South Florida Theatre Community Honors Passing of Local Actress with Scholarship Fund

Photo by Marlena Skrobe
Laura Ruchala (foreground) with Bree-Anna Obst in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
It was Shakespeare who once said "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players." That pronunciation also implies that it boasts both triumphs and tragedies. Bree-Anna Obst can relate to philosophy as well as to the bard that implied it in the first place. Obst, part of the theater department at Miami Children's Museum, lost her friend and fellow thespian Laura Ruchala this past August to a brain aneurysm.

"Laura was a Shakespeare enthusiast, a budding director, and an incredible actress, whose performance career spanned three counties, Dade, Broward and West Palm Beach," Obst recalls. "Laura was determined to keep the Bard alive in South Florida, and so it is my hope that this community can contribute to Laura's dreams and goals, despite her not being here to pursue them herself."

To that end, Obst has organized a cabaret event she's named "A Night For Her: A South Florida Theatre Cabaret Celebrating Laura Ruchala." The event, slated for November 15, will feature members of the South Florida Theatre community as part of a celebration that will help realize Ruchala's dream to share Shakespeare's genius with other actresses and enthusiasts.

See also: Microtheater Brings Spanish Theater Tradition to Miami (Video)

More »

Backyard Barbecues Make a Combustible Setting in Zoetic Stage's Neighborly Dramedy

Justin Namon
Americans are right that the bonds of our communities have withered, and we are right to fear that this transformation has very real costs." -- Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone

In 21st-century America, we don't know who our neighbors are. Property lines loom large, tenants and homeowners are more reclusive than ever, and technology has created bubbles of self-absorption and self-sufficiency around every one of us. The thought of ringing the adjacent doorbell to borrow a cup of sugar is an alien concept; why talk to a stranger when you can use an app to deliver what you need?

Yet we're closer to these people, geographically, than anyone outside our immediate family. Playwright Lisa D'Amour penned her 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist Detroit with this theme in mind, envisioning two pairs of next-door neighbors who, for varied motivations, opt to communicate rather than isolate -- a decision that proves both revelatory and perilous.

See also: Hedda Gabler at Miami Theater Center: A Bold, Bloodless Reimagining

More »

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Tony Award-Winning Cinderella Is Modern Girl-Power Magic

Categories: Theater

Photo by Carol Rosegg
Kecia Lewis and Paige Faure in the National Tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella.
"I just wish I was doing something more important with my life."

No, that's not something our ex said. That's the very first thing Prince Charming says in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, now performing at the Adrienne Arsht Center.

Quite obviously, this is not the Disney princess story of memory. It's not like the original bloody Brothers Grimm fairy tale, either. In fact, it's a completely modern retelling that brings a fairy godmother's fanciful magic to life while simultaneously teaching that you don't need a fairy godmother to change the world.

See also: Make Way for Broadway: Nostalgia, Laughs, and Glamour Pack the Arsht's New Season

More »

Hedda Gabler at Miami Theater Center: A Bold, Bloodless Reimagining

Photo by Mitchell Zachs
Paul Tei, Jessica Farr, and Gregg Weiner of Hedda Gabler
Miami Theater Center's Hedda Gabler opens in a way no other versions of Henrik Ibsen's 19th-century classic ever have. In a wordless prologue, with semitranslucent curtains shrouding the audience's view, the title character (Jessica Farr) slinks down the elegant staircase of her new home, a strikingly modern, antiseptically white villa that looks both alien and Design District-chic. Bored -- because Hedda Gabler is nothing if not bored -- she briefly rests her head on an electric keyboard (standing in for the piano in Ibsen's 1890 rendering).

Next, she wheels around the room on a Lucite chair, her arms and head flung backward in a gesture of undomesticated restlessness that the play's male landowners would see as an affront to decorum. Then, with a visitor about to enter the room, Hedda's respite is over; she spirits herself upstairs, and Ibsen's words begin.

See also: Everybody Drinks the Same Water: Miami Theater Center's Beautiful, Listless Parable

More »

Intergalactic Nemesis: Target Earth Brings Apocalyptic Graphic Novel Alive On Stage

Courtesy of Target Earth
The time is the 1930s. The place is the wintry mountains of the Alps. You are part of a journalism team investigating a promising lead when BAM! Attack! Your lead is gone -- but a bigger story is looming. You're trapped! Now you are on the run, the literal fate of the planet on your shoulders as you race around the globe and solar system, trying to stop an alien invasion of epic proportions.

Such is the world of Intergalactic Nemesis Target Earth, which makes its South Florida debut Saturday at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, courtesy of Culture Shock Miami.

Created by Jason Nuelander, Intergalactic Nemesis got its start in an Austin coffee house, before turning into a radio drama. A later incarnation saw the work develop into a graphic novel featuring illustrations by Tim Doyle, and it now comes to the stage as a live action graphic novel.

