Getting into a true holiday spirit can be tough in South Florida, where palm trees, expansive beaches and balmy skies signal perpetual summer. Ever-earlier store décor and the incessant push to buy presents – more about commercialism than celebration – can make many of us feel more anxious than festive. Not to worry. Just squeeze in a trip to Miami’s Arsht Center, where City Theatre h..
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Since its founding in 1996, City Theatre has been an important part of South Florida’s theatrical landscape, though the company’s visibility has always been highest in the month of June. That’s when its popular Summer Shorts festival takes place; for more than a decade, its high-profile venue has been the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami’s Arsht Center. Though the company founded by S..
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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 ..
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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 ..
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Late last year, on Dec. 20, 2016, Romero Britto and Mark Bryn hosted the Great Artists Series Cocktail Reception at the Britto Fine Art Gallery to
celebrate the legendary impresaria, Judy Drucker, on her 50th Anniversary of bringing classical music and dance to South Florida -- and to introduce
the revival of Drucker’s Great Artist Series.
As a young artist Drucker had studied piano at the New York College of Music, as well as voice at The Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music. She was a coloratura soprano with the Coral Gables Philharmonic Symphony in 1948 and later performed with the Greater Miami-Dade Opera, which is now known as the Florida Grand Opera. Drucker had left the stage early in her career to raise a family, but by the late 1960s had planted the seed for a multi-decade presenter for the performing arts in South Florida that is being celebrated now, half a century later.
In 1967, Drucker founded the Great Artists Series in Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach under the guidance of Rabbi Leon Kronish. Her series presented such national and international artists as Leonard Bernstein, Luciano Pavarotti, Beverly Sills, Richard Tucker, and many more. Her lecture and concert series also presented young, emerging artists of the time such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Plácido Domingo, and Itzhak Perlman.
She later founded the Concert Association of Florida, which brought world-renowned performances, including the Three Tenors and the famous Jan. 22,1995 performance of the Luciano Pavarotti on the Beach Concert with an audience of over 200,000 people.
The revival of Great Artists Series is spearheaded by Bryn, Drucker’s friend and attorney, and the series will debut Sunday, Nov. 19 with a brunch and 50th Anniversary concert honoring Drucker.
Angela Shlyakhov, executive vice president of the series, said that this revival was conceived as far back as 2007 when the Concert Association of Florida’s board of directors voted Drucker out as president of the board after nearly 40 years of bringing outstanding programming to South Florida. But now seemed the perfect time to revive it in honor of Drucker’s work and dedication to the arts in South Florida.
Shlyakhov shared that the focus of the new Great Artist Series will be to present and produce young talent, instead of well-known, established artists.
“We want to present local and national young artists, but also make the performing arts more affordable and accessible to reach underserved communities and various cultural locations and neighborhoods. In honor of the 50th anniversary we plan a 50/50 program to offer programs at half off.”
Artburst asked her about the event.
Artburst: How do you find the new talent you wish to present and support?
Through scouting and through local competitions such as the vocal one we just did. And soon we will expand to have piano competitions, dance, and so on.
On Oct. 17, the Great Artist Series presented the inaugural 2017 Judy Drucker of the Year Award vocal competition free of charge at Temple Israel, where 12 young artists competed for the award; first place winner Ana Collado and second place winner Dancing Via will be performing in the upcoming event.
How many of this series are you planning to produce next year?
As many as possible. We are also looking for out-of the-box performances like “Opera on the Beach.” We are also looking for non-theatrical, site-specific venues.”
What is the up next?
Similar to the 2008 dedication [of Biscayne Boulevard between 13th and 14th street near the Arsht Center as the Judy Drucker Boulevard], we just received approval from Tallahassee to mount an historical marker outside of Temple Beth Shalom in December.
It is interesting to note that out of 950 historical markers in Florida, only 6 markers are currently devoted to notable women who have made a difference to Florida.
Along with biographical information on Drucker’s impressive life and impact on the arts in South Florida, the marker will memorialize her motto, “I need culture to live.”
The Great Artists Series will debut Nov. 19 at 2:00 p.m., Temple Israel of Greater Miami, 137 NE 19th St., Miami. Artists performing include the Amernet String Quartet, soprano Giselle Elgarresta Rios, pianist Alan Mason, and the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida. There will be a preconcert brunch at 11:30 a.m. For tickets, http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=i66tne8ab&oeidk=a07eemubm9d60b79f35.
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