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Your South Florida Theatre's Production Pictures Here

Contact SFTN to find out how to get your production pictures posted here on our blog.

Your South Florida Theatre's Production Pictures Here

Contact SFTN to find out how to get your production pictures posted here on our blog.

Your South Florida Theatre's Production Pictures Here

Contact SFTN to find out how to get your production pictures posted here on our blog.

Your South Florida Theatre's Production Pictures Here

Contact SFTN to find out how to get your production pictures posted here on our blog.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Past Week In Theatre History (Aug 20 – Aug 24)

PLAYBILL VAULT'S Today in Theatre History: AUGUST 20-24
By Ernio Hernandez, David Gewirtzman
and Robert Viagas, Doug Nevin

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Current Productions for the week of August 20, 2012

Lady Day At Emerson's Bar & Grill
At Broward Stage Door Theatre Until Aug 26
It’s 1959 and legendary musical performer Billie Holiday is just four months away from death as she steps to the microphone in a seedy bar in Philadelphia for one of her final performances. Though she is there to sing, the audience will find she has a lot more on her mind than music. In addition to featuring a dozen of her hits, Holiday tells the tale of who she is, in her own original style.

The Twentieth Century Way by Tom Jacobson
At Empire Stage Until Sept 9
Presented by Island City Stage
Awarded the 2011 PEN Award for Drama and the 2010 NY International Fringe Festival Award for Overall Excellence in Production of a Play, The Twentieth Century Way is based on a little-known incident in history.  This theatrical thrill ride explores the collision of reality and fantasy as two actors, auditioning for a film, end up juggling roles that eventually lead to entrapment of homosexuals for "social vagrancy" in the Long Beach, California of 1914.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Twentieth Century Way by Tom Jacobson

Island City Stage and
Empire Stage Presents
The Twentieth Century Way

Book by Tom Jacobson
August 9 – September 9

The Twentieth Century Way, awarded the 2011 PEN Award for Drama and the 2010 NY International Fringe Festival Award for Overall Excellence in Production of a Play, is based on a little-known incident in history.  This theatrical thrill ride explores the collision of reality and fantasy as two actors, auditioning for a film, end up juggling roles that eventually lead to entrapment of homosexuals for "social vagrancy" in the Long Beach, California of 1914.

Helming Island City Stage's first production is their Resident Director Michael Leeds, a Drama Desk Award-nominated director, perhaps best known for writing and directing Broadway's Swinging On A Star, nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical

Staring:  Clay Cartland and Mike Westrich

Warning: This play contains male nudity.

Thurs, Fri, & Sat @ 8pm
Sun @ 5pm

Post about this new company (Island City Stage) forthcoming.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Past Week In Theatre History (July 30 – August 3)

This Week in Theatre History: JULY 30 – August 3
By David Gewirtzman, Doug Nevin
Ernio Hernandez, and Robert Viagas

1900    Birthday of actress and singer Helen Morgan, who rose to fame as a nightclub performer. She had a show at Billy Rose's Backstage Club, where the crowded conditions made her perch on her accompanist's piano, a subtle touch that soon became a trademark. On Broadway, Morgan appeared in Show Boat (1927), in which she was a smash singing "Bill" and "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man." She then reprised her role for the 1936 film version.

1921    Composer Richard Adler is born today. Along with Jerry Ross he will go on to write two of the most influential musicals of the 1950s: The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees. The successful partnership will be short-lived, however, as Ross will die tragically in 1956 at the age of 29.

1921    Opening night of the popular farce Getting Gertie's Garter about a man who gives a young woman a jeweled garter, then schemes to get it back before his fiance finds out.

1922    Stage veteran Arthur Hill is born today in Canada. After appearing in several productions on the West End, Hill will make his Broadway debut in the 1955 production of The Matchmaker. He will go on to appear in the Broadway productions of Look Homeward, Angel, All the Way Home, and as George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf??, winning a Tony Award for that performance.

