Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Scene for October 1, 2010

Well, there's no pretending anymore; the new theatre season is here.  And not just the new theatre season; the fourth annual South Florida Theatre Festival kicks off on Monday, October 4, and runs through the 27.  In between, plays, readings, and workshops.


My First Time opens at Area Stage, runs through November 7.

GFour Productions presents the world premiere of Motherhood The Musical at the Miniaci Performing Arts Center, on the campus of Nova Southeastern University.  Through October 31, 2010.

Mics' Night Out opens at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, and runs through October 10.  It's an interactive musical, along the lines of Tony & Tina's Wedding, only with karaoke. 

you still haven't missed...

Steel Magnolias plays at the Broward Stage Door Theatre through November 7.

Rising Action Theatre is running Fit To Be Tied through October 24.

The Hispanic Theatre Guild presents Amistad at Teatro 8, through November 7. (Spanish, with English supertitles).

passing through...

Caldwell Theatre Company presents the concert version of FOLLIES, the rarely produced musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman. Friday, October 1 - Sunday, October 3rd.

Miami Beach the Musical makes its brief premiere at Arts at St. Johns, this weekend only.  Tickets available at the show's website.

On Monday, October 4, the Caldwell Theatre hosts round four of the 24 Hour Theatre Project, produced by The Naked Stage.  See plays that were created the day before you see them!

On Friday, October 1, Zoetic Stage is bringing back McKeever's Briefs, "by popular demand!"  This time, it's playing at Miami Beach's Lincoln Theatre.

last chance to see...

Completely Hollywood ends its critically acclaimed and well-attended run at Mosaic Theatre on October 3.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hispanic Theatre Guild: Amistad (reviews)

The Hispanic Theatre Guild opened its production of Amistad on September 25, 2010. (In Spanish, with English supertitles).

(They don't get a synopsis or a logo because Teatro8's website is composed in Flash.  Sorry, guys.  If you want people to promote your projects, don't make it impossible to copy and paste relevant information from your website.  Flash may not be the worst choice for your website, but it's on the list.) 

Mia Leonin reviewed for The Miami Herald.
...the dramedy debuted Friday night to a packed house. Though the production brings together strong comedic talent for a long evening of laughs, its story line has some problems.
Though what unites these middle-aged men -- aside from their shared pasts -- is unclear, the first half of Amistad is enjoyable and often hilarious in large part due to the comedy of Cruz, Casanova and Ferrer.
Unfortunately, Act Two's numerous scenes (which include a strip tease by the voluptuous Sonia Sheron and a schmaltzy dance number by the men) grow cumbersome, partly because of unresolved story lines.
The Hispanic Theatre Guild Production of Amistad plays at Teatro8 through November 7, 2010.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

South Florida Theatre Festival annual celebration of live theatre is back - it's time for The South Florida Theatre Festival, produced by The Theatre League of South Florida, a.k.a. (no relation to the Theatre Scene). 

Last year, the festival worked in the Theatre Communication Guild's Free Night of Theatre program - and did so again this year - but all the free tickets are gone already.  But this isn't Broadway, and you'll find that even full-price tickets in South Florida are a great bargain.  As always, you can get same-day discount tickets through Cultural Connection, and it never hurts to ask at the theatre's box office.

Still, lots of stuff going on.  The Festival kicks off with The 24 Hour Theatre Project, and ends with Festival Closing Party, on Monday, October 24.  This year the party is at Fort Lauderdale's The Green Room, and it will encompass the presentation of the Silver Palm and Remy Awards.

In between are play readings, story-tellings, lectures and workshops.

This year, the Theatre Scene is committed to being at the 24 Theatre Project, and of course, the closing party.  And in between?  Well, we'll be participating in the reading of "only 18" at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on October 12, and who knows where else you'll find us?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Countdown to 24 Hour Festival

To help promote - and keep track - of the Fourth Annual 24 Hour Theatre Project, we've added a convenient count down to the "zero hour" of the event - the 8pm curtain!  This year's Project is being mounted at The Caldwell Theatre Company, so all you northies who complained about driving to Coral Gables have got no excuse.

Look over there to the right - that's how much time is left to get your tickets.  If it isn't sold out already.  You can get them here.  This year, the Theatre Scene will be in attendance, so we hope to see you there.

By the way, this event is also the official kick off for the South Florida Theatre Festival; shortly after the 24 Hour Theatre Project gets underway, we'll be counting down to the end of the Festival - the beginning of its closing party.

Rising Action Theatre: Fit to be Tied (4 reviews)

Rising Action Theatre opened Fit To Be Tied at its new space at the Sunshine Cathedral on September 24, 2010.
A lonely young man named Arloc ties up his date because he's is in love and  doesn't want the date to leave. His mom Nessa descends upon him. A flamboyant, fast-talking, heavy-drinking promiscuous woman.  Nessa has fled her loveless marriage and, with nowhere else to go, seeks refuge with her son and his tied up date.
Daniel Goldyn directed a cast that included Tom Falborn, Kitt March, Larry Fields, and Brandon St. John.

J.W. Arnold reviewed for South Florida Gay News:
Unfortunately, the company’s inaugural production in its fantastic new home marks a big step backward for Rising Action...
“Fit to Be Tied” is a relatively complex play—almost too complex and certainly 15 minutes too long—that requires skilled actors who can explore and communicate the highly nuanced characters without letting the absurd humor and slapstick completely take over.

With tight budgets, Goldyn was again forced to rely on two of his community theater-washouts from the past, Larry Fields as Arloc and Brandon St. John as Boyd. While Field delivers his strongest performance at Rising Action to date, this role is completely beyond his abilities.

As for St. John, there were audible sighs of relief in the audience when he was finally ballgagged during the kidnapping scene...
The only relief was Kitt Marsh’s Nessa, the binge-drinking mother who is nuttier than Will & Grace’s Karen Walker. And even Marsh had difficulties settling into the role, finally hitting her stride somewhere in the middle of the first act.
Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times, and seems to have seen a different play than the other reviewers:
Tom Falborn  plays Nessa’s unloved husband too stiff and too loud, like neon-painted cardboard. Fields is an overactor nonpareil; in his Arloc’s more cynical moments, he manages to make eye-rolling seem bombastic. And as always with St. John, one gets the sense that he’s really only playing himself — high-pitched, high-strung, and full of affected pluck.

