Venue Changes, Edgy Work Mark Broward’s Evolving Theater Scene

Venue Changes, Edgy Work Mark Broward’s Evolving Theater Scene

by Christine DiMattei for WLRN

When nominations for South Florida’s equivalent of the Tony Awards – the Carbonells – were announced recently, Broward County theaters snagged a quarter of them.

That comes as no surprise to Bill Hirschman, founder of and chief critic for the website Florida Theater On Stage.

“There is some outstanding work that’s being done,” says Hirschman. “People are doing things specifically aimed at getting younger and more diverse audiences in.”

Until recently, Broward’s theater scene resembled the dot com bubble of the early 2000’s — companies would make a great start and then fold after only a few years. But a number of defections from Palm Beach County suggest Broward’s status as a theater mecca is on the upswing.

The most high-profile venue changes involve the Slow Burn and Outre Theatre companies. Over the last five years, Slow Burn has built a loyal following and garnered critical praise with its ambitious musicals mounted in a high school auditorium in western Boca Raton. Outre’s edgy work has appeared in venues throughout Boca, including Mizner Park. But recently, Slow Burn partnered with the Broward Center for the Performing Arts as a resident company for its Amaturo Theater, while Outre rents its new space in the Broward Center’s Abdo New River Room.

In addition, smaller venues continue to make a fresh start. Thinking Cap Theatre, which had been operating for five years in a tiny Fort Lauderdale venue (the “size of your living room,” according to Hirschman), renovated a church in the city’s downtown. Now christened The Vanguard, the space is home to Thinking Cap and has opened itself up to other arts events.

Other theaters are distinguishing themselves with cutting-edge drama. Island City Stage, an LGBT company, scored a big win last season with its production of “Daniel’s Husband,” a play about marriage equality by Michael McKeever that opened to rapturous praise and played to sold-out houses.

However, Broward theater still continues to struggle with funding problems, lacking both the generous government grants and deep-pocket donors found in other counties. “There is a tradition of giving to the arts that exists in Broward, but it’s not remotely as strong as it is in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County,” says Hirschman.

So what will Broward County have to do to survive as a theater destination?

According to Hirschman, it will need savvy publicity and advertising imaginative enough to convince people that good theater is worth a drive from one county to another. “[In Broward] there’s theater that’s as edgy as anything you find Off-Off-Broadway, and then there’s mainstream theater that your grandparents would like,” he says. “When people ask me, ‘What should I go see?’ I say, ‘What do you like?’ ”

Miami Herald Features Outré as Part of a Broward Renaissance!

Broward theatre’s stage presence is growing rapidly

by Christine Dolen for the Miami Herald

 

West Side Story is being produced by Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables in late January, but one of the show’s signature numbers could serve as a theme song for the Broward County theater community at the start of the 2015-16 season.

Something’s Coming, a song that radiates anticipation, excitement and hope, expresses the way many artistic directors and theater leaders are feeling as the season is about to begin.

“Our theater scene here is growing and diversifying,” said Nicole Stodard, whose Thinking Cap Theatre now has its own striking space, The Vanguard, in a refurbished Fort Lauderdale church. “It’s not just canned touring shows. There’s already a sense of strength in numbers.”

Sabrina Lynn Gore, Outré’s co-founder and managing director, believes the presence of her company and Slow Burn at the Broward Center makes a statement.

“There’s a whole legitimacy that’s conferred when a big theater center supports the work of smaller companies. It tells the community they care,” she said.

Read the rest of the article here.

A Southeastern Premiere! “Bed and Sofa” by Polly Pen and Laurence Klavan

The Outré Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Skye Whitcomb and Managing Director Sabrina Lynn Gore are honored to announce that Outré will be presenting the Southeastern premiere of Polly Pen and Laurence Klavan’s “silent movie opera,” Bed and Sofa. Winner of the 1996 Obie Award for Best Music, and nominated for seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, Bed and Sofa was hailed by the New York Times as “a delight” and “a classy treat,” while the Village Voice praised it as “so perfectly done it is almost unfair to the rackety hacks who infest our musical theatre.”

