For theater artist Ronnie Larsen, “the roots are setting very deep” in Wilton Manors. “It just feels right to stay here.” Larsen is a playwright, actor, director and producer “whose work has been seen in every major city in America, as well as in Canada, Australia, Italy and London,” according to his website. Coming Jan. 10, Larsen has written a scene inserted into Ginger Reiter’s The Golden Girls Prequel at Empire Stage.
For some who view two-part events on Broadway and five-hour epic tragedies as the height of the theatrical form, the 10-minute play is condescendingly tolerated as the poor relation at the arts table. But not in Miami. City Theatre, a home-grown company created by three colleagues around a kitchen table 23 years ago, has become the leading purveyor of short-form theatre in the country.
When a theater produces Death of a Salesman , it’s not unknown territory. The director can adopt, adapt or depart from what has been done before. But when it’s a world premiere such as Palm Beach Dramaworks’ upcoming Lyle Kessler’s House on Fire, there are no roadmaps other than the still evolving script about which even the playwright is making discoveries during rehearsal.
The musical Beauty and the Beast has been done so often that the challenge facing producers, artists and audiences is how to reinvigorate the magic. The Maltz Jupiter Theatre asks what if the enchanted household objects were not actors dressed in anthropomorphic costumes, but instead actually were the objects – represented by puppets.
Maybe it’s walking under a Times Square marquee with his name emblazoned overhead. Maybe it’s being asked for his autograph at the stage door. Some new level of realization keeps hitting Christopher Demos-Brown on the cusp of becoming one of the first South Florida playwrights to have a work on Broadway when American Son opens Nov. 4.
Paula Vogel welcomes, even celebrates how imaginative directors and committed casts use her work as a starting blueprint for their own explorations. She is pleased that this week the team at Palm Beach Dramaworks will unveil their particular vision of Indecent, just one of 20 productions that have been or are being mounted around the country last season and this season.
It would be intriguing and accurate, but misleading to say that Havana Music Hall, the hopeful Broadway musical about Cuban artists before and after the Revolution, is the brainchild of 72-year-old New Jersey-born Jewish insurance salesman Richard Kagan. He conceived it, wrote the tuneful score, and is bankrolling a $2 million cost. But he credits a half-dozen others who imbued it with the pungent ethnic flavor and cultural insights he learned second hand.
The memorial celebration of Iris Acker will be held Monday at The Wick Theatre in Boca Raton with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and the celebration starting at 7 p.m. Playwright, producer and patron Tony Finstrom wrote a piece about his memories of her forged during their relationship. He asked us to publish it.
Some South Florida theaters are scrapping some of what they plan to put on stage this season or next. Some are leaving support positions unfilled. Some plan smaller cast shows. Some have sidelined plans for growth. Theaters are scrambling to cope with an unexpected 90 percent slash in state funding. But theater champions vow to fight back by organizing patrons and leading citizens to influence lawmakers.
Raw. The same carefully chosen adjective emerges in separate interviews with the two leading actors and their director to describe Equus, the shattering drama they are rehearsing for an opening this weekend at Palm Beach Dramaworks.