Miami Beach the Musical was not what we expected from a faith-based production, especially a Christian one, but the play includes everyone that made Miami Beach the iconic landscape that it is today, including Jews and the gays.
Directed by David Kingery, the musical presented about two semesters
worth of Miami Beach history in about two hours, and did it well. Using
songs composed by lyricist Doug Cureton and composer Andrew Sargent, the
cast took turns playing the different characters from the history of
Flying through almost a hundred years, the play took us through the Beach's "restricted" years (when Jews were not allowed in South Beach), the days of the Rat Pack, and up through the gay and Cuban invasions.
While the overall production was good, there were some stand out performances. Mimi Jimenez as Frieda Genie (get it? Free the genie) has an amazing set of pipes that belong in a place of worship. She also has great comedic timing, sharing most of the laughs with Olivia Williamson, who played a transplanted Jewish New Yorker to perfection. Roxanne Lamendola also deserves praise for her hilarious portrayal of Lucy Diamond, a spaced-out, avant garde Miami Beach artist.
There were some issues with the acoustics as audience members sitting in the farthest pews missed some dialogue and lines. But considering the musical was performed in a church, the production values were pretty decent.
Miami Beach the Musical would definitely benefit from moving to a larger venue with a bigger budget. As audience member Alex Casas said, "I thought it was excellent. They managed to fit (in) so much history and information. I could see this playing in a bigger venue like the Colony."
There was a note from Kingery in the playbill which read: "This is a premier of an all-new musical that was created by many artistic minds and is a work in progress." We agree and we hope they keep working on it.