1929    Michael Stewart is born today. He will write the books of several classic musicals, including Bye Bye Birdie, Hello, Dolly! and Mack & Mabel. Late in his career he took up work as a lyricist on Cy Coleman musicals I Love My Wife and Barnum.

1943   by-Play, from the Enlisted Men’s Contest are presented under the supervision of John Golden at the Martin Beck Theatre. The plays -- Where E’er We Go, First Cousins, Button Your Lip, Mail Call, and Pack Your Troubles -- will play for 40 performances and close September 4.

1944    Mae West adds to the wartime summer heat with her bawdy comedy Catherine Was Great, which co-stars West and Gene Barry. The play will run 191 performances.

1969    Talk about a writer's revenge! Josef Bush, who has adapted De Sade Illustrated at Off-Broadway's Bouwerie Theatre, wreaks havoc on the set, spreading white paint all over it. His reason: a nude scene he doesn't approve of has been added.

1973    In one of the greatest disasters in Off-Broadway history, the 1870-vintage Broadway Central Hotel at 240 Mercer Street collapses today, taking with it the honeycomb of eight OB and OOB theatre spaces known as the Mercer Arts Center. Among the shows left homeless by the collapse are the long-running One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Proposition and El Coca Cola Grande.

1977    Alfred Lunt dies today at age 84. One the most celebrated stage actors of his time, Lunt was best known for his many performances opposite wife and stage partner Lynn Fontanne. Together they appeared in productions of such plays as The Seagull, The Visit, Design for Living and I Know My Love. A theatre saluting the memory of the legendary pair stands on 46th Street near Broadway in New York City.

1978    Sammy Davis, Jr. makes his final Broadway appearance, playing Littlechap in a revival of the Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley musical Stop the World - I Want to Get Off. It runs 30 performances.

1979    At the peak of her fame, "Saturday Night Live" comedienne Gilda Radner recreates some of her most popular characters in Gilda Radner - Live from New York, which plays 51 performances at the Winter Garden Theatre.

1979    Brenda Braxton, Cleavant Derricks, Reginald Vel Johnson, and Lynn Thigpen are among the denizens of Wonderland in But Never Jam Today, Vinnette Carroll's all-black adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic "Alice in Wonderland." It will run 8 performances at the Longacre Theatre.

1981    Paddy Chayefsky dies at age 58. Born in New York and starting as a writer for television dramas, Chayefsky would pen such Broadway plays as Middle of the Night and The Tenth Man. Other notable Chayefsky works are screenplays for the films "Marty" and "Network."

1983    Broadway lyricist Howard Dietz dies today at age 87. With composer Arthur Schwartz, Dietz wrote the score for The Band Wagon. Other songs by the duo include "Dancing in the Dark," "You and the Night and the Music" and "That's Entertainment!".

1985    Sam Shepard's Curse of the Starving Class transfers from Off-Off-Broadway to open tonight at Off-Broadway's Promenade Theatre. The play starring Bradley Whitford and Kathy Bates runs 267 performances, outlasting its OB predecessor by 205 shows. It will end its run Feb. 16 of the following year.

1985    A revised version of the musical revue What's a Nice Country Like You...Doing in a State Like This? runs at Off-Broadway's Actors' Playhouse. Missy Baldino, Jane Brucker, Steve Mulch, Hugh Panaro, Rob Resnick sing music by Cary Hoffman and lyrics by Ira Gasman. The show plays 252 performances before closing Feb. 9.

1986    The producers of the Broadway production of The Little Prince and the Aviator are awarded $1 million in the New York State Supreme Court today, as result of a suit they filed against the Nederlander Organization. The jury has decided that the Organization acted unreasonably when they posted their own closing notice outside the Alvin Theatre, although the producers of the show had never made any decision to close.

1989    Joe Hart's The People Who Could Fly opens Off-Broadway at the South Street Theater. Conceiver Hart also directs the production with a cast of 12 performers. The piece, both theatre and dance, presents tales from India, Majorca, Scotland, Haiti, Japan, and the pre-Civil War South. It will play 41 shows and return later in the year to Town Hall for nine more.

