
The miners, led by Jeffrey Bower as a religious zealot, are a rough-and-tough bunch, until called upon to execute Chrissi Ardito’s choreography, a cross between moves from The Unsinkable Molly Brown to West Side Story.
A trio of pig Latin-spouting Ute Indians are anything but straight and Ken Clement has fun with a self-reverential role known as -- what else? -- Judge Ken.
Considering how easily the company has made the transition, you would never guess that this is their first foray into musical theater. But judging from the sold-out Sunday matinee attended -- populated by more theatergoers than I have ever seen at a Promenthean show -- it seems unlikely that this will be their last.
Ron Levitt reviewed for ENV Magazine:
It’s sophomoric…downright silly…and laughable. Yet, if you like corny moments while actually getting to know the true story of the only person in America ever convicted of cannabilsm, you should treat yourself to a feast of musical fun by joining the crowds at The Promethean Theatre’s Black Box at Nova Southeastern University in Broward County.
Director Ledford has put together an interesting ensemble to initiate the company’s first foray into musical comedy. Matthew Chizever is a charismatic hero (a goofy rendition of the lead in Oklahoma), while Anne Chamberlain as the vocalizing sob-sister reporter, Jeffrey Bower, Patrick Jesse Watkins, Phillip de la Cal, James Carrey, and Sean Muldoon as the miners, Andy Quiroga, William Adams and Noah Levine as the evil trappers all add to the madness.
Give a hand, as well, to musical director and piano accompaniest Mark Fiore who adds some familiar tunes, along with the original music, and Chrissi Ardito for choreographing a bunch of rough cowboys who think they are dancers in West Side Story. How crazy can you get?
The Sun-Sentinel sent Rod Stafford Hagwood to inflict us with yet another very poorly written review article piece:
But you need to know that you sit in the front row of Cannibal! The Musical at your own peril; for among other things, it is like a splatter-fest Gallagher concert with bodily gore replacing bashed watermelons.

And here's the other thing about Cannibal: You can't take neat little bites out of something like this, you have to gorge yourself.
And for the most part The Promethean Theatre does go all-gourmand on this gruesome staging at Black Box Theatre at Nova Southeastern University.
And this Cannibal cast handles the material — just as twisted and sophomoric as any Parker project — with zest. Matthew William Chizever as Packer reveals a lilting quality in his voice with his love ballad "When I Was on Top of You" sung to his horse, of course. Anne Chamberlain is a hesitant Polly Pry, coming to life for her one song, "This Side of Me."
OK, at least they did send someone instead of regurgitating the Herald again. But why does it have to be Hagwood? I can't believe the man ever took a writing course that he passed. I think the Sun-Sentinel hates its readers. That must be it. They hate us and resent us, so they punish us by printing Hagwood's fragmentary excretions.

Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
The Promethean Theatre... has turned a tale Parker wrote as a student film project into a sprawling, blood-spattered summer musical. Plenty of the humor is sophomoric (you could say the same about South Park), but, hey, it works. And by the time you've finished laughing or groaning, the cast is already selling the next nutty plot twist or bad joke.
The guy who (with Matt Stone) would later create Stan, Cartman, Kyle and Kenny puts his own spin on the story of an American cannibal. And what the creative team at Promethean has done with Cannibal! The Musical Live on Stage makes it even crazier, if that's possible.
Think of the show as Oklahoma!, only with blood, gleeful gore and unprintable language. Director Margaret M. Ledford goes for every last gross-out laugh, and the cast earns plenty of them. Chrissi Ardito contributes square-dance-influenced choreography, Ellis Tillman an array of crazy costumes and Daniel Gelbmann a set that allows ``blood'' to be mopped up quickly, one of this show's key requirements. Musical director/pianist Mark Fiore contributes his own little jokes, suddenly drifting into snippets of the themes from Bonanza and Law and Order, serving up a bit of Beat It and Stairway to Heaven.
The show's own music is relentlessly cheerful and unremarkable, except for a lovely solo beautifully sung by Anne Chamberlain as Polly Pry. The cast, which includes Ken Clement as a judge who makes fun of Ken Clement the actor, understands the key truth necessary to pulling off Cannibal! The Musical: Leave subtlety in the dressing room.
CANNIBAL! The Musical plays at The Promethean Theatre through September 6.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fifty Thousand

That's how many reads the South Florida Theatre Scene has received since June 2007. A year ago, about 50 people a day read The Scene, and now the average is nearly triple that.

