Performing Arts

July 13, 2014

‘The Dana Plays’ fundraiser uses art to help a passionate theater supporter and others with cancer

Lovett, Harris added to Arsht Center’s Live at Knight lineup.

Dana Castellano is not an actor, director or designer. But because of her work as a board member of the Women’s Theatre Project, connections made when she was with her longtime partner and her enduring passion for the art form, she has a vast network of friends in South Florida’s theater community. Many of those friends are stepping up for an event called The Dana Plays, contributing original short works and their varied talents to a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and Castellano, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cervical cancer in January.

The plays will be read at 8 p.m. Monday at the Miami Theater Center, 9806 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores. On the bill are So I Was Wondering by Christopher Demos-Brown, Lyd by Jessica Farr, The Purple Troll by Tony Finstrom, F**k You, Cancer! by Avi Hoffman, The Opponent by Michael McKeever, Wearing Hope by Deborah L. Sherman, Ex-Communication by Matt Stabile, We’re in the Money by Paul Tei, Be Nice to Me, My Girlfriend Has Cancer by Andie Arthur and one more by Demos-Brown. The event is being coordinated by The Naked Stage’s Antonio Amadeo (he and wife Katherine Amadeo are behind the annual 24-Hour Theatre Project), with Amy London and Hoffman directing.

Participating as actors are Elena Maria Garcia, Gregg Weiner, Sally Bondi, Sofia Citarella, Barbara Bradshaw, Elizabeth Dimon, Clay Cartland, Jeffrey Bruce, Harriet Oser, Angie Radosh, Andy Rogow, Dave Corey, Niki Fridh, Michaela Cronan, Arielle Hoffman, George Schiavone, both Amadeos and Stabile.

The Dana Plays grew from a suggestion Castellano made to the Amadeos when they came to a party she threw to make her pre-chemotherapy head shaving a happier event.

“I said, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s take theater and use it to raise awareness.’ Antonio is so fast, he just ran with it. I’m just speechless. It blows me away how not even an hour-long conversation could blow up to become something so huge,” says Castellano, who will be with her extended family in the audience on Monday. “It will be hard to watch these plays. But I’ll be sitting there with a handkerchief or a box of Kleenex.”

Admission to the one-night-only event is $15. For information, call 305-751-9550 or email Arthur at

Lovett, Harris added

Two new concerts, one by Lyle Lovett and the other by Emmylou Harris, have been added to the Live at Knight series at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Lovett kicks off the series Oct. 16 with an acoustic concert, and Harris follows Nov. 9. Both take place in the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall. Tickets for Lovett’s show are $39-$95, for Harris’ $29-$125.

Also going on sale to the public are tickets to I Love Lucy Live on Stage, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Israeli contemporary dance company Batsheva, the Ballet Nacional de España, the Jazz Roots program Georgia on My Mind: Celebrating Ray Charles, the University of Miami-Arsht production of Peter and the Starcatcher and Zoetic Stage’s Detroit.

The Arsht is located at 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. 305-949-6722 or

Summer musicals

Big musicals are often hard to come by during the summer in South Florida, but lovers of the form have a couple of of choices thanks to an impressive community theater and a musicals-in-concert series.

The Pembroke Pines Theatre of the Performing Arts has opened the biggest production in its 20-year history, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Les Misérables, in the Susan Katz Theatre at the River of Grass Arts Park, 17195 Sheridan St., Pembroke Pines. Professional actor James Cichewicz stars as Jean Valjean in the large-cast, big-budget musical, which runs through Aug. 3. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Tickets are $14-$24. 954-437-4884 or

Palm Beach Dramaworks continues its series of concert-style musicals with Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella beginning Friday and running through July 27. William Michals, whose Broadway credits include Emile in the revival of South Pacific and both Gaston and the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, will play grape farmer Tony Esposito. Jessica Hershberg, recently an alternate in the title role of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella on Broadway, plays Tony’s love Rosabella. Also in the company are Jim Ballard, Jeni Hacker, Laura Hodos, Shane Tanner, Bill J. Adams, Oscar Cheda, Ken Clement, Matthew Korinko, Abby Perkins, Roland Rusinek, Elizabeth Sackett, Stephanie White and Anthony Zoeller. Clive Cholerton directs, with musical direction by Howard Breitbart.

The show previews at 8 p.m. Thursday. After the opening, regular performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday at the Don & Ann Brown Theatre, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Tickets are $40. 561-514-4042 or

Visual arts

• The Museum of Discovery and Science and the Stranahan House present the Great South Florida History Mystery Weekend at the museum on Saturday and again July 20 with activities exploring the area’s rich cultural history. The event happens from noon to 4 p.m. both days. In addition, a limited three-day engagement of the IMAX 3D film D-Day: Normandy 1944 begins Friday and runs through July 20. For show times, visit Combo tickets (history exhibits and IMAX) are $19 ($18 for seniors 65 and older, $15 for children ages 2 to 12). The museum is at 401 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale. 954-713-0930 or
• São Paulo-based artist Laura Vinci unveils Untitled, from the series Papeis Avulsos, with a free opening reception at from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday at ArtCenter/South Florida’s Richard Shack Gallery, 800 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. Vinci’s installations examine historical modernist and avant-garde movements in Brazil through the use of unusual materials like marble dust, frozen electrical tubes, glass bowls filled with water and metal piping, or suspended sheets of paper. The exhibition is on view through Sept. 7. 305-674-8278 or
• New York-based artist and attorney Lisa Beth Older shares her colorful abstract paintings with Wynwood visitors in an exhibition titled Colors at Henrique Souza's House of Art gallery through Aug. 31. See them at 415(B) NW 26th St., Miami. 786-703-5094, 646-320-4171 or visit

In brief

• The Arts & Business Council of Miami is holding a discussion from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday on how to create more participatory art events in the community. Artist Chris Barr, O Miami Poetry Festival’s Melody Santiago Cummings, New World Symphony’s Rayna Davis, Buskerfest Miami’s Amy San Pedro and Justin Trieger are among the participants. The event happens at the Miami Center for Architecture and Design, 100 NE First Ave., Miami, and food, drinks and music are part of the evening. All are welcome. Register at
• Another Cuban dancer who defected to the United States has joined seven fellow National Ballet of Cuba dancers who came to Miami in June. Jaime Reytor, who with the others left Cuba’s leading classical troupe while it was on tour in Puerto Rico, arrived in Miami on Wednesday after a stay in Arizona. He and his colleagues will perform July 27 with the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami, whose director, Pedro Pablo Peña, often provides a transitional or permanent home for dancers fleeing the island. The new arrivals will perform in the mixed program Greatest Selections of the Russian Ballet at 5 p.m. July 27 at Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami. Tickets are $35 to $75 at www.; info at or 786-888-2145.

Christine Dolen, Jordan Levin and Galena Mosovich contributed to this report. Send news to (theater), (dance, pop and Latin music), (visual arts) or (jazz, classical music).

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