The Source for Media Coverage of The Arts in Miami.
Articles, reviews, previews and features on dance and music performances and events.
Sign Up
No one logged in. Log in

GableStage's' Gloria' a Sharp Production of a Shocking, Funny Play

Photo: Clay Cartland, Phillip Andrew Santiago, Lai-Si Lassalle and Sheri Wieseman await their big breaks in GableStage’s “Gloria.” Photo: GEORGE SCHIAVONE
Written by: Christine Dolen
Article Rating

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, now 33, was named a MacArthur “genius” grant winner in 2016, the same year his play “Gloria” was chosen as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Earlier, his provocative, stylistically diverse, subversive plays “Appropriate” and “An Octoroon” (the latter was produced by Coral Gables’ Area Stage last fall) each won best new American play Obie Awards.

The point? Jacobs-Jenkins has enjoyed the kind of huge, envy-making early career success that fuels the dreams of the more nakedly ambitious characters in “Gloria.”

GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler has just opened his company’s sharp production of Jacob-Jenkins’ observantly funny, shocking play. Anyone who has worked in an office, especially over the past decade and particularly if that office happens to house a media company, will recognize the corporate culture so perfectly delineated in “Gloria.”Jacobs-Jenkins knows it because he worked as an editorial assistant at the New Yorker a decade ago, when he was fresh out of Princeton.

In the culture department at the midtown Manhattan offices of a major magazine, we meet brash and fiercely competitive editorial assistants, an intern who doesn’t know what he wants to do in life, the publication’s aggrieved chief fact checker and the title character, a former Floridian who edits copy and manages to creep the others out with her odd affect.

In the first act, after we get to know the characters and their wit, ruthlessness and casual cruelty, a shocking and graphically staged act of violence happens. In the next scene, two of the survivors meet at a Starbucks to discuss their respective book deals, and it doesn’t go well. The final scene, set in the Los Angeles offices of a television production company, looks at the permutations and exploitation-worthy shelf life of a tragedy.

Though “Gloria” is obviously serious and sobering, the play is also darkly, observantly funny thanks to Jacob-Jenkins’ way with satire. When a pop star dies of an overdose and the still-in-school intern asks who the woman was, an editorial assistant says, “Now I feel, like, 100 years old.”She also says, to her “aging” three-years-older colleague, “I would die before I turned 30 in a f**king cubicle.”

The assistants rail against healthy Baby Boomers who won’t retire, allowing them to move up; now, unlike the old days, “Everything’s all constipated, because people actually died back then.”

Adler has, as always, cast his production with fine actors who get to demonstrate their versatility in multiple roles.Only Cliff Burgess, as the agitated fact checker Lorin, plays a single character. But the actor brilliantly delivers an incipient-breakdown monologue in the first act, then in the final scene comes across as a man propelled toward change by tragedy.

Clay Cartland’s smug, wise-ass Dean has a drinking problem and literary ambitions, the later a common trait among the editorial assistants. His breezy humor in the first act gives way to the convincing portrayal of a deeply damaged man in the second scene. In the third, he transforms into an IT guy named Devin, who is dismissive of those whose computers he works on and nothing like Dean.

Lai-Si Lassalle is Dean’s fiercest opponent as Kendra, a combative woman who writes blog posts on beauty and fashion, complains about her workload, then pops out to Starbucks for a coffee not too log after arriving late, yet again, for work.In the last scene, she’s Jenna, ready to make a TV movie from the perspective of a woman who was present but saw nothing when the tragedy unfolded two years earlier.

Sheri Wieseman alters her look and her demeanor to play editorial assistants Ani and Sasha, then engages in a sob-fest as Callie, Jenna’s assistant. Phillip Andrew Santiago is Miles, the brainy Harvard intern; Shawn, a Starbucks barista with a big personality; and Rashaad, a recently promoted TV movie guy who’s not yet accustomed to his new power position.

Katherine McDonald inhabits two radically different characters, first appearing as the tightly wound Gloria, then as Nan, a key editor and mother-to-be who decides that she, too, has a story to tell.

