Friday, April 30, 2010

The Scene for April 30, 2010

Well, the April that opened with The Twelve on April Fools' day leaves us at the threshold of a May that starts with a lot of stuff for kids.  From Family Fun Day in Fort Lauderdale to the National Children's Theatre Festival in Coral Gables, plays for children will be playing all over South Florida.  And we won't see any reviews of any of them in any of our region's newspapers.

Registration info is up at the Florida Professional Theatres Association website.  This year's FPTA mass auditions are scheduled for May 23-24 at the Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach.  Registration forms and workshop schedules are available HERE.  This is a great chance to be seen by theatres across the entire state, and it's an excellent networking opportunity.


Mad Cat Theatre Company opens its bigger and better production Marco Ramirez'  Broadsword at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on April 29, where it will rock the house through May 9, 2010.

Slow Burn Theatre Company presents its second ever production, Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, April 29 - May 2, 2010.

still playing:

Edward Albee's Three Tall Women  at Palm Beach Dramaworks runs through June 13, 2010.

The Quarrel plays at Gablestage through May 16, 2010

The Women's Theatre Project production of Going to See The Elephant runs through May 16.

New Theatre  production of  Raised in Captivity runs through May 16, 2010.

Mosaic Theatre production of Christopher Shinn's Dying City  plays through May 9, 2010.

Infinite Abyss Productions' critically acclaimed production of Stop Kiss at Empire Stage
closes this Sunday, April 25, has been extended through May 9, 2010.

Caldwell Theatre Company production of Distracted plays through May 16.

Suds plays at Broward Stage Door through May 23.

The Sum of Us plays at Rising Action Theatre through May 30, 2010.

Laffing Matterz slings laughs and food at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts through June.

last chance to see..

Dr. Radio ends its run at Florida Stage this Sunday, May 2, 2010.

for kids:

The venerable Actors' Rep presents Looking Glass Land at the Borland Theatre in Palm Beach Gardens.  Fun Fact: the current incarnation of The Rep opened with Going to See The Elephant (now playing at The Women's Theatre Project).   May 1st, 7th & 8th.

Lyle Lyle Crocodile will be the centerpiece for Family Fun Day at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts; Saturday, May 1.

In Coral Gables, the world premiere of Young King Arthur is the centerpiece for the National Children's Theatre Festival at Actors' Playhouse.

Playground Theatre presents The Love of Three Oranges in Miami Shores through May 23, 2010.

New Theatre: Raised in Captivity (2 reviews)

New Theatre opened its production of Nicky Silver's Raised in Captivity on April 23, 2010.
This Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominated dark comedy starts with estranged twin siblings who are attending their mother’s funeral, after she was killed by her broken, flying shower head. Add in a husband, a ghost, a convicted murderer, a male escort and a therapist and what you get is a whacky, absurdist comedy about serious family values, relationships and self discovery.
Ricky J. Martinez directed a cast that included John Manzelli, Katherine Amadeo, Clint Hooper, Barbara Sloan, and Lorenzo D. Gutierrez III.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
As with New Theatre's recent production of Equus, director Ricky J. Martinez makes casting choices that go a long way toward making an even trickier play work well.
Manzelli's Sebastian is an always-watchable neurotic mess... enticingly unpredictable.
As Bernadette, Amadeo has never been better. She is always in control of balance between the character's crisp surface and roiling emotions...
New Theatre's Raised in Captivity, staged on a thrifty-looking and often-moving set, isn't a powerhouse play like Equus. Its charms are slimmer and stranger. But Martinez and company do illuminate them.
Roger Martin reviewed for
Director Ricky J. Martinez has presented a fine cast.
John Manzelli is both hilarious and touching as Sebastian...
There is a touch of madness throughout this show with actors at times going hysterically over the top and this is just fine. Katherine Amadeo's Bernadette is an anorexic, mouth-twitching, emotional wreck whose ambition is to become an alcoholic. Barbara Sloan's Hillary, the psychoanalyst, is a manic, guilt ridden mess.
Silver's men are no less disturbed. Hooper's Kip holds everything beneath the surface to great effect; don't ever get caught in his dental chair.  Guiterrez (Tyler the murderer) also plays a venomous rent boy toying with a reluctant Sebastien.
There's a whole lot going on in Raised In Captivity, funny stuff and serious stuff, and Ricky J. Martinez has directed this melange in fine style. 
Raised in Captivity plays at New Theatre through May 16, 2010.

Rising Action Theatre: The Sum Of Us (2 reviews)

Rising Action Theatre opened its production of The Sum Of Us on April 22, 2010.
A hit Off-Broadway and later a film starring Russell Crowe, this play by gifted Australian writer David Stevens explores the volatile relationship between an aging widower and his gay son. After meeting in a local pub, Jeff and a young gardener, Greg, hit it off and begin to date. When he meets Jeff's stubborn, opinionated Dad however, Greg begins to back off. Meanwhile Dad too has a new flame: a woman he met through a dating service. Put off by Jeff's homosexuality, prosaic Joyce too pulls away.
Stephen A. Chambers directed a cast that included John McGlothlin, Ned Cray, Ricardo Rodriquez, and Linda Ellis.

Roger Martin reviewed for
Directed by Steven A. Chambers ... the piece feels a little dated. Well it is, it's twenty years old. Perhaps it's the fourth-wall breaking monologues. Not too relevant these days.
... the show is a bit eggy. (Eggy? I stole it from my wife. It means a show's not quite there yet. Very useful.) A little blocking for blocking's sake (she's got to find those damn skin mags), a little more acting than being from Dad, too obvious lighting changes. You know, the little things that remind you you're watching a performance.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Under Steven A. Chambers' direction, the cast delivers one of Rising Action's more enjoyable productions, though as with so many shows by this company, The Sum of Us has positives and negatives.
As Jeff, John McGlothlin follows his impressive debut in Rising Action's Bent with another strong performance...
...Cray is an enthusiastic dream dad, but his accent wanders from Australia to Boston to New York. Rodriguez makes Greg a cipher who's about as authentically Aussie as a much-advertised American steakhouse. Ellis acquits herself well as the woman who might have made Harry happy.
Rod Stafford Hagwood wrote it up for The Sun-Sentinel;
...a yenta, even a straight Australian one working on matchmaking a gay son, needs a lot of charm, and this version just doesn't have it.
There are glancing blows (turns out Grandma was a lesbian), but never a direct hit … which is all the more frustrating with this production because you feel that there is something droll and deep going on, just beyond the reach of the actors directed by Steven A. Chambers.
John McGlothlin, who plays Jeff, fluctuates from excellent to wooden depending on with whom he shares the stage (for example, he is relaxed and less stagey with Ricardo Rodriguez as Greg). As Jeff's dad, Ned Cray just isn't up to having a show rest on his shoulders. Things do go better when he has a scene with sure-and-steady Linda Ellis as Joyce.
The Sum Of Us plays at Rising Action Theatre through May 30, 2010.

