Mlima’s Tale – Florida Premiere by Lynn Nottage Kicks off the Theater Up Close Season on October 13-30

Zoetic Stage kicks off the 2022-23 Theater Up Close season with the powerful journey of an elephant who haunts the poachers and bystanders benefitting from his tusks..

Miami, FL – September 22, 2022 – Zoetic Stage (@ZoeticStageMIA) and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County (@arshtcenter) are proud to present the Florida premiere of MLIMA’S TALE, a haunting and powerful exploration of the international underground ivory market told through the eyes of the elephant who was poached for the prized possessions. Written by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage (MJ the Musical) and featuring an all-local BIPOC cast, MLIMA’S TALE kicks off the 2022-2023 Theater Up Close season.

Tickets to MLIMA’S TALE are $55 and $60*. Tickets may be purchased at the Adrienne Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at

Zoetic Stage will continue their Second Sunday Talkback series immediately following the matinee performance on Sunday, October 23 with special guest Ron Magill of Zoo Miami on the importance of wildlife conservation.

PNC Bank is the presenting sponsor of the 2022-2023 THEATER UP CLOSE series. WLRN is the media sponsor. The Arsht Center’s THEATER UP CLOSE series gratefully acknowledges the founding support of Adrianne and Jerry L. Cohen.

“It is a tremendous honor to present Ms. Nottage’s artful and powerful play to South Florida audiences. She is a playwright whose words reverberate to the core of humanity and transcends us to other worlds. Mlima’s Tale is a piece of art of the utmost importance,” said Zoetic Stage Artistic Director Stuart Meltzer.

Mlima is a magnificent elephant trapped by the international underground ivory market. As he follows a trail littered by a history of greed, Mlima takes us on a journey through memory, fear, tradition and the penumbra between want and need. From Lynn Nottage, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Sweat and Ruined, MLIMA’S TALE is a captivating and haunting fable come to life.

MLIMA’S TALE features an all-local, BIPOC cast led by Jerel Brown (Mlima). This is Brown’s second time performing a Lynn Nottage piece, the first being GableStage’s Ruined in 2012. He recently did a reading of The Public Execution of The American President (Finstrom Festival of New Work) and Smoke, Lillies and Jade (Hued Songs). He choreographed productions of Kitty Hawk (Adrienne Arsht Center), The Addams Family (NextStopBroadway) and Once On This Island (Slow Burn Theatre). Other credits include Kinky BootsMatildaHead Over Heels (Slow Burn Theatre), Hair (MNM Productions), Guys and DollsWest Side Story (The Wick), Victor/Victoria, Sweet Charity (Broward Stage Door), Rock Odyssey (Adrienne Arsht Center) and Universal’s Monsters Live (Universal Studios Japan).

The supporting cast of MLIMA’S TALE includes Phillip Andrew Santiago, Paul Torres Wong and Sydney Presendieu. The play’s creative team features movement direction by Herman Payne, scenic design by Michael McKeever, lighting design by Rebecca Montero, costume design by Marina Pareja and Glennys Jean, sound design by Matt Corey, properties design by Miriam Sierra, video direction by Delavega, projection mapping by Covey Theatrical Projections, and stage management by Vanessa McCloskey.

MLIMA’S TALE is directed by Zoetic Stage Artistic Director Stuart Meltzer. Stuart is a Miami-native and the proud recipient of numerous Carbonell Awards for Best Director. He is also a Carbonell Award winner for Best New Work for his play The Goldberg Variations. Altogether, he has been honored with eighteen Carbonell nominations. His Zoetic Stage directing credits include Our Dear Dead Drug Lord, Side by Side by Sondheim, Deathtrap, GringoLandiaFrankenstein, American Son, The Wolves, Sweeney Todd (winner of best production of a musical), The Gin Game, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (winner of best production of a play), Fuácata! or a Latina’s Guide to Surviving the Universe (co-written with Elena Maria Garcia), Dracula, Fun Home, Dancing Lessons, Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts, Topdog/Underdog, The Caretaker, Sunday in the Park with George (winner of best production of a musical), After, Passion, Rapture, Blister, Burn, Stripped, Betrayal, Trust, Detroit, The Great God Pan, Assassins (best production of a musical)I Am My Own Wife, Fear Up Harsh, Moscow, The Savannah Disputation, Captiva, The SantaLand Diaries, and South Beach Babylon. Additionally, Meltzer initiated new programming including The Finstrom Festival of New Work & Zoetic Schmoetic. He is the recipient of five Silver Palm Awards for his work as the Resident Director of Zoetic Stage and has been named Best Director in Miami by the Miami New Times twice. He received his M.F.A. in Directing from the Actors’ Studio.


Lynn Nottage is a playwright and a screenwriter. She is the first, and remains the only, woman to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice. Her plays have been produced widely in the United States and throughout the world.

Most recently, Nottage premiered MJ the Musical, directed by Christopher Wheeldon and featuring the music of Michael Jackson, at the Neil Simon Theater on Broadway; Clyde’s, directed by Kate Whoriskey at Second Stage Theater on Broadway; and an opera adaptation of her play Intimate Apparel, composed by Ricky Ian Gordon and directed by Bart Sher, commissioned by The Met/Lincoln Center Theater.

Her play Sweat (Pulitzer Prize, Evening Standard Award, Obie Award, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Tony Nomination, Drama Desk Nomination) moved to Broadway after a sold-out run at The Public Theater. It premiered and was commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival American Revolutions History Cycle/Arena Stage. Inspired by her research on Sweat, Nottage developed This is Reading, a performance installation based on two years of interviews, at the Franklin Street, Reading Railroad Station in Reading, PA in July 2017.

*All programs, artists, ticket prices, availability, dates and times are subject to change without notice. Visit for up-to-date information.

 The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is made possible by the public support of the Miami-Dade County Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council and the City of Miami Omni Community Redevelopment Agency, as well as the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The Adrienne Arsht Center also receives generous support from individuals, corporations and local, state and national foundations.

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