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

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