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Though the Miami New Drama-commissioned “Queen of Basel” will have its official world premiere at Studio Theatre in Washington D.C. next season, you don’t have to wait or travel to discover how playwright Hilary Bettis has reimagined August Strindberg’s controversial 1888 classic “Miss Julie.” With three powerful actors and a small audience sharing the stage space at Miami Beach’s Co..

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 Other Mozart" is a suitcase play – one of those shows where a single actress can pack the entire contents that creates the setting – costume, wig, and props, and go anywhere in the world. It is the way Samantha Hoefer will arrive in Miami to present Sylvia Milo's one-woman play about Maria Anna Mozart, the not nearly as famous older sibling of that 18th century rock star Wolfgang Ama..

Early on in the Argentinean film “El Último Traje” (The Last Suit), which makes its U.S. theatrical debut this week, a deceptively quaint and humorous scene takes place between the film’s protagonist, 88-year-old Abraham Bursztein and his young granddaughter. The little girl refuses to join in a family photo with Abraham surrounded by his many grandchildren. When he cajoles and insists, ..

Gone are the days when filmmakers needed huge budgets, and major movie studios backing them with big bucks to get their films seen, according to two producers who spent decades in Los Angeles, and have now moved their base to Miami Beach. "From a creative standpoint, there are amazing opportunities for filmmakers today," says producer Kevin Chinoy, who, along with producing partner Frances..

Mark St. Germain has achieved ongoing success with small-cast plays involving historical figures in fictional scenarios, and South Florida has been as welcoming to his work as the rest of the country. St. Germain’s “Camping With Henry and Tom,” about a 1920s camping trip involving Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and President Warren G. Harding, was produced in 1996 by New Theatre in Coral Gables..

Mexico City-based theater collective Teatro Ojo's works are constantly evolving. Nothing is ever really finished. That's because they take from every performance. Whatever the audience experiences, observes, feels, and offers feedback, which they highly encourage, all is used, considered, and included in the evolution of the same piece, or introduced into another new work. Two of the ..

“America’s Greatest and Least Known Playwright.”This is how the Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornes is referred to several times throughout Michelle Memran’s documentary “The Rest I Make Up,” which makes its Florida debut this Saturday as part of Miami-Dade College’s Miami Film Festival. Fornes has been called the “Mother of Avant-Garde Theater.” Theater giants like Edward A..

“Once” has always been touched with magic. And as anyone who has seen the sublime new production of the show by Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables would tell you, the musical’s spellbinding pull is as powerful as ever. When Irish director-screenwriter John Carney first told the tale of a heartbroken Irish street musician and the spunky Czech pianist who reignites his passion, a 200..

Consider the idea of land in Palestine, and conflict may be the first thing to come to mind. But for Jumana Emil Abboud, the Palestinian landscape evokes other, older, associations – with mythological creatures like water spirits and ghouls. “These stories were told way before 1948,” says the Galilee-born artist, speaking by phone from her home in Jerusalem. She suggests looking back ..

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..

Judy Drucker and the Great Artist Series Revival

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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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Performance arts writer, singer, songwriter, author

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