Monday, April 26, 2010

GableStage: The Quarrel (3 reviews)

GableStage opened its production of The Quarrel on April 24, 2010.
Based on the Yiddish story "My Quarrel with Hersh Rasseyner" by Chaim Grade, this play tells the story of two friends, an Orthodox rabbi and a Jewish poet who has lost his faith - both Holocaust survivors from Bialystok. When they meet unexpectedly years later, it sparks a fierce battle of wits and a raw test of friendship faith and tolerance.
Joe Adler directed Avi Hoffman, Chaz Mena and Mark Della Ventura.

John LaRiviere reviewed for Talkin'
Most of the play involves just the two main characters, and this production is well acted by Hoffman and Mena, and very cleanly directed by Joseph Adler.
Avi Hoffman's portrayal of Hersh Rasseyner is heartfelt and true. He shows a kindness that allows his convictions to pour forth without the declarations sounding judgmental or harsh. His character's connection to his faith is so strong that it seems like many moments are also personal truths for the actor. Chaz Mena as Chaim Kovler matches Hoffman's ardent portrayal with one that is smooth and emotionally detached (save for one brief moment) from the subject of religion. This works well, as again the focus remains on the friendship...
The role of Joshua, played by Mark Della Ventura, stops rather than furthers the action in his brief appearance on stage. He is clearly out of his league with two such seasoned actors, and looks petrified on stage.
Roger Martin reviewed for
Seventy-five minutes (no intermission) of anger, forgiveness, love, lust, frustration, resignation, sorrow, happiness, and the two men in a little song and dance that will break your heart. The play I didn't particularly want to see is utterly fascinating.
Avi Hoffman and Chaz Mena seem born for this piece. I would gladly have spent another seventy-five minutes in their company.

Mark Della Ventura plays Joshua, a student of Hersh's, who in a short sharp scene interrogates Chaim to devastating effect. Della Ventura is someone to watch.
It doesn't seem possible that Joe Adler could top his last production, Blasted, for audience impact, but he's done just that with this gem.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Originally a Canadian film based on a 1950 short story by Yiddish writer Chaim Grade, The Quarrel is now an intense, emotion-filled, provocative piece of theater brought vibrantly to life by director Joseph Adler, starring Avi Hoffman and Chaz Mena and, in a small but incendiary role, Mark Della Ventura.
The work that Hoffman and Mena create together is so moving that, at the end of opening night, one man tried to speak through his tears and couldn't. He wasn't the only one.
The Quarrel plays at GableStage through May 16, 2010.

Not So Dark

GableStage presents a free reading of After Dark, a new play by Tony Finstrom.  It's tonight, April 26, at 7:30 pm.

Stuart Meltzer directs Iris Acker, Jeffrey Bruce, Todd Bruno, David Hemphill, Miriam Kulick, Michael McKeever and Andy Rogow.

Mondays are Dark

Here's your Monday Reading List.

Remembering Carol Provonsha
The Naples News Stage Door reminds us that Florida Rep is hosting a memorial service for Carol Provonsha on Monday, May 17.  The Naples News published a lovely obituary, as well as a photo gallery.

Miami Stuff
The Drama Queen goes over the summer offerings from the Arsht Center.

Meanwhile, The Miami Herald reports that Arsht Center has teamed up with MadCat to bring us a scaled-up production of Marco Ramirez' Broadsword, which opens later this week.

The Miami Theatre Examiner reports that Spring Awakening is coming to the Arsht Center, and gives us some background on Raised in Captivity, the new play at New Theatre.

BroadwayWorld reports that The Playground Theatre has recieved an NEA grant to enhance accessibility to its workshops and productions.

Broward Beat
Are you joking?  That's Sun-Sentinel territory, which means there's no coverage of arts in Broward County.  But I happen to know that Mosaic Theatre had a successful weekend with Dying City, and that Infinite Abyss has extended the run of Stop Kiss at Empire Stage through May 9.

Palm Beach Happenings
A little further north, The Palm Beach Post talks with J. Barry Lewis, the director of the Palm Beach DramaWorks production of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women. The same article mentions upcoming shows at Slow Burn Theatre, which opens Stephen Sondheim's Assassins this week.  And speaking of Sondheim, we're reminded that the Caldwell Theatre is staging a concert version of his Into The Woods.

TheatreMania reports that Tony nominated (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) actor John Herrera will star in Florida Stage's production of When the Suns Shone Brighter, a world premiere of Christopher Demos-Brown's new play.  Herrera has appeared locally as Daddy Warbucks in the Actors' Playhouse production of ANNIE.  Other notable local actors include Brandon Morris (seen onstage at Actors' Playhouse, Caldwell, and TV's Burn Notice) and Bill Schwartz, former spokesman for the Miami Police Department, and a regular onstage at New Theatre.

Meanwhile... Palm Beach, the Royal Poinciana Playhouse is still closed.  But the Palm Beach Daily News reports that there is now a 425 page book about the history of the site the building stands on.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Women's Theatre Project: Going to See the Elephant (2 Reviews)

The Women's Theatre Project opened its production of Going to See The Elephant on April 23, 2010.
At a sod hut in the Kansas wilderness of the 1870's, four frontier women wrest a living from the stubborn soil.  As they cope with wolf attacks, a constant fear of Indians, and the dismal isolation of the prairie, they talk of "going to see the elephant" - crossing the next hill to see what lies on the other side.  It is this sense of striving to achieve all that life can offer that gives the play its power and beauty - and makes it clear that the wilderness was not tamed by men alone.
Genie Croft directed a cast that included Sally Bondi, Anne Chamberlain, Cinda Vivanco, and Jackie Reviera.

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

Roger Martin reviewed for Miami
There's a lot of sweet humor in Going to See the Elephant. There's terrific suspense when the wolves, or maybe it's the Indians, come prowling in the night. And there's great emotion...
Anne Chamberlain is so grounded on stage she locks the show in place from start to finish. And Jackie Rivera's Etta, traumatized by her kidnapping by the Cheyenne, is jittery rock solid as she tells of her wedding plans and then, later, bravely speaks for the first time of her life with the Indians.
Jodi Dellaventura gets cheers for the realistic set.
Despite minor annoyances such as abrupt music and light cuts, director Genie Croft has presented an entertaining production of a show that has a little singing, some blood and guts, high emotion and some good performances.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Under Genie Croft's direction, the cast members vividly etch their characters, sometimes narrowly escaping becoming frontier stereotypes, but escaping all the same. Bondi is salt-of-the-earth solid as a wise woman who is (as she points out to Sara) not dead yet. Chamberlain, who beautifully delivers snippets of old-time folk tunes, is empathetic as a woman who must grapple with challenges both from the outside and from within her little family. Vivanco makes Helene as starchy as her fancy dress, and Rivera conveys both Etta's sweetness and her deep emotional damage.
The Women's Theatre Project production, though set in the past, offers plenty of still-resonant insights into the human mystery.
The Women's Theatre Project presents Going to See the Elephant at Sixth Star Studios through May 16th, 2010.

