September 3 - 9, 2004 • Vol. 24 - No. 36

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The Maven and The Blonde
Invade Las Vegas—An Invasion this Town
has Never Seen Before!

 by The Maven and The Blonde
Staff Writers

We recently took an 11-day tour of Las Vegas to review the shows for our readers. We based ourselves at the Mirage, as it is central to most of the Starbucks around town—a total necessity for The Blonde. Each day, we visited the malls in the hotels as well as shopping malls for the benefit of our readers. Okay, okay, that was for our own benefit, too. Our nights were spent at shows and restaurants. Late night events we keep to ourselves! But for an extra fee, The Blonde might talk.
We thought you should know about some of the shows so that you can better plan your trip to Las Vegas. Stay tuned throughout the next couple of weeks for more of our exciting Las Vegas reviews, advice and tips.

Mystère—An Enchanting Fantasy
How They Do it All Remains an
Enchanting Mystery to Us!


Mystère is the show that changed the face of Las Vegas entertainment. It is Vegas’ longest running Cirque du Soleil show. The Treasure Island Hotel and Casino commemorated its 5,000th performance on June 27th, 2004. Mystère has had over seven million visitors from around the world. This wonderful show is from Cirque du Soleil, the company that has become synonymous with completely unique theatrical productions. It is interesting to know that Cirque du Soleil was formed in 1984 by a troupe of street performers known as “Le Club des talons hauts.”

Mystère is a celebration of life; a voyage to the very heart of life where past, present and future merge, and all our emotions converge. Mystère is the enigma of time, the bearer of hopes and dreams, but also of tragedy. It is above all the remembrance of time past, memories of life unfolding following its course and ultimately surviving against all odds.

This Las Vegas production is directed by the brilliant Franco Dragone. Mystère begins with a wake-up call provided by pounding drums. A pair of babies making their way in a world filled with strange creatures and brilliant colors. There is a misguided clown who can bring this smooth-running production to a grinding halt. Add acrobats, contortionists, dancers, comedy, and musicians who serve as guides on a journey to the edge of human potential, and it can only mean one thing…Mystère…

The Blonde: Go, Go, Go!  See this amazing production. All ages will have a wonderful and moving experience. It is a lovely, abstract journey into the unusual. A fun, clean, wholesome, great time and, most important of all, you can buy popcorn and bring it into the theater.

The Maven: I have seen four other Cirque du Soleil shows and this one was as unique and special as all of the others. From the clowns to the acrobats, I was captivated, enthralled, and I think a bit jealous.

The Blonde: I know! Getting their bodies to do all those amazing feats… I can’t even get myself up after bending down to pick up jewelry that I drop occasionally on the floor without complaining….

The Maven: Amazing feats aside, I was actually referring to the make-up and costumes.

The Blonde: Oh that stuff! I already have that in my closet…

The Maven: Even though you know a funny character will infiltrate the audience prior to the show, you will still enjoy the thrill of it. Clown Brian LePetit looks like a mad scientist posing as an usher who misdirects audience members around the theater. If you don’t have popcorn, he will take it from another and give it to you—as I found out the hard way. Don’t worry, though. Your popcorn will be replaced by a real usher waiting in the wings.

The Blonde: So if you knew that Maven, why did you smack him with your purse? But knowing you with your popcorn, it was actually understandable. Moving on!  It was mind-boggling how these people contort their bodies the way they do. It is at times even hard to believe your own eyes. I wish I could do that with my body…
The Maven: I’m sure you do!
The Blonde: It doesn’t seem possible to physically do what these performers do. They demonstrate such unbelievable body control and strength. It made me stop and think of what a chiropractor or orthopedic surgeon thinks of this kind of manipulation to the human body. One thing for sure, you really have to like the person a lot that you have contorting on your back. This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Get off my back!”
The Maven: Anyway…all the acts—too many to name—are accompanied by a live orchestra that was conducted by Jean-Fransous Brissette. I loved this music!

The Blonde: I totally agree. The musicians, sound effects, and singers were all a feast to ones ears.

The Maven: When you go to Las Vegas, put Mystère at the top of your list. A++. Not to be missed...

The Blonde: No matter if you’re 1 or 101, you will enjoy Mystère. This is among just one of the great shows we will be telling you about. I rate this show an A. Maven, get off my back! We tried this already in the hotel after the show and we can’t do it! Don’t you remember the room next door complaining about the noise when we fell?! Ten times...

The Maven: Practice makes perfect.

