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Playing Dressup

What could be more fashionable than South Beach? Anything, apparently. Despite the tireless efforts of tourism types, the one-time hotspot for the international fabulatti is losing its luster fast. The models, designers, celebrities, paparazzi, and assorted oily hangers-on who at one time descended in droves to the unseemly island are flocking elsewhere. Sure the sporadic award show arrives and the occasional newsmaking ruckus occurs, but when the bits of eccentric culture start scampering across the causeway, there's trouble.

Driven out by astronomical rents, Jim Tommaney, of Española Way's long-running diminutive institution EDGE/Theatre, fled to Broward a while ago and took his theatrical productions with him. Recently he returned to the Miami Beach Woman's Club to do a reading of Merm, his memory play about brash actress Ethel Merman. But that was just a one-night stand. Although South Beach is out of Tommaney's sight, it still weighs heavily on his mind. Witness the latest addition to his oeuvre: the play Couturier. Loosely based on a recently deceased, all too familiar public figure, the story tells of a fashion designer named Gino Servacci who lives, loves, and does business on Miami Beach. Tommaney claims the five-character piece, which presents a fashion show courtesy of designer Sandra Robinson at the end of each act, more specifically addresses "romance and sex and Ocean Drive." Unfortunately it does so from the heart of Miami's increasingly artsy Wynwood neighborhood, not once-snazzy South Beach. The play will be staged at a revitalized theater space in the non Versace-esque Bakehouse Art Complex.


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