Current Stage Shows

A Picasso: Picture this: Bearlike Pablo Picasso sits in a dark stone cellar amid stacks of paintings, staring intently at his beautiful female model, who happens to be a Nazi official. As the woman begins to disrobe, Picasso sketches furiously, and despite the dank, dark surroundings, you can feel the temperature rise. That's the most memorable moment in A Picasso, but unfortunately it's the final one. John Tillinger's staging is superior, as are veteran performers Peter Michael Goetz and Lucie Arnaz, but Jeffrey Hatcher's two-character drama is written as an intermissionless one-acter that feels like the first part of something more: Just when Goetz and Arnaz get going, the whole thing is over. -- RM Through May 9. Coconut Grove Playhouse, 3500 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove. 305-442-4000.

Flyin' West: Set in 1898, Flyin' West follows three black sisters who've left the South and struck out on their own, settling in Nicodemus, Kansas. The hardships of freedom and independence are compounded by their struggle to protect themselves from white speculators trying to buy their land and splinter their community. Carolyn Johnson steals the show with her charismatic portrayal of Miss Leah, matriarchal neighbor to the three sisters, who are superbly depicted by Laverne Lewis, Carey Hart, and Lela Elam. The role of blacks in America's westward expansion is not widely known. Flyin' West does an admirable job conveying the story, in particular that of the three sisters, who ultimately find in themselves the strength to survive and build a future. -- CR Through May 9. The M Ensemble Actors Studio, 12320 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami. 305-895-8955.

White People: The deeply buried racial prejudice in white America is the subject of J.T. Rogers's series of poetic monologues, a powerful, disturbing theatrical event. Tracking three characters -- a bitter blue-collar woman, a bewildered New York professor, and a hard-driving attorney -- Rogers hammers home his thematic points relentlessly in this intermissionless show. Rafael de Acha's production features a solid acting ensemble, with Bruce Miller a standout as the attorney who's aghast when his estranged teen son commits a dreadful racial hate crime. -- RM Through May 16. New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables. 305-443-5909.

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Ronald Mangravite
Cristina Rich