The Blonde: You practice!  I’m going to Starbucks…

P.S. Readers:  Whatever you do, don’t miss O in Las Vegas, either! Oh what a truly amazing show O is. There are no words glorious enough to even describe it. An absolute “must must” see. We both agree that this is the finest show in Vegas, or anywhere for that matter. An A++…

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
To Play South Florida for Three Weeks Only

Tickets are now on sale for the National Tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s landmark musical, Oklahoma! for the two-week Fort. Lauderdale engagement, October 5-17 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts; and on Sunday, August 29, for the one-week run at Palm Beach’s Raymond F. Kravis Center, October 19 – 24.

This newly conceived national tour, with direction by Fred Hanson and choreography by Ginger Thatcher, is adapted from the Cameron Mackintosh presentation of the Royal National Theatre production directed by Trevor Nunn with choreography by Susan Stroman recently seen in London and on Broadway. The original designs of Anthony Ward (sets and costumes) and David Hersey (lighting) will be recreated for the tour.

Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs, Oklahoma! was Rodgers & Hammerstein’s first collaboration and remains, in many ways their most innovative, having set the standards for modern musical theatre featuring such classic musical numbers as “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” “People Will Say We’re In Love,” “The Surrey with the Fringe On Top” and the title song. Set in the territory of Oklahoma at the turn of the century, against a background of the rivalry between cattlemen and farmers, Oklahoma! is the story of the farm girl Laurey and the two rivals for her affection: the cowboy Curly and Jud, the brooding farmhand.

Written in 1943, Oklahoma! became an instant hit and classic for Rodgers & Hammerstein, launching a remarkable career that went on to include Carousel, The King and I, South Pacific and The Sound of Music. The longest-running musical of its time—a record held for 15 years—Oklahoma! also generated a decade-long US National Tour: a record-setting original West End run at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and over 30,000 productions to date in more than one dozen languages. The 1955 film version directed by Fred Zimmerman and produced by Rodgers & Hammerstein, starred Shirley Jones, Gordon MacRae and Rod Steiger.

Oklahoma! has been honored with numerous awards including a special Pulitzer Prize, two Academy Awards, and honorary Grammy and a special Tony® Award. In 1993, it became the first Broadway musical commemorated in a US postage stamp and a recent survey by New York’s Drama League deemed Oklahoma! “the Best Musical of the Century.”

Performances run Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8pm, with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2pm and additional performances Sunday, October 10 at 7:30pm, Wednesday, October 13 at 2pm, and Wednesday, October 20 at 2pm.

Tickets for the Broward Center engagement ranging from $21 - $64 can be purchased in person, by phone and Internet through the Broward Center AutoNation Box Office at 954-462-0222 or Tickets for the Kravis Center engagement ranging $20 - $71 can be purchased in person at the Kravis Center Box Office and by phone at 561-832-7469 or 800-572-8471. Tickets are also available through TicketMaster outlets, TicketMaster online at or by calling TicketMaster at 954-523-3309 in Broward, 305-358-5885 in Dade and 561-966-3309 in Palm Beach. Groups of 20 or more please call 1-800-6-GROUPS. For more information, visit or
 1. Brandon Andrus as Curly and Amanda Rose as Laurey in Oklahoma!
 Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus, 2004

GableStage at The Biltmore Announces
its 25th Anniversary Season

Having opened as Florida Shakespeare Theatre in 1979, the GableStage at The Biltmore is pleased to announce its 25th anniversary season, with six award-winning plays, six Florida premieres and six exciting theatrical experiences. In honor of the celebration, season membership is only $160, now through September 12, which is a savings of $50 over single ticket prices; after September 12, season membership is $175 (one show free).

The season is as follows:
October 9 - November 7—Frozen by Bryony Lavery—A drama that explores the moral and emotional effect of serial killings on both the relatives of victims and the murderer—when three people are drawn together by horrific circumstances.
December 4 - January 2—Bug by Tracy Letts—A thriller about a Gulf War veteran who is convinced that the government is implanting real live bugs inside our bodies to control us—from the author of Killer Joe.

January 29 - February 27—The Retreat from Moscow by William Nicholson—The powerful story of a husband who decides to be truthful in his marriage and of the wife and son whose lives will never be the same again.

March 26 - May 1—The Syringa Tree by Pamela Gien—One actress plays 24 characters—in a deeply evocative story about two families, one black, one white, in early 1960’s South Africa.

May 28 - June 26—A Bad Friend by Jules Feiffer—Set in the 1950’s during the McCarthy era, a Brooklyn family is in the red glare of the anxiety engendered by the paranoia of the times.

July 23 - August 21—Blue Surge by Rebecca Gilman—The author of Boy Gets Girl gives us an intimate look at the class struggle in America today—with cops and hookers chasing the American Dream.
GableStage is located at 1200 Anastasia Ave, Coral Gables. For more information, call 305-445-1119 or visit

Eric Jerome Dickey’s Best-Selling Novel,
Friends and Lovers, Comes to the Theater


The revolutionary production company, I’m Ready Productions, adapts the widely popular best-selling novel Friends and Lovers for the stage and ventures out on tour. The Fall leg of the tour begins September 7 in Jacksonville, Florida, and will sweep the country with an all-star cast, ending November 23 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Friends and Lovers arrives at the James L. Knight Center in Miami on September 9 and continues there through the 12th.

