Local Stars Set for THE DONKEY SHOW at Arsht Center, Beg. Tonight, 7/13
Merging local star power with nationally-recognized artists, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County announced today the creative team collaborating on this summer's blockbuster – THE DONKEY SHOW.
Twenty accomplished local performers (dancers, actors, singers, acrobats, roller skaters and more) have been cast to work with internationally-acclaimed artists, including the show's creator Tony Award winner Diane Paulus, to construct a disco extravaganza that promises to transport Miami audiences to the glittery heydays of Studio 54.
"The Arsht Center made a promise six years ago when it first opened its doors," said Scott Shiller, Executive Vice President. "We made a commitment to the community to bring internationally recognized artists to the city, to support our brilliant and innovative artistic community and to showcase local talent on our stage. With THE DONKEY SHOW, we continue to honor that pledge as we prove that world-class and community-based artistry is not mutually exclusive."
THE DONKEY SHOW's creative collaborators include:
· Nationally-acclaimed creative team, Diane Paulus and Randy Weiner, are co-creators of THE DONKEY SHOW. Diane Paulus is the Artistic Director at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.). At the A.R.T., her recent work includes The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, which won this year's Tony Award for Best Musical Revival; Death and The Powers: The Robots' Opera, a new opera by Tod Machover; Best of Both Worlds, and Johnny Baseball. Her other recent theater credits include The Public Theater's Tony-Award winning revival of HAIR on Broadway and London's West End, among many others. Randy Weiner, Diane Paulus' husband, is a playwright, theater producer and nightclub/restaurant owner. He also serves as the president of the Weiner Entertainment Group, a leading New York-based Production Company. He produced the Drama Desk Award-winning New York premiere of Punchdrunk's Sleep No More and is co-owner of NYC's "theater of varieties" The Box Manhattan and The Box Soho. New York Magazine calls him "the master of the club spectacle."
· Allegra Libonati is responsible for re-imagining the show for Miami audiences under the supervision of Paulus and Weiner. Libonati is the Artistic Associate at the American Repertory Theater and the resident director for the Boston production of THE DONKEY SHOW. At the A.R.T, she directed The Snow Queen, A.R.T.'s new family show, and will be directing Hansel and Gretel this winter. She has assisted Diane Paulus on Prometheus Bound (Associate Director), Death and the Powers: The Robot's Opera (Assistant Director), Best of Both Worlds (Assistant Director) and the Tony Award-winning revival of HAIR on Broadway (Assistant Director). At Harvard University, she curates The Chairs Revue, an original festival of theater in Harvard Yard. A lover of street theater, she is an initiator of RAK (Random Actors of Kindness).
· Al Crawford and co-designer Zakaria M. Al-Alamiof Chameleon Lighting Group, lighting designers for THE DONKEY SHOW, are talented designers responsible for the implementation of lighting for over 100 projects annually, worldwide. With Al's fifteen years as the Lighting Director of the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Zak in his ninth year as Lighting Director of the world-class Jazz at Lincoln Center, their theatrical aesthetic has crossed over to work in all areas of art, architecture, dance, live music, corporate and special events, theater, television, and live event production. At the Arsht Center, they have designed lighting for a number of performances including the Center's latest commission of the Haitian dance company Ayikodans.
Rosie Herrera returns to her creative home at the Arsht Center as choreographer of THE DONKEY SHOW. Born in Miami and a graduate of New World School of the Arts, Rosie is hailed as one of the freshest new voices in dance theater. Various Stages of Drowning: A Cabaret, one of Rosie's signature works, was originally commissioned by the Adrienne Arsht Center in association with Miami Light Project as part of the 2009 Miami Made Festival at the Center. After an enthusiastic reception during the workshop showings in Miami, she was personally invited by Arsht Center artistic advisor Charles Reinhart, who served as the American Dance Festival 's (ADF) visionary director, to set the piece on ADF dancers that same summer. The Arsht Center and ADF went on to co-commission two more of her works: Pity Party, which celebrated its world premiere at the Center in 2010, and Dining Alone, which premiered at the Center in 2011. Additionally, Rosie appeared on the Carnival Studio Theater stage performing her original choreography in Zoetic Stage's hit play, South Beach Babylon. Rosie is a classically trained lyric coloratura soprano and performs with the Performers Music Institute Opera Ensemble as well as choreographs and stages operas independently throughout Miami.
THE DONKEY SHOW also features scene design by Collette Pollard, recipient of the Michael Merritt Maggio Emerging Designer Award in 2010 whose previous Arsht Center credits include The House Theatre of Chicago's production of Death And Harry Houdini and The Sparrow; costume design by David Woolard whose Broadway credits include Lysistrata Jones, West Side Story, Jane Fonda's costumes for 33 Variations, All Shook Up, 700 Sundays with Billy Crystal, The Rocky Horror Show (2001 Tony Award nomination); Voices in the Dark; among others; and aerial choreography by Janos Novak. Novak hasperformed throughout Europe, South America and the United States and has made numerous live television appearances, including on "Good Morning America."
