Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Year on the Theatre Scene

It was a busy year on The Scene; we passed 100,000 readers back in March, we've added a Facebook Fan Page and Twitter to our repertoire, and posted 333 articles, including this one.  That doesn't beat last year's record of 436, but it's loads better than the paltry 49 articles of 2007.

Arrivals; A to Z
Andrews Living Arts Studios is a very small company, founded by retired teach Robert Nation.  A Fort Lauderdale native, Nation made his mark in South Jersey, where he led a legendary drama program at Cherry Hill East High School, garnering notice from the venerable Paper Mill Playhouse.  The company's mission is more to foster new talent, creating opportunities for actors to study and apply what they've learned in performance.  In essence, it's a Broward version of Actors' Workshop and Repertory Company.  They've been hampered with the failure of the Sun-Sentinel, which basically stopped covering theatre in 2010.

Empire Stage debuted in January with Making Porn, which received lukewarm reviews, but things warmed up for the company that took over the space formerly known as Sol.  It successfully has taken over the niche that it, um, took over.

Entr'Acte Theatrix began producing in rented spaces, including the Caldwell Theatre.

Slow Burn Theatre opened to strong reviews with Bat Boy, a continuing trend for the company.  Although currently a non-Equity company, the producers have long-term plans.

SoBe Arts opened to less-than glowing reviews for its Twelfth Night.  Artistic Director Carson Kievman inadvertently slighted the local talent pool, creating a tempest, but one as forgettable as the production.

South Florida Theater Review
launched, with Bill Hirschman filling the gaping void left by the Sun-Sentinel's utter failure to cover one of the most vibrant theatre scenes in the country.

When Zoetic Stage was announced, expectations were high, and the reviews for their debut production, South Beach Babylon led one review to state "expectations: fulfilled."

Florida Stage announced it would be relocating to the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.  This would not only lower their operating costs, it would also increase their seating and production space.

This came just a few weeks after Joe Adler was tapped to become the next artistic director at a Coconut Grove Playhouse reconstituted from GableStage and other resources.  No final date has been set.

Almost immediately, the venerable M Ensemble announced that it would abandone its long-time home in the wake of escalating operating costs.  They will continue to produce plays, however.  The first is slated for the new facility constructed by The Miami Light Project.

Palm Beach DramaWorks finally found a perfect place - the Cuillo Center, a few blocks away on West Palm Beach's Clematis Street.

While not a full move, Mad Cat mounted two shows at The Arsht Center; an updated version of Broadsword, and a co-production with the Arsht on Going Green the Wong Way.

Brian C. Smith (producer, actor, director)

Jennylin Duany (educator, theatre artist)

Mitchell Carey (actor),

Carol Provonsha, (actor, costumer)

The Hollywood Playhouse officially shut down, but had been dark for months.  Currently, it's reverted back to the bank, and if anyone is making an effort to acquire it, we haven't heard about it.  The good news; there's a deed restriction which states that the land can only be used by a theatre.

As noted above, the Cuillo Center for the Performing Arts officially ceased operating, opening the door for DramaWorks to move in.

Burt Reynolds' Under The Bridge Players, which a lot of people never really noticed, slipped just as quietly off The Scene.  Its most notable production was Michael McKeever in The Santaland Diaries, probably the best casting of the piece after its creator, David Sedaris.

Here's hoping for an even better 2011!

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