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 ..
Imagine animation created live on stage, with mini backdrops, puppets, and low-tech props. Channel it through multiple cameras and mix it live into a projected film. Add a string quartet and a DJ. This is the structure of “Nufonia Must Fall,” an upcoming project presented by MDC Live Arts. The show is slated for appearances around the world, from Asia and the Middle East to Europe and..
That Actors’ Playhouse opened its production of Robert Schenkkan’s “All the Way” on the same day that the American Health Care Act was pulled from a vote by the House of Representatives is ironic and more than a little instructive. The much-touted replacement for Obamacare didn’t have enough sure votes to ensure passage, as Speaker Paul Ryan told President Donald Trump, so the “replac..
The take-no-prisoners world of high finance and ruthless business deals has long been a tantalizing subject for artists. From filmmaker Oliver Stone’s 1987 “Wall Street,” with its antihero Gordon Gekko spouting “greed is good,” to Damien Lewis’ slick hedge fund mogul Bobby Axelrod in the Showtime series “Billions,” movies and television allow those of us in the 99 percent a glimpse at wha..
May’s “Mujeres” series of strong, multi-faceted, women-focused productions, commissioned for Miami Theater Center’s SandBox space, concludes with Spanish-born dancer-choreographer Carlota Pr..
One could say that Bistoury’s 305 & Havana International Improv Fest, which debuts this Saturday at Miami Theater Center, has been in the works for almost 20 years. In 1999 Cuban-born cho..
The process of creating “Shade,” choreographer Augusto Soledade’s latest full-length work, has been one of remembering and reconfiguring memory to discover new ways of talking about identity ..
Upcoming this week, Tigertail presents choreographer Myriam Gourfink and musician Kasper Toeplitz. Hailing from France, the two will be present for a 3-day residency at Subtropics’ South Beac..
From her home base at 6th Street Dance Studio in Little Havana, longtime Miami dance figure Brigid Baker has been slowly crafting a new performance piece. It’s not conceptual or political like con..
Karen Peterson is the artistic director of Karen Peterson and Dancers, a company that brings professional dancers with and without disabilities together in the same piece of choreography, and..
Revivals are hot on Broadway these days with “CATS”and “Hello, Dolly!“once again gracing the Great White Way. There is a certain nostalgia in taking a second or even third viewing of a belove..
What happens when urban dance style meets classical music? We’ll find out when Brooklyn-based hip-hop dance troupe Decadancetheater takes the stage, backed by Miami’s own experimental classic..
“What does it mean to belong? What does it mean to not want to belong?” These are questions that choreographer Reggie Wilson contemplates in his provocative piece “CITIZEN,“ which makes its M..
Flamenco was born as fusion. It emerged in Andalusia in the South of Spain in the latter part of the 18th century, as expression of an underclass, including both gypsies and non-gypsies, struggling to adapt and survive. Since its origins, the challenge for flamenco artists has been to hold on to its elusive identity while constantly absorbing elements from the culture around. It is a strategy of survival and the core of this art form.
Few have embraced the challenge with the brilliance of gypsy flamenco guitarist José Fernández Torres, better known as Tomatito. The five-time Latin GRAMMY winner appears at the Olympia Theater in downtown Miami on Friday as part of MDC Live Arts series.
Born in Almería in a family of musicians, Tomatito was 15 when José Monge Cruz, best known as Camarón de la Isla, one of the most important singers in modern flamenco history, happened to need a guitarist after his regular accompanist, the extraordinary Paco De Lucia, was becoming too busy with his own career. Camarón remembered the kid he had heard at a tablao, and the one-off, fill-in opportunity grew into one the most notable partnerships in flamenco. It lasted 18 years, until the singer´s death in 1992, and produced several lasting masterpieces of flamenco.
Since, Tomatito, 58, has developed a solo career that reveals a great curiosity, courage and talent to explore other genres, from Latin American folkloric styles and Turkish music to classical and jazz. Most notably, Tomatito has collaborated with pianist Michel Camilo, with whom he recently recorded Spain Forever, their third album together. It includes music by New Tango master Astor Piazzolla, Brazilian multi-instrumentalist and composer Egberto Gismonti and Django Reinhardt. "Flamenco is … so rich, so strong, that it will never lose its identity for mixing with other music,” Tomatito once said. “I'm not afraid."
For this performance however, which features a sextet including dancer José Maya, Tomatito will focus on flamenco and music from his previous release, Soy Flamenco.
Tomatito spoke to us from his home in Almería.
