South Florida Sun-Sentinel

August 18, 2008

Farewell, Mr. Zink

Jack Zink, dynamo that he was, made plans last fall to write a blog in which he would, single-handedly, cover local theater, classical and popular music, supper clubs, and the politics and funding of the South Florida arts scene.

Then came a diagnosis of cancer.

It didn't put an end to his plans. It just delayed them.

He began writing in April. It was a brave performance. The disease and the treatments had obviously taken a toll. He had lost a lot of weight and most of his speaking voice.

His writing voice, though, was still strong and clear, his enthusiasm still keen.

He wrote almost 40 pieces until he had to quit, in late May, for medical reasons.

You can see the results below. An unsuspecting coda to a lifetime's body of work devoted to advocating, appreciating and advancing the arts.

Bravo, Jack.

Howard Goodman
blogs editor


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May 29, 2008

Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival dates are in

Some information, finally, is beginning to trickle in about what's in store musically for summer 2008 in South Florida, including such anchors as the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival. Programming and, thus, special guests haven't been announced yet but the festival is most definitely back on in its classic formation, four weekends beginning July 11 through August 3. The ensemble's core remains founders Karen Dixon, flute (left), bassoonist Michael Ellert (center) and clarinetist Michael Forte (right) in the accompanying pbcmf photo.

The venue rotation remains the same, with each weekend's opening performance Fridays 8 p.m. at Palm Beach Atlantic University's Persson Recital Hall in downtown West Palm Beach, 8 p.m. Saturdays at the Eissey Campus Theatre in Palm Beach Gardens, and 2 p.m. Sundays at the Crest Theatre at Old School Square in Delray Beach. Tickets were planned to go on sale about now, so the final announcement should come at any time.


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Mountain times: Barbara Bradshaw at Flat Rock

Hurricane season begins this weekend, so it’s time for the Gold Coast’s mountain birds to decamp for the Carolinas for the summer. Some of our actors are already waiting for you.

Renowned South Florida leading lady Barbara Bradshaw is starring in “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” at the Flat Rock Playhouse, about a half-hour’s drive south of Asheville, through June 7 (in a Flat Rock photo, at right). The Asheville Citizen’s Tim Reid, acknowledging Bradshaw as a regular up there as well, is impressed: “Six Dance Lessons” is the perfect showcase for Bradshaw, who can convey volumes in just an expression or tone of voice,” he wrote.

Further to the north, the Blowing Rock Stage Company, run by former South Floridian Ken Kaye, has begun its summer season with a musical revue called “8 Track” featuring our locals Lisa Manuli and Christopher A. Kent. Next up on the Blowing Rock agenda June 13-22 is the musical version of “The Immigrant.” No cast is announced, but it’d be perfect for Bradshaw who’s done the play version masterfully.

POSTED IN: theater (27)

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On the road: An end to "Perfect," and a beginning for "Les Miserables"

Benchmarks are on tap for the London/Broadway musical smash “Les Miserables” and the off-Broadway musical phenom “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.”

Over 20 years since its debut, rights for “Les Miz” were recently released to a handful of American professional regional theaters, including The Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, which will produce the show next spring.

But the lease comes with a caveat – not to reproduce all the signature turntable scenic effects, but to use new staging ideas. What that means began to materialize this week in Philadelphia, whose Walnut Theatre is among the first regionals to mount its own production last week. And as for "Perfect," the show has been hit by the economic downturn and will close July 27 -- after 12 years and $200 million.

Continue reading "On the road: An end to "Perfect," and a beginning for "Les Miserables"" »


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On the road: “Wicked” to resume in Fort Myers

The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at Edison College in Fort Myers has been popping up lately as what appears to be becoming a favored launching pad for shows on national tour, and/or to break in new casts for shows in transition.

The latest word, this week, is that Mann will be the startup point for the second national tour of the musical “Wicked” when it cranks up for three weeks there, March 7-29, 2009.

The first national tour, now winding down in Rochester, NY, has played Florida’s east coast several times and won’t be back next season. The new company will move north from Fort Myers to Birmingham and Jacksonville en route to the northeast and Midwest next spring.

The three-week Fort Myers engagement indicates the still-growing southwest coast is becoming an important locale on the touring circuit – yet out of the spotlight enough to serve as the break-in points that Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa once served.


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Summer Shorts: Broward gets the short end, for now

You can grab a preview Thursday (May 29) or Friday of either half of City Theatre’s always-anticipated Summer Shorts program at the Arsht Center’s Studio Theatre in downtown Miami. But after more than a dozen years of experience, there’s no substitute for a weekend double-header, such as the official openings Saturday (May 31) at 6 and 8:30 p.m. with a picnic-style buffet dinner (optional) in between.

This year’s series of Programs A and B, approximately 90 minutes each of short dramas and comedies, runs at the Arsht through June 22. You can buy one or the other at any performance, or do both on weekends.

The main series then moves to the Broward Center June 26-29 – The time frame compacted due to the Broward Amaturo’s 600 seats vs. 200 at the Arsht’s Studio.

