Grease is the word at the Actors' Playhouse
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John should be eternally grateful to Henry Winkler and Marie Osmond. The Fonz and the angel-faced Utahan who was "just a little bit country" were originally set to star in the film version of Grease. Both declined owing to a fear of typecasting. Travolta came hot off the heels of Saturday Night Fever, and Newton-John was a successful singer with little acting experience. Still they somehow managed to make lyrics like: "We go together, like rama lama lama kadinga kading-a-dong," sound delightfully convincing. The version that will hit the stage tonight at the Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre (280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables) will adhere more closely to the original Broadway production than the 1978 film, which means Sandy will be an all-American girl, not a prissy Australian import, but fans can still enjoy toe-tapping hits such as "You're the One That I Want," "Beauty School Dropout," "Greased Lightnin'," and "Summer Lovin'." Enjoy Fifties pastiche with a side of Seventies nostalgia at 8:00. Preview performances begin tonight and end October 6. Grease will run from October 7 through November 13. Tickets for tonight's preview performance cost $30. Call 305-444-9293, or visit www.actorsplayhouse.org. --Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Party at the Gleason
Colombia's finest performers have traveled to Miami to share the color and passion that is Carnaval de Barranquilla. Tonight experience the excitement and celebrate as if you were at the famous festival. From the official announcement that carnival has begun, El Bando, to the varied parades like the Guacherna and the Batalla de Flores, this will be a re-creation of the spectacular event that lasts for days in Colombia. Just like the authentic carnival, dancers will be performing the congo, the garabato, and the cumbia, as well as many others. These dances are loaded with energy and life, a mix of Spanish, African, and indigenous traditions. The show begins at 8:00 at the Jackie Gleason Theater, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. An encore takes place tomorrow afternoon at 5:00. Tickets range from $25 to $48. Call 1-866-384-8669, or visit www.gleasontheater.com. --Karen. R. Figueiredo
On with the Show
Celebrate the arts at St. John's
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For the past six years, St. John's on the Lake First Methodist Church (4760 Pinetree Dr., Miami Beach) has been preaching a different and inspiring kind of gospel. Through the program Arts at St. John's, the church has become a spiritual refuge and an important cultural oasis for talents of all varieties. Think of tonight's season showcase as a sort of "best of" the Arts at St. John's. Enjoy food, drinks, and the sights and sounds of dance troupes, troubadours, performance artists, and theatre groups. The Baboons (right), a group of funky rockers with a distinctly Afro-Cuban vibe, will make you shake your groove thing. Tickets cost $30, and parking is free. Call 305-613-2325, or visit www.stjohnsmiamibeach.com/arts. --Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
It Has a Nice Ring
Broadway legend Jerry Herman may be known for his Tony and Grammy Award-winning compositions, but his career began modestly at the University of Miami. In honor of its favorite alumnus, The Jerry Herman Ring Theatre (1312 Miller Dr., Coral Gables) presents Showtune, a tribute to Herman's songwriting skills, tonight at 8:00. The show runs through October 8. Tickets cost $16 to $20. Call 305-284-3355, or visit www.as.miami.edu/theatrearts/ring for a complete schedule. -- Margaret Griffis