And you're from all over the world, which continues to surprise and humble me. This week, we've had 22 visits from UK, 14 from Canada, 13 from Australia, 8 from Germany, and 5 from Spain.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mondays are Dark

Got some goodies for you this week!

Tonight, tonight, I won't go on tonight!
It used to be rare for an actor to miss a performance; only exceptional illness or injury would force a performer to pass up a chance to stand in the spotlight and garner applause. Years ago, Groucho Marx was too ill to perform Animal Crackers, so his brother Gummo went on in his place. Gummo got so many raves that Groucho decided that he could perform with walking pneumonia after all. Carol Channing broke her arm while touring with Legends, and performed anyway.

Compare that to the cast of West Side Story, who apparently feel that playing the role of a lifetime is no bigger deal than slinging burgers at a diner. Michael Riedel at the New York Post reports that at some performances as many as five actors called in sick.

And the director isn't happy about it:
...the situation is so acute that last week Arthur Laurents, who wrote the show and directed this revival, read his cast the riot act.

His tone, I'm told, was chilling. The 91-year-old told them that
professionals don't miss performances, and that they'd better get their
acts together or find another line of work.
Riedel points out that the cast should already know to be on their best behavior
I think the blizzard of cast inserts should start to clear.

But if it doesn't, the kids should remember their former colleague, Cody Green, who played Riff.

He missed a lot of shows due to injury. His understudy, John Arthur Greene, took over.

The producers thought the understudy was damn good.

And so now "the role usually played by Cody Green" is being played by John Arthur Greene -- permanently.
And that's why we don't miss shows unless we're dying. Here endeth the lesson.

How Do People Choose?
Regular Theatre Scene readers know that 'how people select shows' is an important issue for The Scene. The Producer's Perspective receives a letter from a patron who was surprised how people waiting in line with her at the New York TKTS booth chose their plays.

Clive in the Driver's Seat
Mary Damiano interviews Caldwell Theatre Company's new artistic director for Clive Cholerton discusses the Caldwell's mission, using local actors versus bring them in from out of state, and the future of theatre in South Florida. Kevin D. Thompson of the Palm Beach Post also has an interview with Cholerton.

The Reggae Musical
The Miami Examiner reports that a reggae musical featuring a Jamaican cast is coming to the Arsht Center. The Harder They Come was written by the late Perry Henzell, who also wrote, produced and directed the 1970 film by the same name. The Miami Herald goes into more detail in its story, and includes some footage of the show.
Miami-based Jamaican Consul General Sandra Grant Griffiths, who has seen "widespread interest'' in the show among Jamaicans at home and in Miami, speaks eloquently of a movie she calls a cult classic.

"The Harder They Come is part of Jamaica's cultural development. It's a very human story, a capsule of the 1970s. Jimmy was outstanding. He went from strength to strength. It's a benchmark performance,''
Laramie II (Again)
Florida Stage's participation in The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later was first reported by The Drama Queen, and was linked in last week's column. Now the Palm Beach Daily News has gotten around to covering the story in their own backyard. I'd tweak them more on being scooped by a Miami paper, but the Palm Beach Post missed it entirely. At least the Daily News is only lagging a week behind.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Knish Alley Closes Early

This just in:
Tony Finstrom's award-winning new comedy about the early days of Yiddish Theatre, KNISH ALLEY!, ends its limited summer engagement this afternoon, one week earlier than scheduled, at the Broward Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs, FL.
It will have played 30 performances, and featured Todd Bruno, Steven Chambers, Miki Edelman, David Hemphill, Kally Khourshid, Jaime Libbert and Kevin Reilly, under the direction of Dan Kelley.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

GableStage: Speed-The-Plow (4 reviews)

GableStage's production of Speed-The-Plow opened on August 15, 2009 at its intimate space at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
Two greedy Hollywood executives are set to pitch a can't-lose deal to the studio boss when an unlikely obstacle, in the form of a seductive temp secretary, creates unexpected complications. Revived to great acclaim on Broadway in 2008, this hilarious, acid-etched satire depicts Hollywood as a culture as corrupt as the society it claims to reflect.
Joe Adler directs a cast that includes Paul Tei, Greg Weiner, and Amy Elane Anderson.

