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Pearl Cleage’s play “Flyin’ West,” an M Ensemble production currently on stage at the beautiful new performing arts center in Liberty City, the Sandrell Rivers Theatre, is set in humble Nicodemus, Kansas, the only remaining western town established by African Americans during the reconstruction period following the Civil War. Set in 1898, the play focuses on the lives of Sophie (Brandiss ..

Esteban, (http://estebanlapelicula.com/en/) the debut of Cuban director Jonal Cosculluela being premiered at The Miami Light Project tells the story of a 9 year old, living in Havana with his mother, who’s raising him as a single parent, and his perseverance following his dream of becoming a musician. The challenges seem overwhelming. Esteban and his mother struggle to make ends meet (htt..

Desperate times call for desperate measures. For some, that might mean taking a second or third job. Or robbing a bank. Or moving in with family. For Casey, a straight lip-syncing Elvis impersonator in a Panama City bar, desperation means forsaking the King’s rhinestone-studded jumpsuit for leg hair-hiding pantyhose, fake boobs and big-hair wigs, the better to sell himself as a fa..

Writing about “Broken Snow,” the Ben Andron thriller now getting its world premiere at the J’s Cultural Arts Theatre (JCAT) in North Miami Beach, is a proposition almost as tricky as the play itself. The intricately structured 90-minute drama is loaded with surprises, twists and turns, all revealed at precisely the right moment so that the play builds to its shattering conclusion..

As this steamy spring melts into a sweltering summer, Actors’ Playhouse is inviting theater lovers to a wedding – a big, fat Jewish-WASP wedding, otherwise known as the Broadway musical “It Shoulda Been You.” Though the show seemingly takes place in the present, the piece by book writer-lyricist Brian Hargrove and composer Barbara Anselmi is an old-fashioned, stereotype-filled throwba..

'Death & Harry Houdini' Makes Another Magical Moment at ArshtDennis Watkins knows how to make an entrance. In the House Theatre of Chicago’s “Death & Harry Houdini,” now back at the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater five years after it first wowed Miami audiences, Watkins arrives onstage with the help of theater technology unknown in Houdini’s day. Dangling upside dow..

Director Carlos Lechuga’s masterful unspooling of time in his second feature film “Santa y Ándres” constructs a uniquely Cuban mix of tedium and despair, resulting in an emotionally intense experience that sneaks up on the viewer in plain sight. The film opens with the stillness of a landscape painting: the eastern Cuban countryside of 1983 – rugged, lush, and verdant. The statuesque..

Memory – deep-seated, fragile, slippery, mutable – is at the heart of Jordan Harrison’s “Marjorie Prime.” A Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2015, the play is a family tragicomedy given a sci-fi makeover; in other words, this thought-provoking theater piece charts its own, fresh path. Now getting its South Florida premiere as the second professional production from the Main Street Players, ..

The stage is a fixed space. It is the axis around which story, conflict, and character revolve. When that fixed space shifts, new possibilities emerge. Starting Wednesday, April 23, a shifting site for theater emerges at Deering Estate, a 444-acre environmental, archeological, and historical preserve along the edge of Biscayne Bay in Palmetto Bay. Four local playwrights have collaborated ..

Nearly two years ago, Miami’s Zoetic Stage took its first trip into the world of Harold Pinter with an intense, superbly acted production of the Nobel laureate’s 1978 hit “Betrayal” in the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater. Now Zoetic is delving further back into the Pinter canon with a riveting production of “The Caretaker.” This 1960 work is, like “Betrayal,” a three-character ..

‘Pie Solo’ Takes Worthwhile Risks


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In “Pie Solo,” created and performed by Pioneer Winter, the Miami-native taps his way into new creative territory. Running about an hour, Winter’s first solo piece integrates contemporary movement, tap dance and video; however, the centerpiece of the show is his monologue. It’s a risky choice, considering the dancer/choreographer has never before utilized his voice in a performance. “Pie Solo” is part of Miami Theater Center’s Sandbox Series, designed to help contemporary artists create new work. The show runs through March at MTC in Miami Shores. Winter’s monologue raises issues about family and religion, but the piece primarily weaves a narrative that explores Winter’s identity as a gay man. Portraying himself, Winter delivers his text in a frank, sincere tone. He neither falls on his sword, nor does he hide from the audience. At times though, he loses momentum as he struggles to pace breath, vocalization and movement. One of the unique aspects of the performance is the integration of tap dance. The 25-year-old began taking lessons when he was four. In one of the show’s most powerful scenes, Winter stands in a makeshift bathroom stall with a small video of an anonymous pair of shoes on display in the next stall. In conjunction with the video, Winter taps out a darkly humorous depiction of two strangers having sex in a public bathroom. The coordination between live tap and the dancing on the video is riveting. This is a moment where Winter’s tap dancing skills transcend performance and create a rich metaphor. Another such moment occurs in an anecdote about his grandfather’s death. He explains that in ceremonious moments, his father would always say, “Tap dance, son.” In this poignant, yet funny segment, Winter recalls tap dancing furiously on the dock of a lake to placate his grieving father while his grandfather’s ashes blew in his face. This is a moment where the performer’s refrain: “I only want to please” fits perfectly. Often, though, it feels like a throw away line. I would like to see Winter organize the show around a powerful metaphor such as tap dance, or as he mentions at one point, the celebration of the first quarter of his life. The show needs organizing principles that will allow for a broader scope of material. For example, he introduces some intriguing tidbits about religion and family that go undeveloped. Winter’s mother, who also tap danced, died when he was nine years old. His family, of Russian-Jewish descent, converted to Jehovah’s Witnesses. There’s also room to tighten some scenes. For example, an interactive scene where Winter gives an audience member a foot rub and “blow job” (by playing a saxophone between the man’s legs) is very humorous and serves as an effective transition to Winter’s coming out story; however, it goes on too long. “Pie Solo” has some challenges to work out; however, Pioneer Winter’s charismatic presence and the show’s moments of clarity and humor make for an interesting performance. A version of this review first appeared in the Miami Herald, March 19. "Pie Solo" by Pioneer Winter runs through March 30 at the Miami Theater Center, 9806 NE 2nd Ave., Miami Shores; at 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturdays; cost is $20; info: 305-751-9550, www.mtcmiami.org Photo credit: Javi Geovanni
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