Yet it works, largely because of the hurricane-esque performance of Marsh, whose lusty portrayal gives the production an emotional anchor and narrative momentum. Her seriousness and commitment turn Fit to Be Tied into a high-stakes play.
Rising Action Theatre has aspired to camp many times, but with this play, it’s finally achieved it. Some of this has to do with the script; Silver’s curlicue-covered monologues are impossible to play subtly, and Fields’ natural high-volume delivery does him justice. But the campy loveliness of this Fit to Be Tied has much to do with fun too. Fields is having a fantastic time tying up his angel, and St. John loves mooning around Arloc’s apartment, swilling champagne in tights.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Rising Action's production... seldom serves either Silver or the audience. There are various flaws -- no one is credibly dressed for a New York winter, for instance -- but as is often the case, the show's Achilles heel lies in its casting. Director Goldyn here is working with just one decent, comically adept performer (Marsh, who brings a sleekly turned out nuttiness to Nessa), and in a four-person cast, she isn't enough.

Fields and Falborn turn in less-than-top-notch, community-theater-level performances, which is a larger problem in Fields' case since Arloc is the play's focal character.

But the real disaster here is St. John as Boyd. Though Arloc's ``angel'' is supposed to be a glorious object of desire, the actor playing him is a slim, short, balding guy whose idea of emotionally charged acting is to throw a hissy fit.
Mary Damiano reviewed for South Florida Theatre Review:
If Goldyn had as much talent for creating theatre as he does theater spaces, audiences would not have to endure this train wreck of a production of Nicky Silver’s play, Fit To Be Tied.
Larry Fields remains one of the most acting-challenged performers in South Florida...  Still, Fields appears better here than in past productions, because his lack of talent is surpassed by that of his colleagues.
Brandon St. John has two speeds: flat and shrill.
Tom Falborn doesn’t get much stage time, and that’s a good thing. Carl gets some good lines, but Falborn’s dreadful, cartoonish performance strips the words of any bite or poignancy.
Aside from Jonathan Jones’ stylish scenic design, the only interesting or watchable element to Rising Action’s production of Fit To Be Tied  is Kitt Marsh. Nessa has some major moments of revelation, and Marsh deftly switches gears from venomous mom from hell to a genuine, caring, flawed woman. The realism and credibility of her performance blows her fellow performers off the stage.  
Fit To Be Tied plays at Rising Action Theatre through October 24, 2010.

Mondays are Dark

Palm Tuesday
Last Tuesday, the Silver Palms were announced.  Read about them on South Florida Theatre Review and The Drama Queen.

Manic Monday
No, it's in the right order, because this is NEXT Monday - when The Naked Stage produces the 24 Hour Theatre Project.  This year, they're holding it at The Caldwell Theatre, and tickets are going fast!

Support the Arts: Why and How
Dara and Jarret Levan wrote to the Sun-Sentinel about the importance of supporting the arts:
In Broward County, non-profit arts organizations generate over $150 million in total economic activity annually, with almost $90 million benefiting local restaurants, hotels, retailers, parking garages, and countless other businesses. There is also a significant increase in spending from "cultural tourists," compared to tourists who don't attend an arts event.
That's Why. They have a list of How, which runs from simply buying tickets or artwork, up to sponsoring events.  Support is cumulative; even the tiniest thing you can do adds to the whole.

Double Your Money reports that an anonymous donor will match donations made to Mosaic Theatre by October 3rd.

Don't Take It For Granted
South Florida Theater Review talks about some recent grant awards.

Sucked through the 4th Wall
Boca Magizine's John Thomason went Completely Hollywood for his birthday.

Master Playwrights
The Shiny Sheet takes a look at  Palm Beach DramaWorks's 2010-2011 Master Playwright Series.

Speaking of Announcements... reports that New Theatre will be opening Bob Glaudini's Jack Goes Boating on October 8.  But the article seems to be trying to introduce a nickname for The New Theatre; "THE NEW."  Anyone ever refer to New Theatre as THE NEW?  Me either.  It hits me like a very lame comedy bit ("I'm going to THE NEW!"  "The new what?"  "No, just THE NEW!"  "you mean 'gnu?' "  "No, NEW!"). Maybe they should try "The N. T."  Although, people might thing you mean The New Times, no relation to The New Theatre, so that's not a good idea.  OK, TNT. Wait, doesn't Slow Burn use an image of TNT as its logo?  You know what?  "New Theatre" is the best way to go, after all. 

Did You Hear?
Motherhood the Musical started previews last week.  Read about the latest addition to the GFour roster on The South Florida Theater Review It's playing at the Miniaci Performing Arts Center.

Alliance Theatre Lab has posted pictures of the cast of House of Yes.  You'll need to scroll down a little.

Monstrous Make-up
The Sun-Sentinel talks with the make-up artist on the national tour of Young Frankenstein.  The show's opening in Fort Lauderdale will mark the beginning of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts' 20th Anniversary Season.


...The Miami Herald reports that the Gusman Theatre might be saved.
"He will not allow the Gusman to close,'' Sarnoff told The Miami Herald. ``This is a very credible person. I have every expectation he will fulfill his commitment. If he doesn't, there is no plan to save the Gusman.''
If that doesn't sound completely reassuring, well, you're reading it right:
...the venue was donated to the parking authority in 1975 by businessman and philanthropist Maurice Gusman.

But the semi-autonomous parking authority, which generates substantial revenue, is barred by its charter from spending money on the theater. The authority, which contributes some $5 million to $7 million a year to city coffers, is now contesting a takeover attempt by the city.
Why would anyone donate a theatre to a civic parking authority?  And since they've done such a crappy job managing it, why are they fighting to keep it?  These are questions that need answers.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Scene for September 24, 2010

Well, the autumn equinox was Wednesday, marking an official end to Summer; the Summer Theatre Season ends with this week's opening shows; there's quite lot of them this week, and even more in the coming weeks.  We'll also start seeing children's shows on the schedule again, now that the kids are settled in for the new school year.


Steel Magnolias opens at the Broward Stage Door Theatre, and runs through November 7.

Rising Action Theatre opens Fit To Be Tied, which plays through October 24.

The Hispanic Theatre Guild presents Amistad at Teatro 8, through November 7. (Spanish, with English supertitles).

GFour Productions presents the world premiere of Motherhood The Musical at the Miniaci Performing Arts Center, on the campus of Nova Southeastern University.

you still haven't missed...

Completely Hollywood plays at Mosaic Theatre through October 3.

The Male/Female Thing
  at AAPACT runs through September 26.

last chance to see...

