As artistic director of Miami's Teatro Avante and the International Hispanic Theatre Festival, Mario Ernesto Sanchez is finding out that in a post-9/11 world, running such a festival requires some psychic abilities. Who would have guessed Spain's government would abruptly change hands, thereby affecting a Spanish theater group's plans to perform in Miami? When the company Al Suroeste Teatro pulled out of the festival just a few days ago, it cited "political problems." Luckily for South Florida's young theatergoers, Spain's Teatro de Malta will be here to headline the festival's annual International Children's Day with its original work, De Viaje Por Gloria Fuertes (A Journey Around Gloria Fuertes), today and tomorrow at Miami Dade College's Homestead and InterAmerican campuses, respectively. The performance is the final event in the acclaimed Cultura del Lobo Performance Series. International Children's Day has been a consistent feature of the festival, now in its 19th year, in order to cultivate young audiences and provide free theater to all of the county's children.
Marking their first appearance at the festival, Teatro de Malta actors Señor Antropelli and Doña Pito Piturra have created an unusual crocodile circus that will take children on a journey through Africa and parts beyond. But as Sanchez points out, Teatro de Malta is first and foremost "a journey into the imagination that transcends language and is accessible to children and adults alike." The actors combine interactive theater and acrobatics inspired by the words of renowned Spanish poet Gloria Fuertes, who penned some 100 books for children and adults. As an extra treat, on Sunday only at the InterAmerican Campus, Miami Dade College's theater group Prometeo will precede Teatro de Malta with a performance version of the classic tale Pinocchio.
Teatro de Malta performs De Viaje Por Gloria Fuertes (A Journey Around Gloria Fuertes) at 5:00 p.m. Saturday, June 12, at Miami Dade College, Homestead Campus, 500 College Terr; and at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, June 13, at Miami Dade College, InterAmerican Campus, 627 SW 27th Ave. Admission to all shows is free. Call 305-237-3010. -- By Mia Leonin
Summertime Sounds Unleashed
Celebrating the end of the school year is not limited to the students who traditionally toss their notebooks in the air and spray each other with shaving cream. Teachers also rejoice in a much-needed break. For Matthew Sabatella (below) and Maria Marocka, music teachers at Biscayne Gardens Elementary School, the summer spell means they have more time to perform their acoustic music. Sabatella is known in local circles for digging up American songs from the 19th and early 20th centuries. His ongoing project, Ballad of America, featured at the Miami Art Museum's exhibit "American Tableaux," is set to be released on CD this month. Marocka brings her love of hip-hop and background in classical piano to her repertoire. She describes her music as "modern, heartfelt rock performed with true passion." The pair will perform alternating sets all night long. Think of it as a release from the school-district yoke. Just don't get crazy with the shaving cream. Sabatella and Marocka perform at 8:00 p.m. at Luna Star Café, 775 NE 125th St., North Miami. Admission is $5. Call 305-799-7123. -- By Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Musicians unite for fallen colleague
Known as one of Miami's top drummers during local music's halcyon days in the 1990s, Eric Haase (right) set the rhythm for popular bands Manchild and Raw B Jae & the Liquid Funk. This past February he suffered a serious brain aneurysm. Currently undergoing rehabilitation and showing marked improvement, Haase, like many of his fellow musicians, isn't swimming in pools overflowing with greenbacks. In fact he's going to need plenty of help to cover expensive hospital and rehab bills. In early April, Haase's musical friends in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, where he was living, put on a benefit concert for him. Tonight at Churchill's (5501 NE 2nd Ave.), his Miami-based buddies do the same. On the bill: Raw B Jae & the Liquid Funk, the Hoovers, Clambake, the Dharma Bomb, and many special guests. Showtime is 10:00. Admission is $5 and raffle tickets will be sold to raise additional funds. Call 305-757-1807. -- By Nina Korman
Spring has sprung, and with it the 25th annual Spring Dance Recital from the Inner City Children's Touring Dance Company. In Baby Take a Bow, more than 100 children as young as 2 years old, and on up through adults, will perform a number of dance pieces in tap and ballet, including one selection -- in the too-cute-for-words category -- featuring children with their fathers. The company was founded in 1973 by Florene Nichols, who is still at the helm, to give kids mostly 6 years old and under from Miami's inner-city neighborhoods the opportunity to learn a variety of dance techniques from Katherine Dunham to West African. This year the company celebrates its new digs in the recently completed $4.5 million Carrie Meek Cultural Center in Hadley Park, featuring 2 dance spaces and a performance theater. The recital starts at 4:00 p.m. at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium, 5400 NW 22nd Ave. Tickets range from $3 to $15. Call 305-758-1577. -- By John Anderson