Outstanding service to South Florida Theater recognized

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The South Florida Theatre League has announced the 2021 Remy awards. This honor recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding service behind the scenes to South Florida’s theater community.

The livestream of the award presentation will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, with video available on demand afterwards. Look for the livestream link on www.southfloridatheatre.com, The event will also be broadcast on the South Florida Theatre League’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SouthFloridaTheatreLeague.

The Remy Awards’ namesake is Rem Cabrera, the former Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs’ Senior Cultural Administrator and Chief of Cultural Development. For his work in helping to create the South Florida Theatre League, through his generous support and funding, he received the first Remy Award.

This year’s recipients are:

  • The Pioneer Award – Beth Boone, Miami Light Project

This honor goes to individuals who have, over time, taken the lead and contributed significantly to the South Florida theater community.

  • The Service Award – Christina Alexander and Katie Christie, as well as Alexander Christie.

This honor is intended for individuals or organizations who have made invaluable and outstanding contributions through time, talent, service, and expertise by taking the initiative and actively participating and contributing to the growth and development of the South Florida Theatre League.

  • The Jay Harris Arts Leadership Award – Laura Bruney, Arts and Business Council of Miami

This honor’s namesake is one of South Florida’s most dedicated arts patrons. The award honors those who have made a substantial contribution to the theatrical community in the ways that Jay Harris did – through leadership, on-going volunteerism, and financial support.

  • Outstanding Board Member – David Scharlin, Miami New Drama
  • Civic Arts Leadership Award – Eileen Higgins, Miami-Dade County Commissioner
  • Outstanding Behind the Scenes Contribution – Tim Bennett
  • Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Theatre – Jeannette Martos
  • Outstanding Contribution to Community Theatre – Dana L. Frederbaugh, Actors Community Theatre of Davie.

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Miami New Drama (MIND) will kick off its 2021-22 season “soon enough,” Artistic Director Michel Hausmann said. “But until then, we wish you a special day.”

Actually, MIND will bring you – for free — a special day when it reprises its March 2017 production of A Special Day from Oct. 1-17.

The play takes place in 1938. Its basis is a 1977 Italian drama film with the same title (Una Giornata Particolare in Italian).

In A Special Day, which takes place in Rome, a couple forge a close friendship which will forever change their perceptions of life, love, and politics. The story takes place against the backdrop of Adolf Hitler’s historic meeting with Italian leader Benito Mussolini.

Miami New Drama, a nonprofit, professional company, will present the play adaptation, as it did in 2017, in a minimalist, innovative way by using, among other things, chalk and a chalkboard.

To read a review of that production, go to https://theatricalmusings.com/reviews-by-genre/a-special-day-staged-in-a-unique-way-by-miami-new-drama.

“We are bringing back one of our favorite shows,” MIND Artistic Director Michel Hausmann said in a video. “The last year and a half has been extremely challenging, especially for our community. And just when we thought normalcy was around the corner, it seems like we have to wait a little bit longer. So, we at Miami New Drama have decided, this next one is on us.

Hausmann referred to A Special Day as “a magical play that reminds us of the eternal power of the imagination and the importance of hope.”

For the return engagement, seating will be socially distanced and MIND will require audience members to wear masks.

While admission will be free, patrons must reserve their seat at www.miaminewdrama.org.

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Palm Beach Dramaworks (PBD) has delayed the start of its 2021-22 season until December due to the pandemic and changed its opening production.

Now, PBD’s season will begin on Dec. 3 with the world premiere of South Florida playwright Michael McKeever’s play, The People Downstairs.

The nonprofit, professional PBD had planned to open the season in October with Almost, Maine. Instead, that play will run on PBD’s stage in January.

“Rest assured; we will perform our full schedule of five plays,” the company announced on Facebook. “Out of an abundance of caution, and a commitment to the safety and health of you, our artists, and our staff, we’re delaying the start of the 2021-2022 season.”

Producing Artistic Director William Hayes and Managing Director Sue Ellen Beryl said in a co-statement: “With the COVID-19 Delta variant taking its toll in Florida, it seems obvious that the most prudent thing we can do is push back the start of the season.

“As eager and ready as we all are to return to the theatre, we also recognize that people have become uneasy about participating in an indoor, communal experience at this moment in time. We want everyone to feel completely safe when they walk into the theatre and judging by the scientific data available, it just makes sense to start the season later. For even greater protection, we will be following CDC guidelines and requiring that masks be worn at all times everywhere in the building. This is something we will revisit during the course of the season, but as of now, masks will be mandatory. We also want to remind you that our new HVAC and air filtration systems are state-of-the-art and comply with all the latest safety regulations.”