1996    Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts team up to bring I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, to Off-Broadway’s Westside Theatre. The show that explores the entire spectrum of male-female relationships, from dating to in-laws, will become OB’s longest-running musical revue Jan. 7, 2001, breaking the record formerly held by Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.

1997    Scott Wise, a Tony winner for Jerome Robbins' Broadway, heads a cast that includes Marla Schaffel and Patrick Wilson in Lucky in the Rain, opening tonight at Goodspeed Opera House. The show's music and lyrics are taken from the songbook of the late Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson. Sherman Yellen wrote the book for the musical about the romantic entanglements of two American journalists living in 1920s Paris.

1998    For the first time since a Times Square construction accident shut down business July 21, the Off-Broadway musical Smoke On The Mountain performed. The production, first produced OB in 1990 at the Lamb's Theatre, returns to its home, this time on the upstairs mainstage. Connie Ray and Alan Bailey's musical starring Robert Olsen tells of a humble, religious family who make music for local church groups and socials.

2000    Kristine Nielsen and Marian Seldes span the centuries in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production of Thornton Wilder's Skin of Our Teeth starting tonight. Darko Tresnjak directs the slightly absurb fable of human existence and endurance.

2001    Gerard Alessandrini's topically comic rewrite of Irving Berlin's last musical, Mr. President, opens at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, playing in repertory with his Forbidden Broadway 2001: A Spoof Odyssey. The rewrite replayed the 2000 presidential election, with characters reconceived to resemble George W. Bush, Al Gore and their families and advisors.

2001    Rita Gardner, Off-Broadway's first Luisa in The Fantasticks, stars as Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, a new musical based on Charles Dickens' novel, presented at Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT.

2002    Avenue Q is presented as one of three in-development musicals at Eugene O’Neill Theater Center's Music Theater Conference in Connecticut. Within a year it will get an Off-Broadway production that will lead to a Broadway transfer and the Tony Award as Best Musical.

2002    Director and writer Phillip Oesterman dies today of a heart attack at age 64. He had a long collaboration with Tommy Tune on projects including The Will Rogers Follies, My One and Only, Grand Hotel and Tommy Tune Tonite! At the time of his death, Oesterman was serving as co-librettist and director of the Broadway-bound musical, Urban Cowboy. Lonny Price would later take over as director and guide the show to its spring 2003 opening, followed by a brief Broadway run.

2003    A musical in which puppets are the main characters? It may sound crazy, but the PG-13-rated musical, Avenue Q, opens today at the Golden Theatre, confounding skeptics with an eyebrow-raising run that will bring it the 2004 Tony Award as Best Musical,

2004    On the Record, a revue featuring songs from classic Disney films and Disney's Broadway outings, closes in Denver after an eight-month tour. It's the first Disney legit show not to play on Broadway.

2009    Sheryl Lee Ralph, Barbara Walsh and Karen Ziemba sing new songs by the legendary team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland at the opening night of the new musical The First Wives Club. Playing at The Old Globe in San Diego, CA, the musical inspired by the novel and film of the same name is directed by Francesca Zambello, and features a libretto by Rupert Holmes.

2009    Jason Gilkison's dance revue Burn the Floor — boasting an eclectic mix of champion dancers — officially opens on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre. The production includes the team of Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff of the hit TV show "Dancing with the Stars."

2010    After a hiatus of several weeks, Tony-winning theatre favorites Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch reopen the acclaimed, Tony-nominated revival of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's A Little Night Music at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Peters and Stritch succeed Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, respectively, in the roles of actress Desirée Armfeldt and her worldly-wise mother Madame Armfeldt.

2010    Will Chase, Adam Heller, Jeffrey Schechter, Eric Schneider, Amy Spanger and Kelly Sullivan are among troupers in the world premiere stage musical Robin and the 7 Hoods – A New Musical at The Old Globe in San Diego. Inspired by the Frank Sinatra movie of the same name, the production — with book by Rupert Holmes and songs by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen — is directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw.