The GableStage design team – set designer Lyle Baskin, lighting designer Steve Welsh, sound and music designer Matt Corey, costume designer Ellis Tillman, special effects designer Waldo Washaw – meets the script’s challenges, taking us from the magazine’s sterile office (where the assistants clearly spend money on chic clothes and Gloria does not) to a midtown Starbucks with snow falling outside to the more colorful yet still sterile TV production office.

In “Gloria,” Jacobs-Jenkins adroitly captures the zeitgeist of the contemporary workplace, the desire to be seen and appreciated, the psychological disconnect that can lead to bloody violence.Adler, his cast and collaborators have created a production that underscores exactly why Jacobs-Jenkins possesses a voice worth seeking out.

‘Gloria’ by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, through May 6. Cost:$42-$60 (students $15 Thursday and Sunday evenings). Information: 305-445-1119 or


Leave a comment...
Must be Logged in
No one logged in. Log in
Leave a comment...
Was this helpful?
No Very

Captcha Image

About The writer


Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami has been on a trajectory best described as meteoric. In its first 18 months DDTM has been a 2017 Knight Challenge Grant recipient and now will debut at New Y..

Amirah Sackett came up as a dancer in Chicago’s hip hop scene at a time when women were rare in the mostly male community. But she also visibly stood out as a Muslim. She keeps her hair cover..

Inside the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, where Dance Now! Miami is in residence, there is a hub of activity as the company prepares for its performance on Saturday night of Contemporanea 201..

One of the signatures of the National Water Dance project since its inception seven years ago was that dance troupes, large or small, professional or school groups, were free to perform whate..

Miami City Ballet is in league with Russians – in a good way -- and this promises to make a selection of dances look great again. The company’s final program this season brings back Apollo an..

Hidden behind a busy street in North Miami Beach is the Ancient Spanish Monastery, where Dance Now! Miami will bring the past into the present – and back into the past. Ekphrasis describes th..

Sometimes dance seems as easy as walking down the street. John Heginbotham, founder and artistic director of Dance Heginbotham, describes his dancers as moving in an unaffected, natural manne..

On the heels of a year-plus parade of #MeToo confessions, celebrity shamings and women’s marches, comes Marisa Alma Nick’s female-power-packed “A Rebel in Venus.” “It wasn’t planned that ..

Choreographers are usually curious people. Augusto Soledade’s curiosity leads him in many directions, including ideas on Madonna, voguing, and selfies. It all began with “thoughts on identity..

M. John Richard has never hung back from the challenges that shape a life. Not when a knee injury ended his dreams of playing football at Syracuse University. Not when he was persuad..

For many choreographers, a new project is an opportunity to dig into fresh ideas. But for local choreographer Pioneer Winter, his latest work “Reprise” returns to the same terrain he has been..

There are few shortcuts for anyone hoping to make it in ballet, but for black dancers that road has always been particularly arduous. A lack of access to training, scant rewards, and cultura..

For sheer pageantry, there are few dance companies that can rival the Ballet Nacional de España. In its 40th season, with 40 dancers and 11 musicians, Spain’s effusive, no-holds-barred love l..

When the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater returns to town this week, Miami native son Jamar Roberts will take center stage. As one of the company’s star dancers, he has long shined as a performer. B..

He says his dance comes from his dreams. French-Algerian choreographer Hervé Koubi’s most recent work, “What the Day Owes the Night” combines Sufi rhythms with cutting edge b-boy moves, class..

A world premiere always comes with a drum roll. And, throughout the years, Miami City Ballet has brought to light its fair share of resounding new works. Still, Brian Brooks’ freshly-minted O..

Wednesday night at the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall the South Florida Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with the Martha Graham Dance company presented “Appalachian Spring Suite” and “The R..

Cooking may be Dan Froot’s favorite thing. This is saying a lot since Froot is also a composer, a dancer, a sax-player, a play-wright, an oral-historian -- an all-around performance artist an..

With the closing of Tigertail Productions last year, Miami lost one of its preeminent artistic champions. Under the direction of founder Mary Luft, Tigertail brought an endless parade of boundary-..

Anytime would be a good time to devote a dance program to the works of Jerome Robbins, our most versatile and celebrated American-born choreographer. But, given that 2018 marks the centennial..

Due to winter storms in the Northeast impacting travel, with great regrets the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company announced the cancellation of the Saturday, Jan. 6 performance. At age..

