News of Ground Up & Rising, Outre, What if Works, Alliance and New Theatre


By Bill Hirschman

The dog days of South Florida theater have resembled greyhounds rather than bassets.  But the advent of Labor Day weekend ratchets up the pace once again.

* Quick note: Maybe it’s the traditionally bad luck title, but the impending bad weather has prompted Ground Up and Rising to postpone its Sunday afternoon production of Macbeth. But it will perform the free cutdown adaptation at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. next Sunday, Sept. 2, at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, 2000 Convention Center Dr. in Miami Beach.

* New Theatre has moved up its first production of the season and the first outing of its BoomFrog series targeting  a younger audience with innovative works, relying on that ever popular staple, sex – sort of.

Keepin’ A-Breast, a collection of monologues and short two-character plays celebrating women and their bodies, will bow Sept.1 – 16  at the company’s new home at Roxy Performing Arts Center, 1645 SW 107 Avenue, in Miami.

The plays, both comic and serious, were written by local playwrights as well as others whose works have appeared at the theater including, Catherine Bush, Vanessa Garcia, David Caudle, James Carrey, Elly Rakowitz, Ruth Pleva, R. Kent Wilson, Peggy C. Hall and New Theatre Artistic Director Ricky J. Martinez. A news release describes the materials as “Voluptuous, petite, healthy or reconstructed, we give thanks for the ‘mammaries.’ ”

Initially, the show was going to be produced in October as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but scheduling problems forced the production to be produced early.

The cast will include Melissa Almaguer, Francine Silver Birns, Carey Brianna Hart, Desiree Mora, Christina Perdomo-Fernandez and Jessica Welch. It will be directed by Martinez and New Theatre literary manager Steven A. Chambers.

The change has also required the theater to rearrange its entire schedule. For updated information, visit www.new-theatre.org or call (305) 443-5909.

* Alliance Theatre Lab holding its first 10-Minute Play Festival next month featuring works by its in-house scribes Mark Della Ventura and David Michael Sirois plus a roster of familiar local names — Andie Arthur, Christopher Demos-Brown, Tony Finstrom, Alexandria Iona, Marjorie O’Neill-Butler and Mariah Reed.

The festival entitled Home Sweet Funeral Home was outlined by Della Ventura: “The inspiration for this project came from A. R. Gurney’s The Dining Room mixed with a little 48-Hour Film Festival. Eight ten-minute plays all sharing the same set, which is a funeral home.  On top of that, each playwright was given a line of dialogue and prop, both of which must be incorporated into the play.”

The performances are slated for Thursday through Sundays, Sept. 6-23, at Barry University’s Pelican Theater at 11300 NE 2nd Avenue in Miami Shores.

The plays are directed by Della Ventura and Sirois,  and will star Anne Chamberlain, Della Ventura, Rayner Garranchan, Alexandria Iona, Sirois, Natasha Waisfeld and Breeza Zeller, with Barry University students Jovon Jacobs and Stephanie Meskauskas.

For more information visit www.thealliancetheatrelab.comm; to make reservations, e-mail reservations@thealliancetheatrelab.com  or call (305) 259-0418; to purchase tickets on-line visit www.ticketleap.com and search for “Home Sweet Funeral Home.”

* Yet another company has emerged to bridge the gap between collegiate theater and full-fledged professional productions, What if Works based in Miami.

With very little fanfare – or advance notice — the company has opened its initial offering in three different spaces over the next few weeks, a social conscience comedy about domestic abuse called How It Hangs.

What if Works is designed to provide offers theatre, film and music studies graduates a transition from the world of academia to a pre-professional environment. The company plans to focus on adapting fictional works as theater piece, preferably works with a social justice theme. The company is the brainchild of founding artistic director Phillip M. Church , a longtime teacher at Florida International University.

How It Hangs is a one-act comedy with serious undertones by Grace McKeaney that was seen at the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s 1985 Shorts Festival. The play is set at a disintegrating meeting of  ”The Temporary Shelter for Battered Women Past and Present Looking to Get Better in Lusk, Wyoming” as the members turn from commenting on the men in their lives to their own relationships and values. The theater’s website describes the plots, “The women are able to laugh at one another and hope for a better life, but only one of them, Girlene, seems able to do something positive with a reasonable hope of changing her life. Can the close group of friends handle the new struggle, learning to let go of the past and move on?”

Actors Vicky Collado, Michelle Antelo, Melissa Ann Hubicsak, Lali Navarro and Gabriel Bonilla will be directed by Chelsea Wallach.

The show will be presented Aug. 23-26 at City Church of Homestead, 1700 Krome Avenue; ​Aug. 29-30 at Roxy Performing Arts Center, 1645 SW 107th Avenue in Miami, and Sept. 8 at Sunrise Civic Center, 10610 West Oakland Park Blvd. in Sunrise.

​Proceeds from the Sunrise show will benefit the No More Tears Project, a not-for-profit organization devoted to providing individualized assistance to victims of domestic violence in the U.S. Tickets are available day of the show at the door. For pre-sale tickets please contact No More Tears Project at (954) 646-2955.

For more information, visit http://www.whatifworkspresentshowithangs.com/

* We rarely do this, but here’s a heads up: If you’re planning to be in Washington , D.C.,  Sept. 19-Oct. 7, pass up on that tour of the White House and catch a performance of Black Watch at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. This is the third go-round of the National Theatre of Scotland tour. Seriously, we saw this in North Carolina last year, and it remains one of the most incredible, indelible theatrical experiences I can recall. Its hallmark is highly imagistic, stylistic, immersive but completely accessible staging reminiscent of The House Theatre of Chicago but far more sophisticated and inventive. It is a grunt’s-eye view of the famed Scottish regiment’s deployment to Iraq.  If you’re within 50 miles of the place, go see it. But bring earplugs (actually. they provide them) because it is loud!  And it would help to have someone along you can translate Scottish gibberish. For more information call (202) 547-1122 or (877) 487-8849 or visit ShakespeareTheatre.org. If you want to see video of the show, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPXXTFczsTI&feature=related  or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSivQwLnqA8. It doesn’t do it justice.

* Outré Theater Company had found a home for its first season of fully-staged works: the Mizner Park Cultural Arts Studio Theatre in Boca Raton, produced in conjunction with the Mizner Park Cultural Arts Association. The same location, in what used to be the Cartoon Museum space, is also the site for Parade Productions’ offerings this year. The inaugural show will be Andrew Lippa’s cult musical  The Wild Party,  Nov. 23-Dec. 9, followed by An Iliad , a one man show written by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Patterson and starring Avi Hoffman, from April 5-21.
For additional information, visit www.outretheatrecompany.com, Facebook or Twitter.

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