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

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

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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

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

Categories: Giveaways, Theater

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

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.

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Mothers and Sons at GableStage: Theater as Gestalt Therapy

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Photo by George Schiavone
Terrence McNally's Mothers and Sons, which opened last weekend at GableStage, is a profound inquiry into the human condition, delivered in a sweepingly emotional experience that fully justifies the art form. It's been far too long since I left an auditorium as teary, speechless, and physically affected. This production is why theater exists.

The play is set in an enviable Central Park apartment -- a living room designed by Lyle Baskin that teems with the trappings of a bourgeois nuclear family. Travel trinkets share bookshelf space with difficult tomes, and children's toys are piled into a tidy silo. Significant memories are framed on hallway walls and tucked away in shoeboxes. This is where Cal (Michael McKeever), an affluent money manager, lives with his writer husband Will (Jeremiah Musgrove) and their son Bud (either Gabe Sklar or Max Leifman).

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Dying City: Still-Relevant Wartime Drama

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provokephotography.com
Christian Vandepas as identical twins Peter and Craig, and Valentina Izarra as Kelly.
Ground Up and Rising, the minimalist Miami theater company, is still at war. Two months after its production of Bill Cain's 9 Circles dramatized the hellish fallout of an American soldier's unspeakable war crimes in Iraq, the company remains ensconced in the psychological shrapnel of combat.

This weekend, Ground Up opens Dying City, Christopher Shinn's time-jumping domestic drama from 2006. It begins with war widow Kelly (Valentina Izarra) receiving a surprise visit from Peter, the identical twin brother of her late husband, Craig, who committed suicide under mysterious circumstances (both brothers are played by Christian Vandepas). Their uncomfortable discussions trigger flashbacks to Kelly's final night with Craig. As past and present commingle, defenses fall, secrets are unearthed, and the horrific, transformative nature of war is scrutinized. (As usual, audiences can attend free outdoor preview performances of Dying City this weekend at Miami Beach Botanical Garden before the show transfers to its indoor home at Artistic Vibes.)

See also: In 9 Circles, a Criminal Soldier Heads for Hell

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Freewheeling Encounters With Miami's Past: Take a Bike Tour With Julia Tuttle

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Miami may be known for many things, but history isn't always foremost among them.

Oh sure, there's the ancient Tequesta ruins squeezed beneath a rare stretch of untilled land adjacent to downtown, and the Freedom Tower, which serves as our complement to Ellis Island. We can boast an array of iconic buildings, from Vizcaya and the Biltmore to Overtown's Lyric Theater and the art deco curiosities of South Beach. Then there's the pioneers that inspire retro reflection, people like Henry Flagler, Julia Tuttle, George Merrick, and James Deering, larger than life individuals who helped lay the foundation for what would eventually become our world class destination.

That ought to be proof enough of our own worthy back story of sorts, even if that tale is barely a hundred years old. Even so, Miami's cutting-edge reputation and continuing urban sprawl make unsurprising that people tend to overlook our legacy.

See also: Miami Icons: Vote Now For Your Favorite Miami Landmark!

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Florida Burlesque Festival To Bring International Striptease Artists to South Florida (NSFW)

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Photo by Ian Witlen
Burlesque is not quite like your typical stripping. It's more performance art done scantily clad and heavy on the sex appeal. So, like, classy strippers who keep some clothes on.

Though modern audiences often associate burlesque with hot ladies like Bettie Page, Dita Von Teese, and sadly, the movie Burlesque starring Christina Aguilera and Cher, the art form has origins in Vaudeville variety shows dating back hundreds of years. Local burlesque performer Bambi La Fleur will bring both sexy and humor back with the Florida Burlesque Festival next month.

See also: Circ X Seeks A "Kickstart" To Make Regular Burlesque Show At Fillmore A Reality

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On Your Feet, Gloria and Emilio Estefan's Broadway Musical, Seeks Performers

Categories: Theater

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Are you an expert at the "Conga"? Have you ever successfully turned the beat around? Does it seem like the rhythm is on a constant mission to get you?

If so, you're a natural for On Your Feet, the musical based on the life of Miami superstar Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio.

The production, scheduled to begin its Broadway run in November, will hold two casting calls -- one in New York City (obviously), and the other at the Adrienne Arsht Center this September. So while the show itself may have given the Magic City the snub -- what, they couldn't preview the Estefans' Miami story right here in Miami? -- locals will have the chance to bring some South Florida flavor to the Great White Way.

See also: Gloria Estefan Preps Autobiographical Broadway Show, On Your Feet! for 2015

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Centralia, Mad Cat's Latest Tragicomedy, Struggles to Find Its Balance

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Karelle Levy
The real-life mining community of Centralia, Pennsylvania, has been devastated by an underground coal fire since the early '60s. The monoxide-laden disaster has polluted the town's air and prompted a massive government-funded relocation of its citizenry. But a few defiant souls remain living in their hometown--fewer than 10, currently--and their stories inspired Centralia, an offbeat play-cum-variety show developed by Europe's Superbolt Theatre and enjoying its U.S. premiere courtesy of Mad Cat Theatre Company.

Centralia is structured as an amateur theater piece staged by Centralia's three remaining inhabitants, who have decided to tell their stories--and their town's story--through the performing arts, integrating dance, music, humor, and puppet theatre. There isn't much plot to speak of; Centralia is an episodic meander divided into more than a dozen chapters, some of them illuminating different facets of Centralian life while others struggle to find their purpose.

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Mad Cat Theatre's Centralia: From Fire to Comedy

Categories: Theater

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Karelle Levy
Triple threats Troy Davidson (left), Theo Reyna, and Bonnie Sherman.
There is a place called Centralia, whose citizens are called Centralians. It is not the product of a science-fiction writer's imagination. It is an actual American town, but in 2002 this borough in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, had lost so many residents that the U.S. Postal Service revoked its zip code.

The reason for the town's desolation is all too familiar. Centralia was primarily a mining town, and back in 1962 a coal fire erupted underground. Its effects percolated up to Centralia's 1,000-plus residents nearly two decades later, when a 12-year-old boy fell into a sinkhole, literally reopening the issue. A few years later, Congress allocated more than $42 million for relocation efforts, and Centralia's population began dwindling. By 2013, eight residents called the town home. They were surrounded by ghosts and coal ash.

Who are these hangers-on, and why do they insist on remaining in an environmental blight? Moreover, what kind of theater are they into? Is Sondheim, Shakespeare, or Brecht more their thing?

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