It is fitting at this time of the year that our thoughts often turn to what connects us not what divides us. Whether we are driven by religious or secular motives, many of us are in the spiri..

The end of the 19th century was a golden age for ballet. In 15 years of collaboration, two great Russian geniuses – choreographer Marius Petipa, and composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky – produced ballet st..

Here’s a riddle – name the 1892 box office flop panned by critics for lack of seriousness and for casting too many kids, which has now transformed into a force of nature timed to occur yearly..

It happens every year, right around Thanksgiving, productions of the Nutcracker pop up from coast to coast, marking the start of the holiday season. But on Saturday, Miami audiences have the ..

As Art Week approaches, Miami choreographer Marissa Alma Nick’s Alma Dance Theater is getting ready to add its distinctive voice, rehearsing for the upcoming performance of “Flowers” at the C..

Promising a night of airiness and ardor, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami will bring “Ballet’s Pointe of Passion” to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, where the company joins an att..

Ira Sullivan has been a musician for a long time. His father, part of a large musical family, was in the restaurant business. But he played trumpet for fun and stored his horn behind the couch, Su..

The music of Thelonious Monk has been a source of endless fascination and with good reason. Monk’s universe has its own laws. Beautifully constructed and quirky, soulful but also paced by br..

The first time the Amernet performed “The Seven Last Words of Christ” during Holy Week – the week leading up to Easter -- the string quartet played in darkness. Just hours before, cellist Jas..

Drummer Dafnis Prieto and pianist Omar Sosa closed this year’s Global Cuba Fest at the Light Box in Wynwood, Miami, with shows on Friday and Saturday, March 16-17 that suggested a sort of mus..

Mention flamenco and the immediate associations are with dancing, singing and the guitar. The piano has a rather tentative history in flamenco. While some scholars include the instrument in p..

The ancient Japanese art of Taiko drumming comes to Miami this Friday, with Tao: Drum Heart, which premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has gone on to tour internationally, getting ..

It’s not by chance that the music of Cuban drummer, composer, educator and bandleader Dafnis Prieto unfolds with such purpose. An accidental immigrant in 1999 — he was living with ..

In the music of Las Cafeteras and Orkesta Mendoza, presented by Fundarte at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center Saturday, the border is no place for walls but rather, a moveable feast. ..

Performance Hall at New World Center was packed Saturday, Feb. 3 for the New Work program, which NWS conductor and artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas introduced as “one of the more adve..

"Nosotros sentimos, y pensamos que Jennifer y Carlos sienten igual, que Miami finalmente ha llegado a posicionarse como una verdadera ciudad cultural donde continuamente se presentan compañías imp..

El grupo de danza contemporánea Brazzdance dirigido por su fundador, el coreógrafo Augusto Soledade, se presentó el sábado 31 de marzo en el Carnival Studio Theatre del Arsht Center de Miami...

La undécima edición del Flamenco Festival que se desarrolló del jueves 8 al domingo 11 de marzo en el Arsht Center resultó ser un hermoso reencuentro con el Ballet Nacional de España (BNE), u..

Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida (ABTF) y su escuela de ballet adjunta, ambas bajo la dirección de Vladimir Issaev, se encuentran por estos días entregadas de lleno a la celebración del bicente..

El lugar privilegiado que ocupa Miami hoy en día en el mundo de la danza no tiene discusión. Además de contar con una vibrante oferta local de proyección internacional que dura todo el año y ..

Después de una serie de actuaciones muy exitosas en varias ciudades del Este del país, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) llega a Miami para ofrecer seis presentaciones del jueves 22 ..

La ofensiva espontánea protagonizada por BalletBoyz y Cie. Herve Koubi el fin de semana pasado en teatros de Fort Laudedarle y Miami, con dos propuestas artísticas absolutamente fuera de seri..

La atracción principal del tercer programa de la temporada 2017-2018 del Miami City Ballet (MCB) que se presentó el fin de semana pasado en el Arsht Center fue el estreno mundial de One Line ..

Llegados en vuelo directo desde Inglaterra, BalletBoyz (Premio Nacional de Danza 2013 a la Mejor Compañía Independiente) ofrecerá el sábado 10 de febrero una función patrocinada por Culture Shock ..