Christine Dolen

Joel Murray will head theater at Florida International University

The Palm Beach Dramaworks’ concert version of ‘A Little Night Music’ has been extended.
The Palm Beach Dramaworks’ concert version of ‘A Little Night Music’ has been extended.

This week in South Florida theater brings news that Florida International University has named a new head of its theater department, and Palm Beach Dramaworks has extended the run of A Little Night Music. We also have the details on a pair of free Monday play readings.


Joel Murray, an actor, director, playwright and screenwriter who most recently served as chairman of the Theatre Dance Department at the University of Texas-El Paso, has been named chairman and artistic director of Florida International University’s Department of Theatre. An award-winning educator and performer with numerous film, television and commercial credits, the Los Angeles native served as the play-writing chairman for Region VI of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

A prolific writer who is a member of Actors Equity, the Screen Actors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Murray holds a doctoral degree from Bowling Green State University. Phillip Church, a longtime FIU faculty member, led the department during the lengthy search that led to Murray’s appointment.


Palm Beach Dramaworks’ acclaimed concert presentation of the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical A Little Night Music is such a hit that the run has been extended to July 26. Based on the Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night, the musical is directed by Lynette Barkley, and it features a cast that includes William Michals, Joy Franz, Kim Cozort, Ruthie Stephens, Lillie Ricciardi, Clay Cartland and Cristina Flores.

Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday. Tickets cost $42. Dramaworks is at the Don & Ann Brown Theatre, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. For information, call 561-514-4042 or visit


▪ Ronald Mangravite has crafted a new play based on the 1949 noir novel I Married a Dead Man by Rear Window author Cornell Woolrich. Michael Yawney will direct Michelle L. Antelo, Phillip Church, Ruki Etti, Carolyn Johnson, Lucas Hood, Ivan R. Lopez, Rosey Marie Moreno, Wayne Robinson and Barbara Sloan in a free reading of it at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Florida International University’s Black Box in the Wertheim Performing Arts Center, 10910 SW 17th St., Miami. Call 305-348-2895 for information.

▪ Pigs Do Fly will present a free reading of five new short plays at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale. The scripts are Stuff by Carol White, Exchange, No Returns and Land of Music by E.M. Garcia, The Poetry Curse by Greg Waters and Dream a Little Dream of Me by Todd Caster. Call 954-678-1491 for information.