More of This Week's Birthdays:  Francis Byrne 1876.  Earle Larimore 1899.  Myrna Loy 1905.  Composer Jerome Moross 1913.  A. Larry Haines 1918.  Maria Karnilova 1920.  James Baldwin 1924.  Carroll O'Connor 1924.  Tony Bennett 1926.  Don Murray 1929.  Director/writer Julie Bovasso 1930.  Composer Lionel Bart 1930.  Choreographer/actor Geoffrey Holder 1930.  Comedian Dom DeLuise 1933.  Martin Sheen 1940.  Sab Shimono 1943.  Geraldine Chaplin 1944.  Frances de la Tour 1944.  Richard Griffiths 1947.  William Atherton 1947.  Vernel Bagneris 1949.  Anthony Crivello 1955.  Delta Burke 1956.  Laurence Fishburne 1961.  Wesley Snipes 1962.  Mary-Louise Parker 1964.  Director Sam Mendes 1965.  Eve Best 1971.  Daniel Evans 1973.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reviews for the week of July 30, 2012

The Naked Stage presents The Turn of the Screw written by Jeffrey Hatcher.  Directed by Margaret M. Ledford and Staring: Matthew William Chizever and Katharine Amadeo. 

Design Team:  Lighting Design – Margaret M. Ledford;  Sound Design – Matt Corey;  Costume Design – Leslye Menshouse;  Set Design – Antonio Amadeo.

Bill Hirschman reviewed the show for the Florida Theatre On Stage.

Gather round the campfire whose glow barely keeps the darkness at bay and listen to master storytellers spin you a summer night’s ghost story.  There are no special effects, no makeup, no chainsaws, nothing but two actors, a couple of candles and the chilling truth that horror lies not in the sight of a blood-soaked maniac, but in the interior terror of the mind.

With the skill of an orchestra conductor, director Margaret M. Ledford has deftly wrought a world of half-shadows and whispers. She paces the evening masterfully, from Chizever’s slow delivery of passages like a connoisseur savoring the bouquet of a fine wine, to rapid-fire exchanges between angst-engorged characters, to the terror-fueled crescendo of  souls and minds twirling on the precipice of damnation and insanity.

Katherine Amadeo, as a sexually-repressed governess in 1872 England, smoothly traces the governess’ arc from a naïf confidently eager to meet a challenge to a terrified unhinged victim. As she descends, her visage and quavering voice mirror her imperiled soul under attack, exuding both strength and fragility.

Chizever pulls off the difficult trick of portraying four different characters. Several local actors have transformed from one personality to another in a split second. What Chizever accomplishes is making each so credible that you stop marveling at the acting and just forget it’s a young man playing a middle-aged domestic or a deeply disturbed boy.

Naked Stage, which has had so little finances that it has had to scrap some productions, makes a little go a long way. Nowhere is this more evident than in how Antonio Amadeo designs evocative settings in Barry University’s shoebox of a theater. Working in tandem with Ledford’s lighting, Amadeo has taken some molding, empty picture frames, an armchair and a staircase that leads nowhere to create a fully-realized world.

There is only one misstep. Chizever provides the sound effects of disembodied wails, the whoosh of a sudden draft and the ominous tolling of a clock’s gong. His sonorous baritone serves him well all night, even when imitating women and children. But for some reason, his noises ring so manufactured that they nearly elicit laughs.

Christine Dolen reviewed for the The Miami Herald:

Jeffrey Hatcher’s stage adaptation of James’ 1898 novella, first staged locally at New Theatre in 1998, utilizes just two actors, one to portray the ghost-haunted governess, the other in multiple roles.

The housekeeper, the governess, Miles and his mute younger sister Flora are ostensibly alone at Bly, the story’s gothic mansion. But all too soon, the governess begins spotting a man and a woman, as the children grow increasingly agitated. Is the woman Miss Jessel, the dead former governess? Is the man Peter Quint, Jessel’s sadistic lover, a man also among the departed? Or is the new governess inching toward madness?