Based on Avram Room’s 1926 silent film masterpiece Tretya meshchanskaya, Bed and Sofa focuses on a stonemason, Kolya, and his wife, Ludmilla, living in a cramped basement apartment in Moscow. When Kolya’s old army buddy Volodya shows up in Moscow without a place to stay, Kolya offers to let the handsome young man “with the sensitive face” stay on his and Ludmilla’s sofa, while they take the bed. The sexual tension between Ludmilla and Volodya reaches its peak when Kolya has to leave town for three weeks, only to return to find that is now he who is sleeping on the sofa, while Ludmilla and Volodya share the bed. The tension mounts between the three, until Ludmilla finally must make the decision that will define her.

Outré is proud to offer the Southeastern premiere of Pen and Klavan’s work, which will be replacing The Threepenny Opera in the 2015/16 season. The Threepenny Opera will be included as part of the 2016/17 season. “The film on which [Bed and Sofa] is based was revolutionary for its time,” says director Skye Whitcomb. “Its frank treatment of sex, of abortion, of women’s rights, was nearly unheard of in 1927. It’s a great show to start our ‘Power of Woman’ season, since Ludmilla is really the linchpin of the story. Rather than allowing either of the men to define who she is, she makes that decision on her own, to be whoever it is that she wants to be.”

Bed and Sofa welcomes back Noah Levine as Volodya; Levine was last seen on Outré’s stage as Van Buren in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and will reprise his role as Ian in the June 2016 full production of rooms: a rock romance. Elvin Negron, who played the Male Soloist in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, returns as Kolya. The role of Ludmilla will be played by Rebeca Diaz, a newcomer to Outré whom we are excited to welcome to our stage. Bed and Sofa also welcomes Caryl Fantel to the Outré family as Music Director; she will be leading an orchestra comprised of cellist Konstantin Litvinenko and violinist Liuba Ohrimenko, both of whom have played with the Miami Symphony Orchestra.

Bed and Sofa will perform August 28, 2015, through September 13, 2015, with performances on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm and Sunday afternoons at 2 pm. All performances are in the Abdo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Season and individual show tickets are available through the Broward Center’s website, www.browardcenter.org, or by calling 954-462-0222.

Outré is proud to call the Abdo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts its new home. The Abdo New River Room features a fresh, modern menu of delectable choices with table service offered 90 minutes prior to performances and during intermission for shows that take place in the Abdo New River Room. Please note: arrive at least 15 minutes prior to curtain to ensure table service. No table service is available after the show. Tickets to performances in the Abdo New River Room do not include food or beverages unless otherwise noted.

Outré and Lord & Taylor Team Up!

On August 13, Outré Theatre Company and Lord & Taylor of Mizner Park are joining up to bring you a night of music, fashion, and elegance, all to benefit Outré as we begin our fourth season! Attendees will be treated to musical theatre entertainment from Outré, a fashion show featuring Lord & Taylor’s fall lineup, champagne and noshes, as well as a discounted shopping pass! Tickets are only $25, and there will be only 50 tickets sold. To purchase your tickets to this elegant benefit, RSVP to skye@outretheatrecompany.com or call 954.300.2149. With only 50 tickets available, space is extremely limited!

Auditions for the 2015/16 Season!

The Outré Theatre Company is proud to announce the 2015/16 Season Auditions for its fourth season, “The Power of Woman”! Auditions will be held by appointment only on May 3 and 4 from 6 pm until 10 pm, with callbacks on May 5 and May 10. Auditions and callbacks will be held at Outré’s new home at the Broward Center in the Abdo New River Room. Actors interested in auditioning should submit electronic copy of headshot and resume, as well as which role(s) they are interested in, via email to auditions@outretheatrecompany.com.

The following roles are available unless otherwise noted:

The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, adapted by Robert David MacDonald and Jeremy Sams
Directed by Skye Whitcomb
Runs August 28 – September 13, 2015
Rehearsals begin mid-July 2015.