Fort Myers Paper Exposes Waldman and Troutman

The Fort Myers News-Press did some digging into Waldman and Troutman. Gary is still saying he's being unfairly treated, and denies everything.
"We would love to get that money," said Greg Kaylor, manager of the Boca Bridge, where Waldman and Troutman's Garjam Productions staged shows in 2006. "We've spent substantial dollars trying to get it collected."

If he owed so much money, Waldman argued, how could he continue to stage shows?

"Nobody has touched my assets," he said. "If somebody is attempting to do it, they're doing a poor job. Everybody knows where I am. My cell phone number has not changed in 10 years."
Interesting argument; victims have court records that prove he owes money, but because his personal property hasn't been seized, he maintains that he's debt-free.

He actually does admit to violating his SSD&C contract with Andy Rogow, telling the News-Press that he wasn't happy with Andy's work. Of course, that doesn't give Waldman the right to violate a legally signed contract; there are mechanisms within the contract for dealing with problems; not adhering to the terms of the contract isn't a legitimate business practice.

The last quote is the most telling:
But Waldman wonders why people and other businesses are checking into his business and past.

“This kind of stuff happens every time I announce I'm going to do something, " he said. "I'm aiming to open an honest business and pay my bills. "
Why are people looking into his past business dealings when he opens new business? Because that's how good business is done. The best way to determine if someone is going to pay their bills in the future is to determine that they've paid them in the past.

An honest businessman honors the contracts he has signed; not only did Waldman break the SSD&C contract, but those evictions are also the results of broken contracts. The lawsuits are filed in the wake of broken contracts.

The article includes a PDF file of the court documents, comments from some of the plaintiffs in the lawsuits, and other persons of interest.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stage Door Theatre: Suds (2 reviews)

The Stage Door Theatre opened its production of Suds on April 16, 2010.
SUDS is a bubbly 60's musical about romance in a Wash-O-Rama. From Chapel of Love to Don’t Make Me Over, SUDS is the show critics have raved about. "Joyous songs that will take you back to the first kiss, the last dance and making out under the boardwalk". The story of three girls trying to find love in a laundromat, SUDS bubbles over with fluffy!
Dan Kelley directed a cast that included Emily Senn, Marissa Rosen, Rebecca Cesario, and Justin Michael Lore.  And critics agree that the production was enhanced by musical direction by Dave Nagy.

John LaRiviere reviewed for Talkin'
This production of Suds - The Rocking 60's Musical Soap Opera features live musicians ably led by music director David Nagy. The tunes from this time period benefit...
Justin Michael Lore shows his versatility in a myriad of roles.
Emily Senn (Cindy) is tireless in a demanding role, and she has a nice singing voice. Rebecca Cesario is sweet as DeeDee, and plays well off of Marissa Rosen as Marge. Her voice is almost as pleasant to listen to as a soloist as Senn's... Marissa Rosen's voice is the most interesting, though her character is the least inviting.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for the Sun-Sentinel:
Awash in pony tails and references to icons such as the Corvair, the nostalgic humor of Suds is intentionally broad, augmented by director/choreographer Dan Kelley's classic comic staging.
The energetic cast nails most of the numbers written before they were born. Rebecca Cesario as the novice angel torches "Today I Met the Boy I'm Gonna Marry." Marissa Rosen as the acerbic veteran croons "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me." Justin Michael Lore appropriately hams up several parts from Johnny Angel to a washing machine repairman, but it's weird watching a white guy in a white tuxedo singing James Brown's "I Feel Good." Emily Senn is an appropriately winsome heroine and she fearlessly dives into every pity party ballad.
The vitality is significantly amped up because Stage Door has abandoned its usual taped accompaniment and brought in David Nagy's drumhead-tight pit band. Even though the music is pumped through the auditorium's speakers, the difference in energy is noticeable.
Suds plays at the Stage Door Theatre through May 23, 2010 has been extended through June 13, 2010. 

The Scene for April 23, 2010

After a rainy start to the week, April Showers have let up a little, and one might think that a few plays sprung up as a result.  Or is my flower metaphor mixed with the way mushrooms appear?  Anyway, it's a busy week on the Theatre Scene.  Don't tell my grandmother I'm going to see Going to See The Elephant.  She's played the role of "Ma" twice, (both times at Actors' Rep) and I didn't tell her about the auditions.  She'll be mad - it's her favorite role, and it suits her. She may be 92, but as she'll tell you, "I might be twice your age, but I can still spit in your eye!"  You can tell her I'm seeing Stop Kiss, but don't mention who has to stop the kissing, or I'll never hear the end of it.

Registration info is up at the Florida Professional Theatres Association website.  This year's FPTA mass auditions are scheduled for May 23-24 at the Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach.  Registration forms and workshop schedules are available HERE.  This is a great chance to be seen by theatres across the entire state, and it's an excellent networking opportunity.

Edward Albee's Three Tall Women opens at Palm Beach Dramaworks, and runs through June 13, 2010.

The Quarrel opens at Gablestage, and runs through May 16, 2010

The Women's Theatre Project opens Going to See The Elephant, and will run it through May 16.

New Theatre opens Raised in Captivity, and it runs through May 16, 2010.

still playing:

Mosaic Theatre production of Christopher Shinn's Dying City plays through May 9, 2010.

Infinite Abyss Productions' critically acclaimed production of Stop Kiss at Empire Stage closes this Sunday, April 25, has been extended through May 9, 2010.

Caldwell Theatre Company production of Distracted plays through May 16.

Suds plays at Broward Stage Door through May 23.

Laffing Matterz slings laughs and food at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts through June.

last chance to see..

Square Peg Productions presents Almost Tamed at the Andrew Living Arts Studio through April 25, 2010.

passing through

 The Kosher Cheerleader plays at the Parker Playhouse through Sunday, April 25.

for kids:

Playground Theatre presents The Love of Three Oranges through May 23, 2010.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mosaic Theatre: Dying City (4 reviews)

DYING CITY by Christopher ShinnMosaic Theatre opened its production of Christopher Shinn's Dying City on April 15, 2010.
A year after her husband's death in Iraq, Kelly, a young therapist, confronts his identical twin brother, who shows up at her apartment unannounced. At first it seems to be a story of a wife and brother left grieving after a soldier's baffling death in Iraq, but as the layers are peeled away, we find it a tender, then shockingly raw and complex, portrait of three very different people.
Richard Jay Simon directed a cast that featured Erin Joy Schmidt and Ricky Waugh.