Mack and Mable at the Stage Door Theatre ends its run on Sunday, September 26.

for kids

Sesame Street Live opens at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, September 26, and plays through Monday the 28th.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mosaic Theatre: Completely Hollywood (abridged) (6 reviews)

Mosaic Theatre opened its production of Completely Hollywood (abridged) on September 9, 2010.
They've skillfully shortened Shakespeare, comically condensed the Bible, and merrily mutilated the Millennium. No other ensemble concentrates so much into "90 minutes of non-stop hilarity!" (The Daily Mail). Now setting their sights on Tinseltown, the Mosaic Theatre gives Hollywood more than just a nip and a tuck. They cut through the celluloid and fast forward through movie history, splicing Casablanca, Rocky, Star Wars, Titanic, Avatar, and every other enduring Hollywood moment into the ultimate gag reel.
Richard Jay Simon directed a cast that features Antonio Amadeo, Erik Fabregat, and Christian Rockwell.

The Palm Beach post declined reviewing this show.

Hap Erstein reviewed for Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
Brought to the area by Plantation’s Mosaic Theatre,‭ ‬which has made its reputation on more serious material,‭ ‬the company demonstrates that it can deliver manic wackiness as well as the dour stuff.‭ ‬And broad comedy is probably just what audiences are hungering for about now.‭
‬There are some clever minds at work here,‭ ‬but one could easily see the jokes fizzling without a trio of verbally and physically nimble performers.‭ ‬Fortunately,‭ ‬Mosaic director Richard Jay Simon has them in Erik Fabregat,‭ ‬Antonio Amadeo and Christian Rockwell,‭ ‬frequently seen here,‭ ‬but never given quite as much free rein to cavort,‭ ‬mug and pander for laughs as they are here.
Douglas Grinn contributes a simple,‭ ‬but attractive scenic design of film-strip silhouettes of recognizable Hollywood characters,‭ ‬from Rocky Balboa to E.T.‭ ‬And do not miss the Hollywood Walk of Fame stars celebrating Fabregat,‭ ‬Amadeo and Rockwell on the floor in front of the stage.‭ ‬Nice touch.
Mary Damiano reviewed for South Florida Gay News:
Antonio Amadeo, Erik Fabregat, and Christian Rockwell form a tight ensemble.  The three work together seamlessly, enjoying the pratfalls, groaner lines and cross-dressing costumes.  Fabregat looks positively fetching in Dorothy’s blue gingham dress, with dark pigtails accentuated by a goatee.
Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times, and he didn't like the play, but blames the script:
As you read this review, it is worth bearing in mind that Bud Light is the world's most beloved beer, clobbering its nearest rival by 12.7 million barrels a year. (The second-placer? Budweiser.) Consider too that the world's most beloved eatery is McDonald's, its favorite purveyor of Italian food the Olive Garden, and its favorite nonfiction book of the past decade The Secret, which isn't even nonfiction.

The point is, people enjoy a lot of perfectly awful things, and Completely Hollywood (Abridged) at the Mosaic Theatre is one of them.
To be fair, it is a belly-laugh-a-minute spectacle, the interstitial silences of which are punctuated with helpless giggling. Actors Christian Rockwell, Antonio Amadeo, and Erik Fabregat turn in loose, fun, gamely nutty performances, each worthy of respect and admiration. By most objective measures, Completely Hollywood is a success.
You could learn something about Shakespeare's output from The Complete Works of Shakespeare; you will learn very little about, say, Al Pacino from Completely Hollywood, even though his mug and thuggish patois are invoked almost talismanically.
But as any great comedian will tell you, while great comedy can make you think, it's all about getting the laugh. 

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
That Hollywood filmmakers come up with plots that are (at least) two parts formula to one part inspiration isn't a surprise to anyone who loves Tinseltown's mainstream movies.

Yet seldom will you see that truth illustrated and dissected while you're laughing as much as Mosaic Theatre's audience does during a performance of Completely Hollywood (Abridged).
All three actors come up with spotlight-stealing moments -- Rockwell as a sheriff in full-on Al Gore voice, Fabregat as a kitty-petting James Bond villain, Amadeo as a nerd so happy someone is listening to him that he seems to have swallowed an entire bottle of speed.
Roger Martin reviewed for
Director Richard Jay Simon cast three fine, serious actors who, in this piece, are seriously over the top, falling down, climbing up and going over again. And again. It's anything for a laugh theatre and it works.
Antonio Amadeo, Erik Fabregat and Christian Rockwell turn Mosaic's stage into a sight and sound stream of comedy, some of it subtle, most of it broad, as they give us the movies right between the eyes.
There's a designers' roll of honor behind this Hollywood.  Technical director Douglas Grinn designed the set, adding hand and foot prints à la Grauman's Chinese Theatre forecourt and Stars from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The sound and lighting designers are Matt Corey and Travis Neff and the costumes are by K. Blair Brown. And special (forgive me) props to properties master Luann Cardinal who amassed Aladdin's treasure in her backstage cave. Production stage manager Linda Harris wrangles the chaos beautifully.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for South Florida Theater Review:
Quips, puns, gags, sight gags, skits, slow burns, even audience participation comprise the supreme silliness that reigns in the Mosaic Theatre’s Completely Hollywood (Abridged)...
The inventive direction by Richard Jay Simon is matched by the energy and abandon of Erik Fabregat, Antonio Amadeo and Christian Rockwell playing Hollywood hopefuls who act out scenes from proposed movies – always sliced, diced and reconstituted combinations of old films.
Fabregat long ago proved himself as one of the finest character actors in the region...
Rockwell especially good here at depicting grinning fatheads who deliver drivel deadpanned as if it was wisdom...
Amadeo usually plays dramatic roles...but off-stage he always seems to be reining in a wacky streak. It is finally unleashed here with hysterical results.
...the hair-trigger lighting by Travis Neff was so fluid that it was, well, cinematic. Production stage manager Linda Harris handled what must have been hundreds of sound and light cues. Douglas Grinn’s set was as witty as the play...
It’s unfortunate that there’s no Carbonell for properties because there ought to be some award for prop mistress Luann Cardinal, Simon and costume designer K. Blair Brown... the show is awash with hundreds of toy guns, dolls, silent movie caption signs and jerry-rigged props that were sight gags in themselves. Just keeping track of them every night should earn Cardinal a master’s degree in backstage management.
Completely Hollywood (abridged) plays at Mosaic Theatre through October 2, 2010.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mondays are Dark

IATSE disagreement costs Kravis a Client.
The Palm Beach Daily News reports that The Forum Club of the Palm Beaches will be relocating its talks to the Convention Center rather than ask speakers to cross lines to appear at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, currently being picketed by members of The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts  Local 500.
A federal appeals court in December 2008 upheld two lower court rulings that the center had engaged in unfair labor practices when it threw the stagehands union out in 2000. Since then, the two sides have been trying unsuccessfully to negotiate a new contract. A final session is scheduled for Friday.
- Palm Beach Post, Sep 16 2010
The Palm Beach Post reported that senatorial candidates Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek have already declined to attend a scheduled debate at the Kravis Center over the matter.

