Tag Archives: Patti Gardner
Many artists define themselves by a calling that relies on faith that their art form will always be there. But in 2020, the foundation of their sense of who they were and what they believed made their lives worthwhile vanished. They were forced into introspection about the primacy of their profession and their art in their lives. Here, they reveal what they learned about South Florida theater and especially themselves.
It’s an obvious truism that most theater art – from dialogue to the lighting design – is partly a product of the artists’ past experience. But playwright-director Amy London’s Story of a Life, a harrowing examination of generations caring for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, is ripped directly from the marrow of her own painful past.
Six months into the pandemic, theater artists are struggling with a profoundly damaging dimension particular to their purgatory-like limbo: The calling that gives their lives meaning requires interaction with other people in the same room. Late this summer, 33 South Florida storytellers agreed to draw back the curtain on their backstage battles that form the spine of an all too real three-act drama.
GableStage’s co-production with Palm Beach Dramaworks of the world premiere of Ordinary Americans traces TV icon Gertrude Berg as she battles blacklisting, featuring stellar performance by Elizabeth Dimon.
Resulting from Down syndrome as an adult, Andy’s simple, blunt and truthful verbal reactions to the complex statements and relationships swirling around him slice through the theater space and the artifice of the play form itself with a painfully accurate if non-judgmental slash in Primal Forces’ powerful Andy and the Orphans, which is as incisively affecting as it is quite, quite funny.
Neil Simon’s dark comedy The Gingerbread Lady gets a fine production at Primal Forces featuring a bravura performance from Patti Gardner.
When was the last time a musical slipped into your veins and rode your bloodstream for two hours? When did a musical speak so accurately of your own pain and longing that you knew you were not alone? With The Spitfire Grill, Palm Beach Dramaworks has gifted South Florida with one of the most heartfelt, moving evenings of musical theater in recent years.
This may seem a backhanded compliment, but it is meant with awe : The most memorable aspect of The Wick Theatre’s The Pirates of Penzance is you can understand the bloody words. The production has many other virtues: delightfully broad comedy a parade of costumes that are a hoot in themselves, first-rate soloists and an overwhelming choir-smooth ensemble.
Raging family dysfunction played against an equally volatile backdrop of social upheaval makes for two seemingly separate but brilliantly acted and directed plays united in GableStage’s production of If I Forget — the emotional equivalent of a skiff tossed about in a raging tempest in the middle of a wintry ocean.
For a show that shattered a ceiling in 1983, La Cage aux Folles has become a warhorse in 2017. MNM Productions’ edition embraces the spangles, glitz and sheer Jerry Herman of it all. So if you haven’t seen it in a while, this is an entertaining reminder. What sets this apart is how it emphasizes the heart rather than the heat – and that’s a welcome emphasis for those who may have seen this classic once too often.