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

Hap Erstein reviewed for the Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
...a smart move for artistic director Richard Jay Simon...
There are enough unanswered by questions in‭ ‬Dying City to keep us leaning in,‭ ‬straining to crack its code,‭ ‬to solve its enigmas.‭ ‬And at Mosaic,‭ ‬it is performed so ably that watching the two actors is often satisfying enough.‭ ‬
Schmidt only plays one character,‭ ‬but the divergent moods she conveys on those two fateful days offer her the opportunity to show quite an emotional range.‭ ‬As for Waugh,‭ ‬his delineation of the two brothers is quite crafty.‭ ‬He draws differences with subtlety,‭ ‬as well as sibling connections and similarities.‭ ‬Shinn can be a bit clunky with his structure,‭ ‬so that we soon know that when Peter ducks into a side room,‭ ‬it will be Craig who reemerges,‭ ‬and the play will have taken a time shift.‭ ‬Waugh’s performance goes a long way towards making it work.

The same could be said for Simon’s well-modulated direction and the lighting transitions by Dan Gelbmann.
Roger Martin reviewed for Miami ArtZine:
Let me be upfront about this: I didn't much like the script for Dying City... But that's not to say that Mosaic Theatre's production isn't a good one. It is. With good actors, good direction by Richard J. Simon and a great set by Douglas Grinn.
Ricky Waugh is Peter...(he) also plays his twin brother Craig, Kelly's husband, and he handles the transitions well, easily switching from gay actor to warrior in the play's several flashbacks. I must admit, however, that Superman and the phone booth came to mind every time Peter went into the bedroom only to re-emerge as Craig.
There's no doubt Erin Joy Schmidt is a good actress, but she really doesn't have anywhere to go in this piece. Sorrowing widow, aggrieved wife, happiness is a cup of tea and a TV show.
But don't let me put you off. This is a fine production of a difficult work.
Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times:
Be advised, dear reader: On opening night, Mosaic Theatre's Dying City was so gripping that this reviewer forgot to take a single note. Therefore, anything I say about the show is reconstructed from memory and from conversations with other people who were there.'s not an easy play to see or think about, and my impressions are all over the place. I suggest you see it for yourself.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Christopher Shinn's Dying City is a play full of shifting perspectives, both for the characters and for those observing them. Shinn studs his mesmerizing drama with hidden IEDs, plot points that suddenly explode, blowing up your assumptions about a soldier, his widow and his twin. Yet there is nothing improvised about the intricately crafted Dying City.
Director Richard Jay Simon and his two-person, three-character cast expertly keep the pendulum of the play's action swinging back and forth from one long night in 2004, when a Harvard Ph.D. candidate is about resume his life as a soldier in Iraq, to the summer of 2005, when the soldier's twin makes an unwelcome visit to his brother's widow.

The structure is tricky to navigate: As the widowed Kelly, Erin Joy Schmidt must shift from playing a wife on a life-altering night to a woman steeped in traumatized mourning, making that shift over and over.

Ricky Waugh has an even larger challenge, portraying the tough soldier Craig and Craig's gay actor-brother Peter, the latter on both fateful nights. It's easy enough to differentiate the brothers through costume choices, as designer K. Blair Brown does. But Waugh digs much deeper, creating two distinct human beings.
One could quibble about certain moments or choices in both the script and Mosaic's production of Dying City. And yet, when this drama works -- particularly as you watch a marriage implode -- there isn't a whiff of make-believe. Just one brilliantly powerful play.
Dying City plays at Mosaic Theatre through May 9, 2010.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Storytelling Night at Caldwell

The Sun-Sentinel reports that Heather Forest will be performing tonight at the Caldwell Theatre.

From the Caldwell website:
Heather Forest's unique minstrel style of storytelling blends original guitar music with the sung and spoken word. A resident of Huntington, Long Island, she has toured her repertoire of world folktales for thirty years to theatres, festivals, and conferences throughout the U.S. and abroad. As an award-winning recording artist, Ms. Forest has over a dozen albums and books to her credit. She has performed at the Smithsonian Institution, the National Storytelling Festival, the Museum of Modern Art, and in Scotland, Austria and New Zealand.
Performances at 2pm and 7pm.  Sounds like a good way to escape the rain!

Mondays are Dark

A week ago, we had a great celebration of South Florida theatre in the 34th Annual Carbonell Awards.  We've linked to most of the stories, but there's one more, from a new blog titled Towards a Holy Theatre.  And now, your Monday reading list:

Rock On reports that The Arsht Center is producing an original piece: Rock Odyssey, a contemporary look at the classic tale by Homer. When I bumped into Christopher Kent at the Carbonell Awards last week, he mentioned that he was working on this project, along with a lot of other local talent.

Quarrel with Avi Hoffman

I know, Avi doesn't seem like an argumentative guy, but Joe Adler's directing, so who knows? Read about the upcoming production of The Quarrel at GableStage, on

Sharing the Stage

Joe Adler at GableStage is well-known for his generosity with his stage; several of the area's smaller theatres have gotten a boost when Joe let them use his stage for a benefit or an early production.  According to, Andrew Kato is opening the doors to the Maltz Jupiter Theatre to help out local organizations in northern Palm Beach County, in a similar fashion.

A View OF the Wings
InCharacter reminds us that what we see on stage is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Fighting for Artistic Integrity
In Agnes of God, the psychiatrist chain-smokes through the first  act.  When her patient questions this foul habit, she replies "It's an obsession.  I will quit when I become obsessed with something else."  By the second act, the ashtrays sit conspicuously unused.  The doctor has become obsessed - with Sister Agnes, and the mysterious circumstances of her pregnancy.

This is but one example of how smoking becomes integral to artistic statements.  Recent laws banning smoking effectively censor some theatre productions, and the Denver Post reports that some companies are taking the fight to court.

Full Circle comes to Stage Door reports that one of the creators of the Tuna series (a series of frenetic comedies where 2 actors perform the dozens of colorful inhabitants of Tuna, Texas) is coming to the Stage Door Theatre to direct Full Circle, a musical he he helped to create.  And that's not the interesting part of the story; the show stars the man it's actually about.

Under the Radar
Here's a review that I'm sliding in here, for a production I otherwise wouldn't have mentioned; it played one night in Miami, without any promotion that I'm aware of.  Kimberly Grant reviews Hair Drama for The South Florida Times. She's a very green reviewer for a news source not known for its arts coverage, but perhaps a little traffic on this story can help change that.

CATS comes back
The Shiny Sheet warns us that CATS is coming back, to the Kravis Center.  Does this song best typify your response?

Speaking of Enthusiasm..

...The Drama Queen offers brief commentary on Menopause: The Musical, which closed Sunday at the Parker Playhouse.  Meanwhile, The Stage Door reports that the show's next stop in Fort Myers has added a performance due to high demand for tickets.

