Monday, February 20, 2012

Mondays are Dark

It's a good week for theatre stories.

Got A Minute?
Sunday is the One Minute Play Festival at Miami's Deering Estate.  South Florida Theatre League Executive Director and Playwrite Andie Arthur tells us about it.

"It Ain't Easy, This Business We Call 'Show'..."
The LA Times ponders the reasons that many regional theaters are less concerned with "show" and focusing more on "business."
The problem in a nutshell is this: Established theaters have by and large grown larger, public funding has become a monumental challenge and artistic directors have moved in an increasingly commercial direction, adopting a bottom-line mentality that has put publicity and profitability over bold and substantive choices.
A little while back, Actors' Playhouse staged the musical Floyd Collins.  It was an artistic masterpiece and a critical smash. But hardly anyone came to see it, and of those that did, many walked out at intermission.  One of the theater's board members told artistic director David Arisco "Congratulation on all those great reviews!  You're fired."

Fortunately, the board member was kidding.  Mostly.  But it illustrates the problem facing artistic directors everywhere; artistic excellence is no guarantee of ticket sales.

Speaking of Artistic Excellence And Low Sales
South Florida's oldest regional theater, the 37-years-old Caldwell Theatre Company, is struggling under massive debt.  The Sun-Sentinel reports that loans made by patrons have gone unpaid, while Florida Theater On Stage reports that the theatre is filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy to fend off a foreclosure action. But they're not closing anytime soon; from the latter article:
“This is just a reorganization; it is the same chapter (of the bankruptcy code) that American Airlines is currently using. Just like a passenger on American Airlines, you wouldn’t recognize that anything is different. We anticipate the same service to our subscribers so they will not know anything has changed,”
- Caldwell attorney Bradley Shraiberg
The bank is also quoted, saying they don't wish to see the theater shut down.

Speaking of Not Shutting Down
BroadwayWorld tells us about Caldwell's next show, Working, Stephen Schwartz's musical adaptation of the Studs Terkel novel of the same name.  It's still scheduled to open February 26, 2012.  The show includes songs by Schwartz, James Taylor (yes, that James Taylor), and Lin-Manuel-Miranda (In The Heights).

At The Other End of the County
The Maltz Jupiter Theater hits 7,000 subscribers and launches an endowment campaign, according to the Palm Beach ArtsPaper.

Speaking of Arts Support
The Sun-Sentinel reports that Broward County leads in State of the Arts license plates; 1 out of every 1,000 cars sports one.  In South Florida in general, the plate is favored over  other specialty tags.

Work in Progress.
The Miami Herald reports that Broadway star Mandy Pantinkin (Evita, Sunday In The Park With George) will be trying out a new show at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center this weekend.
Patinkin spokesperson Catherine Major explains in an email: “The engagement at Aventura ... will be his first presentation of the show to a live audience, and it will evolve from that point forward. Given that the show is currently not fully realized, reviews by theater critics would be premature.”
So I guess if you want to know if it's any good, you'll just have to go and see it yourself.  But given his track record, it's a safe investment.

Speaking of New Shows
The Palm Beach Post visits Cirque Dreams' production facility to see how Pop Goes The Rock is coming together.  It opens at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino on March 29.
Assistant costume designer Danielle Tabino spent 5 hours hand sewing rhinestones to the flame costume. “I love rhinestone,” Tabino said. “They sparkle so much. When I see it on stage and the performer is twirling in it, the lights hit it and it sparkles even more. It a good feeling to know I made it”.
I'm reminded of a scene from The Three Amigos:

Brushing Up for the Role
The Shiny Sheet reports that cast members of The Pitmen Painters, which just opened at Palm Beach DramaWorks, took lessons at The Armory Art Center to prepare for the show.

High Time reminds us that Kathleen Turner will make her Fort Lauderdale debut with High, opening February 29 at the Parker Playhouse.  Previous South Florida engagements brought her to The Coconut Grove Playhouse and The Royal Poinciana Playhouse.  And of course, she filmed Body Heat in Lake Worth a little while back.

The Examiner reports that Alliance Theatre Lab will be presenting an evening of short play readings at GableStage as a fund raiser.  The plays are written by company members David Michael Sirois and Mark Della Ventura.  Sirois is up for a Carbonell Award this April for his critically acclaimed Brothers Beckett.

The Sun-Sentinel reports that two area churches will be hosting a production of T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral.
Written in 1935, "Murder in the Cathedral" relates the true story of Thomas Becket, chancellor of England under King Henry II. The king had Becket appointed archbishop of Canterbury, hoping to bring the church in England under his control. Once he donned the archbishop's miter, however, Becket opposed his former friend. After eight years of conflict, four of Henry's knights took it on themselves to kill Thomas, right in the church.
If the story sounds familiar, that's because back in 1964, Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton starred in a film about the story, Beckett.  It was based on the Jean Anouilh play of the same title.

Open For Business
Playbill reports that The Plaza Theater is open.  It kicked off this past weekend with Donna McKechnie's one-woman show, My Musical Comedy Life.  The Plaza is operating out of the space Florida Stage built at 262 South Ocean Boulevard in Manalapan.

Peanuts Redux
BroadwayWorld tells us about Outré Theatre Company's reading of Dog Sees God, being staged at GableStage on March 19th.

Mosaic's Mo' Better Contest
Mosaic Theatre reports that it's added prizes and celebrity judges to its Stop! The Violence video contest.

Young at Heart
South Florida Gay News visits with some of the folks performing in this year's Florida Follies production, which opens this coming Sunday.
...of course, every Follies production is not complete without the showgirl parade.

“The youngest is 63 and the oldest is 88 and, let me tell you, she has a figure that is better than some of the younger girls,” Gorab says.
The Florida Follies tours its production of Dancing Down Memory Lane around South Florida February 26 - March 25.

Speak the Speech... Trippingly on the Tongue
Palm Beach ArtsPaper audits a workshop sponsored by the Society of the Four Arts, and taught by theatre veteran Barrie Ingham.
For Ingham, a veteran stage and television actor and Royal Shakespeare Company honorary associate, understanding great texts means hearing them spoken aloud — either by reading it out loud yourself or hearing someone else do so.
Word.  By the way, the workshop is not intended for actors, but for anyone who wants a fuller appreciation of Shakespeare.

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