“Carousel,” which contains some of the most gorgeous and memorable songs ever written for a musical, may be a musical you’ve never seen, though it has been around since 1945. The follow-up to “Oklahoma!,” Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s hugely successful debut as a composer-lyricist team, “Carousel” requires a huge cast by today’s standards, an orchestra that can do that gl..
Before women like movie star Melissa McCarthy, Chrissy Metz of NBC’s “This Is Us” and Whitney Thore of TLC’s “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” became widely embraced personalities, Josefina Lopez wrote a play titled “Real Women Have Curves.” Lopez’s 1994 comedy, made into a 2002 movie that marked America Ferrera’s film debut, is about many things. Its subjects include the fears of undocument..
Stephen Adly Guirgis won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for drama for his darkly comic “Between Riverside and Crazy.” Two years later, as GableStage’s sizzling new production so abundantly demonstrates, the play feels completely of the moment – in part because its characters traffic in “alternative facts.” Retired New York cop Walter “Pops” Washington (Leo Finnie) refuses to settle an eight-..
Neo-Impressionist Georges Seurat was an influential visionary whose pointillist work launched a movement before his untimely death in Paris in 1891 at the age of 31. He spent two years painting his masterpiece, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” in which tiny dots of juxtaposed color viewed at the right distance transform into a host of Parisians relaxing on an island ..
Thirty-two playwrights, a half dozen directors, and around ninety plays in less than two hours. This is the South Florida One-Minute Play Festival, now in its fifth year, which runs this weekend. The festival, performed at the Deering Estate in Palmetto Bay and curated by Caitlin Wees and Dominic D’Andrea, has become a phenomenon in its own right. South Florida’s version of the festival i..
Mention the Harlem Renaissance, and those who know their history would be able to tell you a little or a lot about that vibrant period in New York’s black social and cultural life. But bring up the New York Renaissance – also known as the Renaissance Big Five or the Rens – and you’d be likely to stump anyone who isn’t steeped in basketball lore. Playwright and director Layon Gray ..
Listen up, humanity. God has a bone (or 10) to pick with us, and we’d best pay attention. I mean, if he can zap the wing off an argumentative archangel – and he can – just imagine what’s in store for us. Or simply consider the news, post-election. David Javerbaum, the Emmy Award-winning executive producer and head writer of Comedy Central’s much-missed “The Daily Show with Jon Ste..
I saw Lorca en un vestido verde, the Spanish-language version of Nilo Cruz’s play Lorca in a Green Dress eight years ago on a cramped stage in Little Havana’s Teatro Ocho, where Rolando Moreno took on the task of directing four actors who play eight roles. Even with the limitations of the production, Cruz’s inventive and lyrical script made Lorca one of my favorites from the Pulitzer Priz..
Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Aquarius (2016) is a masterful and engaging film exploring the dilemma of a singularly strong-willed, exceedingly attractive older woman who refuses to budge when power comes knocking at her door and tries to blow it off its hinges. A relative newbie to the director’s chair, Mendonça is a former film critic who layers a rich texture of skillfully developed metaphor..
The words that South Florida playwright Michael McKeever has chosen for his intense new play ‘After’ are powerful indeed. They would have to be, since his Zoetic Stage world premiere at Miami’s Arsht Center is a devastating piece about bullying, school violence and the moment when one horrific act destroys two families. But just as powerful as the words in “After” are the silences, as..
It is an awe-inspiring experience to see the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancers perform. They are well trained dancers, athletes and artists. Not often known is that some of the dance..
Back for an 8th season in Miami, the legendary Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater packs the house every year. With Liberty City hometown hero Robert Battle in his fifth year, we have many rea..
Awash in sunlight, around 50 women stand in a circle on the rooftop performance space of Casa Gaia in Old Havana, Cuba, as part of a belly-dance festival. Biodanza facilitator Karen Rodríguez..
Choreographer Jeanguy Saintus works primarily from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, but his creative work has global appeal. He is a pioneering artist who blends Haiti’s traditional music and dance alo..
New life for a legacy ballet—a veritable choreographer-magnet—created a great buzz about Miami City Ballet’s third program this season. But at the Arsht Center for the Performing ..
Who doesn’t delight in fairies? Miami City Ballet, for the success of its third program of the season, is certainly banking on one. And, instead of wielding a magic wand, she comes eager to p..
Transgendered performance artist Scott Turner Schofield is a collector of stories. Growing up in the South, the tales that were told about the gay and trans community were the ugliest kind of..
The Miami Theater Center in Miami Shores is giving experimental dancer-choreographer Lazaro Godoy the opportunity to interweave his visual arts and performance passions in ArMOUR, a multimedi..
The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet artistic director Tom Mossbrucker and executive director Jean-Philippe Malaty have thrilled audiences world wide with stimulating and exciting performances, and Miam..
South Florida music lovers have a rare chance to see a homegrown star in concert - and there’s no admission charge.
Bobby Thomas Jr., described by jazz legend Melton Mustafa as “the baddest drummer on the planet, bar none,” performs on Friday at Music in the Park, a biannual concert series in Miami Gardens. The opening act is singer Rochelle Lightfoot.
Thomas, a two-time Grammy nominee and member of the South Florida Jazz Hall of Fame, has traveled the world with artists such as Monty Alexander, Ira Sullivan, Thad Jones, Joe Zawinul and Weather Report. On Friday, he’ll perform with his homeboys Randy Bernsen on guitar, bassist Bob Grabowski, and Fernando Diez on sax.
“This ensemble is like my extended family,” said Thomas, who has played with them all for decades, with Grabowski and Bernsen since his late teens. They met after the man Thomas calls his “jazz father,” saxophonist and fellow Hall of Fame member Jet Nero, showed him there was a musical world beyond the disco that dominated the scene in the 1970s.
Thomas, who began to play percussion when an elementary-school teacher urged him to take up music, hated the repetitive dance tracks with their unvarying beat. “There was nothing for me to do,” he said. “I quit playing music period because of the disco scene.”
He didn’t lack for creative outlets, though, having majored in art at what was then Miami-Dade Junior College. “I’m really a painter and sculptor,” said Thomas, who still makes visual art and is assembling pieces for a show.
But popular music also presented another problem for Thomas back in the day. “My fiancée had broken my heart and I couldn’t stand to hear pop music on the radio,” he said. A dear friend suggested he try jazz and recommended a visit to the Gold Dust Lounge, a hot spot for the music.
“I walked in, I think it was Curtis Lundy on the bass, and this cool-looking guy on the saxophone, which was Jet Nero,” Thomas recalled. “On the break I walked up to Jet and asked him [if I could] sit in. They had some bongos lying on the floor. As soon as I started to play, he turned around and said, ‘Wow, you’re not gonna be here long.’”
Nero was right. In the next couple of years, Thomas met and began working with Alexander, South Floridian bass legend Jaco Pastorius, and Zawinul.
“I guess it’s a good thing that girl broke my heart,” Thomas said, chuckling.
On Friday, concertgoers can expect “a lot of positive energy, a lot of love coming from the bandstand,” he said. “And a lot of improvisation. I’m not a big fan of copying other people’s music.”
There is one standard the band is sure to play: “What the World Needs Now is Love,” by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. “Because of what’s happened with the whole political scene, it’s quite a huge disappointment,” Thomas said, “so I think that’ll be an appropriate theme to put out to the people.”
The Bobby Thomas Ensemble headlines Music in the Park, Friday, Dec. 2, with opening act Rochelle Lightfoot, 6:30 p.m. in the Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex Amphitheater, 3000 N.W. 199 St., Miami Gardens; admission free.
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