Actors’ Playhouse has been a musical powerhouse for much of its history. Launching its 30th anniversary season at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, the company is revisiting some of that history with a new production of a made-for-South Florida favorite: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Evita.” As it did in 2000 when recent Tony Award winner Rachel Bay Jones starred as Eva Duart..
Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks won the Pulitzer Prize for “Topdog/Underdog” in 2002. But as Zoetic Stage’s superb new production of the play at Miami’s Arsht Center demonstrates, her funny, shocking tale of two brothers struggling to survive is as potent today as it was 15 years ago. Maybe more so, given the country’s deepening divide. Parks’ harrowing drama examines the complex relation..
We are born. We live, have families, grow old. We die, leaving those who loved us to mourn. Playwright Thornton Wilder brilliantly captured the eternal verities of our journey through life in “Our Town,” his 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about life, love and death in a small New Hampshire town at the turn of the 20th century. If you’re at all drawn to theater, you’ve probably ..
“Miami Motel Stories: Little Havana” written by Juan C. Sanchez, directed by Tamilla Woodard, and produced by Juggerknot Theatre Company, is a site-specific, immersive theater experience that interweaves narrative, performance, history and architecture. Nine short plays take place in nine hotel rooms on the second floor of the Tower Hotel, right off Calle Ocho on Seventh Street. Sanchez, ..
Artistic director and founder of Juggerknot Theatre Company, Tanya Bravo, had her first brush with immersive theater in New York City when she met director Tamilla Woodard. Working on the play “Broken City,” Bravo and other actors led audience members on a theatrical journey through the streets of the Lower East Side. “I was so blown away by the concept and the lines that were crossed between ..
We humans do love our rituals. When an extended family gathers for the holidays, familiar traditions promise a comforting respite from an increasingly complex, chaotic world. Still, realistically, troubles and fears refuse to be left behind. They surface like unwelcome guests. So do resentments and stinging remarks born of deep knowledge. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, you wonder: ..
After a tryout run in Chicago, 34 previews and 746 performances on Broadway, and a tour launch in Buffalo, “On Your Feet!” has finally opened in the place where Cuban-born music superstars Gloria and Emilio Estefan made their dreams come true: Miami. At Friday’s red carpet opening at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, with the Estefans and their extended family in atte..
Whether the comedy is high or low, performer-writer Steve Martin has been making moviegoers, “Saturday Night Live” fans and theater lovers laugh for more than half a century – hard to believe it’s been that long, but he started early. Martin’s way with both cerebral jokes and physical comedy is abundantly on display in “The Underpants,” his 2002 adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s once-ban..
Robert Schenkkan’s “Building the Wall” begins as a wary conversation between two strangers: Rick, a white male convict awaiting a likely death sentence, and Gloria, a black female historian and college professor. For 90 minutes, the two talk. She probes; he explains and justifies and slowly paints a picture of a man-made Seventh Circle of Hell. By the time the play ends, the audience ..
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ award-winning play “An Octoroon” layers an antebellum melodrama with 21st-century parlance and perspective. The result is an innovative play-within-a-play that skillfully reminds us of slavery’s horrible past and its ever-present legacy. Area Stage Company’s production, thoughtfully directed by John Rodaz, brings together a talented cast to ensure this melodra..
As programs like the recent Dance USA conference continue to shine a spotlight on Miami’s flourishing dance community, choreographers are constantly looking for new ways to finance and get their work seen. Programs like Miami Light Project’s pioneering Here & Now commissioning series and Miami Theater Center’s Sand Box Series have proven that directly supporting generative artists is a key way for an artistic community to thrive. Stepping in as a new source of support for dance in Miami is Grass Stains, a commissioning and mentorship program developed by choreographer Pioneer Winter, expressly for artists looking to create site-specific dance.
With support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Grass Stains is launching its inaugural program with commissions to six Miami-based dance artists: Jenny Larsen, Agustina Woodgate, Marissa Nick, Hattie Mae Williams, Niurca Marquez, and Ana Mendez.
In addition to a $5,000 commission fee, commissioned artists will work one-on-one with a mentor, who in this first year is Guggenheim Fellow and Bessie Award-winning artist Stephan Koplowitz, dean of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. Koplowitz will work with artists not only on the artistic development of their work, but on how to manage the careful balancing act of producer and artist.
It’s a program that Winter feels will deeply invest on the creative community of South Florida. “It’s a capital building project,” he says emphatically. “It’s not just like here is $5,000; it’s here is $5,000, AND here is a mentor to help you make strong work now, so you can continue making strong work in the future.”
Commissioned artists will spend the fall studying with Koplowitz remotely, before engaging in an in-person intensive in January 2016. It will be around this time that artists will start identifying the sites they will develop their work on. The final performances will begin premiering in June 2016.
Another interesting facet to the program -- each of the commissioned artists commits to assist in one another’s work. “Whether it’s ushering or it’s helping out with sound or something until you do realize that this isn’t just fixing the digital artists, this is a cohort … It’s like a fellowship almost, “ explains Winter.
It was this holistic investment approach to supporting both the artists and their work that was what attracted commissioned artist Ana Mendez to apply. “I like investigating how I make work. I’m looking forward to working with this group who will support me and give feedback, and I’ll give feedback,” she says.
By focusing on site-specific work, Winter also sees a way to further develop and marry the audiences for both performance and art in Miami. “I think site-specific performance is one of the best ways to blend in different genres of art and performance together, so I also see in the future more blending in of our audiences, which are for the most part pretty segregated.”
“I’m most excited about the lasting impact it will have, that this is not a one-shot thing, this is something that will continue, this is a link that the artist will now have to -- a really great mentor and artist.”
For her part, Mendez is eager to explore unique locations and get to work imbuing then with her creative work. “I want to charge a place with energy -- take an empty place and infuse it with magic, make a place not so special, special. I love that we have a mentor to do this.”
For more information, go to pioneerwinter.com/grass-stains/
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