Critic’s Choice

Keith Lockhart

Something old and something new graces local stages this week.

With the world premiere of Beckett Brothers, David Michael Sirois affirms his place among the burgeoning ranks of Florida playwrights that encompass Nilo Cruz, Michael McKeever, David Caudle, Marco Ramirez and Christopher Demos-Brown among others.

Sirois’ comedy about young men of debatable maturity struggling to cope with adulthood opens the fifth season for the Alliance Theatre Lab in Miami Lakes on Friday and runs through April 3.

The Connecticut native has been an actor and resident playwright at the tiny theater since 2009. Several of his previous works have been short plays with a wry, offbeat sensibility.

Brothers Beckett opens with Kevin, a Yale alumnus, awaiting the arrival of his girlfriend named Tuesday. They plan to spend a perfect week with his roommate/brother, Brad. But when Kevin tells his brother that he plans to propose, the sibling tries every tactic to sabotage his brother from moving out of their studio apartment notable for its bunkbeds and pink walls.

Sirois wrote that the play ‘is about codependency, miscommunication, and the dangers of building a life around a relationship and forgetting to live in the middle.’

Like several other productions and companies in the region like David Hemphill’s State Theatre Project, the nucleus of the show are graduates of the New World School of the Arts. Sirois graduated in 2008 and he appears in the show with alumni Mark Della Ventura, David Dearstyne, Shira Abergel plus Kaitlyn O’Neill, a ringer from the University of Miami.

The play fits the edgy, youth-oriented vision of Alliance, a small company started in 2001 by director Alberto Acevedo which went through a long hiatus before resurrecting itself in 2005 with an abbreviated schedule. Acevedo persevered and began presenting full seasons in 2009.

The rest of this season includes Sam Shepard’s meditation on the West, the’rough-and-tumble romance Fool For Love, from June 9-26, and the off-beat meta-musical about musicals [title of show] set for Nov. 3-20.

Brothers Beckett plays through April 3 at Alliance Theatre Lab at the Main Street Playhouse, 6766 Main Street, Miami Lakes. Performances 8 p.m. Thursday & Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets $10-$20. For tickets and information, call 305-259.0418 or visit thealliancetheatrelab.com.

If Sirois is speaking to one end of the spectrum of playgoers, Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra are focusing on the other end of the theater aficionado spectrum — well, the middle as well, and, while he’s at it, Generation X, Y and whatever else is out there with a program devoted to the theater music of Cole Porter.

The Pops’ every-other-year tour of five Florida venues comes to the Arsht Center in Miami Saturday and the Kravis in West Palm Beach with a musical theater lovers’ dream: a full orchestra presenting the greatest hits of the Broadway composer-lyricist in an evening titled “You’ll Get a Kick Out of Cole.”

It’s a rare opportunity to hear the classic show tunes trumpeted and caressed by a gathering of musicians four times the size of most modern Broadway pit bands. The set list includes It’s De-lovely, You’re the Top, Anything Goes, So in Love, In the Still of the Night, Night and Day, I Get A Kick Out of You, Begin the Beguine and What Is This Thing Called Love?

Giving voice to Porter’s sophisticated lyrics will be two major Broadway talents: the lovely Kelli O’Hara, late of South Pacific, The Pajama Game and The Light in the Piazza, and Jason Daniely, who played in Curtains and Next to Normal.

Lockhart and the Pops, famed for their devotion to the Great American Songbook of standards, have a long affinity for the Broadway musicals including the works of Richard Rodgers and George Gershwin whose work will also be heard in the local concerts.

‘We celebrate what’s unique about American culture and Broadway is a uniquely American form along with jazz,’ Lockhart said in a phone interview from Clearwater.

But Porter takes that a step further. ‘It’s an extraordinary body of classical music if you define classical as not just as something in powdered wigs.’

‘While there is a very much a jazz age sensibility to it, sophistication and frivolous aristocrats, it still resonates for generations past the generations it was written for. The language, the effortlessness, I don’t think there is a better lyricist except for Stephen Sondheim and he resembles Sondheim in the marriage of thought and music, someone who writes an integrated product from the beginning.’

He’s gratified that he has O’Hara and Daniely on hand to put those lyrics across because their acclaimed voices and their chemistry, ‘you can understand every word they say.’

You’ll Get A Kick Out Of Cole will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Dereyfoos Hall in the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach. Arsht tickets available through (305) 949-6722 or online at arshtcenter.org. Kravis tickets available through 561-832-7469 or kravis.org.

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