The Sun-Sentinel has declined to review this production.*

Hap Erstein reviewed for the Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
This morality tale of amoral Hollywood has two juicy roles, which GableStage regulars Paul Tei and Gregg Weiner devour with relish, giving a textbook lesson in the delivery of fragmentary, foul-mouthed Mametspeak.
Tei and Weiner expertly handle Mamet’s dialogue riffs, hitting them back and forth like a killer handball match, with their enjoyment palpably evident. Anderson has the heavier lifting, since Karen -- like most female Mamet characters -- is simply less well written, but she manages the assignment well enough to keep the ball in play. A recent graduate of the University of Miami, Anderson may well turn out to be another valuable discovery of Adler’s.
(If Erstein ever bothered to check out some of the area's children's theatre productions, he would be familiar with the talented Ms. Anderson's work. Perhaps discovery would then be credited to Earl Maulding, who cast her in Klemperer's New Clothes at Actors' Playhouse three years ago. Just sayin'.)
Sean McClelland’s scenic design captures the temporary nature of the movie biz, as well as the creature comforts it affords. Adler either guides his two lead actors in their banter fest, or stays out of their way. Whichever it is, Speed-the-Plow is GableStage ... on top of its game...
Ron Levitt reviewed for ENV Magazine:
Forget about this play’s history, its Broadway successes, Mamet’s sensational script, even about its more recent controversy. What makes this GableStage production a must-see can be summed up in two words — Tei and Wiener. Despite playing despicable characters, the dynamic duo scream, slam and slap with such gusto and intensity, one can only hope no permanent damage is done.

Sean McClelland’s design for the Hollywood office, complete with its just-arrived look and Omar Martos’ lighting add to the reality of this crude culture clip of cinemaland. Don’t miss it!
Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Miami New Times:
If you're casting for predators, you can't do better than Paul Tei and Gregg Weiner — two nice-enough lads who, through some accident of genetics or upbringing, nevertheless look ready to cheat at cards, seduce your girlfriend, or snort a beach. And if you're casting for lost-lambish innocence, you can do no better than Amy Elane Anderson. When she appears onstage in Speed-the-Plow, her character's sweetness is so out of synch with her costars' reptilian cool that, addressing them, she seems to speak some foreign tongue.
At GableStage, under Joe Adler's cool direction, Speed-the-Plow is almost everything you could want Mamet to be: funny, fast, outrageous, and deep. Its one glaring flaw is a lack of slickness in the early scenes. Mamet's dialogue usually flows like baby oil through a sluice; here it just feels unwieldy...This problem fades by mid-play...
Weiner roars like a lion and soothes like a salesman...
And when Weiner turns his rage on Anderson's Karen, she reacts just as she should. She has no way of knowing what kind of wicked little world David Mamet has plunged her into. Confronted with the truth of it for the first time, she is shell-shocked, speechless, and glacier-white. She barely knows what's going on. But she'll learn the ropes soon enough. In Mamet's theater, everyone does.
Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler is closing out the summer with his own sizzling production of the play. His casting of Carbonell Award-winning actors Paul Tei as Bobby Gould and Gregg Weiner as Charlie Fox suggested that this Speed-the-Plow would be, at the very least, interesting. But it's better than that. When the boys are onstage talking the artful trash that is Mametspeak, GableStage's Speed-the-Plow is masterful.
...Adler makes sure that the men's orgasmic lust for money and power pulses through their every interaction. awful as Charlie and Bobby can be, Weiner and Tei make watching them -- and Speed-the-Plow -- gloriously theatrical.
Speed-The-Plow plays at GableStage through September 13, 2009.

The Scene for August 21, 2009

Well, the first couple of major storms of the 2009 hurricane season missed us, and school's back in session. Meanwhile, ten professional plays are currently gracing the stage at South Florida theatres.


CANNIBAL! The Musical
at The Promethean Theatre, and plays through September 6.

No, No, Nanette kicks off at the Broward Stage Door Theatre, and plays through through Sep 27

still playing:

The Whipping Man plays at the Caldwell Theatre Company, through August 30.

Speed The Plow plays at GableStage through September 13.

Speaking Elephant plays at The Women's Theatre Project through August 30.

Some Kind of Wonderful! at Florida Stage plays through August 30.

Knish Alley plays at the Stage Door Theatre through August 30th, 2009.

last chance to see...

Viva Bourgeois at Mad Cat Theatre Company in Miami presents its spin on Molière through August 22nd.

El Celador Del Desierto plays at Teatro En Miami Studio through August 22. (Spanish, with english supertitles)

Married ALIVE! plays at the Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theater through Aug 23.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Serving it up at Promethean looks in on Cannibal! The Musical Live Onstage, opening this week at Promethean Theatre.
"He has been an expert for us in blood, pus and beheadings," Ledford says.
"I've never been to theater camp, but this is what I imagine it feels like," says Sean Muldoon, who plays miner Humphrey.
Who else but Promethean would bring us a musical by the guy that created South Park?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The 24 Hour Theatre Festival Returns

24small copyThe Drama Queen reports that Naked Stage has announced the date for the third annual 24 Hour Theatre Project at Actors' Playhouse.

