BWW Review: SUMMER SHORTS at Adrienne Arsht Center
Miamians pride themselves in living in the city where everyone vacations. If there is a list of cities that know how to party, Miami would be at the top. And there is no greater time to celebrate being in the Magic City than in Summer. Summer in Miami means schools out, trips to the beach, tan lines, and SUMMER SHORTS! SUMMER SHORTS has been the official start to the theatre summer season for twenty-four years and last night's opening night was no exception. While the Arsht Center was celebrating National Pride Month outside with all kinds of fun events from Drag Shows to live music, inside the opening night of SUMMER SHORTS was in full swing. The who's who of Miami Theatre gathered in a packed house. Stepping into what felt like a Beach Party film of the 1960s, the party was underway. Images of typical summer fun from Surfboards and flipflops found everywhere along with palm tree cutouts and a photo opt right at the entrance.
City Theatre and Adrienne Arsht Center's SUMMER SHORTS 2019 runs May 30 through June 23 at Carnival Studio Theater on the Susan Westfall Stage (named after City Theatre's Co-Founder). America's Short Play Festival is here with an all-new SUMMER SHORTS lineup for 2019. Featuring exciting, funny, provocative and always original 10-minute comedies, dramas, and mini-musicals, SUMMER SHORTS is Miami's favorite fun-filled summer theatrical experience!
Although the night was wrapped in summer fun, there was a lot of substance. Most of the night is laughter with a much more serious tone hidden between the lines. Amongst the ten minute plays and musicals, a few stood out from the group. Frozen Foods by Ian August directed by Michael Yawney had its Southeastern Premiere and is the 2018 City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting Contest Finalist. In Frozen Food, Linda, played by Daryl Patrice, finds Carol, played by Lindsey Corey, in the middle of the frozen foods aisle of the super market having an existential crisis. The short play which initially felt like the typical funny burnt out mom scenario very quickly escalated to questions like: "Is there a God?", "Is there meaning to all the horrible things that happen in the world?" and "Is there any meaning in life"?; burning questions that we typically don't think about while standing in aisle 4 of the frozen food section at our local supermarket. Both Daryl and Lindsey are likable and quite funny but it was their ability to work off each other that was the most interesting to watch. The story felt so rich it could have been a full-length production. Director, Michael Yawney, did a wonderful job of telling the story which was very clean and crisp. Whether they were standing in front of the ice cooler or flying through "nothingness", it was an example of good storytelling, talented actors and a very well rounded performance. It is easy to forget how fleeting the moment was.
The highlight of the night was The Presentation by Lia Romeo directed by Margaret M. Ledford. The Presentation was celebrating its Southeastern Premiere and is the 2019 City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting Contest Finalist. In The Presentation, Samantha, played by Lindsey Corey, has to give a presentation on sexual harassment in the workplace to a very unusual audience, Vikings. The play is a commentary on what is happening right now but in true SUMMER SHORTS fashion. In the midst of the laughter, was a very real problem. Instead of hitting you over the head with its message, it was made very matter a factly. You have to treat men and women equally. Just because you have been doing something for hundreds of years doesn't make it okay. The very poignant story, wonderful writing, brilliant directing and talented actors alone made the trip to the theatre worth it. The director of The Presentation and the Artistic Director of City Theatre, Margaret says, "The pieces that I gravitate to are things that make you laugh for seven and a half minutes and then make you really think for the last minute...Artistically, I try to find pieces that you can identify yourself, you as an audience member, in at least one of the pieces. That you can see a path you may not have taken or a path you wish you'd taken".
Don't miss the summer kick-off event SUMMER SHORTS 2019.
SUMMER SHORTS 2019
Celebrating its 24th anniversary!
America's Short Play Festival returns this summer with a lively and original production of the best brand new, ten-minute plays and musicals in the country
Summer Shorts 2019 features 8 productions which include
4 world premieres and 3 southeastern premieres
May 30-31, 2019 - Previews
Saturday, June 1, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. - Opening Night
through Sunday, June 23, 2019
Carnival Studio Theater
Penned by the country's leading playwrights, composers, and lyricists, and performed by a company of South Florida theater all-stars, SUMMER SHORTS offers theatergoers a fun-filled 90-minute program of new comedies, dramas, and mini-musicals.
SUMMER SHORTS 2019 features the following:
Big Fat Cow by Hillary Rollins (book & lyrics) and William Johnson (music)
Where is she now? A moooving tail-all moosical about the celebrated Cultured Dairy Icon who rose like cream, and then...spoiled.
Franklin Pierce: Dragon Slayer, The Untold Story of America's Debatably Least Effective President by Preston Max Allen (book & lyrics) and Will Buck (music)
When eighth-grader Jennifer is assigned Franklin Pierce for her class's President's Day project, she's bummed to have gotten one of history's most forgettable presidents. However, a visit from Franklin himself challenges everything Jennifer thought she knew about his presidency, dragons, and even herself.
Frozen Foods by Ian August
Linda finds Carol in the middle of the frozen foods aisle of the Superfood Market having an existential crisis. Can she snap her friend out of it or will she be sucked into the never-ending cycle of despair?
Schrödinger's Gun by Greg A. Smith
A white police trainee faces two black officers. A briefcase between them might or might not hold a loaded gun. The officers claim to be teaching a lesson about truth, trust, and discipline, but are all three playing a dangerous game?
Telephones and Bad Weather by Steve Yockey
Brenda is at the end of her rope. Her husband won't stop building in their backyard, the neighbors won't stop complaining, the phone won't stop ringing, and it may never stop raining. It's almost too much for her. And then things get really strange.
The Forgotten Place by Jeff Locker
All Eric ever wanted was a friend. He just never knew how to find one.
The Presentation by Lia Romeo
Samantha has to give a presentation on sexual harassment in the workplace... to a very unusual audience.
This Is How Ghosts Speak by Jen Diamond
It's nearly show time at Theatre 33 when the power goes out. Three theatre workers caught in the darkness tell a ghost story as they stumble into literal magic.
SUMMER SHORTS 2019 Creative Team is listed below.
City Theatre Artistic Director
Margaret M. Ledford
Margaret M. Ledford, Andy Quiroga, Gladys Ramirez, Michael Yawney
The Acting Ensemble
The Playwrights, Composers, and Lyricists
Musical Director: Caryl Fantel
Production Stage Manager: Naomi Zapata*
Production Manager: Amy Rauchwerger
Choreography: Sandra Portal-Andreu
Lighting Design: Eric Nelson
Costume Design: Ellis Tillman
Scenic Design: Jodi Dellaventura
Sound Design: Steve Shapiro
Assistant Stage Manager/Deck Manager: Oriana Urdaneta
Properties Design: Natalie Taveras
Photography: George Schiavone/Justin Namon