Golda's Balcony: In terms of steely resolve, Golda Meir made most great people of the Twentieth Century look meek. Over the years many folks and especially the blame-Israel-first crowd have assumed she was either a heartless ideologue or some kind of blood-sucking Zionist vampire (and then, crazily, certain actual Zionist vampires accused her of wimpiness). In fact she was a tough old broad with a profound emotional commitment to justice and peace, outweighed only by her obsession with survival. William Gibson's Golda's Balcony explores the dark place where those dual allegiances clash. Though it's a one-woman show, Lisa Morgan's portrayal is big enough to summon up the country she fought for, and her wrestling with hard questions of war and capitulation is so anguished that you can almost feel lives winking out of existence when, at length, she makes up her mind. Directed by Joe Adler. Brandon K. Thorp Through May 20 at GableStage, the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. Call 305-446-1116, or visit www.gablestage.com.
Anna Karenina: David Carlson's new opera is a tough nut to crack at first, following as it does in the old modernist tradition of eschewing obvious melodies and getting jiggy with all kinds of weird key changes. But hang in there the sensibility works on the ears, and by the second act, with all the busy-body exposition of Colin Graham's libretto out of the way, the fireworks start in earnest. The music still isn't obvious, but it's thunderously commanding, filled with breathtaking drama given inexpressible weight by the presence of vibrant singing actors Kelly Kaduce, Brandon Jovanovich and Christian Van Horn, among others. Colin Graham directs. Brandon K. Thorp Through May 13 at the Ziff Ballet Opera House, Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Call 800-741-1010, or visit www.fgo.org.
The Boy From Russia: Nothing in the world can be quite so trenchant as a clear-eyed look at the difficulties faced by the adult members of our species in their attempts to save the nonadults, and this is exactly what Susan J. Westfall's new play promises to be. Inspired by the events that followed Westfall's own decision to adopt a young Russian boy, The Boy From Russia follows married couple Beth Goldman (Sandra Ives, recently seen in The Faith Healer) and Jack Goldman (Avi Hoffman, recently seen in everything) on a journey to find and retrieve a child they saw in an adoption agency video. The trip doesn't go as planned, and ultimately both the child's future and their marriage is called into question. The Boy From Russia is probably destined to rip out your heart and feed it to you. Directed by David Arisco. Brandon K. Thorp Through June 3 at Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theater, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. Call 305-444-9293, or visit www.actorsplayhouse.org.
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