It's been nearly two years since the Kravis Center was ordered by the court to work it out.  This matter has been a black stain on their reputation, and it's not getting any better.  It's past time for their board to end this embarrassment once and for all.

Jobs are Jobs
Lighting designer Jeffery E. Salzberg notes on Facebook that we shouldn't be in a quandary to ask for funding in the current economy:
In the United States, more people attend professional arts events than attend professional sports. I've seen estimates that every government dollar that goes to arts funding has between six and seven dollars  of  economic impact.
It's a must-read.

Conundrum Stages has had to re-schedule its upcoming reading of Jame's Baldwin's The Amen Corner.

Not Just a Tourist Destination Anymore... reports that Arts at St Johns will be presenting Miami Beach - The Musical! October 1-3.  It's the world premiere of an all-original musical history of Miami Beach.  Not to be confused with South Beach; The Musical.

Promoting Promoteo
The Miami Theatre Examiner tells us a little more about Joann Maria Yarrow and Promoteo Theatre.

Cabaret's a-coming reports that Entre'Act Theatrix will be presenting the musical Cabaret at the Caldwell Theatre October 14-24.  This is the same group that presented Hair a few months ago.

Raising Cane
TC Palm's Marilyn Bauer is excited about Florida Stage's new project, Cane.  It's the first of what they are calling "The Florida Cycle."

Another Move in Palm Beach
The Shiny Sheet reports that Steven Caras has moved on from Palm Beach DramaWorks in order to pursue a new endeavor:
Steven Caras has left his fund raising job at Palm Beach Dramaworks to devote his time to promoting a new film documenting his life story.
Steven Caras: See Them Dance has recently wrapped up filming, with a premiere by Arizona PBS scheduled in March.  Palm Beach DramaWorks is planning a move to the larger Cuillo Center in fall of 2011. 

Speaking of Moving
Boca Magazine is enthusiastic about the Palm Beach Dramaworks move, and cites all the moving - Florida Stage's move to the Kravis Center, and GableStage's expected transformation into The Coconut Grove Playhouse - as proof that the South Florida theatre scene is more robust that ever.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why Wait for the Weekend?

If you're the kind of theatre-goer who doesn't think theatre should be confined to the weekend, this is a good week for you!

For the north end of the Theatre Scene, you have Zoetic Stage holding its third fundraiser on Monday, September 20, at the Caldwell Theatre.  They'll be reading 37 Postcards starting at 7pm. It's described as playwright Michael McKeever's most internationally successful play, and they've lined up a winning cast to read it: Stuart Meltzer directs John Felix, Barbara Bradshaw, Elizabeth Dimon, Nick Duckart, Katherine Amadeo, and Ellen Davis.

For the south end of the Theatre Scene, The Naked Stage will be presenting Flashlight Tales on Tuesday, September 21, at Flavour in the Grove, which I guess is a bar or something.  The event itself is an open mic opportunity to tell your favorite five-minute ghost story.  There will be music, as well as a cash bar.

Both events are fundraisers for their organizations.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sightings: Shawn Kilgore

Shawn Kilgore has been seen on numerous South Florida theatres; the old Miami Shores Performing Arts Center, the defunct Hollywood Playhouse,  The Mosaic Theatre, Broward Stage Door, and a long stint in Laffing Matterz.  A few months ago, he relocated to Central Florida.  Friday, he makes his Orlando debut, playing Bobby in the Mad Cow Theatre production of Company

The Orlando Theatre Blog interviews him for the occasion.

Congratulations, Shawn!

Ken Kay's Class

Long time south Florida theater veteran Kenneth Kay is starting up an audition class, to take place at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre Conservatory of Performing Arts.

It's fitting that Ken's teaching at Jupiter; he was one of Burt Reynold's earlier apprentices back when The Maltz was Burt's dinner theatre.

Finding a Cure for Unemployment in "The Biz"

Remove the Mystery of the audition process:
  • Finding and choosing proper audition material
  • Headshots and resumes
  • Audition Etiquette
  • Methods of following up
  • Monologue preparation and critique
Adults ages 18 and up
Mondays September 27 - December 13, 7:30-9:30 pm
For more information visit the website.

The Scene for September 17, 2010.

The Hurricanes are lining up across the Atlantic, but so far seem content to slide up the coast without much incident.  Great for the surfers.  But it doesn't much affect the Theatre Scene.

coming and going...

Area Stage Company presents A Pair of Nuts on the 17th and 18th, don't blink.

you still haven't missed...

Completely Hollywood plays at Mosaic Theatre through October 3.

The Male/Female Thing
  at AAPACT runs through September 26.

Mack and Mable at the Stage Door Theatre plays through September 26.

last chance to see...

Bare, the Rock Opera at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts closes September 18, 2010.

New Theatre's production of  The Tempest closes Sunday, September 19.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stage Door Theatre: Mack & Mabel (5 1/2 reviews)

The Stage Door Theatre previewed its production of Mack & Mabel for a week starting on August 20, with the Grand Opening on August 27, 2010.
The musical story of the tumultuous relationship between Hollywood director Mack Sennett, and his biggest star, Mabel Normand (a waitress from Flatbush Ave). With a blockbuster score by Jerry Herman, “Mack and Mabel” was nominated for 8 Tony Awards, including best Musical.
Michael Leeds directed a cast that included Shane Tanner, Mara Gabrielle, Kelly Cusimano, and Ken Clement, with choreography by Chrissi Ardito.

