Performing Arts

New short plays, ‘Mahalia’ on tap for South Florida

Francine Ealey-Murphy, Deana Rahming and Johnny Sanders appear in M Ensemble’s ‘Mahalia.’
Francine Ealey-Murphy, Deana Rahming and Johnny Sanders appear in M Ensemble’s ‘Mahalia.’ Deborah Gray Mitchell

A number of new productions are getting ready to open in South Florida, but a short play program in Fort Lauderdale and a gospel musical in Miami get a jump start this week.

▪ New short comedies by Michael McKeever, Michael Leeds, Marj O’Neill-Butler, Charles West, John Kane, Jeffrey Strausser and Marv Siegel will get their premieres when Pigs Do Fly Productions presents a program titled No Fear of Flying at Andrews Living Arts from Thursday through May 24. McKeever’s Mitzi Has a Meltdown and Leeds’ The Lie were commissioned by the company; West’s The European Plan, Kane’s Long Story, Strausser’s There’s Still Time, O’Neill-Butler’s They Called It Teasing and Siegel’s Signals were chosen from nearly 300 submissions.

Beverly Blanchette, Todd Caster, Harry Marsh, Michael H. Small, Elissa Solomon, Carol Sussman and Donna Warfield are the seasoned actors who appear in the plays, which are directed by O’Neill-Butler and Elena Maria Garcia. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25. Call 866-811-4111 or visit

▪ Miami’s M Ensemble has produced Mahalia, A Gospel Musical before. But for its new production of the Tom Stolz show about the great gospel singer and civil rights activist Mahalia Jackson, the company has found a fits-like-a-glove venue: Bethel Apostolic Temple. John Pryor is directing the piece, which features Francine Ealey-Murphy, Deana Rahming and Johnny Sanders, with accompaniment by pianist Elijah Gee.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday at Bethel, 1855 NW 119th St., Miami. Tickets are $25, with discounts for groups of 10 or more. For information, call 305-893-3551 or visit