Monday, January 9, 2012

Mondays are Dark

It's a huge week for South Florida theatre, with no less than seven openings happening; three national tours, and four regional productions.  And this Monday isn't completely dark; Palm Beach DramaWorks is hosting the first installment of its Master Playwright Series, Molière.

Here's your Monday reading list:

New Company in Old Space
The Palm Beach Daily News fills us in on The Plaza Theatre, a brand new company taking over Florida Stage's old space in Manalapan.  Alan Jacobson is leading the effort.
Jacobson, 56, and a Palm Beach Gardens resident, ran the Florida Jewish Theatre for five seasons in the 1990s and then became an independent producer of cabaret shows, musical revues and comedies such as If You Ever Leave Me ... I’m Going With You and Down the Garden Path, which played at the Royal Poinciana Playhouse.
I wonder what Louis Tyrell thinks.
“He’s known for doing commercial fare, and right now that might be a sound strategy,” said Louis Tyrrell, Florida Stage’s former chief.
Oh.  Well, we wish them the best of luck.

We Never Sausage A Season
Florida Theater On Stage reflects on the excellence of the past theatre season, and the difficult task facing the judges on the Carbonell Awards panel; choosing nominees out of a large field of extraordinary excellence.
I’ve been judging journalism contests for decades across this country, I’ve been a judge and/or chair for the American Theatre Critics/Steinberg New Plays Award for several years, and I’ve been a judge, nominator or  assistant administrator for the Carbonells for 13 years.  I know how your sausage is made.

For the most part, it’s a bunch of well-intentioned, usually objective, always hard-working flawed human beings trying their best to identify and reward excellence.  Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they err. Oftentimes the result is a compromise, which, by definition, will not satisfy everyone that the best man/woman/set designer won.
Therefore, to be nominated into a golden circle of mutually agreed upon excellence (requiring a greater consensus of judges) is truly the honor.
To put it another way, it's easy to choose something great over something mediocre, but it's hard to pick something great over something else equally great.  The particularly hot races this year will be Best Play, Best Actor, and Best Set Design.

Hot Ticket
There are a lot of great shows opening in the next two weeks, but the hot ticket seems to be Next to Normal at Actors' Playhouse. At least, that's the one people keep asking us about; "Isn't it exciting?  When are you going?" tells us about the South Florida premiere production.

Hot Lips
The Examiner reports that when Love, Loss and What I Wore opens at the Parker Playhouse next week, it will include Loretta Swit among its star-studded cast.  It also feature UM alumnus Sonia Manzano (whose play No Dogs Allowed premiered at Actors' Playhouse a few years back, but she's better known as Maria on Sesame Street), Emily Dorsch, Daisy Egan, and Myra Lucretia Taylor.

The Tribe Returns
The Palm Beach Post talks to Diane Paulus, director of the next national tour stopping at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts; the musical HAIR.
Paulus was intent on the show having an atmosphere of authenticity. At the initial rehearsal, "I remember saying we’re going to do the hippie thing from the inside out – no makeup, no bras – and we’re all going to jump off the cliff together. It was like no holds barred, and I think that set the tone for the show."
HAIR plays at the Kravis Center through January 15.

Oh, Mandy...
The Examiner reminds us that Mandy Patinkin will be coming to the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center to kick off his new concert, Let Go.  It will not include any Barry Manilow songs.  The Second City will also playing the AA&CC.

Snoopy In The Area
Area Stage is reviving Snoopy! The Musical, another play inspired by the same comic strip that birthed You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. But John and Maria Rodaz aren't merely putting it onstage; they're collaborating with original co-writer, director, and producer of the show, Arthur Whitelaw.  Miami talks with the creative team of the production, which opens January 14.
The man with a legendary life in the theatre could not stop beaming about this production.   He assured me it’s the most pleasant collaboration he’s ever been a part of: “It’s been the most wonderful experience I think I’ve ever had in the theatre. That’s out of fifty-eight going on fifty-nine years of experience—and I mean it.”
Say, Whatever Happened To... ?
The Florida Repertory Company used to reside at the space currently occupied by Palm Beach DramaWorks, and Keith Baker was the artistic director.  Baker is now Artistic Director of Philadelphia's Bristol Riverside Theatre, and his production of Gypsy was just reviewed by Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal

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