Roger Martin, who was the first to review the show, discovered he reviewed a preview.  So he went back and re-reviewed for Miami Artzine:
...reviewers seldom attend previews. It's not fair to the theatre. Or the critic.
Did the extra two weeks make a difference? Sure they did; just what you'd expect. A tighter, brighter show with actors having fun and audience members not saying things like: “It was drearier than I thought it would be.” But the sound mixing is still off with too often the singers being drowned by the accompaniment.
The standouts now are still the terrific Shane Tanner, Mara Gabriellle. who's found the humor in her role and Ken Clement as Fatty Arbuckle. The good news here is that Cusimano is now looking at the people to whom she speaks but the bad news is that you still can't hear the the first, second or third words in her big number.
So was it worth going back to Mack and Mabel? Very much so. The wonderful Jerry Herman music and the strong performances from the principals make this a constantly entertaining piece.
John LaRiviere reviewed for Talkin'
This production has crisp choreography by Chrissi Ardito. She makes the most of the stage space in "Hundreds of Girls" and in the Keystone Cops chase scenes. "Tap Your Troubles Away" is beautifully danced by the ensemble, led by Kelly Cusimano as Lottie.
Mara Gabrielle is sweet as Mabel...
Shane Tanner is undeniably commanding as Mack Sennett. His singing voice is polished, and his acting provides a Mack that is driven, masculine and unapologetic. Tanner's performance is a force to be reckoned with...
Jeffrey Funaro is perfect as the slick and handsome William Desmond Taylor... While Kelly Cusimano dances Lottie well and looks the part, she seemed tense on the night attended, as if she was concentrating very hard on smiling. Ken Clement is icing on the cake (or in this case whipped cream on the pie) as Fatty Arbuckle. His size and comedic flavor fit the role as though it were written for him.
Hap Erstein reviewed for Palm Beach ArtsPaper;
After first-rate productions of‭ ‬A Little Night Music and‭ ‬The Drowsy Chaperone,‭ ‬and now a very credible mounting of the problematic‭ ‬Mack and Mabel,‭ ‬we are going to have to stop being so surprised when the Broward Stage Door Theatre delivers satisfying entertainment.
Shane R.‭ ‬Tanner...‭ ‬carries the evening as crusty,‭ ‬staunchly unsentimental Mack Sennett... ‬He sings with authority,‭ ‬delivers his dialogue persuasively enough and‭ ‬--‭ ‬to his credit‭ ‬--‭ ‬never bothers to try to soften Sennett’s character.
Less successful in an even less-dimensional assignment is Mara Gabrielle‭ (‬Mabel‭)‬,‭ ‬but she too knows her way around a song...
Fatty Arbuckle‭ ... is played here by the always welcome Ken Clement,‭ ‬who feels underemployed...
Director Michael Leeds builds scenes from the script outline,‭ ‬managing a more cohesive narrative than exists on the page.‭ ‬And whenever the story starts evaporating,‭ ‬he relies on choreographer Chrissi Ardito to cover up the plot holes with dance flash.‭ ‬
Fashion Editor Rod Hagwood shortchanges us for the largely worthless Sun-Sentinel:
As Mack, Shane R. Tanner is a big booming delight and Mara Gabrielle's Mabel has everything — ringing voice, energetic dancing — but not that sprightly spirit an ingenue needs.

And the lack of chemistry between the two leads is a problem (in that vacuum Ken Clement as Fatty Arbuckle almost waddles away with the show), even though you'll hardly have time to notice...
So, if we'll "hardly have time to notice," why is it a problem?
Director Michael Leeds has produced a musical paced at fast-forward speed with slick and sly send-ups of just-under-the-radar Herman songs
Which is slick-looking writing that avoids actually communicating anything meaningful about the show.  Another worthless review from the newspaper that's fit only to wrap fish.

J.W. Arnold reviewed for South Florida Gay News:
Herman’s beloved show has been resurrected by Broward Stage Door Theatre under the loving guidance and a few tweaks from director Michael Leeds, who performed in the first national tour.  ...while Leeds assembled a perfect cast, it is the detail and timing in his direction that makes this production shine...
The dashing Shane Tanner as Sennett had more than a few ladies—and a few men, too—swooning... His soaring voice helps him carry the production...
...Maya Gabrielle... a New York import, perfectly captures the naivete of a girl swept into the glamorous world of Hollywood’s heyday.
Local favorite Ken Clement is perfectly cast as Fatty Arbuckle, the “butt” of the gags in nearly every Sennett film and he is supported by a strong comic ensemble including Stacie Johnson as skeptical pianist Ella, Kelly Cusimano as tap dancing chorus girl Lottie, and Bob Levitt as the “straight guy” producer Kleiman.
Chrissi Ardito’s choreography captures the brilliance and spectacle of the classic Busby Berkeley productions...
Mary Damiano reviewed for South Florida Theater Review:

Shane R. Tanner, often relegated to supporting roles, shows he’s leading man material as Mack Sennett...His strong, deep voice brings poignancy to I Won’t Send Roses, and exhilaration to the opening, When Movies Were Movies.
As Mabel, Mara Gabrielle exudes the perfect combination of pluck and radiance.  Gabrielle is the kind of performer who draws your attention whenever she’s onstage. She and Tanner have real chemistry...
Ken Clement is funny and endearing as silent movie comic Fatty Arbuckle, especially in his Act Two opener, When Mabel Comes in the Room. As Sennett actress Lottie, Kelly Cusimano is a straight-talking, tap-dancing tornado.
Director Michael Leeds deftly switches gears between the comedy, drama and slapstick of Mack and Mabel,  weaving all three into a seamless tapestry of entertainment. Kudos to music director Kevin Coughlin and sound designer Wayne Sherman, for making Stage Door’s pre-recorded tracks sound as if an orchestra were in the house.

Mack and Mabel is one of Stage Door’s better musical productions in recent years, a delight from start to finish.
Roger Martin reviewed for Miami
The problem with this show is not only the darkly clichéd book by Michael Stewart. It's that the Broward Stage Door production simply doesn't sparkle. It's a messy show with too much business and poor sound mixing.... We get to see the staging of the two-reel comedies, the Bathing Beauties and the Keystone Kops but no one's having any fun.
Chrissi Ardito's imaginative choreography works well and the ensemble dancing is a strong plus.
...the only standout is Shane R. Tanner as Mack. He acts, sings and moves well, almost carrying the show alone. Mara Gabrielle as Mabel lacks any air of innocence as a young woman. Hers is a one-note performance, hard edged and unsympathetic. And second lead Kelly Cusimano... not only breaks the fourth wall with every speech but in her big number “Tap Your Troubles Away” swallows the first words of every line she sings. We are left wondering if she doesn't know the words or simply can't tap and sing at the same time. Ken Clement's many talents are under-utilized in the role of Fatty Arbuckle.
Mack & Mabel plays through September 26 at the Stage Door Theatre.

Mondays are Dark

The Show Must Go On...
South Florida Theatre Review reports that a wrecked car didn't keep Eric Farbregat from his opening night.

...Unless You Have Something Else To Do
The South Florida Theatre Review also reports on the cancellation of Ground Up and Rising's HurlyBurly.