In Remembrance

Over on 1st Draft, Heidi Harris shares her memories of Natalie Stone, a Florida Stage board member and a supporter of the arts.  Ms. Stone is also memorialized in the Palm Beach Daily News, and her family-generated obituary is on

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Square Peg Productions: Almost Tamed (1 review)

Square Peg Productions opened its production of Almost Tamed: Tales of Mayhem, Motion and Malarky, at Andrews Living Arts Studio on April 8, 2010.
...a collection of plays about women wrestling with their inner monsters. The beast is calling, it has found their numbers! Now how do a middle-aged woman and her friend answer the calls? With clarity, with conviction, or with trepidation? Who knew life could be so complicated? Well, we did, but thought we’d have fun while riding.

The compilation of Almost Tamed was written by Square Peg Artistic Director and Founder, Miriam Kulick
Stuart Meltzer directed a cast that featured Miriam Kulick and Casey Dressler.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Staged with effective simplicity by Stuart Meltzer in the cozy black-box space, the plays certainly give Kulick and fellow actor Casey Dressler the chance to display their considerable performing chops. But for too much of the evening, the execution is stronger than the material.
To Tame is a curtain-raising monologue (or would be, if there were a curtain) about the frenzied lives of contemporary women. Yet it comes across as a free-associating riff rather than insightful commentary.
The last piece, Do You Love Me Now?, is a series of increasingly frantic attempts by Kulick to whip the audience into a cheering frenzy. She dances, she mugs, she smashes a shaving-cream ``pie'' into her own face. This is a metaphor for the way some women -- maybe many -- look for approval. But it is awkward, unfunny and tedious. And at the end, in a kind of I-don't-need-you defiance, she gives the audience the finger and says ``f**k you.'' A couple of times. What a lovely, classy way to end a show.
Square Peg Productions will present Almost Tamed at the Andrew Living Arts Studio through April 25, 2010.

Friday, April 16, 2010

M Ensemble: The Trial... (2 reviews)

The M Ensemble opened The Trial of One Short-Sighted Black Woman -versus- Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae on April 8, 2010.
In Karani M. Leslie's comedy, a businesswoman is so convinced that Hollywood stereotypes are dragging down her career that she takes two of those stereotypical women to court.
Lowell Williams directed a cast that included Carey Hart, Tihirah Taliaferro, Alexis Snyder, Carolyn Johnson, and Ya Ya Browne.

Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Miami New Times:
Well-meaning actors who haven't acted before, directed by someone who hasn't done much directing endeavoring to produce a play by a writer who's never written so ambitiously before: That's what The Trial seems like -- amateur blocking mistakes compounding amateur diction that comes from a script that just can't figure out what to do with itself.
The one, brilliant, and even transcendent exception to the general mediocrity is Keith C. Wade... turning in a scathing but in no way stereotypical portrayal of a yuppie California Caucasian, I was soon swept up in the fun of it. The offensiveness of the gag was ameliorated by Wade's dynamic, razor-sharp characterizations. If people of any color are going to make art about race in America, they should be as honest, as rude, and as alive to humor and surprise as Wade is in this show. He alone makes The Trial  worth the price of admission, and then some.
Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
Karani Marcia Leslie's The Trial of One Short-Sighted Black Woman vs. Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae just sounds unwieldy and windy. Yet though some parts of the script are exactly that way, Leslie's satirical take on black identity contains enough observant hilarity and shattering truth that the cumulative effect of the play is both amusingly crazy and undeniably stinging.
Director Lowell Williams theorizes that the play is the main character's issue-resolving dream. Works for me.
As with many of M Ensemble's productions, The Trial is full of pluses and minuses. Douglas Grinn's courtroom set is utterly simple, to the point of looking rudimentary... Shirley Richardson's costumes are a mixed bag -- the ``contemporary'' ones dated, the ones for Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae exactly right.
...Hart appealingly gives her all to the earnest, spoiled, misguided Victoria -- not easy, because Ms. Dyer is really the ``villain'' who needs schooling. Snyder and Rhoulhac at first act in accordance with the stereotypes they represent, but when they reveal the women's life stories, watch out. Yaya Browne is a strong presence as the defense attorney, Tihirah Taliaferro far too soft-spoken and understated as Victoria's lawyer. Carolyn Johnson is funny enough, but she comes across like a reality TV judge gone off her meds.
The smartest, wildest work comes from Keith C. Wade, the show's lone male cast member.He's the stoic bailiff, a "white'' writer-producer and a leering slave master (for those roles, he dons a white half mask), and a black movie exec who insists his first name -- Leroi -- be pronounced "Lee-wah.''
...the play's final moments achieve an effect so powerful that history and enlightenment become one and the same.
The Trial of One Short-Sighted Black Woman -versus- Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae plays at The M
through May 2, 2010.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Scene for April 16, 2010

Theatre Prom is done for the year; hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  All in all, it was a very competitive field for the awards, and hopefully, improvements to the awards process will only improve things from here on out.

Registration info is up at the Florida Professional Theatres Association website.  This year's FPTA mass auditions are scheduled for May 23-24 at the Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach.  Registration forms and workshop schedules are available HERE.


Broward Stage Door is opening Suds, although it's hard to tell from their website(C'mon guys, bad enough you're not getting reviewed.  Update your website already.  It's like bathing, you should do it once a month whether you think you need it or not.)  Anyway, it plays through May 23.

Caldwell Theatre Company production of Distracted opens on Friday, April 16, 2010, and will run through May 16.  uVu Video Blog visited with the cast.

Mosaic Theatre is opening Christopher Shinn's Dying City, through May 9, 2010.

still playing:

The M Ensemble opens The Trial of One Short-Sighted Black Woman -versus- Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae, and it plays through May 2, 2010.  While there's only one review, a couple of Carbonell nominators tells me that the last five minutes of the play are amazing.

Infinite Abyss Productions presents Stop Kiss at Empire Stage through April 25, 2010.

Dr. Radio plays at Florida Stage, through May 2, 2010.  See Video.

passing through

The Color Purple plays at the Broward Center's Au Rene Theatre through April 18, 2010.  This show sold out  when it played the Arsht Center in Miami earlier this season; don't wait too long to get tickets!

Dixie's Tupperware Party
plays the Broward Center's Abdo New River Room now through April 18.  Yes, it's a play.  Yes, you can buy Tupperware.

Menopause, the Musical is at the Parker Playhouse through Sunday, April 18.

for kids:

Playground Theatre presents The Love of Three Oranges through May 23, 2010.

The Emperor's New Clothes plays April 17 at the Sunrise Civic Center.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More Carbonell Follow-up

We already followed up Christine Dolen's Miami Herald story; she also blogged about it on The Drama Queen.  As has become typical, the Sun-Sentinel couldn't be bothered to send anyone the eight blocks to cover the event, electing to use Herald story I've already linked.

Hap Erstein wrote it up for the  Palm Beach ArtsPaper, while Jan Sjostrom across the lake covered it for the Shiny Sheet.

WPBT Channel 2 actually taped the entire event, including red carpet interviews; you can watch it over on their uVu Video Blog.  In other media, you can listen to a podcast, courtesy of the South Florida Theater News, a weekly podcast.  You can download and listen to it on your favorite mp3 player!