The guitar in flamenco has gone from being sort of a Cinderella, an afterthought, to queen, a solo instrument that may or may not require singers and dancers. How have you lived that evolution?
I was lucky to have been born when the role of the guitar was already changing. It was not yet a solo instrument, but then Paco [De Lucia] changed everything. With all due respect to other guitarists, there was not anyone like him before or since. He had great technique, not just flamenco but classical guitar technique, impeccable rhythm, a big sound. He was the complete guitarist.
How long has your son José been working with you? You said I n an interview that your mother told you he already plays better than you did at his age.
Well (laughs) you know that when a flamenco gets an idea in his head, until he does it he won’t rest. He’s 18 and has been playing with me for two years already. He’s very serious about it and is doing it very well.
When Camarón discovered you how was it to replace Paco de Lucía?
I was a kid, we were already living in Málaga and I was playing at a tablao in Taberna Gitana. Camarón used to spend stretches of time in Málaga and he heard me play there. It turned out he had a gig and needed a guitarist and remembered “the kid at the Taberna.” So the owner of the place calls me and tells me Camarón wants me and I just said “Sure, okay” and there I went. Those days I didn’t know anything about Camarón or any of that — and that’s a good thing because if I had known I would’ve ran the other way.
Instead, for me, it was like a game: “Sure what do you want me to play?” I was a kid. I wanted to play the guitar and have fun — and then he started calling me. It was one of those things. [As for replacing De Lucia,] you don’t replace Paco. He’s the master.
Flamencologists have been harsh with artists who stray from the cannon, but you have been very open-minded about collaborating with musicians from other traditions and trying out a variety of musical mixes. How did that come about?
I learned early on to care very little for the musical dictatorships that exist in all music genres. And I say this with all respect to flamenco, I’m a gypsy and I love flamenco, but there comes a time when you have to leave the house and try to learn other things.
If you cannot do more than what you are doing, fine; but if you think you can grow, you must look for new things, learn, develop.
Your most recent albums are Spain Again, the duet with Michel Camilo; Sonanta Suite, a recording with the National Orchestra of Spain; Soy Flamenco, a flamenco recording, and now Spain Forever. Is this zigzagging in and out of classic flamenco something planned or is it you just following your interests?
No, it’s not planned. It’s perhaps the need of the artist to complicate his life. Now, it’s like traveling. I travel a lot, visit new places and learn other customs, try new things — but that also makes you appreciate more of what you have at home, and I love my street, my house, my bed, my armchair. That’s flamenco for me.
Flamenco guitarist Tomatito and his sextet featuring dancer José Maya, Friday, Nov. 4, 8:00 p.m., Olympia Theater, 174 Flagler St., Miami; tickets $35-65; MDC students $10; www.mdclivearts.org; 305-237-3010.
El 11 y 12 de mayo próximo tendrá lugar en el Miami -Dade County Auditorium el estreno en Estados Unidos de Scrutiny: The World Gone Astray(en español,Escrutinio: El mundo se ha ido a la deri..
Para el pianista y compositor cubano Omar Sosa la noción de una cultura global, sin fronteras, no es un concepto abstracto sino un tema personal. En su música, elementos de hip hop y rumba, ..
No hay que viajar a otro país para disfrutar en vivo de la música cubana del momento, la más innovadora, la que le da la vuelta al mundo. Basta con asistir a Global Cuba Fest, aquí mismo, en ..
Nadie como el bailarín y coreógrafo español Antonio Gades para describir el arte que lo hizo internacionalmente famoso cuando vivía: “Un extracto de fuego y de veneno, eso es el flamenco”. ..
Desde Las troyanas de Eurípides hasta “Guernica” de Picasso, o de la canción “Blowing in the Wind” de Bob Dylan al diseño de las gorras rosadas que llevaron miles de mujeres en las protestas ..
En un discurso de 1977, el escritor argentino Jorge Luis Borges desmintió la idea de que la ceguera fuera un mundo de oscuridad cuando describió su propia “modesta ceguera”. Hablaba de ciert..
En su discurso de recibimiento del Premio Nobel, el poeta chileno Pablo Neruda afirmó que el poeta no es un "pequeño dios." De hecho expresó que el mejor poeta “es el hombre que nos entrega e..
En la cultura yoruba, y sobre todo en sus manifestaciones caribeñas como la afrocubana, las historias contadas oralmente por generaciones ocupan un lugar esencial. Esas historias, muchas de e..
En la serie artística Out in the Tropics, la tarima no discrimina, la sensibilidad de los intérpretes es inclusiva y todo público es bienvenido. Producción de la entidad local sin fines d..