Coming along for the ride to Broward will be the company’s special package of short plays for kids and families, Shorts 4 Kids, for matinees June 26-28.

What isn’t making the trip to Broward, however, is the said-to-be-edgy new late night program called Undershorts, full of “social and political material … adult language, content and nudity.” Those playlets unspool only at the Arsht Thursday-Friday at 10 p.m. and Saturday at 11 June 12-14 and 19-21.

For details, visit the City Theatre, Arsht Center or Broward Center websites.


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Theater By The Book, and Actors Playhouse readings

Play readings are among the most important building blocks in theater, where plays are spoken and in many cases acted for the first time. But they can also be showcases for existing works that might rarely, if ever, get the opportunity for full productions. Examples of both are coming up in the days ahead.

Both events are upcoming in south Miami-Dade, though readings are also integral parts of such regional theaters as the Florida Stage, Caldwell Theatre Company and New Theatre, which have effectively used their reading series as incubators for main stage premieres.

Sunday (June 1) finds a top-rank cast reading Mario Diament’s “The Book of Ruth” for the recently-founded Theater By The Book program, at the Alper JCC, 11115 SW 112th Ave., Miami. On June 7, The Actors’ Playhouse at The Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables will present readings of its recent From Page to Stage competition, new plays by Carbonell winning dramatist Michael McKeever – “Unreasonable Doubt” at 3 p.m. – and “When the Sun Shone Brighter” by Christopher Demos-Brown at 7 p.m.

Continue reading "Theater By The Book, and Actors Playhouse readings" »


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Broadway notebook: A seasonal dip

The Broadway theater season officially ended Sunday (May 25), with last fall’s 19-day Stagehands strike blamed for a “slight decline in both paid attendance and grosses,” according to the Broadway League.

The number of new shows continues at pace level with recent years. A total of 36 new productions opened with 11 new plays (same as last season), eight musicals, one return engagement and 16 revivals. This year as last season, the number of new plays and important play revivals blunts the criticisms first expressed a decade ago that Broadway is becoming an exclusive musical row.

The box office numbers weren’t bad, either, with attendance of 12.27 million down just 0.2 percent, and box office receipts down from $938.5 million to $937.5 million.

“While we are disappointed that we didn't exceed last year's record-breaking season, we are confident that in the coming season, with such big name shows on the horizon as “Billy Elliot,” “Shrek,”“West Side Story” and “Equus,” to only name a few, that we will have the best season in recorded history," the League’s executive director Charlotte St. Martin said in a statement.

POSTED IN: theater (27)

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May 23, 2008

Hispanic Theatre Festival lineup announced

Following through on its theme to pay tribute to Spain, the International Hispanic Theatre Festival will bring four productions from that country to anchor its 23rd festival July 9-27 in Miami. Another four are expected to arrive from Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Slovenia.

mario%20ernesto%20sanchez.jpgThey will be joined by the fest's host company, founder and festival director Mario Ernesto Sanchez' (photo at right) Teatro Avante in Coral Gables, plus Miami-Dade College's Prometeo Theatre and a pair of Miami area children's troupes, Gira-Sol and Cuenteros. Various performances will be in Spanish or English, Slovenian and some with supertitles.

The opening attraction will be "El Llanto" (Event) by Federico Garcia Lorca and Enric Granados, performed by Barcelona, Spain's Octubre Teatral, July 9-11 at the Arsht Center's Studio Theatre. Other venues include Miami-Dade College's Wolfson (300 NE 2 Ave.) and InterAmerican (627 S.W. 27 Ave.) campuses, plus the Key Biscayne Community Center and Spanish Cultural Center.

Information is available at the Teatro Avante website, by phone 305-445-8877 and the Arsht Center.

Continue reading "Hispanic Theatre Festival lineup announced" »

POSTED IN: classical music (5), plays (5), theater (27)

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"Jesus, Christ"! It's Ted Neeley (Again)

Is he back, or did he ever leave? Ted Neeley is still doing the honors in the title role of "Jesus Christ, Superstar" for the Andrew Lloyd-Webber/Tim Rice musical's appearance June 13-18 at the Broward Center. Neeley has been doing this particular gig since the fall of 2006 (when it played the Kravis Center) in what has been billed as the Farewell Tour.

Neeley understudied the role in the original Broadway production (opened Sept. 29, 1971), then moved into the lead for the 1973 motion picture (pictured at left), which cemented the association. Though he's never been "billed" in the title role on Broadway (which hosted two revivals with others in the lead), he's been the "Superstar" of the road with just a few exceptions. And though Troika Entertainment, the current tour's production company, bills this as the Farewell Tour, Neeley (64) has repeated throughout the trip that he plans to keep playing the role as long as anyone will let him.

Corey Glover, of the band Living Colour, is making his theatrical stage debut in the role of Judas. Tickets and info are available at the Broward Center and Ticketmaster.


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About This Blog

JACK ZINK, the Sun-Sentinel theater, music & cultural affairs writer, has spent 38 years on the Gold Coast...



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