For the audience, the answers to those questions barely matter. Turn of the Screw is all about atmosphere, mood and goosebumps. Director and lighting designer Ledford conjures all those things, in collaboration with Antonio Amadeo, whose predominantly gray period set keeps the focus on the expressive faces of the actor-storytellers; Leslye Menshouse, whose dark costumes do the same; and Matt Corey, whose sound design dials up the tension at key moments.

Michelle Petrucci reviewed the show for Broadway World  

As eerie candlelight dances across dark walls, two actors create an intensely creepy world that extends past the fourth wall and lures the audience into its chilling tale. With great use of theatrical magic, The Naked Stage manages to transform a tiny black box theatre into a grandiose haunted mansion with the use of slight shifts of light, simple blocking patterns and the dynamic believability of both actors.

The result is an absolute must-see piece of theatre. The Pelican Theatre is located on the campus of Barry University in Miami Shores and “The Turn of the Screw” runs through August 12th

The Mad Cat Theatre Company presents The Hamlet Dog and Pony Show by Jessica Farr and Paul Tei.  Directed by Paul Tei and Staring: Ken Clement, Troy Davidson, Giordan Diaz, Jessica Farr, Carey Brianna Hart, Christopher A. Kent, Emilie Papp, Theo Reyna, and Brian Sayre.

Design Team: Lighting Design – Melissa Santiago Keenan;  Sound Designer and Composer – Matt Corey;  Costume Design – Leslye Menshouse Davidson;  Set Design – Sean McClelland.

Christine Dolen reviewed for the The Miami Herald:

The bones of William Shakespeare’s great tragedy are visible in The Hamlet Dog and Pony Show, Jessica Farr and Paul Tei’s ambitious deconstruction of a world theater classic. Yet this Mad Cat Theatre Company take on Hamlet has had so much work done – the dramatic equivalent of Botox, a facelift, some anti-aging human growth hormone – that the play at its core is sometimes buried under an avalanche of ideas.

The script by Tei (who has staged the production) and Farr (who plays German playwright Heiner Müller as a Cabaret-influenced manipulative narrator) is actually a mash-up of Shakespeare, Müller’s postmodern 1977 drama Die Hamletmaschine ( The Hamletmachine) and the Mad Cat duo’s 21st century take on the drama’s characters and ideas. It incorporates a DJ (the recorded voice of Dave Corey), a Skype version of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Erik Fabregat and Ralph de la Portilla), live musicians (Christopher Kent playing guitar and bass, Brian Sayre on percussion), singing, texting, a snippet of a poetry slam and the roaming, disembodied voice of Hamlet’s dead father (James Samuel Randolph).

The emotionally deadened Hamlet (Troy Davidson) is now the nephew/stepson of the American President Claudius (Ken Clement). He’s the guy who murdered Hamlet’s father and married Hamlet Sr.’s newly widowed Gertrude (Carey Brianna Hart). Claudius’ advisor Polonius, the vice-president, is a hand puppet operated and voiced by Clement, who utters those lines in a bad Cuban-accented English. Ophelia (Emilie Paap), Polonius’ flame-haired adopted daughter, is the moody object of Hamlet’s affections. Her bro Laertes (Giordan Diaz) is clearly crushing on her too. Hamlet’s best bud Horatio (Theo Reyna) and various minor characters like a hot-shot actor and an Irish gravedigger (Kent plays those and others) round out the cast.

Bill Hirschman reviewed the show for the Florida Theatre On Stage.

Theater should not be safe, comforting and familiar; it should be an unsettling stimulus for a fresh examination of life and society. Conventional expectations be damned.

This Hamlet is a stylized mashup of Shakespeare, Brecht and 21st Century performance art that examines existentialism versus nihilism by setting the vacillating Dane in a fantasia of modern American politics and power.

Like an atom careening around a chain reaction, it is by turns inventive, self-indulgent, exciting, boring, and, above all, sometimes insightful, sometimes incomprehensible. In other words, it’s a mess. An undeniably entertaining mess, a decidedly thought-provoking mess, but a mess.