Five Years On The Playground
The Miami Herald talks with Stephanie Ansin, founder and artistic director of The Playground Theatre in Miami Shores.

The Young Ones

But Ansin isn't the only thirty-something theatre talent that the Herald profiled; in the article 20 Under 40, we get profiles of Arturo Fernandez, Joann Maria Yarrow, Antonio Amadeo, and Vanessa Garcia.

Herald's Top Five
The Miami Herald has also picked its top five "best bets" in theatre.  Actor's Playhouse makes the list with Nilo Cruz's new play, and August:Osage County.  GableStage is up for being the first South Florida theatre to produce a play by renowned South Florida playwright Tarell Alvin McRaney, Florida Stage - of course! - for the start of its 'Florida Cycle.'  And Zoetic Stage, which hasn't actually mounted a full production yet, makes the list on the basis of the tremendous talent pool involved.

Heroic Grasp
This New York Times article about the upcoming Broadway opening of a Spider-Man musical brings to mind a quote from Robert Browning:
“Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?”
Meanwhile, the world waits to see if a super-hero can be brought to life, live on stage.

A Tangled Web

Meanwhile The Producer's Perspective wonders if this hugely expensive, special-effects intensive show will change Broadway;
...Broadway musical budgets 50 years ago were less than a million bucks.

Now the average is getting closer to 15 million.  That's an increase of 1500%. And inflation has increased.

What will the average be in 2060?
Spider-Man is going to cost about $60 million to mount, and will need to pull in about $1 million a week to be profitable.  If it fails, producers will become unwilling to risk large ventures that introduce new technology to production.  If it succeeds, producers will abandon simpler projects in favor of big glitzy productions that might bring in a million bucks a week.  We're so boned.

Arsht Takes a Leap
The Drama Queen reports that the Arsht Center has booked Raul Esparza to headline their 5th Anniversary Gala, with tables going for $10,000.  The South Florida native wowed audiences in Babalu, which premiered at the Arsht earlier this year, and is opening the new musical Leap Of Faith in Los Angeles in October.  The adaptation of Steve Martin's 1992 film is expected to head to Broadway.

Inside Scoop
Wondering what's going on at Zoetic, South Florida's newest theatre company?  Wonder no more - read their newsletter.  It includes a list of projects featuring their company members.

Muse on This

The Palm Beach Daily News reports that the Palm Beach Cultural Council is looking for nominees for its annual Muse Awards.
Nominations are being accepted in the following categories: Excellence in Historical and Cultural Heritage; Excellence in Arts and Cultural Outreach; Excellence in Arts Integrated Education; Outstanding Festival; Outstanding Collaboration; Outstanding Philanthropist; and the Clyde Fyfe Award for Performing Arts.

Meanwhile... Palm Beach, the Shiny Sheet reports that the Royal Poinciana Playhouse is still closed.
A lawyer for Preserve Palm Beach and Patrick Flynn has filed a motion asking Circuit Judge David Crow to reconsider a ruling that kept an effort to save the Royal Poinciana Playhouse off the Nov. 2 ballot.
Even if Crow were to reverse his ruling, there is no chance the referendum would make it onto the Nov. 2 ballot.

“The deadline is passed,” Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said Wednesday.
This is the second referendum by Flynn to have been rejected for violating the Florida constitution.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Broward Center: Bare, the Rock Opera (3 reviews)

BARE The Rock Opera, a co-production Andy Fiacco and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, opened September 9, 2010.
...the story of a group of high school seniors at a Catholic boarding school who are struggling with issues of personal and sexual identity. The story centers on the tragic love story between Jason and Peter, who are grappling with being gay against the backdrop of modern society and the church.
Bare captures the universal angst of modern youth and the gamut of problems facing them, from teenage pregnancy to the drug culture to meeting parental expectations. As they try to come to terms with who they are -- and who society thinks they should be -- they seek guidance from the Church, their friends and, ultimately, from within themselves. Bare's infectious rock music score electrifies the traditional love story, the gay love story, and the everyday insecurities of not knowing who we are and where we fit in, laying them all out for scrutiny.
Andy Fiacco directed a cast that included himself, Christopher McCabe, Daniel Bonnett, Joe Harder, Melanie Leibner, Marissa Rosen, Richard Cortez, and Sharyn Peoples. Musical Direction by Eric Alsford.

John Lariviere reviewed for
This production of bare is musically quite strong. A live, 5-piece orchestra, led by Eric Alsford, provides accompaniment that is balanced and clean. The ensemble sound is great. The opening group number and songs like the comedic "Birthday Bitch" and the moving "One Voice" prove they can really sing. The set works well for the space, and lighting and sound are smoothly executed.
Marissa Rosen turns in a delightful performance as Jason's overweight sister Nadia. She is always present as an actress, and fills every moment she has. She has an expressive face, a strong voice and good comedic timing. Her song "Plain Jane Fat Ass" is one of the best numbers in the show. Melanie Leibner has a lovely voice, and plays the "bad girl" Ivy just right, as Ivy is not so bad that the audience should ever not empathize with her. She sings "All Grown Up" with well acted layers of emotion. The part of Peter's mother, Claire, is a tad bland, but actress Sharon Peoples makes the song "Warning" the character defining piece it is meant to be. Nadeen Holloway is at first a bit stilted as Sister Chantelle—delivering her lines at people rather than to them. Holloway's second act song "God Don't Make No Trash" is sassy and fabulous, however, as she sings to Peter of accepting his homosexuality.
Christopher McCabe sings beautifully, and seems to have a connection to the role of Peter that brings it to life. He is unfortunately hindered by a disconcerting performance by producer/director Andy Fiacco as boyfriend Jason.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for South Florida Theater Review:
The Carbonell Award limits eligibility to shows that run a minimum number of performances so the judges can see it.  That’s the only thing keeping dynamic Marissa Rosen from nabbing a best supporting actress nomination...
Rosen...  not only has a clarion voice, but she knows how to act the hell out of a song...
...this sung-through musical about teenage angst in a Catholic boarding school is a local production with a surprisingly strong cast of 14 mostly local singers.
Under Fiacco’s direction, all of the cast members prove themselves passable actors or better (Liebner is especially affecting), but their strength is singing.
Musical director Eric Alsford helped mold this group into a tight chorale that nimbly handles interlocking structurally challenging lyrics. Still, not all of the singers enunciate perfectly and some plot points get lost in the traffic jam of words... some spoken dialogue would help this show’s clarity a great deal.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
...if you see the locally produced show during its short run in the Broward Center's Abdo New River Room, you'll discover an Off-Broadway musical with a sometimes-stirring score sung at a consistently high level.
Composer Damon Intrabartolo and lyricist Jon Hartmere Jr. collaborated on the story, almost all of which is told in song. Though Bare gets tripped up by fantasy sequences and plot twists more worthy of a soap opera than a rock opera, its music often soars.
The score elicits powerful and subtle performances from Carbonell Award-winning musical director Eric Alsford and four other musicians, and the actors have impressive vocal chops, if not the true youth or magical acting ability to be convincing as high school kids.
Handsome and a little weathered (perhaps from wearing so many hats in the production), Fiacco (the only singer who at times wanders a tad off key) is an earnest, conflicted Jason. McCabe brings moving depth to Peter's attempt to share his truth with his mother.
Leibner belts, muses and seduces, and you know she could handle leads in Rent or Spring Awakening...
Nadine Holloway brings raise-the-rafters vocals to her empathetic turn as Sister Chantelle, the school's drama teacher.
The star turn in this Bare, though not its creators' intention, comes from Rosen as pudgy, tart-tongued Nadia. She rocks out with bravado yet infuses the beautiful Quiet Night at Home with aching vulnerability. Though Bare stays focused on the promise and heartbreak of a gay love story, Rosen makes you wish that Nadia had a show of her own.
BARE the Rock Opera plays in the Abdo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts through September 18, 2010.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Scene for September 10, 2010