The fun begins at 7pm on October 11, 2009, when the playwrights are given their titles, directors, and cast lists. 24 hours later, we get to see the results of the madness.

It also marks the kickoff of the South Florida Theatre Festival 2009, sponsored by the Theatre League of South Florida and (not affiliated with

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mondays are Dark

Not quite as much on this week's list: a lot of people are on vacation, I guess.  Don't forget to catch Aisle Say at 2pm.

A Code to Live By
Someone finds a copy of the old Circle Players' CODE OF ETHICS in the belongings of the late Kathleen Freeman.  LAStageBlog prints the rules portion of it, and it's worth reading.  And printing. And posting on your call board.

Mix 'n' Match
The Playgoer has an idea: a subscription package that includes the 5 shows you want to see - wherever they are playing.  OK, she's actually asking Chicago playgoers to pick the 5 shows they feel they must see this year - a virtual subscription.  But wouldn't it be cool to come up with an actual "floating" season?

Going Once, Twice - It's GONE
The old 26th Street Playhouse enters its next life - as an auctionhouse.

Taking on Take Me Out
The Miami Herald reports that Rising Action Theatre will be opening Richard Greenberg's Take Me Out in a couple of weeks. Steve Rothaus' article is littered with gratuitous beefcake photos of the cast.

Laramie Project II
10 years after Matthew Shepard was murdered, and ten years after Moise Kaufman and fellow writers Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris and Stephen Belber, wrote The Laramie Project, the creators of the play revisit the tragedy,  and how the town changed in its aftermath.  The Drama Queen reports that Florida Stage will be doing a reading, one of more than a hundred theatres nationwide presenting a reading of the The Laramie Project: 10 Years  Later on October 12, 2009.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Casting: Not Referring to Aspersions

This was going to go on the Monday reading list, but it's so extensive I'm giving it its own post.  Earlier this week, casting director Daryl Eisenberg started sending out comments about the people auditioning for her over Twitter.  It's caused an uproar in NYC theater circles, but it's an issue we should all be aware of.

Here's a sample of what she was sending out:
if you are going to sing about getting on your knees, might as well do it and crawl towards us...right?
If we wanted to hear it a different way, don't worry, we'll ask.
If you think this sounds like something a kid would do, well, Eisenberg is all of 24.  The Talkin' Broadway Forum is discussing the merits of youth in someone holding such an important position. 

The New York Times ArtsBeat Blog and both picked up the story.  The latter article includes an interview with Eisenberg

Paul Russell at AnswersforActors lets her have both barrells:
" have violated the trust of those who came before you. Artists who bared their talents in exchange for an offer of work; a chance to earn monies for food and rent. An audition is when the actor is often at their most vulnerable emotional state."
After being called in to meet with AEA about the gross abuse of her position, she did apologize - via Twitter:
After a productive meeting with AEA this afternoon, I’m happy to report that we have agreed to both put this behind us.
By mutual agreement, future tweets will not be coming from the audition room regarding the actors auditioning.
I apologize to the actors and professionals who put themselves on the line every time they audition...
...and will continually strive to make the audition room an inspiring, nurturing place for creativity and talent.
I look forward to working with AEA and its members on future projects, and hope to see you all in the audition room soon.
Her initial response to criticism was less diplomatic:
There is NO rule/guideline against Twitter/Facebook/MySpace/Friendster. Freedom of speech. Ever heard of it?
The producer of the show she was casting has announced another round of auditions, specifically inviting back anyone from the first round.  Of course, her contract stipulates that she must also be there.  Fortunately, this time she will not be running the auditions: a responsible grown-up will be doing that.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Scene for August 14, 2009

Yessir, it's truly the dog days of summer, but area theatres keep putting on shows: two shows are opening this weekend, at theatres recognized for their excellent work. We have eleven professionally produced plays to choose from.

If you want something more...'fresh'...the New Play Project consists of 8 plays written, produced, directed, and featuring students of the New World School of the Arts (although this is not a NWSA project). See The Playground for details.


The Whipping Man, Caldwell Theatre Company, through August 30.

Speed The Plow, GableStage, through September 13.

still playing:

Speaking Elephant plays at The Women's Theatre Project through August 30.