Macheath – Male, 25-35. The underworld’s most infamous criminal, charismatic and sadistic. Tenor.
Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum – Male, 40-60. The “King of the Beggars,” a cunning and vicious organized crime boss. Baritone.
Celia Peachum – Female, 35-55. The strong-willed matriarch of an organized crime family. Mezzo-soprano.
Polly Peachum – Female, 18-25. The Peachums’ daughter, a bit sheltered but learning fast. Soprano.
Jackie “Tiger” Brown – Male, 30-45. The chief of police and Macheath’s former Army buddy. Baritone.
Lucy Brown – Female, 18-25. Tiger’s daughter, sensual and smart. Soprano.
Jenny – Female, 25-35. Prostitute and former lover of Macheath’s. Mezzo-soprano.
Ensemble (3 men, 3 women) – All ages. Play a variety of roles, including gang members, prostitutes, and constables.
Medea by Euripides
Directed by Skye Whitcomb
Runs March 11-27, 2016
Rehearsals begin mid-February 2016

Medea – CAST. Auditionees will be considered as possible replacements. Female, 30-45. A strong woman consumed by grief and rage as her husband leaves her and her children for a younger woman.
Jason – Male, 35-50. A strong politician, ex-military, who sees political advantage in leaving his wife for a younger woman.
Creon – Male, 40-60. A powerful, well-connected man who approves of Jason’s maneuvering. Jason’s future father-in-law.
Nurse – Female, 30-50. Nanny to Medea and Jason’s children. She herself was left by her husband earlier in life.
Tutor – Male, any age. Tutor to Jason and Medea’s children, he is also a spy for Jason who mistrusts his wife.
Chorus – Six women who represent different aspects of Medea’s psyche. They also step in as various characters.
Goblin Market by Polly Pen and Peggy Harmon, adapted from the poem by Christina Rossetti
Directed by Sabrina Lynn Gore
Concert Production
Runs April 8-10, 2016
Rehearsals begin late March 2016

Lizzie – Female, 25-40. A Victorian wife and mother who has returned to her childhood home. Strong and loving. Operatic mezzo-soprano.
Laura – Female, 20-35. Lizzie’s younger sister. A wife and mother herself, she is more impetuous and less proper than her sister. Operatic mezzo-soprano.

Outré Announces Its 2015/16 Season!

Outré Theatre Company Announces
“The Power of Woman”
2015/16 Season!

The Outré Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Skye Whitcomb and Managing Director Sabrina Lynn Gore are pleased to announce Outré’s fourth season, and its first full season at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. This season will be built around “The Power of Woman,” with productions focusing on the strength, seduction, and experiences of women. The season includes an Outré twist on a classic musical, a modern adaptation of a timeless Greek tragedy, and a punk rock musical spanning the globe, as well as Outré’s signature concert series. All performances will be at the Abdo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

Outré begins the 2015/16 “Power of Woman” season with the Brecht and Weill satirical musical The Threepenny Opera, the revolutionary play and original ‘mock-pera’ that introduced “epic theatre” to the masses and inspired such musicals as Cabaret and Chicago with its sensual, jazz-drenched melodies and gritty characters. Lending its signature style to this modern classic, Outré is pleased to showcase the dark underworld of London, where Mack the Knife, Polly Peachum, and Pirate Jenny hold sway over the bands of cutthroats, prostitutes, and miscreants. The Threepenny Opera will perform August 28 through September 13, 2015, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm.

Following The Threepenny Opera, Outré turns its attention to the ancient story of a woman with nothing left to lose, Euripides’ tragedy Medea. Reimagined in a modern context, Medea tells us of a woman spurned by her husband for a younger woman, and the lengths to which despair and rage can push us. Medea will perform March 11 through March 27, 2016, with Friday and Saturday night performances at 8 pm and Sunday performances at 2 pm.

In April, Outré brings back its signature concert series with Goblin Market, adapted by Polly Pen and Peggy Harmon from the poem by Christina Rossetti. This two-woman musical follows two grown sisters as they return to their childhood home, where the goblins and faeries of their adolescence beckon them to leave the proper Victorian world behind and revel in the pleasures of the senses. Praised by critics and audiences, Goblin Market runs for a single weekend, April 8 through April 10, 2016, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm.

June sees Outré return to the heady punk world of 1977, with a full production of Rooms: a rock romance by Paul Scott Goodman and Miriam Gordon. Presented as a concert production during the 2014/15 season, Sabrina Lynn Gore again directs Noah Levine and Erica Mendez in this tale of two young people struggling against the pressures of fame. Dealing with alcoholism, bulimia and unplanned pregnancy, they strive to find themselves and each other. Rooms plays June 10 through June 26, 2016, with performances at 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 pm on Sundays.

