The M Ensemble does Crossroad Blues
By Samm-Art Williams. Through June 26 at the Lightbox Theatre at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26th St., Miami; 305-576-4350; miamilightproject.com. Admission is $25 general, $20 for students and seniors.
To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the M Ensemble brings this tale of woe and redemption — which garnered Tony and Drama Desk awards when the Negro Ensemble Company performed it on Broadway in 1980 — to the local stage. Cephus Miles's story is not a happy one. First he has the misfortune of being born black into the Jim Crow-era South. Then his childhood sweetheart marries a career man while she's away at college. Next he gets drafted into the Vietnam War. He resists and is imprisoned for five years as a draft dodger. Once released, he learns that his farm has been sold and he must take work as a manual laborer. But just as he finds himself homeless on the streets, his luck begins to change. He learns that a mysterious benefactor has purchased his old farm for him. After a 13-year absence, Miles hardly recognizes his now-integrated hometown, appropriately named Crossroads, and he is amazed and a little humbled by the identity of his secret patron. The lesson: Always keep an eye out for a happy ending. Amanda Mccorquodale
By various authors. Through June 26 at the Arsht Center's Carnival Studio Theater, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722; arshtcenter.org. Tickets cost $45.
This year's Summer Shorts called for something spicier, hipper, and more provocative in a series of seven short plays performed back-to-back at the Arsht Center's Carnival Studio Theater. And it looks like City Theatre found its man in Queer Eye for the Straight Guy star Jai Rodriguez. Among the diverse and assorted shorts that will feature him are Chronicle Simpkins Will Cut Your Ass, a play about a gang war set on the playground; Aboard the Guy V. Molinari, where two ship passengers thrown overboard unexpectedly find their port in a storm; and Mickey Herman Saves the *%#@^* Universe, a manga-like comedy about a broken-hearted gamer who wagers the fate of the planet against alien invaders. One of the more serious plays is Israel Horovitz's thought-provoking What Strong Fences Make, an emotionally charged drama about two friends who clash at an Israeli checkpoint. "There are funny plays, and there are plays that are going to make people cry." Rodriguez says. "So there really is something for everyone." Chris Joseph
Fool for Love
By Sam Shepard. Through June 26 at Alliance Theatre Lab, 6766 Main St., Miami Lakes; 305-259-0418; thealliancetheatrelab.com. Tickets cost $25 ($15 for students and seniors).
Sam Shepard's mythic play Fool for Love is set in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert and tells the story of Eddie and May, two young lovers who also happen to be half-siblings. Eddie is a rough-spoken rodeo performer; May is a disheveled girl looking for stability. They battle over Eddie's frequent disappearing acts, his numerous love affairs, and their on-again/off-again dysfunctional but all-too-ardent relationship. At times their squabbles become physically violent. All the while, the ghost of their dead father watches over them, swigging a bottle of whiskey while commenting on what he sees unfolding. It's a haunting tale of crazy love, desperation, and the powerlessness of inflamed passion. Chris Joseph
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