Viva Bourgeois at Mad Cat Theatre Company in Miami presents its spin on Molière through August 22nd.

El Celador Del Desierto plays at Teatro En Miami Studio through August 22. (Spanish, with english supertitles)

Married ALIVE! plays at the Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theater through Aug 23.

Some Kind of Wonderful! at Florida Stage plays through August 30.

Knish Alley plays at the Stage Door Theatre through August 30th, 2009.

last chance to see...

Private Lives at Palm Beach DramaWorks , runs through August 16th.

Molotov Kisses
plays through August 16th at Area Stage Company.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Women's Theatre Project: Speaking Elephant (2 reviews)

Women's Theater Project opened Terry Lawrence's Speaking Elephant on August 6th, 2009.
Based on the true story of Wanda and Winky, two aging Asian elephants living in the Detroit Zoo are placed in the middle of a controversy when the decision is made to relocate them to a place more conducive to their need - a sanctuary in California. The elephants' attendant is torn. How do you send someone you love away, even when it's for their own good? And how do you make them understand that when you don't speak elephant? While the humans examine the elephants' future, their physical and psychological conditions are explored with humor, wit and poignancy, reflecting the problems society brings when aging forces us to move out of our homes into a different environment.
Genie Croft directed a cast that includes Angie Radosh, Sally Bondi, and Pilar Uribe.

Christin Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
Now getting its world premiere at the Women's Theatre Project in Fort Lauderdale, the South Florida-based playwright's script has inspired one of the company's best productions, from the simple and subtle work of director Genie Croft to the effective, engrossing performances by three of the region's best actors.
Of the many ways to come at the story, Lawrence chose to imagine the elephants' histories, thoughts and relationships. That proves an inspired choice, particularly with Sally Bondi as the optimistically curious Wanda and Angie Radosh playing a sometimes-acerbic Winky (if tart-tongued Joanne from Company were an elephant, she'd be Winky).
As the elephants' solicitous attendant, a passionate Pilar Uribe plays a tender-hearted geek who finds her challenging dealings with ``the girls'' nonetheless easier than building a relationship with the male of her own species.

Try as she might, she cannot understand the elephants' low rumblings. But thanks to Lawrence's imaginative empathy, everyone else who listens is given the gift of Speaking Elephant.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for the Sun-Sentinel:
There is no way that Speaking Elephant should work. The premise begs ridicule: Aging elephants Winky and Wanda talk to each other while an ecstatic zookeeper they cannot understand yammers to them about her love life.

So it's a minor miracle that the Women Theatre Project's world premiere by local writer Terry Lawrence emerges as a moving, thought-provoking examination of serious themes peppered with humor. The premise threatens every moment to tilt the production over the edge into ludicrous silliness, yet Lawrence's pungent language, Genie Croft's direction and affecting performances by Angie Radosh and Sally Bondi keep it grounded and credible.
...Lawrence has spun out her metaphor into a kaleidoscope of such disparate themes as fear of the unknown, death, animal rights and forcing a loved one into a care-taking environment for their own good.
The crucial element is that the actresses, Croft and Lawrence fearlessly invest themselves. No one steps out of character and winks at the audience. So when Bondi's Wanda whimpers, we cringe with her; when Radosh's Winky bares her secret, we are transfixed at the confessional -- even though the actresses are wrapped in furry gray suits and wave one arm like a trunk.

A lot of people snickered when they first heard Lawrence's premise, including a few critics. We owe her an apology.
The Women's Theater Project presents Speaking Elephant at Sixth Star Studios through August 30.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mondays are Dark

Once again, here's your Monday reading list.

Dancing with Gators
Remember that theatre district that was coming to South Florida?  Well, now it has a website, complete with a soft porn soundtrack!
Oz is a mixed-use urban district just west of Ft. Lauderdale; a place to live, work, and entertain that is rooted in sustainability and rich with economic, cultural and social impact.  This new, master-planned, pedestrian-focused city brings the magic and talent of first-run, Broadway-quality theatre to South Florida in addition to countless other cultural diversions.
Entertainment in Oz transcends road show productions, offering creative, new work; a cultural incubator for Broadway musicals and plays in South Florida.
Hmm.  Maybe they'll have something that "transcends" orange juice, too. It smells like they'll bring everyone in from NYC for this thing. Any local talent - producers, designers, performers, whatever - been contacted by this group to date?  No?