It's a little busier this week, hence the delayed SCENE this morning.  Two shows close this weekend - Evil Dead was almost sold out as of last night is completely sold out, so this is your last chance to get down to see Fifty Words at GableStage.

And here's everything that's playing this week on the Theatre Scene;


Bare, the Rock Opera opens at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and plays through September 18, 2010.

Completely Hollywood opens at Mosaic Theatre and runs through October 3.

you still haven't missed...

New Theatre's latest summer Shakespeare, The Tempest,  plays through September 19.

The Male/Female Thing
  at AAPACT runs through September 26.

Mack and Mable at the Stage Door Theatre plays through September 26.

last chance to see...

Promethean Theatre's production of Evil Dead: The Musical at NSU's BlackBox Theatre winds up its nearly sold-out run on September 12.

Fifty Words finishes at GableStage on September 12, 2010.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Brian C. Smith Exits the Stage.

The Miami Herald reports that Brian C. Smith, who was prominent in the South Florida Theatre Scene in the 70's and 80's, has passed away at age 70.
Smith, 70, was an actor, director and theatrical entrepreneur who started three for-profit Broward County theater companies: the Sea Ranch Dinner Theatre in 1972, the Oakland West Dinner Theatre in 1977 and the Off-Broadway on East 26th Street Theatre in Wilton Manors in 1988. He also served for several years as producer-director of the Carbonell Awards, which honor the best work in South Florida theater, and in 1992 received the Carbonells' George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts.
A more detailed obituary can be found on South Florida Theater Review:
He proudly produced commercial flypaper-thin comedies while bankrolling thought-provoking dramas. He was adored by many colleagues and fell out with others to the point of litigation. He drove a Rolls Royce when his finances allowed but stored possessions at friends’ homes when cash was scarce.
And over 30 years, he helped transform South Florida stage culture from predominantly dinner theater to the beginning of its national reputation for serious theater.

There was a time when almost every production featured someone who had worked for Smith.  His theater, along with the Jupiter Theater under Richard Akins and Jan McArt's Royal Palm Dinner Theater, kept a sizable acting community employed.

DramaWork's Move Serendipitous

Palm Beach DramaWorks is planning on opening their new home in November 2011.  And that date is serendipity itself; because it will mark exactly 30 years since the former Florida Theater was first renovated into a live performance venue.

The Stage Company, founded by Ruth and Everrit Ward, opened its inaugural production, Ah, Wilderness! on November 4, 1981.

The theater at 201 Clematis Street was originally built by the Florida State Theater chain as a movie house, and it opened on December 17, 1949, with The Heiress, starring Olivia deHaviland.

The conversion of the space was minimal by today's standards; the original 1949 air conditioning system was left in place, and while a stage was erected  over a chunk of the theater's 871 seats (bringing the total to 350),  no actual proscenium built; instead, a divide was built of fabric-covered flats.  It hid actors and scenery from view, but the front row knew it if an actor tripped in the wings.

Rigging was a kind word for the pipes hung a few inches below the ceiling from chains punched through to wrap around the steel truss above.  As a "dead-hung" house, no scenery could be flown in or out.  It either traveled side to side like your living room drapes, or rolled on and off on wagons.  Sound and lights were run from the former projection booths.  No intercom was ever installed, so cues were called via the most advanced walkie-talkies the company could afford at Radio Shack.

After what some reports describe as "a bloody coup," The Stage Company shut down and The Florida Repertory Theatre promptly appeared in its place.  The Rep, formed by former Stage Company staffers, may have been doomed by a gesture of goodwill to the defunct company's subscribers; their tickets to the lapsed company were honored at full value, creating a $500,000 deficit that the Rep never was able to get off the books.  It succumbed to its debt following The Pajama Game in January 1991, blaming a drop in donations to their theatre on the fund-raising efforts of the Kravis Center, which was under construction at that time.  It managed one more production, the critically acclaimed Moon for the Misbegotten, before closing its doors.

The building languished for several years, with a brief stint as a concert hall, until the Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre Training came looking for a new home in 1996.  Once again, inadequate funding doomed the project, but it now had an interior designed for live performance instead a make shift conversion.  Or at least the sight lines were better; patrons complained loudly about the steep rake in the new 377 seat house.

Shortly after that, it became the Cuillo Center for the Arts, a presenting theatre instead of a production house.

DramaWorks intends to renovate the interior once again, reducing the seating down to a more practical 200, and presumably will address some of the issues with access for older patrons.  A dream of a place to present wonderful plays will be renewed for another generation

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

DramaWorks takes over Cuillo Center

This press release just in:

(Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 West Palm Beach, FL)  West Palm Beach’s oldest resident professional Theatre, Palm Beach Dramaworks, is proud to announce that at today’s West Palm Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board Meeting, the CRA Board voted to conditionally approve the purchase of the landmark Cuillo Centre for the Arts and enter into long-term lease agreement with Palm Beach Dramaworks.

Once agreements are finalized, Palm Beach Dramaworks plans to renovate the interior theatre and audience chamber, with a Grand Opening in November 2011.

