White Rose Miami Brings "Soul Searching" Performance to PAX

Categories: Stage
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Melissa Almaguer and Ivan Lopez of White Rose Miami
If one of your resolutions for 2013 was to sit your ass in more theater seats and on fewer bar stools, PAX Miami is about to launch an event that will make your transition into "cultured-ness" a lot less jarring. Starting this Friday and repeating every third weekend of the month, the venue, also known as the Performing Arts Exchange, will host a theater collective by the name of White Rose Miami. The group will bring live story-telling -- via dance, music, and acting -- to a stage that's surrounded by cozy table seating and yes, a good number of bar stools to boot.

Melissa Almaguer and Ivan Lopez are the two born-and-bred Miami natives and thespians who created the "theater company," though they resort to using that moniker only for lack of a better term. "We tell stories in whatever form fits best," explained Almaguer.

Both just a hair past thirty years old, the two met as undergraduates in the theater program at Florida International University. Post-graduation, they went their separate ways; Almaguer was hired by the PlayGround Theatre in Miami Shores (now the Miami Theater Center) and later worked with The JQ Studio, while Lopez moved to Denver, Colorado, where he earned an MFA in theater from the National Theatre Conservatory before pursuing acting work in New York City. But Lopez, who, prior to his post-graduate studies had never lived outside of Miami, decided two years ago to return to the motherland where he and Almaguer wasted no time in joining creative forces again. (No, they're not dating. And yes, we were rude enough to ask. "We're more like brother and sister, actually," Lopez said.)

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Performers from White Rose Miami
"What drives me is creating my own work, and the time I'd had the most fun was when we were creating work together," said Almaguer of her creative reunion with Lopez.

Lopez echoed her sentiments. "I was interested in telling stories that I wanted to tell, and when that became apparent, I remembered doing our own shows at FIU. And I started feeling like it would be nice to come back home and tell stories down here," he said.

They named their theater company "White Rose" after a poem named Cultivo Una Rosa Blanca by Cuban poet Jose Marti, which in essence is about giving generously to both friends and foes. "Like the poem, we're about bringing unity to everyone, regardless of where they're coming from. We're about celebrating the human spirit," said Almaguer.

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Sounds very interesting! I'm one of those souls who has lived theater since childhood but never goes anymore. This is a group that I'd love to see perform but as usual, it'll have to wait until we're back in Miami in April. Thank you for the piece, Camille. I enjoyed reading it. It sort of grasped me! I certainly will keep up so I am hungry to see them perform when I'm home.

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