Roger Martin covered the event for Miami Artzine.

Mario Betto wrote it up on the Fort Lauderdale Theater Examiner, and attaches some pics of himself with some of the local talent.

Alexis Scheer covered it over on The Playground.

Last, and certainly not least, Tony Schreiber Photography once again photographed the entire event.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Carbonell Winners

Frankly, we all won.  We all had a night to celebrate our art, our craft.  Some companies are doing very well, and others are scraping by, but all of us came together to recognize all the wonderful productions we've had through the last year.

Oh, you want a list?  Go read Christine Dolen's story in the Miami Herald; the only major theatre critic left in an otherwise vibrant theatre scene.  Suffice to say that Coral Gables, the only place approaching a theatre district in the entire state, did very, very, well.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mondays are Dark

Tonight's the big night for South Florida Theatre; the 34th Annual Carbonell Award Ceremony.  While a lot of people think of it as "Theatre Prom" - and it certainly is that - it's also a scholarship fund.  We shouldn't forget that it's not all about showboating for our colleagues.  And don't forget, is hosting the after-party is down the street at Revolution Live!  (The exclamation point is actually part of the name of the place).  Admission is free with a ticket stub from the Carbonells - and you can still get tickets at

In Case You Missed It
Playbill goes through all the Carbonell Nominations.

Naked at the Carbonells
Naked Stage is going to Theatre Prom; will you be there?  Will they really be naked?  You'll have to come to the ceremony to find out.

Stage Door Goes to the Cleaners tells us about the next production at the Stage Door Theatre; a little show called Suds...the Rockin' Sixties Musical.

City Theatre Breaks New Ground
The Drama Queen reports that City Theatre, famous for producing "playlets," is unveiling a musical created by artistic director Stephanie Norman, and brought to life by singer/songrwiter Lisa Loeb and South Florida playwright Marco Ramirez.

Raul's on the Great White Way. Again.
Upstaged talks with South Florida's favorite son, Raúl Esparza, about his current project - the concert version of Stephen Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle at City Center.

NEA Chairman at Work
The New York Times catches up with Rocco Landesman.

If You Build Direct It, They Will Come.
The Palm Beach Post tells us that Scout Wade Jennings has chosen an unusual Service Project to earn the title of Eagle Scout.

Florida Stage's Furthermore is chock full of stuff about their current production, Dr. Radio.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Broward Center; Dixie's Tupperware Party (reviews)

Dixie's Tupperware Party opened at the Broward Center's Abdo New River Room on April 7, 2010.
Dixie Longate, the fast-talking Tupperware Lady, packed up her catalogues, left her children in an Alabama trailer park and took Off-Broadway  by storm! Now, join Dixie as she travels the country throwing good ol'fashioned Tupperware Parties filled with outrageously funny tales, heartfelt accounts, FREE giveaways, audience participation and the most fabulous assortment of Tupperware ever sold on a theater stage.

Loaded with the most up-to-date products available for purchase, see for yourself how Ms. Longate became the #1 Tupperware seller in the U.S. & Canada as she educates her guests on the many alternative uses she has discovered for her plastic products!

John LaRiviere reviewed for Talkin'
Most assuredly this is not your mother's Tupperware party of the kind begun in the 1950s, but then, times have changed. It is doubtful anyone could look at a Tupperware party in the same way after attending this hilariously bawdy soiree.
Dixie energetically shares stories of her life with the audience, who are her Tupperware party guests. Bedecked with plastic jewelry and a red and white checked outfit, she is ripe with trailer-park charm. She speaks candidly of her three failed marriages and her struggles as a single mother of three: Winona, DeWayne and li'l Absorbine Jr...  No one in the audience is quite safe from Dixie's quick wit and double entendre (this is a PG-13 show), but you find yourself rather hoping you might be picked on as it is so much fun.
At the end of the show, audience members do actually have an opportunity to buy Tupperware from Dixie. Whether or not you buy/use Tupperware, this terribly clever show is just a great time.
Dixie's Tupperware Party plays the Broward Center's Abdo New River Room through April 18.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Scene for April 9, 2010's a fairly quiet week on the Theatre Scene; a lot of shows closed last week, which means a lot of shows will be opening soon, but the big event on the horizon is the 34th Annual Carbonell Awards.  Once again, the Awards show is being staged by Amy London at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts' intimate Amaturo Theatre.  And once again, the after party will be hosted by just down the street at Revolution Live.

We're also keeping an eye on the Florida Professional Theatres Association website.  This year's FPTA mass auditions are scheduled for May 23-24 at the Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach.  Registration forms and workshop schedules are due on the site any minute now.


The M Ensemble opens The Trial of One Short-Sighted Black Woman -versus- Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae, and it plays through May 2, 2010. 

Caldwell Theatre Company starts previews of Distracted on Sunday, April 11, and opens on Friday, April 16, 2010.

still playing:

Reefer Madness plays at Rising ActionTheatre  through April 11, 2010.

Infinite Abyss Productions presents Stop Kiss at Empire Stage through April 25, 2010.

Dr. Radio plays at Florida Stage, through May 2, 2010.  See Video.

Broward StageDoor is running Love, Sex and the IRS.  It will play through May 9, 2010.  With luck, someone will actually review this one.

passing through

The Color Purple plays at the Broward Center's Au Rene Theatre through April 18, 2010.  This show sold out  when it played the Arsht Center in Miami earlier this season; don't wait too long to get tickets!

Dixie's Tupperware Party plays the Broward Center's Abdo New River Room now through April 18.  Yes, it's a play.  Yes, you can buy Tupperware.

Neil Berg's 101 Years of Broadway plays the Parker Playhouse on Saturday, April 10.  And if you miss it, you'll have to wait for 102 Years of Broadway, sometime next year.

Get Back! plays Saturday at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts.  It features members of the Broadway and London cast of Beatlemania. (Sure, it's a concert.  But Beatlemania was on Broadway, and...c'mon, it's the BEATLES!)

Other Than My Health, I Have Nothing (And Today I Don't Feel So Good) plays this weekend at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.

for kids:

It's Family Fun Day this Sunday at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts; come to see The Emperor's New Clothes, and participate in pre-show activities and post-show snacks.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Broward Center: The Color Purple (2 reviews)

The National Tour of The Color Purple opened at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on April 6, 2010.
...a soul-stirring musical based on the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the Oscar-nominated film by Steven Spielberg. It is the unforgettable and inspiring story of a woman named Celie, who triumphs over tremendous odds to find joy in life, and her true inner beauty.
Gary Griffin directed a cast that includes Dayna Jarae Dantzler, Pam Trotter, Taprena Augustine, Edward C. Smith, Lee Edward Colstion II, Traci Allen, Allison Semmes, Deaun Parker, Virginia Stanton, Nesha Ward, Phillip Brandon, Keith Adams, and Kadejah One.