The postponement “has necessitated several changes to the schedule,” PBD’s leaders said in the co-statement. Specifically, in order to stage all five plays in a compressed period of time, the runs of each production will be shorter than usual.

Also, the more compact schedule will mean a different venue and dates for PBD’s New Year/New Play Festival. It will now take place from Feb. 2-6, instead of January as usual. And, the festival will take place only online.

“With less turnaround time between productions, the staff and crew will be overburdened, and moving the festival online again will give them additional time to work in the theatre,” Hayes and Beryl said. “We know that most of you would prefer to be viewing the festival together in the theatre. So would we. And we’ll be back in the theatre in 2023. But for now, we’re concerned about the well-being of our staff and crew, so a virtual festival is the best solution.

In addition, PBD has pushed back to Nov. 1 the starting date for single ticket sales. The different date will give box office staff time to “complete the challenging task of reticketing all subscribers.”

Patrons will receive by Oct. 15 a letter containing details about the change to their subscriptions. “And we’re urging everyone to refrain from calling the box office prior to that date,” the statement reads. “Not only will the staff by extremely busy, but it’s unlikely they will be able to answer questions until all the reticketing is finished.”

To read about the revised 2021-22 PBD season in detail, go to https://www.palmbeachdramaworks.org/program/groupevent. And for more information about PBD’s programs, go to www.palmbeachdramaworks.org.

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To the south of PBD, in Ft. Lauderdale, New City Players has announced not only its own 2021-22 season, but changes the company will institute this year.

The upcoming season will open in November with Lungs by Duncan Macmillian. The play, which will run from Nov. 11-28 at Island City Stage, follows a couple through the surprising cycle of their relationship. The couple wrestles with questions of family, climate change, hope, betrayal, happenstance, and pain.

Following Lungs, the company will put on its NCPLab Short Play Festival.

“So many original plays have been written in the past year and a half. We’d like to share some with you,” company leaders wrote on NCP’s website. The time and location for the festival is TBD.

NCP will close out the season with Quiara Alegria Hudes’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Water by the Spoonfull. 

The play takes place in Philadelphia. Boundaries of family and community are stretched across continents and cyberspace as birth families splinter and online families collide.

Water by the Spoonfull will run from April 28-May 15 at Island City Stage.

NCP “has been quiet for several months as we’ve done some serious introspection about the future of the company,” company leaders wrote. “As we’ve looked toward the next five, ten, and even 20 years of New City Players, one thing has become clear: it’s time to execute our mission and vision in a more collective way.”

Changes at NCP include:

  • Former Producing Artistic Director Tim Davis will continue with the company as Producing Consultant.
  • Artistically, NCP has appointed an Artistic & Programming Committee (APC). It includes South Florida artists Ernesto Gonzalez, Luis Roberto Herrera, Elizabeth Price, Casey Sacco, and Krystal Millie Valdes. This committee will plan and execute the artistic season and community engagement efforts.

Meanwhile, company members will assume part-time staff roles. These members have committed themselves to the mission of NCP:

  • Resident Director: Elizabeth Price
  • Business & Hospitality Manager: Megan DeGraaf
  • Company Manager: Krystal Valdes
  • Community Engagement Manager: Ernesto Gonzalez
  • Marketing Manager: Alex Joyel
  • Original Content Manager: Casey Sacco
  • Media Specialist: Ryan Arnst
  • Box Office Manager: Dave Smith

Also, four new board members have come on board. Specifically, they are Megan DeGraaf, Ernesto Gonzalez, Ilana Jael, and Alex Joyel. Bringing renewed energy and purpose along with hours of experience executing NCP’s mission, these new members will help NCP’s board expand from a governing and oversight board to a working board. NCP has also established the following active committees: Executive, Development, Finance, and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

As a part of this company restructure, NCP is announcing Ryan Maloney’s departure from New City Players. “Ryan has been instrumental in executing the mission of New City Players for the past six years,” company leaders said. “He is an irreplaceable artist and we will miss him. We wish him and his family the best as they pursue new opportunities.”

This company restructure:

  • Emphasizes and actualizes NCP’s ensemble approach to theatre-making. Since its beginning, NCP has had a core group of artists who create with NCP on a regular basis. Now, those artists are empowered as staff and board members.
  • Decentralizes decision making and shares power with those who execute the mission, allowing the company’s value of collaboration amongst board, staff, and artists to be far more tangible.
  • Helps stave off the common theatre industry issue of burn-out through shared responsibility of executing the mission.

In addition, NCP will continue its community engagement gatherings during the ‘21-’22 season. Specifically, this season, NCP will host two City Speaks storytelling events, three Forums where to explore topics and themes from mainstage productions, and an NCPLab gathering every month. For more information, go to https://www.newcityplayers.org, and click on the “Community” tab.

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