The following are some of the very talented local performers cast for THE DONKEY SHOW:
· Stephanie Chisholm playsTytania, Oberon's disco diva girlfriend and will captivate the crowd with thrilling displays of aerial art. Born and raised in Miami, Stephanie grew up studying gymnastics, dance, musical theater and aerial arts. She has performed with Rainbow Circus and CircX, toured with The Caravan Stage Company, Cirque le Masque and most recently participated as an aerialist in Festival Internacional de Circ in Figueres, Spain.
· Leah Verier-Dunn, a graduate of New World School of the Arts, stars as the infatuated lover Helen, deeply enamored with Dimitri. A member of Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre, she was seen at the Arsht Center in 2012 in Dining Alone. Leah founded Moving Ethos Dance Company in 2007 and has performed with Keigiwn & Company, Adele Myers and Dancers, Michael Foley, Karl Rogers and others.
· Inger Hanna plays Pepper, a girl-next-door type living her ultimate disco fantasy as hostess of Club Oberon. Inger is a recording artist of national prominence, who recently received three Stellar Awards nominations for her debut album, He's My Everything. She has shared the stage with artists such as Kirk Franklin, Joe, Betty Wright, Marvin Sapp and Yolanda Adams, to name a few. In addition to her former role as co-host on WEDR/99 Jamz Sunday Morning Inspirationally Yours, she has worked as an actress in the following theatrical productions: Real Men Pray, What is This World Coming To and Mr. Wrong.
· Rudi Goblen will get the Club Oberon crowd off their feet as Rudolph "Rudy" Valentino, the DJ at Club Oberon. Rudi, an acclaimed B-Boy, writer, dancer, DJ and actor, has worked with DV8 Physical Theater, Cirque du Soleil and is a member of Teo Castellanos' D-Projects, Octavio Campos' Camposition Hybrid Theater Works and Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre. Most recently, he was on tour with his two one-man shows, Insanity Isn't and Fair Welling – which was commissioned by the Arsht Center and Miami Light Project for the Miami Made Festival. Rudy appeared at the Arsht Center in Various Stages of Drowning: A Cabaret in 2009 and 2010 and is a frequent guest performer at the Center's free Family Fest outdoor events. An accomplished DJ, Rudy hosted the Arsht Center's B-Boy Battle on the Thomson Plaza for the Arts featuring the cast of Rennie Harris' RHAW.
· Derick Pierson plays Starshine, one of Tytania's high-flying fairies. An expert aerial pole artist, Derick began training at age 18 with the South Florida Circus Arts School in Miami in contortion, trapeze, silks, lyra, and aerial cube. Derick has received the highest accolades possible from the National Aerial Pole Art Championship - Male National Aerial Pole Art Champion and Best Technique (2012) and Male American Pole Fitness Champion (2011). He placed second in the International Pole Championship, a competition organized annually by International Pole Dance Fitness Association, and also competed in the pro division for Pole Dancing Universe. Derick was recently voted best new artist, best pole flexibility and best overall male performer in in Pole Dance International Magazine.
· Jimmy Alexander Arguello is Cobweb, another fun-loving fairy in Oberon. Trained in jazz, tap, hip-hop, ballet and lyrical dance, Jimmy was named one of the top ten male dancers on "So You Think You Can Dance" (2007). He has performed on various internationally televised award shows, including the Latin Grammys, the Latin Billboard Awards and Premio Lo Nuestro. He was assistant choreographer on the film Rock of Ages with Mia Michaels, working with Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julianne Hough, and Mary J. Blige. Jimmy was a principal dancer in the feature film Dance Flick, principal dancer with blue 13 Dance Company, the country's premier contemporary Bollywood dance ensemble, and toured around the world as Dance Captain with A.R Rahman, the Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning creator of the score for Slumdog Millionaire.
A full cast list can be found by visiting the Center's website at arshtcenter.org/donkeyshow.
The local cast and the creative team will work collectively to make THE DONKEY SHOW a glittery phenomenon bringing the greatest hits from the 70s back to life in an eclectic fusion of theater, dance and music that will engage the audience as they walk through the spacious dance floor, immerse themselves into the colored spotlight and experience THE DONKEY SHOW.
Dance floor tickets are priced at $45 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; $60 on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets in the VIP seating area are priced at $60 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; $75 on Fridays and Saturdays. A $10 discount will be given to those who purchase tickets to the first five preview performances (July 13-15).
Tickets may be purchased through the Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at www.arshtcenter.org.