"This raises the curtain on an important act of the development of our theatre, and is another essential step in the revitalization of downtown West Palm Beach.  We are very thankful to Mayor Frankel, the City Commission, and the CRA for recognizing the Arts as a crucial component to the economic and social health of our community.   For me and my fellow board members, this is a momentous occasion,” stated Dramaworks’ Chairman of the Board Mark Perlberg.

"We look forward to presenting such plays that our current tiny venue prohibits us from producing.   However, the new venue must be renovated and transformed into a theatre that provides our patrons with a familiar Dramaworks experience.   We are excited about the opportunity and the challenge of expanding our artistic horizons, and accommodating our ever-increasing audience base, while carefully maintaining the powerfully intimate setting, which has become a trademark for our organization,” added Dramaworks’ Producing Artistic Director William Hayes.

"Our strong record of fiscal growth and responsibility over the last decade, demonstrates our ability to play a crucial role in the revitalization of the downtown area.  The larger venue will permit us to expand programming throughout the year, translating to a significant increase in revenue for our organization and other downtown merchants.  We anticipate drawing hundreds of our affluent and sophisticated patrons to the downtown area each week.  There will be a huge economic impact to our City," acknowledged Dramaworks’ Managing Director Sue Ellen Beryl.

“This is a wonderful move for Palm Beach Dramaworks and it will greatly benefit Downtown West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County. Dramaworks is a great example of the positive impact a cultural organization can have in a community. From attracting residents and visitors to providing cultural industry jobs and educational opportunities to students, Dramaworks is a community asset now enhanced by this new, highly visible facility,” remarked Rena Blades, President & CEO of the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.                     

For over ten years, Palm Beach Dramaworks has proven itself as a pivotal component of downtown West Palm Beach. Situated on Banyan Boulevard, between Dixie Highway and Olive Avenue, the theatre has become a cultural magnet, with over 19,000 visitors each year. Its productions have been hailed by critics in South Florida, and by The Wall Street Journal as one of the country’s leading regional theatres.  Originally opened in 1999, the 377-seat Cuillo theatre is located on Clematis Street and defines a prominent location as a gateway to the newly established waterfront and West Palm’s restored downtown.

Palm Beach Dramaworks is a non-profit, professional theatre and is a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the South Florida Theatre League, Southeastern Theatre Conference, Florida Professional Theatre Association, Florida Theatre Conference, and the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.

GLADES watch

Wayne LeGette will join the pantheon of local talent who've appeared on A&E's The Glades.  He'll be playing Ben Huffman, lawyer to the accused murderer in the episode "Exposed."  It airs on A&E on September 26th, at 10 pm.

Defense  lawyer, huh?  Sounds like a character who will appear from time to time to me!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mondays are Dark

Hope you're having a great Labor Day; we're kicking back, and spending much of the day in the pool. It's a plan. In the meantime, here's your Monday reading list.

Carbonell News
In case you're wondering which plays are in the running for nominations, here's the complete list, sorted by theatre.  But the real news is the creation of a panel to discuss how to judge design elements.  The panel includes some of the top designers in the eligible fields.  Before we get a slew of heated comments, it's my understanding that the panel will be teaching the judges what to look for, not actually judging the nominees. 

She Came from South Florida
The South Florida Times talks with JoMarie Payton, who grew up in Opa Locka, appeared in A Raisin in the Sun at the Coconut Grove Playhouse,  the national tour of Purlie, eventually going on to work on TV  in shows like Perfect Strangers and Family Matters.  You might also recognize her voice as Suga Mama on Disney's animated The Proud Family.

South Florida in West Side
The South Florida Theatre Review tells us about another South Florida actor stepping into the limelight, on the Great White Way.

Some BARE facts
The Fort Lauderdale Theatre Examiner tells us about BARE, a musical opening this week at the Broward Center's Abdo New River Room.  But Hotspots Magazine talks with producer/director Andy Fiacco about it.
"It's very "Glee"-esque, but darker," said Andy Fiacco. "It's about kids in high school who are dealing with relationships and are about to graduate."

Andrew's Tony's Emmies
Say that three times fast! TC Palm talks with Maltz Jupiter Theatre's artistic director, Andrew Kato, about his role in the Tony Awards.  This year's ceremony garnered two Emmy awards.  Congrats, Andrew!

Broward Center Needs Teens
The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is looking for high school students to participate in its Teen Ambassador Program.
Teen Ambassadors will provide their peers with a unique link to the performing arts by attending various performances, including Broadway touring shows, at the Broward Center, and writing reviews for immediate posting, tweeting and Facebook status updating. Each participant will receive a Broward Center Teen Ambassador I.D. badge, earn community service hours and gain a better understanding of working behind the scenes at an arts organization that is consistently ranked in the top 10 venues in the world.

More Moving Stories
Actually, it's just more detail on Rising Action's move from South Florida Theatre Review.

...The Rest of the Story
South Florida Theater Review gives us some background on Stage Door Theatre's production of Mack & Mabel.

Mosaic Goes Completely Hollywood
via the Palm Beach Post.  With video!

You Gotta License for That?
The Guardian Theatreblog ponders theatre critic qualifications.
Even if a reviewer writes for a well-known publication, there's no quick way of guaranteeing they're an experienced professional rather than a volunteer enthusiast: financially squeezed regional newspapers in particular are supplementing their professional review teams with unpaid amateur critics.
Yah.  We noticed.  Boy, have we noticed!

The Shiny Sheet reports that the Royal Poinciana Playhouse is still closed.
A lot of time has been spent on these referendum efforts to preserve the Playhouse, closed since 2004, and turn it back into an active theater — and subsequently by the town in challenging their constitutionality. The PAC’s energies would be better spent on helping create a credible plan and raising all the money, to making some viable theater effort and convincing the plaza owners that it and the Theater Guild are capable of managing it — not by forcing the owners to bend to legal threats to open a theater that will fail.
Wise words, Patrick.  Heed them.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sightings: Gwen Hollander

Gwen Hollander is no stranger to the South Florida Theatre Scene; she's appeared on stages all across the region. Last year she won a Carbonell Award for her portrayal of Eponine in the Actors' Playhouse production of Les Miserablés.

It's interesting to note that she played Belle in two different productions of Beauty and the Beast at Actors' Playhouse.  She's also appeared in the National tours of Titanic, Footloose, Little Women, and 101 Dalmations

She's currently appearing in Avenue Q at Long Island's Gateway Playhouse, which has received a glowing review in The New York Times:
The whole cast is terrific. If standouts had to be named, they would be Mr. Smith (who played Princeton on Broadway in 2006), Ms. Hollander and Ms. Zimmerman.
Kudos, Gwen; keep up the good work!