Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Look Back at 2009

What a year it's been! It has flown by, which is remarkable considering that we're posting a lot more articles a lot more frequently.

New Vista announced a change in its season line-up, which turned out to be the first step towards dissolving the company. Theatre by the Book announced its closing a few weeks later.

Meanwhile, Broward Stage Door started a trend of stronger productions. Then the Wall Street Journal came to town, and sent sales at Palm Beach DramaWorks and GableStage soaring. WSJ theatre crititic Terry Teachout is still praising the DramaWorks presentation of The Chairs. Also on his list: the Chicago production of The History Boys, feature south Florida native Alex Weisman.

Gary Waldman and Jamison Troutman were exposed for the first time, after a flame war was started in the comments section of a Christine Dolen blog post. And this was just the first volley in what eventually becomes the Theatre Scene's most popular series of articles.

And while that would make for a busy enough month, it got busier when an anti-gay protest at the Rising Action Theatre turned out to be a publicity stunt staged by an actor working on the production. The story was first picked up and then dropped by a cowardly editor at the Broward New Times, but the Theatre Scene followed it through until the truth came out.

But there was a more positive outcome from that last story: the Theatre Scene broke the review summaries out of the weekly Scene round up and started grouping review summaries by show. This allows for easier comparison of reviews, and also doubled the number of stories appearing on the Theatre Scene. It was followed by an increase in the number of readers.

The Sun-Sentinel seems to launch a campaign to showcase the incompetence of its editorial staff by failing to cover theatre in South Florida, choosing instead to regurgitate reviews from the Miami Herald, and hiding the few reviews it does publish. Insult is added to injury when instead of using an actual theatre critic who already writes extensively for them, they begin to inflict their readers with the scribblings of their fashion editor. Displaying a marked inability to use complete sentences, Rod Stafford Hagwood continues to offer extremely poor coverage of major productions.

Sol Theatre Project sings its swan song, and it's an eloquent tune.

A new weblog, Five Minutes to Curtain, showed up for about five minutes.

The Arsht Center announces that it has paid off its $14 million loan seven years ahead of schedule.

Michael Hall announces his retirement from his position as Artistic Director of the Caldwell Theatre Company, which he founded in 1975.
New Theatre produces an excellent revival of The Glass Menagerie. Brandon K. Thorp sums it up with this overheard comment:
After Saturday's opening-night production, Carbonell voter Marzi Kaplan rose from her seat and said, "I didn't think I needed to see that play one more time. I guess I did."
Les Mis and 4.48 Psychosis are the talk of the town.

Gary Waldman and Jamison Troutman do it again; they lured actors far from home, and stranded them without pay or a ride home. The Herald picks it up this time. But the loathsome duo are far from contrite, blaming the failure of their company on actors who had not yet appeared on its stage. Gary goes so far as to tell the generous man who paid to fly the stranded actors home that he was "duped."

Evita breaks box office records at the Malt Jupiter Theatre; originally announced at 100%, by the end of its run it achieves an astounding 103% occupancy with standing room. This beats the previous record of 99% set by Crazy For You under the administration of Richard Aikens. Burt Reynolds never achieved a similar sell out, although no one could cite the best selling production or its occupancy.

April turns out to be the busiest month ever: 50 articles are posted!

Richard Aikens died the day after his box office record was broken.

Best Carbonells EVER.

Jersey Boys achieves 104% occupancy at the Broward Center.

Enter Mondays are Dark.

New Vista was on the roof, and we couldn't get it down.

Our first Live Blog.

The spankin' new layout of the Theatre Scene makes it debut.

Readership magically doubles. No really, our numbers doubled that day, and they've only increased since then.

Alex Weisman Grows Up. And it's a wonderful thing.

Tales of OZ arise. And the Wizard of Oz stumbles through town.

Oh, sorry, THIS is the Swan Song of the Sol Theatre Project.

We step up on a soap box. The Herald gets all ruffled, but their indignation doesn't change the facts.

New Heights for Oscar Cheda.

Christine Dolen starts hyping Tarrel McRaney.

The Tally starts. I've fallen behind, but that will be remedied soon.

Aisle Say hits the... internet waves. Or something.

The Herald doesn't send Christine Dolen to review Under Shorts. It was playing across the street from the Herald's offices.

Area Stage returns.

The Scene turned two.

The Alliance Theatre Lab does what Mosaic could not; it presented My Name is Rachel Corrie. Kudos to the Alliance. I love Mosaic, but cutting Rachel Corrie was a very dark day in its history.

Cannibal, The Musical. It was better than it had any right to be.

A time-travelling hip-hop group attempts to change history, and a group of young actors launch episodic theatre in South Florida. It's Toners in Time.

Theatre Row posts for the last time.

Forget that stuff earlier about Sol Theatre; THIS is its swan song. And Rod Hagwood shows us just what an idiot he really is.

The Sun Sentinel gets a new look: kinda like gift wrapping a turd and calling it a Christmas present. On the bright side....well, actually, there is no bright side. The Sentinel still sucks.

Editors are stupid. Read the comments on this one.

A bold new era begins at the Caldwell Theatre Company. The first in a string of critical successes for Clive Cholerton. Now if only the money follows, everything will work out...

Laffing Matterz announces its return, after losing the lease at their old location. It opened on time and on budget, and is playing to happy crowds of laughing patrons.

Paul Tei does Moliere - his way.

Success in spite of a media meltdown.

The Women's Theatre Project makes a play about talking elephants work. Local critics eat a bit of crow.

The hot shows are The Whipping Man and Cannibal.

The South Florida Theatre Festival comes of age.

The Bandit's Back. Nuff Said.

Broward Theatres lose major funding.

Twitter me this.

Deja Vu, all over again.

The South Florida Theater Festival in full swing.

All I can say is Sunday in the Park with George. gets an update.

Post show party, anyone? Broward Center has started making use of its Peck Courtyard.

The Color Purple sold out at the Arsht Center; the good news is that it's coming to the Broward Center for a longer run.

Local Papers offer lackluster coverage.

Barry University wants you to know that "it's back."

Bubbling Brown Sugar makes a triumphant return from Limbo. Doing a musical lacking a score is a challenge in anyone's book.

Macon City: A Comic Book Play makes its debut in a worthwhile production from Naked Stage.

The Caldwell's production of The Voysey Inheritance might be the most timely mounting of a play in South Florida since Actors' Rep did All My Sons in the wake of the Challenger explosion. (The show was in rehearsals when the disaster happened).

The Theatre Scene publishes the first in a series of articles chronicling the history of professional theatre in South Florida. The first series could be labeled "They're Gone, Now," as the first stories will be about theatres that have gone out of business.

Speaking of theatres that are out of business, GableStage announces that it will eventually become the new Coconut Grove Playhouse.

Florida Stage announces that it will be moving into the Kravis Center next year, but it's staying Florida Stage.

New Vista formally announces that it's out of business.

And now we're back where we've been, before we went back a year.

Have a happy 2010!!

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