Farr and Tei deserve laurels for shoving past mainstream strictures with intelligence and a unique artistic sensibility. Doubtless, Farr and Tei can explain the relevance of every moment to its themes. But the relevance isn’t vaguely perceptible to the audience in many moments and even long stretches. Perpetual clarity is hardly a necessary element of theater, but for this dinosaur of a critic, the audience’s comprehension even on an unconscious or visceral level is part of the artistic equation if you want them to connect to your piece.

For instance, one scene features a Cuban-American Laertes whipping up a crowd at a street rally in Miami attended by the Anglo Horatio. The two argue through bullhorns whether Spanish women received proper credit for financing the American Revolution, illustrating a clash of xenophobias. That’s a fascinating historical tidbit and a rare depiction of interracial politics in modern Miami. But it’s relevance to this specific play is murky and goes on far too long if all it’s doing is reflecting a tumultuous social background.

Many of the staging ideas are delicious, such as Hamlet texting his “doubt truth to be a liar” love letter to Ophelia’s cell phone. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Skyped in. Secretary of State Polonius is a hand puppet operated by the venal President Claudius. Some ideas, though, go too far such as burying the German emcee under an accent so thick that we can’t understand her.

Ron Levitt reviewed the show for ENV Magazine

There are several words which come to mind in order to fairly critique Mad Cat Theatre’s world premiere of The Hamlet Dog and Pony Show, the 2012 version of Shakespeare’s great tragedy brought to life here by playwrights Jessica Farr and talented South Florida writer/actor Paul Tei. The first is “theatre” and the second is “intellectual.”

As “theatre” this two and a half hour show meets a lot of the criteria to entertain with a galaxy of unexpected items -music, sound, video projections, irreverent lingo, the use of cellphones, puppets; –you name it! Tei , who also directed and Farr, who has a major role among the acting crew, utilize just about everything theatrical as they deconstruct Shakespeare and attempt to bring the Bard’s hero from Elsinmore into the current decade. From, the very beginning, the audience is aware that all of the action is taking place in a big tent, reminiscent of a circus, Even, the final moments of the play are unexpected and laugh-inducing as a movie show lists the “screen credits.” There is little doubt the playwrights are attempting to put the Great Dane into our Century and amidst American politics with references to Bush’s “NO (insert a word) BE LEFT BEHIND,” the second amendment guarantee allowing anyone to carry a gun, other U.S. Constitutional and legal rights, the Cuban influx to Miami and a variety of euphemisms and local connections.

Yes, theatrically The Hamlet Dog and Pony Show has something for almost everyone!

On the other hand, comes the subject of intellect. Just how much of Hamlet must one recall from his or her high school or college literature class? You may recall the characters’ names, even some ofthe plot, but is this enough to keep its audience in memory mode? And even if you recall the Bard’s character, do you know anything about Heiner Mueller, who (along with Shakespeare) inspired Farr/Tei to write The Hamlet Dog and Pony Show. The playbill actually spelled his name Muller (without the Eor simple E WITH A DOUBLE PERIOD ATOP -rare on most American typewriters to be fair),ls it a possibility they purposely misspelled the name of their inspiration? Mueller (with an E) was a lending 20th century German writer/essayist/dramatist who wrote the mind-bending The Hamletmachine, and gained fame among the literary/political set for his power packed resistance to what was happening in his homeland some 30 years before the reality ofthe pre-world war Eurostate.

Certainly, some knowledge of Mueller would be helpful in understand what Farr/Tei had in mind when they created The Hamlet Dog and Pony Show. (Mueller also used music, sound, double and triple entendres, and references to make his points explosively while using the Hamlet connection.) Credit Farr/Tei for following in such respected feet, But, seriously, will the audience get it? Maybe I underestimate the intellect ofthe local aUQience! …. The Hamlet Dog and Pony Show wraps up Mad Cat Theatre’s 12th season since its founding by the irreverent genius TeL His press material says this play asks the age old question -To Be or Not To Be? -how valid is today’s society in dealing with its problems.

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