Miami New Drama Presents QUEEN OF BASEL, A New Play By Hilary Bettis At The Colony Theatre On Lincoln Road

Miami New Drama Presents QUEEN OF BASEL, A New Play By Hilary Bettis At The Colony Theatre On Lincoln Road

Miami New Drama proudly presents its first original play, a daring reinvention of a classic drama commissioned from one of America's most vital young playwrights. In Queen of Basel, the award-winning writer Hilary Bettis recreates August Strindberg's Miss Julie as an only-in- Miami story -- an explosive collision of power, class, sex and the haunting grip of thwarted dreams.

Set amidst the glamorous frenzy of Miami Art Week, Queen of Basel will be Miami New Drama's most radically immersive production yet, transporting an intimate audience to the heart of the action while transforming the Colony Theatre into a South Beach hotel. The show runs April 14 through May 6 on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.

The play tells the story of Julie, the socialite daughter of a wealthy real estate mogul, who flees a blowout party to a bleak basement in her father's luxurious hotel after being humiliated by her fiancé. There, she becomes entangled with Christine, a cocktail waitress who has fled violence- wracked Venezuela, and her ambitious Afro-Cuban boyfriend John, who is grappling with poverty and racism. Divided by class and culture, the trio is inexorably drawn together over the course of the night, revealing unexpected secrets with consequences they can neither predict nor control.

A writer for the FX hit The Americans, Bettis is uniquely qualified to write about the clash of gender, status, and identity at play in Queen of Basel. From a white and Mexican working class family, she endured sexual abuse, poverty and homelessness before her talent earned her numerous prestigious theatrical residencies and productions.

When Miami New Drama artistic director Michel Hausmann met Bettis during a fellowship at the New York Theater Workshop, he knew she could transform Miss Julie, a pillar of 20th Century Theater whose portrayal of the struggle between the aristocratic title character and the manipulative servant has grown out of sync with modern views.

"I find it dramatically brilliant and morally repulsive, because it's profoundly misogynistic," Hausmann says. "When I first approached Hilary she said 'I hate that play.' I said precisely, that's why I want you to tackle it."

As he did with Miami New Drama's acclaimed production of Our Town, which he also directed, Hausmann is shaping Queen of Basel to highlight urgent present-day themes. Both shows are supported by a Knight Arts Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for the multicultural reimagining of classic plays.

"Hilary found a hell of a way to tell an incredible contemporary story that deals with issues that are very American and specifically Miamian," says Hausmann. "Class is as important as race in terms of who gets to the top of the pyramid and who doesn't. But we have not found a way to articulate our concerns about class in the way we have about race. Miami is more diverse than the country as a whole, but the income disparity here is also more extreme."

The singularly Miami cast are all making their Miami New Drama debuts. Florida native and New World School of the Arts graduate Betsy Graver, whose credits include Netflix's Bloodline and leading roles with top South Florida troupes GableStage, Zoetic Stage and Palm Beach Dramaworks, portrays Julie. John will be played by the multitalented Rudi Goblen, known as performer/writer of P.E.T. and other solo theater pieces; his work with choreographer Rosie Herrera and director Teo Castellanos; and as a founder of famed hip-hop dance crew Flipside Kings. The part of Christine will be taken by renowned Venezuelan film and TV actress Daniela Bascope, currently appearing in Telemundo's groundbreaking immigration telenovela Al otro lado del muro (On the Other Side of the Wall), whose memoir on surviving cancer was a bestseller in her native country.

Set designer Ika Avaliani, whose international resume includes film, ballet and opera as well as theater, continues Miami New Drama's track record of innovative stage design. Yuki Nakase's stark, dramatic lighting crucially enhances his work. Costumes are by Liene Dobraja.

What: Queen of Basel, a new play in two acts

When: April 14 to May 6 (previews April 12 & 13) 
Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00 p.m. | Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

Where: Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach FL 33139

Tickets:$40 to $75
www.colony.org or 305-674-1040

About Miami New Drama
Founded by playwright and director Michel Hausmann and National Medal of the Arts winner Moises Kaufman, Miami New Drama is a producing and presenting organization committed to artistic excellence and groundbreaking work unique to this diverse and extraordinary city with a vision of theatre as a powerful form of social engagement. The troupe's first show of its debut 2017-2018 season, a culturally mixed, multilingual version of Thornton Wilder's classic Our Town, was critically-acclaimed as "glorious, emotionally potent" and "inventive and touching...superb!" Past productions include the American premiere of Ferdinand von
Schirach's Terror directed by Tony Award winner Gregory Mosher and The Golem of Havana, an original musical written and directed by Michel Hausmann. Miami New Drama is the resident company and operator of the City of Miami Beach's historic Colony Theatre on Lincoln Road.

 




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