By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
I have to admit I was skeptical when I received the press release for the newly formed Maayan Tikva Theater Company, which bills itself as an "alternative" Jewish theater. Hmmm. I already have seen innumerable productions on Jewish themes or with Jewish characters this season, and while many have been excellent, the market is nonetheless saturated with Jewish theater. Maayan Tikva, however, may be something completely different. Founder Leib Shlomo Malk is an Orthodox Jew who's been involved in theater in Moscow, London, and Los Angeles. He came to South Florida hoping to find a sympathetic home. "It's impossible to break into the industry as an Orthodox Jew," he notes, "since we never have a show on Friday nights or Saturdays."
Malk says he tends to cast against age and type, and seeks "to do things that provoke my audience." Accordingly, his multicultural troupe includes Catholics, a Jamaican, and a Palestinian. Maayan Tikva's first offering was the two-act comedy Itsel and Sophia, presented every Sunday throughout February in Coral Springs. Malk says the nomadic company is looking for a space on Lincoln Road for its next production.
Theater is moving and shaking down in Key West, that infamous outpost that may be too far away for an evening jaunt (depending, of course, on how fast your sports car goes and how stoked you are on cafe con leche) but just the right distance for a wild weekend, including what sound like interesting happenings on the stage. Through this weekend, at the Red Barn Theatre, actor Tony Roberts is directing Skidding, a reprise of the 1927 Broadway comedy that inspired a spate of Andy Hardy movies for MGM. Roberts, best known for his roles in the Woody Allen films Annie Hall and Play It Again, Sam, boasts a hefty stage and screen resume. Red Barn artistic director Joy Hawkins says engaging Roberts to direct is part of the theater's intention "to bring in nationally known directors to work with local artists." Call 296-9911 for details.
While you're down there, check out Club Chameleon's Flamingo Follies, a new and ongoing musical satire of Key West tourist attractions A inanimate and otherwise. The revue has been compared to the long-running San Francisco-based satire Beach Blanket Babylon, although Follies director and co-creator David Spangler assures me "audiences say it's better." Well, he would. Apparently, Good Morning America loved the show, featuring the cast doing a number on the air two weeks ago when correspondent Spencer Christian visited Key West. Call 296-3030.