Over the last 25 years, WIOD reporter/anchor Ed Goodman has reviewed and interviewed players from both professional and amateur theatre, music and dance companies from St Louis to South Florida. Ed earned a degree in Theatre Arts and has performed and directed in professional, and high-end amateur theatrical companies.
Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre
presentsthe Florida premiere of the holiday comedy
Making God Laugh
Inspired by the Woody Allen joke, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”, Sean Grennan’s Making God Laugh will make its Florida premiere at Actors’ Playhouse from December 4 – 29, 2013.
Making God Laugh is a family comedy, following “empty nest” parents as they welcome their children home over various holidays, each ten years apart. Over the course of thirty years’ worth of celebrations, audiences follow the parents and grown children as they adapt to their new adult relationships.
Tensions flare up as unresolved issues, old family traditions and dubious recipes are trotted out in this rare play that manages to be absolutely genuine, deeply moving and unbelievably funny all at the same time.
Director David Arisco says: "We have assembled an all-star cast to create a dysfunctional American family that you will all recognize. In many ways, they will remind you of your own. We know these people well and will laugh and cry
Group discounted rates are offered for 15 or more through our group sales department. Single tickets at the box office at 305-444-9293 or online at www.actorsplayhouse.org
The Music of Queen & Ben Elton
WE WILL ROCK YOU, the worldwide smash-hit ‘rock theatrical’ built around 24 of Queen’s biggest hits, makes its South Florida premiere
Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
December 10-15, 2013
For tickets: www.arshtcenter.org,
Box Office at (305) 949-6722
Opening Night, Tuesday November 26th
Broward Center For the Performing Arts
Show runs through December 22nd.
Tickets at the BCPA box office, 201 SW Fifth Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL
954-626-7814 or 954-462-0222
My Name Is Asher Lev
by Aaron Posner
adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok
This stirring adaptation of a modern classic, set in post-WWII Brooklyn,
tells the story of a young Jewish painter torn between his Hasidic upbringing and the
need to fulfill his artistic promise -- against the will of family, community
For Tickets: 305-445-1119 or gablestage.org
1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Valet parking is available.
Free parking is available at the Biltmore lot west of hotel.
What can you call a musical that violates every sensibility, crosses every boundary, skewers cultural and social decorum, is vulgar, tasteless and downright offensive? You call it the multi Tony Award (9, including Best Musical) winning show “The Book of Mormon” now open at the Broward Center.
The show, created by “South Park’s” Trey Parker and Matt Stone along with “Avenue Q” creator Robert Lopez should tell you everything you need to know about where this show is going to go. If that doesn’t do it, the parental warning on the ticket would. But if you need more – they don’t even list the songs in the program, because some of the titles are extreme, to say the least. At its worst “The Book of Mormon” is an equal-opportunity diatribe. At its best, and in the true spirit of “South Park”, the show is rude, crude, silly and juvenile. And at times is very funny.
The story revolves around two Mormon missionaries who are sent to Uganda to convert the masses. From there Elder Price (Mark Evans) and Elder Cunningham (Christopher John O’Neill) do their version of the door-to-door mission work. Along the way comes the beautiful Nabulungi (Samantha Marie Ware) the symbol of the faith and hope that perhaps everyone aspires to with religion. There's also a one-eyed warlord, a tribal leader who has big trouble with God, a tribesman who has big trouble with maggots living in a certain part of his anatomy and Elder McKinley (Grey Henson) the leader of another group of Mormons who run the gamut from the dance line of a high-camp Busby Berkeley musical number (sparkling red vests and all) to the chorus in “Priscilla, Queen of The Desert”.
For their parts, the cast deals with the script and music as best they can. A few numbers stand out like, “Turn It Off”, “Man Up”, “Baptize Me” and “I Am Africa” but overall it’s not great music. The script seems, at times, like an overwritten episode of the TV show (hmmmm…wonder where that comes from) with bits that go on too long and story lines that drag, particularly in the 2nd act.
In the end, suffice it to say, “The Book of Mormon” is satire at its best - and worst. If offends most everyone who has a scintilla of caring in their body. But, it is satire – and it is designed to offend and get us thinking about the world (specifically religion) around us. With apologies for associating it to the true genre, it’s theatre of the absurd to the max.
If you not a fan of the juvenile humor that is the hallmark of “South Park” you may find “The Book of Mormon” not quite to your liking. On the other hand, if that style of in-your-face, break you down, beat you up, humor is what you like bust out the cash and head over to the Broward Center. The show runs through December 22nd.
Broward Center for Performing Arts
Through October 19th
Put music by the legendary John Kander and Fred Ebb together with the unbeatable choreography of the equally legendary Bob Fosse and Ann Reinking (the show’s original choreographer “…in the style of Fosse…”) and you get the mega Tony Award winning (7) hit “Chicago”, on stage now at Broward Center. It’s a bawdy tale of those sultry, murdering mistresses of mayhem, Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly who will stop at nothing to achieve fame and notoriety.
Most everyone knows the storyline, but just in case: “Chicago” is set in the decadent 1920s and is the story of Roxie Hart (Anne Horak), sometime housewife to Amos (Todd Buonopane) and wannabe big time nightclub dancer/star who kills her on-the-side lover when he threatens to walk out. Desperate to dodge a conviction, she cons the public, the media and cellmate, Velma Kelly (Terra MacCleod), by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer, Billy Flynn (John O’Hurley) to transform her crime into a barrage of sensational headlines and ultimately freedom forever. And does it all work out? Of course it does – its all that jazz - and lots of show biz.
John O'Hurley as Billy Flynn
Although John O’Hurley gets the headline playing Billy Flynn (a role he’s done on Broadway and in national tours), its Velma and Roxie who own the show. Both MacLeod and Horak have also played their respective roles on Broadway and on the road and it shows in their strong performances. Velma’s “I Can’t Do It Alone” number is killer, as is her “When Velma Takes the Stand”. Roxie’s signature “Roxie” and “Me and My Baby” also were standouts, along with her turn as a ventriloquist’s dummy in “We Both Reached For the Gun” with O’Hurley. The main cast is rounded out nicely by Amos Hart (Paul Buonopane) who did a great turn in minstrel-like gloves with “Mr. Cellophane” and “Mama” (Carol Woods) the cellblock matron.
Special kudos to the hard working company’s singers and dancers. Their crisp lines brought visions of Bob Fosse and Ann Reinking’s dazzling choreography to some amazing levels throughout the show. Their opening number “All That Jazz” with Velma set the mood and tempo perfectly.
That good energy and vibe carried all the way through Act 1, but seemed to slow down a bit in Act 2. That act, anchored by Flynn’s big number “Razzle Dazzle”, had the razzle, but not enough dazzle for me. I would have liked to see O’Hurley do a little more with it – like dancing (which he’s good at) to compliment his good singing voice. Same thing for Roxie and Velma's last number together. The build up was off and it didn't match their earlier high energy levels. Both numbers seemed a bit slow for what and where they are to the show. They seemed to need the other “z” word – pizzazz.
The minimalist set (not unusual for a touring show) showed off an excellent 13 piece band, but limited the downstage area for the actors and dancers. At times it seemed too abstract, restrictive and one dimensional.
All in all, you can’t beat the music and choreography in this nearly 20-year old show. It’s still got “legs”, as they say, and they get a lot of much deserved notice in this production. It’s a very good way to spend the night at the theatre.
“Chicago” runs through October 19th
Tickets are available at Broward Center box office
Online at www.browardcenter.org.