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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..

MDC Live Arts Opens Live Arts Lab Space


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When Kathryn Garcia, MDC Live Arts executive director, took the helm at the organization 5 years ago, she revitalized the 26-year-old organization and strengthened its commitment to not only presenting performance work, but of engaging the local community in a discourse on performance and art.

From last year’s “Holoscenes” performance meditation about sea level rise, to the ongoing commitment to Miami’s veteran community through the Combat Hippies spoken word troupe, Garcia has curated programs that engage the community on many levels. This season, she opens MDC Live Arts Lab, the first performance space in the organization’s history, located on MDC’s Wolfson campus.

“I think there’s a great freedom and flexibility in being able to do things, to go anywhere, for performances and it’s kind of reflective of MDC as an institution,” Garcia explains. “This space is just particularly exciting because it allows us to have another arm out on the Wolfson campus to hopefully provide the community with an opportunity to get curious and engage with art.”

In taking over the 120-seat thrust stage theater previously occupied by Prometeo Theater (Prometeo has moved to the Koubek Center, another property in the MDC portfolio), MDC Live Arts is able to expand their annual Live Arts Lab summer residency programming to run year round, as well as deepen the conversation around performance.

“We were hearing from a lot of artists that the most valuable things that came out of Live Arts Lab, besides the intensive time with the visiting artist, was the time with each other. This space allows us to take MDC Live Arts lab as a program, and expand it into a space, and create a home for creative exploration, for students, for the community, for local artists, for anyone who’s interested.”

While MDC Live Arts will continue to present many of their mainstage programs at various venues around South Florida, they have developed a series of programs specific to the new space: Lab Chats, Test Lab and a Live Arts Lab Alliance.

Lab Chats programming will include conversations with artists presented as part of the MDC Live Arts season, including Nora Chipaumire and Steve Parker. As Garcia explains: “We really want Lab Chats to just become opportunities to discuss arts and ideas, and to get inside the artist’s head in a different way.

“Test Lab is kind of a monthly open mic for performance, so it’s an opportunity for artists to test work. There will be a critical response feedback process following the presentation of the work so that artists can really benefit from the perspective of the audience in developing their work,” she continues. “We really want to make this something that’s an opportunity also for local artists and MDC students to have opportunities to intersect, so Test Lab will always have a slot that’s open for student artists.”

For the Live Arts Lab Alliance, Garcia intends to extend the initial summer residency program into a yearlong process. As Garcia explains, “It will be an application based process, a panel will be selecting a cohort of six artists to work together throughout the year.”

As Miami’s performance community continues to flourish, the MDC Live Arts Lab offers generative artists another way to deepen their practice alongside with professional artists from around the world.

“To finally have a space, a hub of activity, is just really gratifying. We really do want to help, provide seed and support for our community of local artist to grow and help one another grow and that’s the idea behind space,” Garcia says.

Coming up is a Lab Chat: PATH: Preserving, Archiving & Teaching Hiphop, Inc. presents HOLA: Hiphoppas of Latin-American Ancestry; Wednesday, Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Live Arts Lab, MDC Wolfson Campus, 300 NE 2 Ave, Miami; tickets are free.

 


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