In addition to its normal season, Outré is also thrilled to announce a single-weekend return of Thrill Me by Stephen Dolginoff! Conor Walton and Mike Westrich return to the stage to reprise their roles as Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, the infamous thrill killers of the early twentieth century. Hailed as a triumphant production by critics and audiences, winner of the 2014 BroadwayWorld Awards for Best Musical, Best Ensemble, and Best Lighting Design, and nominated for two Carbonell Awards, Thrill Me will return December 11 through December 13, 2015, with only three performances: Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm.

Outré is proud to call the Abdo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts its new home. The Abdo New River Room features a fresh, modern menu of delectable choices with table service offered 90 minutes prior to performances and during intermission for shows that take place in the Abdo New River Room. Please note: arrive at least 15 minutes prior to curtain to ensure table service. No table service is available after the show. Tickets to performances in the Abdo New River Room do not include food or beverages unless otherwise noted.

Season tickets and individual show tickets will be available soon by visiting the Broward Center of the Performing Arts’ website, www.browardcenter.org, or by calling 954-462-0222.

Benefit Gallery Showing on November 14!

The Outré Theatre Company warmly invites you to join us as we celebrate the return of local professional theatre to Fort Lauderdale! We hope you will join us at our Benefit Gallery Showing at Blue Fine Art Gallery, located at 713A East Las Olas Boulevard, on November 14, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

That evening, 20% of your purchase of exquisite, contemporary art from the Blue Fine Art Gallery will be donated to Outré, South Florida’s fastest-growing, award-winning, professional, non-profit theatre company. We cannot thank the Blue Fine Art Gallery enough for their generosity in hosting this fundraising event.

We will be offering complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres, as well as entertaining you with live music by Outré’s featured local musical theatre artists. Cocktail attire is suggested, but black tie is also welcome.

Outré Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Skye Whitcomb and Managing Director Sabrina Gore will also be on hand to discuss our upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s Othello, opening on December 5, 2014, at our new home at the newly renovated Adbo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. They will also be previewing our new Black Box Club, which will be launching on opening night of Othello!

Outré has so much to be thankful for this season, including your generous support! Please join Outré Theatre Company for our Benefit at Blue Gallery, on November 14, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

“Back of the Throat” by Yussef El Guindi

The Outré Theatre Company is proud to announce Outré’s first production of their third season, Back of the Throat by Yussef El Guindi. El Guindi’s work has been called “brilliant and sinewy” by the New Yorker, and praised for its “chillingly plausible vision” by the Seattle Weekly.

Set in the years post-9/11, Back of the Throat introduces us to Khaled, an Arab-American writer living in an unnamed American metropolis. In the aftermath of another devastating attack, Khaled finds himself the target of a “casual” inquiry by two government agents. But as rumors swirl and grudges are exposed, the darkness behind such governmental euphemisms as “person of interest” and “extraordinary rendition” is revealed. An unflinching and Strangelovian look at the post-9/11 stripping of Americans’ rights in the name of security, Back of the Throat mixes dark humor with paranoid suspense.

“It’s not a preachy play,” warns director Skye Whitcomb. “There’s a lot of humor to it, which makes it a bit more disturbing. The play really is about how every so often, a particular group in America is singled out. As one of the agents in the play says, yesterday it was the Irish and the Poles, tomorrow it might be someone else entirely. Really, the question the play poses is this: When it’s your turn, your turn to be the scapegoat, who will be your voice? Who will stand up for your rights?”

Managing Director Sabrina Gore, who is also pulling double duty as assistant director and costumer, agrees. “I think the show really speaks to the paranoia and fear that is very prevalent today. But the fear is more of our own government,” she says. “It’s unsettling to think this sort of thing could happen in this country but the truth is, it happens all the time.”

In keeping with Outré’s commitment to community involvement and outreach, Outré will be raising funds during the production for the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach, which provides pro bono legal advice and counsel to the disadvantaged. As well, Dr. Abdul Samra of the University of Miami and the Islamic Center of Greater Miami will host a talkback with the audience after the 8 pm performance on Saturday, October 25.

Back of the Throat will be performed at Sol/Evening Star Productions, 3333 N. Federal Highway in Boca Raton. The production runs October 24 through November 9, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm, with an industry night performance on Monday, November 3, at 8 pm. The production stars Rayner Garranchan, Jim Gibbons, Tim Gore, Faiza Cherie, and Freddy Valle, with set design by Jordon Armstrong, lighting and sound design by Stefanie Howard, and stage management by Jennipher Murphy.