Stop the Presses!
The Sun-Sentinel actually produced a news story on theatre!  Bill Hirschman wrote it, of course.
This may be the strangest theater summer in Florida history. We've had gymnasts writhing overhead in Fuerza Bruta at the Arsht, dancers writhing in positions no one thought possible in Caldwell's Vices and Mad Cat's re-visioning of a 1670 Moliere play starring Elvis.

But there's far quirkier coming: Talking elephants and singing cannibals.
He also brings us news of two local actors who are leavin' on a jet plane, at least for a little while.

She's Back
Christine Dolen is back from vacation, and starts off by discussing GableStage's new season in The Drama Queen.

The Wiz out West
The South Florida Times heads out to the Miramar Cultural Center to check out The Performance Project Summer Camp production of The Wiz.

Pitching Dreams
The Producer's Perspective tells us that The American Theatre Wing has produced a great video on marketing theatre, as part of their Working in Theatre series.

NEA Chairman: Art Pays
The newly appointed chairman of the NEA is theatre producer Rocco Landesman, and he discusses his views on the arts with the New York Times.
“We need to have a seat at the big table with the grown-ups. Art should be part of the plans to come out of this recession.”

“Someone who works in the arts is every bit as gainfully employed as someone who works in an auto plant or a steel mill,” Mr. Landesman said. “We’re going to make the point till people are tired of hearing it.”
Rocco goes on to point out that when the arts come into town, the town prospers.  Locally, we can point to the example of the Broward Center, the Kravis Center, and Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre.  The two performing arts centers were built in fully blighted areas which are now home to a thriving community of shops and restaurants.  While Miracle Mile wasn't quite a ghetto, Actors' Playhouse did spur a revitalization of the a shopping district that had become a stagnant row of wedding dress shops.  It now has a vibrant night life, with restaurants, shops, and galleries serviced by a trolley.

Maybe Rocco's first call should be to Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez.

The Ben Franklin Solution suggests that Benjamin Franklin gave us good advice:
"We must all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."
MiamiToday editor Michael Lewis believes that arts organizations must work together to overcome the current difficulties in fundraising:
In January we called on the cultural world to convene a no-holds-barred summit to find ways to work jointly, perhaps combining to reduce overhead and eliminate duplication.
 As we reported last week, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts has united with its three remaining resident companies (the late Concert Association was the fourth) on a single November fundraising cruise.
Think of the advantages: promoting one time instead of four, organizing one instead of four, tapping major funders once instead of four times, paying costs once instead of four times, finding a donor like Carnival Corp.'s Yachts of Seabourn, the event underwriter, one time instead of four.
It's worth considering; most arts organizations share a lot of donors and supporters already.  This may be an approach that allows them to continue supporting all the groups, instead of having to pick and choose which ones they can continue to support.

In Memoriam
Actress Barbara Bradshaw and Technical Director Chip Latimer have lost their son, Matthew Latimer.  The 22-year-old died in an apparent surfing accident.  Services next Saturday in Boca Raton, follow the link for details.

Robert "Buddy" Lochrie, chairman and founding member of the Broward Performing Arts Foundation, lost his 10 year battle with cancer on Friday.  Services will be held on Wednesday.  This follows the loss of Leslie W. Brown, former Executive Director of the Broward Performing Arts Center, who passed away on July 28.

Meanwhile, in Palm Beach...
...the Royal Poinciana Playhouse is still closed

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Scene for August 7, 2009

Well. August. I've been looking back through the Archives, just to get some perspective.
A year ago:
  • Souvenir, Zero Hour, and Why We Have a Body closed.
  • True Blue and Escorts, the Musical opened.
  • Productions of DOUBT, Midlife: the Crisis Musical, and Dream a Little Dream were chcugging along on area stages.
That's eight productions. And once again, we have eight local productions, plus two national tours (even though one is for kids!)

Not bad at all, considering the economy. So come on in out of the heat; see a show.


Speaking Elephant opens at The Women's Theatre Project, and plays through August 30.

still playing:

Viva Bourgeois at Mad Cat Theatre Company in Miami presents its spin on Molière through August 22nd.

Private Lives at Palm Beach DramaWorks , runs through August 16th.

Molotov Kisses
plays through August 16th at Area Stage Company.

El Celador Del Desierto plays at Teatro En Miami Studio through August 22. (Spanish, with english supertitles)

Married ALIVE! plays at the Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theater through Aug 23.

Some Kind of Wonderful! at Florida Stage plays through August 30.

