Tag Archives: Michael Ursua
A look back at 2020: Yes, South Florida theater was crippled by the pandemic. But its acolytes remained driven to express their artistry, and patrons remained ravenous for their work. They continued to explore projects, create avenues and seek paychecks with efforts ranged from filmed full-fledged productions to monologues newly penned in bedrooms.
Drive-in theater, theater behind storefront glass, podcasts: In spurts over 7 months, South Florida theater artists have been preparing experiments online and live, for free, for pay or donations. As many are coming into view this fall, they are coalescing into a new if temporary paradigm that holds out hope for the survival of the genre.
There’s a scene of pure hallelujah in Slow Burn Theatre’s A Christmas Story the Musical in which adults and children dressed in sparkly costumes echoing the fabled Major Award leg lamp are in a kick line in a RKO-worthy production number. You won’t remember that from the holiday film. But that’s the key to enjoying this adaptation: Each edition makes the most of its genre’s strengths with little worry that it’s significantly different than its predecessors.
Intentional or not, Slow Burn Theatre Company producing Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at the height of Pride Week, near the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, is the ultimate synergistic commentary. Its edition of the reliably infectious feel-good musical rises another level into a conscious celebration of identity. Indeed, pride unfettered and unabashed explodes with the pure joy.
Bette & Barry: From Bathhouse to Broadway at Island City Stage is an imagining of if Midler and Manilow decided to do a concert together. In real pop history, they never have. This revue is strong in their greatest hits, separately and collectively, but there’s no narrative.
Tight choreography, outstanding leads, a solid supporting cast and a fluid band infuse Slow Burn Theatre’s trip to Memphis. The rousing production hits the ground running in the opening scene set in a black nightclub in Memphis’ Beale Street area and doesn’t slow down until the last “Na, na, na, na” of the ovation.
If you are a Boomer (and be warned, maybe only if you’re a Boomer or their progeny), Slow Burn Theatre Company’s hilarious spoof Disaster! will be in contention for one of the silliest, stupidest and downright funniest nights you have had in theater in recent years.
Island City Stage’s highly entertaining production of the musical Zanna, Don’t! will never be confused with a show by Stephen Sondheim, though there are numerous references to the famed composer. Amid the numerous pop culture references, , and well-timed humor, Zanna, Don’t! slyly, yet forcefully, maintains that everyone has a right to love whom they want.
One pleasure of a theater critic’s job are these year-end retrospectives that require looking back at reviews and be reminded, “Oh, yeah, that was really great. And right, there was that. And how could I forget that one?”
Be grateful that Slow Burn Theatre Company with its audacious affection for large scale challenging musicals has decided to mount The Secret Garden, that ode to rebirth, memorable for its lush unconventional score that resembles streams of music intertwining into an aural waterfall.