Meet the Casts of “Back of the Throat” and “Othello”!

Outré Theatre Company is proud to announce the casts of its first two shows of the 2014/15 season!

 

First, Back of the Throat by Yussef El Guindi, running October 24-November 9, 2014, at Sol/Evening Star in Boca Raton!

  • Khaled – Rayner Garranchan
  • Bartlett – Jim Gibbons
  • Carl – Tim Gore
  • Shelley/Beth/Jean – Faiza Cherie
  • Asfoor – Freddy Valle

 

Then, William Shakespeare’s Othello takes the stage at the Broward Center in the Abdo New River Room December 5-21, 2014!

  • Othello – Troy Davidson
  • Desdemona – Faiza Cherie
  • Cassio – Rayner Garranchan
  • Roderigo – Seth Trucks
  • Bianca – Kandace Crystal
  • Iago – Skye Whitcomb
  • Emilia – Sabrina Gore
  • Brabantio – Mark Hetelson
  • The Duke – Tim Gore
  • Montano – Reginald Pierre-Louis
  • Lodovico – Jennipher Murphy
  • Gratiano – Christopher Mitchell
  • Clown/Messenger/Soldier – Bradley Wells
  • Musician/Sailor – Juan Gamero
  • Musician/Sailor – Daryl Patrice Fortson

 

Congratulations to the casts, and we can’t wait for you to join us!

Outré Announces 2014/15 Season Auditions

The Outré Theatre Company will be holding non-Equity season auditions on Monday, July 21, 2014, from 5 pm to 10 pm, BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Actors interested in auditioning should submit electronic copy of their headshot and resume, along with the role(s) for which they would like to be considered, to Artistic Director Skye Whitcomb at skye@outretheatrecompany.com when requesting an appointment. The 201closeAn error occurred.4/15 season consists of Back of the Throat by Yussef El Guindi, Othello by Will Shakespeare, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, book by Alex Timbers. Auditionees DO NOT need to prepare monologues; sides will be sent prior to the auditions. Auditionees wishing to be considered as replacements for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson should also prepare 16 bars of an uptempo rock-style song. The breakdown is as follows:

 

Back of the Throat by Yussef El Guindi – October 23-November 9

Khaled – male, late 20s to mid-30s – An Arab-American writer, living in a large, unnamed U.S. city. Truly believes in the good of humanity.

Bartlett – male, 30s to 70s – An agent working for an unnamed government agency. Alternately brilliant and cruel.

Carl – male, late 20s to 50s – Another agent. Brutal and simplistic.

Shelley/Beth/Jean – female, mid 20s to mid 30s – Khaled’s ex-girlfriend, a well-intentioned librarian, and a stripper, all of whom are questioned by Bartlett and Carol about Khaled – NOTE: these three roles are played by the same actress

Asfoor – male, early 20s to mid 30s – A jihadist linked to a terror plot

 

Othello by Shakespeare – early 2015

 

Othello – male, late 30s to 50s – A lifelong soldier, known for his calm, collected demeanor; a perpetual outsider

Desdemona – female, 20s – A strong, intelligent young woman raised in a powerful household

Iago (CAST – actors will be considered as possible replacements) – male, late 20s to mid 30s – A career soldier and borderline sociopath; cunning and clever

Emilia (CAST – actors will be considered as possible replacements) – female, late 20s to mid 30s – A career soldier who has watched her marriage dissolve; independent and strong-willed. Iago’s wife

Cassio – male, 20s to 30s – A handsome and intelligent officer, but arrogant at times

The Duke – male, 40s to 70s – The ruler of Venice; calculating and pragmatic

Brabantio – male, 40s to 70s – Desdemona’s father; overprotective and suspicious

Bianca – female, 20s to 30s – A Cypriot woman, rumored to be a prostitute; madly in love/lust with Cassio

Ludovico – male, 30s to 60s – A Venetian nobleman, related to Desdemona

Gratiano – male, 30s to 60s – Another Venetian nobleman, trusted by the Duke

Roderigo – male, 20s to 30s – An oblivious and easily duped romantic

Montano – male, 30s to 50s – A retired soldier, now appointed governor of Cyprus

The Clown – either gender, any age – A servant; witty and a bit too forward

 

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – late spring/early summer 2015

 

All roles have been CAST – actors will be considered as possible replacements.