Knish Alley plays at the Stage Door Theatre through August 30th, 2009.

passing through:

Mamma Mia! Here we go again; the musical of ABBA songs plays at the Kravis Center. It closes Sunday, and if you miss it, well, it seems to come through every year, so you'll just have to catch it later.

for kids:

Dora the Explorer
finds the stage at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts this weekend.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Anything I Tell You Three Times....

It's the hot theatre story of the day, apparently. Three different sources are carrying it, so it must be hot, right?

The Drama Queen is back from vacation, and she kicks off with it:
After beginning his tenure as the Caldwell Theatre Company's new artistic director with the smash hit world premiere of Vices: A Love Story, Clive Cholerton is hardly playing it safe or traditional with his second summer show...
Kevin Thompson of the Palm Beach Post adds his two cents:
...local theaters stage fun, upbeat productions during the summer months. The Caldwell Theatre recently did that with Vices: A Love Story.

But it’s going in a completely different direction with The Whipping Man, a somber drama by Matthew Lopez.
Beau Higgins at caps it off with a quote from Caldwell's artistic director, Clive Cholerton:
"I wanted to challenge the tradition of producing lighter fare during the summer season. The themes of The Whipping Man, which include personal choice, personal responsibility, and the essence of faith, are so universal, that I knew audiences would be drawn to it. To not produce the play would have seemed negligent on my part."
So what's it about? From the Caldwell Theatre Company website:
The Whipping Man is set in a crumbling home in Richmond, VA, in the days following the end of the Civil War. The day Lee surrendered to Grant was the first day of Passover in 1865, and the play takes place during the middle of that period. The house was once the grand home of the DeLeons, an influential, Jewish, southern family. The DeLeons' slaves adopted their faith. The former slaves and self-identified Jews are forced to face their own contradictions as they celebrate the historic freeing of the Hebrews from captivity. This play is about captives confronting their captors, and the realization that with free will comes responsibilities which far outreach anyone's comprehension.
Cholerton has cast a prize crew that includes John Archie,Nick Duckhart, and Brandon Morris. You may have seen Morris on Burn Notice as Agent Lane of the FBI. And now you have a chance to really see his chops.

The Whipping Man opens next week, August 12, and plays through August 30 at the Caldwell Theatre Company in Boca Raton.

Kravis Center: Mama Mia! (Tour) (3 Reviews)

Mama Mia has blown through South Florida three times in the last three years., and it's played Palm Beach three times in the last five. Now it's the Kravis Center's turn to (again) host the show that inspired the term "jukebox musical."

Kevin D. Thompson reviewed for the Palm Beach Post:
As part of its national tour, Mamma Mia! made its Kravis Center premiere Tuesday night.
(Someone might want to let Kevin know that it wasn't a premiere)
While the show unquestionably remains the lovably kitschy, candy-colored concoction it’s always been, it fell somewhat short of all the hype surrounding it.
Mamma Mia! doesn’t work as well as it could have mostly because at times it’s difficult to understand the lyrics written by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. The orchestra had the annoying tendency of drowning out the actors’ singing voices. This happened way too often to Dawson, who has a lovely voice when you could actually hear it. That only made it harder to emotionally invest in the characters when you actually wanted to.

Also, Bill and Harry, who serve as good comic relief, came off a little too goofy. Kinda like cardboard characters on a sitcom. When it came time to flex their dramatic muscles, neither actor was really up to the task and their moments with Sophie fell a little flat.
Kevin gives it a B-, but he gets a "C" for not knowing the difference between a premiere and and a repeat visit.
Hap Erstein reviewed it for Palm Beach Arts Paper:
The performers sing well enough -- very well in Dawson’s case -- but most of the characters have become broadly cartoonish.
Director Phyllida Lloyd is a theater and opera veteran who took her first plunge into musicals with Mamma Mia!, staging the traffic efficiently enough, but never figuring out a reason for us to care about these people. Still, she is obviously more comfortable with live theater than she is with film, as the only thing more inept than the stage show is the 2008 movie. Susan Stroman (The Producers) is off the hook for the least talented film debut by a stage director learning on the job.

In any event, for those legions of Mamma Mia! fans, the road company is delivering the full silly experience, along with Anthony Van Laast’s calesthentic choreography. It is a featherweight show, exactly as intended, and the first two-and-a-half hours are mere preface for the extended curtain call.
Jan Sjostrom endured it reviewed for the Palm Beach Daily News:
Few of the voices were up to Broadway standards and the backstage chorus was so bad that it called up images of karaoke. The chorus either drowned out the lead vocalists or stumbled in on the wrong beat. The staging was sloppy and the choreography far from crisp.