Friends and Lovers tells a story of two sets of best friends: Leonard and Tyrel, and Debra and Shelby. Leonard meets Shelby and Tyrel meets Debra. The two couples fall in love and the challenges abound. When Debra meets Leonard, a successful comedian with complications of his own, she has just gotten off the sex-before-marriage merry-go-round. If he wants to ride, he will have to produce the gold ring. 

Tyrel, a sexy computer software designer, has troubles finding a good woman and certainly doesn’t think he’s capable of loving one. This changes when he meets the cynical, yet good-natured woman Shelby. Both are in for a life change when they have to face their fears, challenge jealousy and test friendships. 

The stage is set for an uncensored, hilarious, and outrageously entertaining adventure in seduction, betrayal, heartbreak, revenge and true love. Friends and Lovers teaches one to appreciate and recognize true friendship and love when they grace our lives.

I’m Ready Productions was co-founded in Houston, Texas in 1998 by the visionary team of Je’Caryous Johnson and Gary Guidry. The pair has created a professional touring production company devoted to personal and community awareness through cultural theater arts enrichment. Their mission is to entertain, teach and enlighten through storytelling and music. In just a few short years, I’m Ready has transformed the urban theater genre through the quality of their productions, which appeal to a broad cross-section of theatergoers. 

The star-studded cast of Friends and Lovers includes Leon (Waiting to Exhale, The Five Heartbeats), Monica Calhoun (The Best Man, The Players Club), Miguel A. Nunez, Jr. (Juwanna Man), Mel Jackson (Soul Food, Deliver Us From Eva), Maia Campbell (In The House, Trippin’) and Lavell Crawford (ComicView).
The company gained attention when they broke box office records in several cities with the national tours of their stage musicals, Men Cry in the Dark (2002) and Maintenance Man (2003), both based on best-selling novels by Michael Baisden.

Eric Jerome Dickey is a New York Times best-selling author and two-time NAACP Image Award nominee. In addition to Friends and Lovers, his novels include Sister, Sister, Milk in My Coffee, Cheaters, Liar’s Game, Between Lovers and Thieves’ Paradise. His books have held steady positions on regional bestseller lists and have been featured in many publications, including Essence, USA Today, Detroit Free Press, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.
Tickets are available through TicketMaster,, or, for more information and updates, visit

Lavender Footlights Festival
Returns to Miami

Creative Arts Enterprises proudly announces the Second Annual Lavender Footlights Festival of New Plays to be presented September 9-12 in the Miami Design District. Always on the lookout for new and alternative spaces for theatre, CAE has decided to present four nights of theatre at the Newton Building at 3901 NE Second Avenue in Miami.

This year’s festival is jammed with play readings, parties, an open forum with playwrights and directors, and a late night musical cabaret. “We are slowly building this event to showcase the wonderful artists living in South Florida who are interested in presenting new works based upon gay themes for the theatre audience,” remarked Producer Ellen Wedner. “We are so thrilled to welcome our special guest, Artistic Director David Zak of the Bailiwick Repertory Theatre in Chicago. They have been producing award-winning Gay & Lesbian Theater for 22 years, so we know David will bring some wonderful insights to this festival.”

Working with award-winning South Florida directors Barry Steinman and Rich Simone, along with City Theatre’s Gail Garrisan and local actor and writer Ricky J. Martinez, the team has come up with some insightful and exhilarating work by legendary gay theatre authors such as Edmund De Santis, Doric Wilson and Julie Jensen. “We are proud to present a short work by local journalist and writer, Mary Damiano, of Ft. Lauderdale this year as we seek to encourage playwrights in our midst to tackle the GLBT themes in our lives,” cited Barry Steinman.

CAE will be keeping the ticket costs at a minimum again this year but offering the musical cabaret as a fundraiser for future events this coming season. Look for announcements of musical entertainment during the year that will hopefully transform the ideas of what gay theater is really about. 
“There’s more to the GLBT lifestyle than dance music, as encountered in this year’s Festival selections,” says Doug Williford, Artistic Director of CAE, “We are beginning the transformation of theatre so that Miami will have its own pride showcase for artists.”

The Second Annual Lavender Footlights Festival will take place from September 9 – 12 in the Newton Building, 3901 NE 2 Ave., Miami Design District. Tickets are $10 for single shows; $30 for musical cabaret (Friday or Saturday); and $35 for the show with cabaret (Friday or Saturday).
For more information about the Festival, call 305-573-2753 or visit

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