‘REFUGE’ Review

As the play starts, lead by Krystal Millie Valdes, you can already tell something is different. Not only is this performer giving some sort of house speech, but she’s doing so while accompanying herself on guitar and switching back and forth between English and Spanish – letting us know right out the gate that this play  is not like most we have seen in South Florida. 

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Aiming High and Almost Hitting the Mark in ‘Defacing Michael Jackson’

This is not a musical about Michael Jackson.

That might not seem like something that needs to be said but, even the mention of Michael Jackson could lead others to expect some grand musical odyssey through the life of the King of Pop. While it isn’t a play technically about him, the playwright Aurin Squire has put together a coming-of-age journey that uses Michael Jackson as a metaphor. This world premiere play focuses on a group of friends, the main and only members of the Opa-Locka Michael Jackson Fan Club, and their hopeful attempt at creating the perfect mural of their musical idol. 

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20 years later Anna in the Tropics is as impactful and important as it was when it first premiered.  Nilo Cruz now takes the play that earned him the first Pulitzer Prize awarded to a Latino  playwright and gives it a new life with his directorial vision in focus.  

Miami New Drama’s anniversary production breathes new life into this poetic work with  aesthetics to match the language itself. Originally premiering at New Theatre in Coral Gables,  Miami New Drama brings the play back to a familiar home of South Florida with Cruz at the  helm, filling each moment on stage with the lyrical nature of his words. 

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“American Rhapsody” An Epic Journey of a Play

“I see America as an epic poem… volumes long.”

With this singular line, Michael McKeever, the playwright of American Rhapsody opens and summarizes the entirety of the play. In Zoetic Stages current world premiere production, directed by Stuart Meltzer, America is observed through the lens of one family spanning 63 years. This family is a representation of the country as a whole as you go from decade to decade, historical event after historical event…

In other words, it is a story of epic proportions. The task of touching on so many things can be daunting to most artists and yet McKeever tackles it head on. With Meltzer at the wheel the play is given a poetic life that compliments the epic poem it is so modeled after, taking us on an ambitious journey.

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This is just the beginning of an ongoing conversation.

Theatre is an art that cannot exist without intimacy – and that word has a whole spectrum of life that goes beyond just physical touch between two people. With the development of intimacy direction, actors and creators are not only given more room to explore, but an intimacy director can help tell a story in a way that maybe they had never even considered outside the very obvious route. 

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“Red Speedo” is Unforgiving in its Style, and Honest in its Characters

This past weekend was the opening for RED SPEEDO by Lucas Hnath, presented by Ronnie Larson at The Foundry, and directed by Stuart Meltzer. It is a quick 90 minute ride that Hnath has crafted, a morality play set in the world of swimming as Ray, played by Gabriell Salgado, has dedicated his life to the sport and is preparing for the upcoming Olympic qualifier, but it all comes to a possible halt when a cooler full of drugs are found in the swim club refrigerator. Ray tells his coach(Jerry Seeger) they aren’t his, and his brother Peter(Chris Anthony Ferrer) – who has also taken on the role of his manager – voraciously defends him right at the top of the play. That’s how the play starts, with a monologue that doesn’t give you time to sit back as it “drags” on, because it doesn’t. Neither Hnath nor Ferrer give it the chance to. This leads to the rest of the play as to what it means to do good, bad, and if even such a thing exists if we can at least come out happy on the other side.

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“Dorothy’s Dictionary” Touches On The Power Of Connection

Books have always been an escape to people of all ages. A way to get away from the daily monotony that sometimes pushes us to a breaking point, all because they transport us. If you find the right book, the right story, the right time, a book can take you somewhere you never imagined you could go – and that’s what happens for the characters in the play, Dorothy’s Dictionary, by E.M. Lewis.

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“Dorothy’s Dictionary,” A Play About Hope and Connection

“Zan doesn’t want to read to Dorothy, and she’s not too sure she wants him to!  But his community service assignment is not optional.  And book by book, the two of them begin to form an unexpected friendship… just when they need it most.”

“The last 5 or 6 – 8 years have been pretty damn tough, so it’s not a shock that past season of most theater companies have been so heavy. But now, after all this time, we want to leave people hopeful with the idea of how maybe, we can still save one another.” So says the artistic director, Matt Stabile, of Theatre Lab, who also happens to be directing the world premiere of Dorothy’s Dictionary by E.M. Lewis.

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Uncertainty in the Unconventional in Gablestage’s “Heisenberg”

Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle states that it is impossible to measure or calculate exactly, both the position and the momentum of an object. What this basically means, is that we can never know where someone is in their life, where they’re going, and where they want to go. 

Simon Stephens took this idea and wrapped it in an unconventional love story. The season opener for GableStage is an intimate two-hander, exploring the start and development of a friendship as it evolves and changes these two characters’ lives. 

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