This is the third time the musical has visited the Kravis Center. Perhaps, the producers have concluded that Mamma Mia's hype is so dazzling that no one will notice how much they've skimped on quality.
Michelle Dawson made a fetching Donna, and her deep voice suggested diva potential. Thanks to the unfortunate musical direction that promise was never realized.

Other singers who deserved better include Adam Jacobs, as Sky, Sophie's fiance, who with any luck will find a vehicle better than this one for his charismatic talents.

John Hemphill portrayed a likeable Sam, Donna's long-lost love, and again, had a pleasing voice, when it could be heard.
This production retains enough of the original's charm to please those who are determined to enjoy it. Otherwise, don't bother.
Ouch! I guess Jan's not a big enough ABBA fan to be lulled by the score.

Mama Mia! plays at the Kravis Center through this Sunday, August 9.

Once again, in English

How do you follow up a production of a play so successful you had to extend it?  You bring it back - only this time in another language. reports that Area Stage is doing just that, mounting Molotov Kisses, the English translation of Gustavo Ott's Tu Ternura Molotov.  Once again, John Rodaz directs Carlos Orizondo and Ivette Viñas.

Molotov Kisses is a limited engagement, playing through August 16th at Area Stage Company.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Actors' Playhouse extends Married ALIVE! reports that Actors' Playhouse has extended its run of Married ALIVE through August 23rd.

It's a notable achievement, since area media has basically failed to cover the show.

There is exactly one review in the local media: Christine Dolen's review in the Miami Herald. The Sun-Sentinel, once a power in the South Florida arts scene, never sent out anyone to review it. The Palm Beach Post apparently can't be bothered to cover anything even close to the borders of Palm Beach County anymore. I'm actually surprised that the New Times hasn't reviewed it; they usually do a much better job of covering shows than they have the last month or so.

There is one other review: John LaRiviere of Talkin' Broadway came out to see it.

And that's it. One review by a professional reviewer, and one review written by an actor for a national website that doesn't have a very strong presence in South Florida. And this for the area's largest regional theater. Every other regional theater received more reviews than Actors' Playhouse and Married ALIVE. It's a dismal showing on the part of South Florida journalism.

The good news is that word of mouth does still rule, and the show's extended, employing the cast and crew a little longer in this economy. This show hasn't been carried on hype: there hasn't been any. No, this is all audience response. Kudos to Dave Arisco and his cast!

Mondays are Dark

Time once again for your Monday reading list. From the traffic, it looks like you like it; the last two weeks it's recieved more hits than The Scene! Thank you for reading, and enjoy!

User Comments
Last week, I posted a link to a story about reasons arts organizations don't want to have a blog, and one of those reasons was "negative comments."
Well, here's the Producer's Perspective's er, perspective:
What about the poor Producer who whines, "But what if my show gets negative reviews?"

To that producer I say, "Produce a show that people like!"
He goes on to say that you must have confidence in what you produce. If you don't, you don't last long.
In an age where word of mouth (and online word of mouth, which I am now officially calling and coining the phrase, "Word of Web"), means more than ever, passionate people who post about your show can mean butts in seats. Yes, they can also spread around the bad germs as well, but if you're producing a show, you've got to go out thinking you're going to get the positive comments, or you shouldn't bother producing the show in the first place.
So toughen up, and set up a place for your patrons to leave comments!

Interesting Approach...
...but not one I'd pursue. Mission Paradox points out that shows aren't the only thing that get word of mouth:
...firing people creates the most powerful type of marketing: viral marketing.

What do people do once they have been fired?

They talk about it.
Well, they're right about that: just look at all the hullabaloo around the Skylight Theatre. There's a lot of it. And it's all entirely negative.

Well, to be fair, the point is exactly that: be careful how you handle employees.

Palm Beach is buzzing about the return of Mama Mia to South Florida: the Post and the Daily News both have stories this week.
People can't seem to get enough of Mamma Mia! The show has played eight times at South Florida venues, including twice at the Kravis Center, in 2004 and 2006. Mamma Mia! will return Tuesday when it will open for a six-day run at the Kravis.
- PB Daily News
So if you haven't had enough, or somehow haven't seen it, get up to the Kravis Center.

In Good Company tells us about famous actors from Miami. It's by no means a complete list: for example, they missed Kim Hunter, who grew up in Miami Beach. During Hurricane Andrew, she told me about how she watched the 1928 hurricane roll into Miami.

Meanwhile, in Palm Beach...
The Royal Poinciana Playhouse is still closed.