See also: Miami Comic Book Trio to Debut The Agency at Florida Supercon

More »

Teo Castellanos Returns With 23 Characters in Third Trinity, Directed by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Categories: Theater

Photo by Pedro Portal
Teo Castellanos
Inspired by his family's saga, Teo Castellanos weaves a tale of betrayal and fraternal bonds that spans three decades, three brothers, and 23 characters. If tragedy comes in threes then Third Trinity delivers with murder, drugs, violence, car chases, and explosions.

The story's backdrop seems more appropriate for a film rather than a one-man show and in fact, Castellanos started writing it as a screenplay but luckily for theatergoers, paired it down to a 28-page script for stage. With 23 characters, Third Trinity is an ambitious work and exciting culmination of a writer and performer at the height of his creativity.

See also: Tarell Alvin McCraney: Miami-Dade Made

More »

Peter and the Starcatcher: Winking Meta-Play Invents a Swashbuckling Origin Story for Peter Pan

Categories: Theater

Photo by Justin Namon
Tim Bell, Abigail Berkowitz, Joshua Jacobson, Robert Fritz, Alejandro Gonzalez del Pino, Tim Manion and Nick Richberg star in Peter and the Starcatcher.
In the Arsht Center's production of Peter and the Starcatcher, University of Miami senior Joshua Jacobson doesn't just fill the title role, an orphaned boy who becomes Peter Pan. He also plays a pirate, a sailor, a British seaman, and a door -- yes, the kind that other characters open and close.

He's not alone. This is a play that requires some furious multitasking. Twelve actors play nearly 100 parts, including elements of the scenery and inanimate objects.

Ambitious and wide-ranging, Peter and the Starcatcher represents the fourth-annual collaboration between the Arsht Center and UM, in which students work with Equity actors in a professional production. And this one has a powerful provenance that stretches from a Barrie to a Barry. This tale of piracy, puberty, friendship, and supernaturalism on the high seas bills itself as a "grown-up prequel" to J.M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy. It's adapted from a best-selling 2006 fantasy novel co-written by Miami's own Dave Barry. It opened on Broadway in 2012 and accrued five Tony Awards out of nine nominations.

See also: Mothers and Sons at GableStage: Theater as Gestalt Therapy

More »

Microtheater Brings Spanish Theater Tradition to Miami (Video)

Categories: Culture, Theater

Hidden in a small lot between two tall buildings is a gateway to the arts like you would never imagine.

Underneath a string of bulb lights are seven steel shipping containers covered with the faces of well-known artists. Humphrey Bogart, Charlie Chaplin, and Salvador Dali all sit looking picturesque and inviting.

This, ladies and gents, is Microtheater Miami.

See also: I'm Not Gonna Move To L.A. Helps Miami Filmmaking Community Flourish

More »

Make Way for Broadway: Nostalgia, Laughs, and Glamour Pack the Arsht's New Season

Hyra George
Euriamis Losada (Ricky Ricardo) and the company of the national tour of I Love Lucy Live on State
This year, our fall Arts & Eats Guide lists all that's timeless and fresh in Miami, from visual art to delicious food. Theater, dance, music, and drinks all make a much-needed appearance throughout the season as well. Pick up one of our printed guides Thursday, October 2, where you'll find profiles, interviews, and detailed event calendars to guide you through the upcoming cultural season.

More than six decades after it premiered, I Love Lucy remains the most popular program in television history.

Lucy, the scatter-brained redhead with stage ambitions; her Cuban bandleader husband, Ricky Ricardo; and squabbling landlords Fred and Ethel Mertz kept America in stitches during the Eisenhower era and are still watched in syndication in more than a dozen languages across the globe.

See also: New Bass Museum Curator of Exhibitions Reflects on Miami's Artistic Boom

More »

Win Free Tickets to I Love Lucy Live on Stage Opening Night

Categories: Giveaways, Theater

Photo by Ed Krieger
Thea Brooks as Lucy and Euriamis Losada as Ricky in I Love Lucy Live on Stage.

For those lucky enough to catch I Love Lucy on Nick at Nite back in the day, you're well acquainted with the antics of Lucy, a quirky redhead desperate for stardom. Her handsome husband Ricky Ricardo, the Cuban bandleader and crooner, was the unfortunate soundboard for all of Lucy's harebrained attempts at fame.

A beloved TV show through much of the 1950s, I Love Lucy remains a popular syndicate to this day, and one credited for being America's first televised depiction of an interracial couple.

I Love Lucy Live on Stage is a chance to relive the Cuban sounds of the Ricky Ricardo Orchestra at the Tropicana nightclub and enjoy the grumblings of BFF neighbors Fred and Ethel. The audience goes inside the filming of two Lucy episodes, with the Crystaltone Singers performing live advertising jingles of the show's sponsors in '50s-style harmony between scenes.

Find out how to win free tickets to the Tuesday's opening night performance after the jump.

More »