Monday, August 25, 2014

Mondays are Dark

theatre_festival_home…except in the summer; the South Florida Theatre League  brings you Summer Theatre Fest, a series of free play readings hosted at member theaters across South Florida.

Tonight is the last night of Summer Fest, and it’s appropriate that it’s another double-header.  At 7:30, you can catch Dear Mom by Nancy Holson and Jay Falzone at The Plaza Theatre.  Or you can catch Jeremiah Musgrove’s Scott and Charlie Steal Space at Alternative Space Theatre
Now here’s the rest of your Monday reading list:

OOPS – We Missed This Article Earlier

If we’d posted this South Florida Gay News story earlier, you’d have had more than this coming weekend to plan to see Let My People Come at Andrews Living Arts Studio.
Wilson still enthusiastically recalls the origins of the show: Nudity was still novel on Broadway with the success of “Hair” and “Oh, Calcutta!” and one of the producers called Wilson and dared him to write his most outrageous song about sex in just 30 minutes.
“I had a wonderful affair with a woman he had introduced me to a year earlier and thought about a situation that happened with this woman,” Wilson said. “It was such an enlightening and enriching experience, I wrote it down and ran to his apartment with the tape recorder.”
You’ll have to read the article to find out the title of said song.  But honestly, your first guess is probably pretty close.

South Florida Represented

First up, a pair of stories that show that South Florida is a source of the highest caliber talent:
Timeline Theatre’s blog features an interview between artistic director PJ Powers, and actor Alex Weisman, a South Florida actor too few of you have had a chance to see.  He went to Chicago to study, and has been working the Chicago scene with great success, garnering himself a prestigious Jeff Award.  He is currently in rehearsals for My Name is Asher Lev at the TimeLine Theatre.
The New York Times takes another look at the Broadway production of Pippin, now that it’s been up and running for a year. 
…praise the gods of Broadway, Rachel Bay Jones’s tenderly frolicsome, fairy tale performance as Catherine has only deepened with time. Her romantic chemistry with Mr. Massey is lovely.
You might have seen Rachel at Actors’ Playhouse as Miss Pennywise in Urinetown, or doing her star turn in the title role in Evita.

Hanging with the Band

Florida Theater On Stage spent a day with the pit orchestra for Evita while the national tour played the Arsht Center.
…Laser focused, these 18 individuals are as well-oiled a musical machine as anyone can imagine. It’s as if the travelling circus hired local trapeze aerialists that morning to work without a net and without years of practicing together.
This hard-won achievement began more than 12 hours earlier. Or two weeks if you look at it another way. Or 40 years ago if you look at it another.
It’s great “day in the life” pit that gives us a unique perspective of This Business We Call Show.

First Step Towards the White Way

The Drama Queen reports that the biographical musical about Gloria and Emilio Estefan is holding auditions.
The casting search -- dubbed Reach Gloria (#ReachGloria) -- has three facets:  online, a Sept. 9 open casting at New York's Pearl Studios, and another open casting Sept. 21 at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. 
Audition videos can be submitted via, which also has more details and a submission link.

Speaking of New Plays

The Palm Beach Daily News reports that Palm Beach Dramaworks is adding new play development to its programming.
A corps of 25 to 30 resident artists will participate at every stage and be preferred for casting if the plays end up as full productions. “We have a group of local actors who have been involved with us for years and have helped build the organization,” Hayes said. “Part of this is about giving them a place they can call home.”
We’re for that.

Meanwhile, at the Fringe Festival

This isn’t an update about South Floridians at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  It’s a lament from The Guardian about a problem all of us are facing; the loss of theatre critics from our major dailies.
When I started coming to the fringe in the early 80s, newspapers would send entire teams of critics. It was the Independent that really changed the face of Edinburgh fringe coverage by bringing hordes of fresh-faced young writers – including myself, Tom Morris, Ian Shuttleworth, Sarah Hemming, Alex Renton and more – to the festival, and covering it with a military precision that made the Scotsman really up its game. After that, other broadsheets followed suit.
But over recent years, broadsheet coverage of the fringe has started to shrink. Just as the costs of performing at the festival seem like too much risk for too little return for many companies, so the costs for newspapers of bringing teams to cover the fringe have also spiralled.
As a blogger, The Scene is absolutely in a position to state categorically that blogs and Twitter are not adequate replacements for a proper theatre critic and a daily newspaper that reports on the theatre scene.  Some of us do give up reading a newspaper when it stops covering our area of interest.  And I’m talking to you, Palm Beach Post and Sun-Sentinel.

Final Exit…

Florida Theater On Stage  went to Boca Raton’s Evening Star Productions to do a story about a company that worked through the death of their director, Laura Ruchala:
We didn’t intend to review the show; we went to do a story about how the company soldiered on after Ruchala’s passing. But producer Rosalie Grant said Ruchala would have wanted the work treated for what it is – a professional production.
This production of The Comedy of Errors appears to have been rooted in tragedy:
The script was initially adapted by Ruchala’s friend Kevin Crawford, a co-founder of the outdoor Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival who died in December. She and Crawford’s brother, Todd, refined it further as a kind of tribute.
But for all the death, the play is the kind of celebration any of us would want as a legacy:
Ruchala’s playful play-filled vision unabashedly embraces every stripe of daft and deft comedy from Will’s sex-drenched word play to Three Stooges slapstick.
The fledgling Evening Star troupe – a professional company that puts young adult actors alongside seasoned pros – has thrown themselves unreservedly into this madness along with the final polish in the last week or so by director Jerry Jensen.
But the star is truly Ruchala who lavished a hundred comedy bits and an imaginative vaudevillian sensibility that can be by turns subtle or silly. The bare-bones low-budget production ends with the cast delivering a joyful if ragged rendition of Ruchala’s favorite song, Pharrell Williams’ irresistibly infectious “Happy,” a perfect embodiment of this show.

Rest in peace, Laura.

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