The show was reviewed at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts earlier this season, but there are many cast changes.

Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
The rousing, moving musical based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel sold out most of its week-long run at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts when it kicked off the current season last fall. It's back now, playing two weeks at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, but with a difference: This production features an all-new, nonunion cast.
Key members of the design team -- John Lee Beatty, who created the folk art-inspired sets; Paul Tazewell, responsible for the decade-traversing costumes; Brian MacDevitt, who brought a painter's eye to his lighting design -- remain the same. As on Broadway, this production was directed by Gary Griffin and choreographed by Donald Byrd...
The quality of work in non-Equity productions can vary widely, but these actors are talented, experienced performers with big voices and the ability to fully deliver a sprawling, harrowing, finally joyous story.
Dantzler's voice may not have the belting power of some who have played Celie, but she delivers a compelling performance as a resilient woman whose trials lead her to an emotionally overwhelming reconnection with family and faith.

Her work is complemented by actor after actor: Allen's angelic Nettie, Pam Trotter's take-no-bull Sofia, Lee Edward Colston II's sweet Harpo, Augustine's irresistible Shug. Kadejah Oné brings killer pipes to the part of the church soloist, and as the three church ladies, Nesha Ward, Virlinda Stanton and Deaun Parker pull off some hilarious and vocally intricate gossip-mongering. artfully delivered musical...
Rod Stafford Hagwood reviewed for the Sun-Sentinel:
The Color Purple is a vibrant, sweeping musical that manages to retain a sense of buoyancy … somehow.  The harmonies are as tight as two coats of paint, even when almost sabotaged by patchy sound and spotty lighting on opening night.
Another pitfall averted is the representation of rural blacks during Jim Crow, which here is balanced just right. Any time it got to close to some stock stereotypical characterization, you could sense the show's leads pulling back gently on the reins.
...the triumphant triumvirate of Dayna Jarae Dantzler as Celie, Taprena Augustine as Shug Avery and Pam Trotter as Sofia – at times so powerful, so engaging, so irresistible they seem elemental.

Those three, and a strong, Olympian-voiced supporting cast headed by Edward C. Smith as Mister and Lee Edward Colston II as Harpo, keep The Color Purple effervescent…
The Color Purple plays at the Broward Center through April 18, 2010.

Infinite Abyss Productions: Stop Kiss (4 reviews)

Blowing KissesInfinite Abyss Productions opened their first play, Stop Kiss, on April 1, 2010, at Empire Stage in Fort Lauderdale.
Diana Son’s Stop Kiss was first produced in New York City in 1998 and won the GLAAD Media Award for Best New York Production and was on the Top 10 Plays lists of the New York Times, New York Newsday, and the New York Daily News. The play tells the story of two women: Callie, a New York City traffic reporter, and Sara, a schoolteacher transplanted from St. Louis, who experience an unexpected attraction to each other. As they begin to fall in love, their relationship is impacted by a sudden act of homophobic violence.
(Read more about Infinite Abyss Productions on

Jeffrey D. Holmes directed a cast that included Monica Garcia, Danielle Tabino, Alejandro Posada, and Todd Bruno.

Brandon K. Thorp wrote for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times, and after eulogizing Sol Theatre, and  delivering an almost endless description of the wonders of the script, he eventually actually reviews the production:
In Abyss' hands, this is a play about two people forming a relationship, and that process is articulated gorgeously, almost perfectly, onstage.
Bruno's portrayal meshes perfectly with those of Tabino and Garcia: All three turn in naturalistic, casual performances that don't look like "acting" at all. Garcia in particular seems drawn from life — a cluttered, rich, and infinitely textured life at that. Grab a front-row seat and watch her closely: You can see years of thoughts and sadnesses and joys stamped indelibly onto the cast of her face, and she seems to be wrestling with them and weighing them with every line.
Rod Stafford Hagwood actually wrote like a grown-up for the Sun-Sentinel;
It doesn't seem like acting at all. There's barely any staginess, not one scene reads anything less than organic. The words seem to breathe.
And that's what Garcia and Tabino – directed by Jeffrey D. Holmes – do so effectively: they wrap their character's worlds around yours so slyly that we want to reach out and tap one of the actors on the shoulder and whisper, "You should be more careful, more cautious, more on the down-low."
The supporting cast is as sure and strong as it gets.
Since the play is loosely structured to show what leads up to the kiss and the aftermath of the attack, the cast has to shift emotional gears, turning the play toward new vectors on a dime. They are all seamless performances.
Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
In its own, completely different way, Stop Kiss is as compelling as The Laramie Project as it turns a spotlight on the way prejudice can morph into deadly violence.
Both the play's sudden time shifts and its story of heretofore straight women who find themselves falling deeply in love are challenges for the director and actors, but Holmes, Garcia and Tabino bring clarity and an always-believable emotional landscape to their work.
Garcia and Tabino get valuable support from Bruno (though imagining his less-than-fit George with Garcia's hot Callie is a stretch)...
Holmes has done a good job of staging the sprawling play in a small space, and though the blackouts between scenes are far too abrupt, the carefully selected music that bridges the pieces of the story always reflects the emotional landscape of a most engaging play.
Mario Betto reviewed for the Fort Lauderdale Theatre Examiner:
Jeffrey Holmes directs a fine cast which would do Diana Son proud. Callie, played by Monica Garcia, delivers a strong and authentic performance.  Danielle Tabino (as Sara) is both innocent and seductive -- in an Audrey Hepburn kind of way.  Sparks fly as our heroines discover a bittersweet world of love, tension and sexual attraction. Garcia and Tabino have a fantastic chemistry and create believable moments of tenderness and conflict on stage.
Beyond this, Mario addresses problems that occurred during a PREVIEW. And of course, the reason it's a preview is to work the kinks out.  Shame on you, Mario: you should know that Thou Shalt Not Review a Preview.  Mr. Betto also failed to mention that this is not an Empire Stage production.

The Infinite Abyss production of Stop Kiss runs through April 25, 2010, at Empire Stage.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Florida Stage: Dr. Radio (7 reviews)

Florida Stage previewed the world premier production Dr Radio on March 24th and 25th, and opened it on March 26, 2010.
The sweetest new musical you’ll ever see. In a dusty old radio repair shop on a forgotten street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, an old man prepares to close his doors for the final time.  But, before he says good-bye, he recalls the story of his greatest adventure – a musical story of neighbors and friends, secrets and ghosts, hidden treasure and, most of all, discovered love.  A beautiful, funny and tender tale of the joy of life.
Bill Castellino directed a cast that included Margot Moreland, Elizabeth Dimon, Irene Adjan, Wayne LeGette, and Nick Duckart.

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

John LaRiviere reviewed for Talkin'
Irene Adjan is perfectly cast as the fashionable villainess, Penny McAdams, complete with wicked laugh. Her costumes are adorable, thanks to the work of Mark Pirolo.
Duckart does an admirable job, and merengues up a storm, though one would wish his character was not written with the stock character stereotyping prevalent in the time period in which radio plays were popular. It is a tad un-PC by today's standards.
True to the bigger than life aspect of the show, the character of Madame Pilchowa is given over the top treatment by Beth Dimon. Bedecked with turbin and shawl, her false Hungarian accent is mysterious-sounding enough to fit that of a fortune teller.
Wayne LeGette as Benji and Margot Moreland as Kate Cuorecantare are the heart of this production. There is a warmth and sweetness to their characters apart and together. This new musical by McGovern and Castellino has great sentimental appeal and well-seasoned performances bound to leave a smile on your face.
Michael Martin reviewed for EDGE Miami:
Are the characters part of a random radio show plotline that Benjamin is listening to, brought to life for the benefit of the theatre audience? Or is Benjamin recounting his own story?

With the sudden flip of an extremely creative set by Tim Mackabee, and a change in gait by LeGette for his now younger Benjamin, the latter proves to be true, but again, not without first spawning some confusion.

Perhaps the book could be better streamlined at the beginning to more clearly define Benjamin’s recounting act. A better understanding would more quickly involve the audience with the action at hand.
All five South Florida actors shine in their respective roles. They each receive enough stage time to truly flex their acting prowess and strong vocals, which ultimately makes way for an entertaining evening of theatre.
Though McGovern’s music never stands out as particularly memorable, and though Castellino’s script could use some fresh ideas of its own, the talented cast injects enough energy into their performances to liven up this old fashioned musical.
Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Palm Beach/Broward New Times:
....Dr. Radio is being given a production so lively, committed, and fun that bitching about its absence of originality is an act of sheer ingratitude. Adjan is typically committed as the scheming, tooth-grinding McAdams, deploying her famously sturdy pipes in a fun, brash character voice. Dimon plays her flaky Gypsy like she's waited her whole life to behave so kookily — watch as her eyes roll back in her head as she waves her hands in the air and sings "Dun-ty dun-ty diddle-dee-dee, da Dun-ty dun-ty diddle-dee-dee" while she channels an old Irish widow named McKeever. If you don't laugh, you don't have a pulse.
...this is a play that's at its best when at its silliest, and the most valuable service that LeGette and Moreland render is in providing a solid bedrock of seriousness from which actor Duckhart takes off like a goddamned Saturn rocket.
This role, I predict, is going to make (Duckhart) the go-to guy for smart, physical comedy for every theater in the three counties. His dancing is spicy, and even in the play's tuneless moments, his body seems to vibrate to some manic music only he can hear.
Hap Erstein reviewed for the Palm Beach Post:
...(a) serviceable tale packed with nostalgia and romance — welcome ingredients in the realm of musical comedy. And it is certainly a comedy, of the giddy, wacky, often-doesn’t-make-much-sense, but-just-go-with-it sort.
Benji (warm-voiced Wayne LeGette)... tea leaf reader (Elizabeth Dimon), a greedy bank owner (a nutty Irene Adjan), a Latin dance instructor (madcap Nick Duckart, the revelation of the production) and a stranger to the neighborhood named Kate (Margot Moreland)...
...McGovern embellishes it with a score brimming with verve and frequent nods to past musicals, without ever sounding derivative... this is as textured, character-rich a collection of tunes as one could hope to encounter.
Skip Sheffield, former reviewer for the Boca News (and others) reviewed on his blog:
The show deserves an A for ambition.
Creators Christopher McGovern and Bill Castellino hatched their all-original period musical from scratch in record time.
The production deserves an E for execution as well, as director Castellino has assembled a top-flight cast of Florida professionals who could put a polish on any material.
As for content let's call it a C+, because live radio is but a distant memory for many people, and the characters in this fable are right out of central casting.'s a little strange that LeGette is half the age of his character, and stranger still that an actress who may be his age or older plays his daughter and his wife.

I cut 'em some slack on these oddities, because this is a fantasy, and I still dig old radios. Tim Macabee's antique-filled set is a marvel to behold.
...comedy or drama, Moreland is alway up to the task.
Another versatile singer-actress, Irene Adjan, plays the heavy... Her comic relief sidekick, Latin lover Rudolpho Garcia, is played hilariously over the top by Nick Duckart...
Adding to the wacky mix is is resident psychic Madame Agnieska Pilchowa, played by yet another versatile powerhouse, Elizabeth Dimon.
As a work-in-progress, "Dr. Radio" is pretty darn good entertainment. Its motto: "You can't know the future until you know the past," is timeless.
Mary Damiano reviewed for South Florida Gay News:
Dr. Radio boasts a stellar South Florida cast of four Carbonell Award-winning performers and one up and comer. Dimon plays the fortune teller to the hilt, while Adjan is the picture of hard-hearted greed—she should really play the villain more often. Adjan also gets to wear all the best costumes, whimsically garish ensembles of pink, green and leopard by Mark Pirolo. Duckart, who has made a name for himself on South Florida stages mostly in serious dramas, is a revelation as Rudolpho, the amore-crazed, hip-swiveling dance teacher more than happy to be Adjan’s Latin lap dog. Duckart steals nearly every scene he’s in.

LeGette and Moreland do a terrific job of playing it straight amid the wackiness that surrounds them. They both possess wonderful voices and deliver nuanced, realistic performances.
The problems lie with Castellino’s book and Christopher McGovern’s score. The story and structure is overly cluttered and could use some streamlining and clarity. McGovern’s music is bouncy and light, and while the score includes some gorgeous harmonies, some of his lyrics are clunky and cumbersome. The exception is LeGette and Moreland’s lovely duet, “There’s Nothing Wrong with Things the Way Things Are,” a romantic winner.

Dr. Radio is a world premiere, and according to comments in the opening night curtain speech, did not go through the typical process of readings and workshops before its debut. That process might have helped this musical fulfill its potential. There’s a lot of good stuff here, it’s just not quite there yet.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Dr. Radio is styled as a kind of vintage radio comedy, though it's one you can see as well as hear. It features eccentric characters from Benjamin's Cannon Street neighborhood, zany (and sometimes baffling) plot shifts and a love story that turns touching only in the show's final moments. Its characters, though boldly played by a strong South Florida cast, may get you thinking about their musical theater predecessors.
The actors, who probably don't really need to be miked in a space as intimate as Florida Stage's, deliver the goods in performing McGovern's score...And they look dandy in Mark Pirolo's period costumes...
Many in the opening night audience, it must be noted, adored Dr. Radio. Still, it's tough not to be picky about things like the characters talking about doing the merengue (a dance from the Dominican Republic), then singing, "Down in Argentina . . .'' Or wondering how it is that Dad is moving in with a youngish-looking daughter who should be pushing 60 if his walk down memory lane is taking place in the present day. Maybe more fine-tuning will lead to (a) better reception for Dr. Radio.
Dr. Radio plays at Florida Stage through May 2, 2010.