Tuesday, September 7, 2010

ArtsBuzz: Palm Beach Dramaworks moving to Cuillo Centre‭

The Cuillo Centre for the Arts, at right.

WEST PALM BEACH‭ ‬--‭ ‬Like many a local resident in this downbeat economy,‭ ‬Palm Beach Dramaworks has decided to rent instead of buy.

Long in the market for a new theater to replace its current‭ ‬85-seat digs,‭ ‬the‭ ‬10-year-old professional theater company in West Palm Beach announced today it will be signing a‭ ‬20-year lease to move into the Cuillo Centre for the Arts at Clematis and Narcissus,‭ ‬with a grand opening expected in November‭ ‬2011.

Dramaworks had been looking at a variety of theater sites over the years,‭ ‬as far away as Palm Beach Gardens,‭ ‬but West Palm Mayor Lois Frankel has been working to keep the organization in the city.‭ ‬She succeeded by persuading the local Community Redevelopment Agency‭ (‬CRA‭) ‬to purchase the building from former car dealer and occasional Broadway producer Bob Cuillo and leasing it to move Dramaworks.

In recent years,‭ ‬Dramaworks had been in negotiations with Cuillo to buy the building themselves,‭ ‬but could never reach a satisfactory agreement.‭ ‬The lease offers a purchase option within the first six years.‭ ‬

The theater,‭ ‬a former movie house as well as home to Florida Repertory Theatre,‭ ‬was dark for many years before reopening in‭ ‬1999‭ ‬as the residence of the short-lived Burt Reynolds Institute of Theatre Training.‭ ‬At the time,‭ ‬it was renovated with a love-it-or-hate-it steeply raked auditorium that offered excellent sight lines but treacherous entry and exit,‭ ‬particularly for senior audience members.

Dramaworks intends to gut the theater and reconfigure the seating in a larger version of its current auditorium.‭ ‬At the moment,‭ ‬the Cuillo seats‭ ‬377.‭ ‬Expected seating capacity after the reconfiguration will be about‭ ‬250‭ ‬seats.‭

The CRA board voted to‭ “‬conditionally approve‭” ‬the purchase for‭ ‬$2.85‭ ‬million.‭ ‬Like Florida Stage,‭ ‬which moved to a larger facility within the Kravis Center this summer,‭ ‬Dramaworks will soon have the potential to produce a greater variety of plays,‭ ‬since the Cuillo space will eliminate its current limitations of set changes,‭ ‬wing and fly space,‭ ‬and stage entrances.‭

Violinist Chee-Yun.
South Florida Symphony expands concert series into West Palm Beach

The South Florida‭ ‬Symphony,‭ ‬in its role as concert presenter,‭ ‬has announced a‭ ‬lineup of classical‭ ‬music programs for the season that‭ ‬for the first time‭ ‬will reach Palm Beach County.

The orchestra,‭ ‬which‭ ‬until earlier this‭ ‬year was the Key West Symphony,‭ ‬has presented similar series in Monroe County for more than a decade,‭ ‬but last year began‭ ‬hosting‭ ‬them further north.‭ ‬For the second season,‭ ‬the orchestra is‭ ‬welcoming two high-profile violinists,‭ ‬one each to the first two of its five concerts.

Chee-Yun,‭ ‬the‭ ‬celebrated‭ ‬South Korean‭ ‬violinist,‭ ‬will perform the Violin Concerto of Beethoven‭ (‬in D,‭ ‬Op.‭ ‬61‭) ‬with the orchestra on‭ ‬Oct.‭ ‬6‭ ‬in Key West,‭ ‬on‭ ‬Oct.‭ ‬7‭ ‬at the Broward Center‭ ‬and‭ ‬Oct.‭ ‬9‭ ‬at the Lincoln Theatre on Miami Beach.‭ ‬Conductor Sebrina Maria Alfonso will also lead the‭ ‬group in the‭ ‬Academic Festival‭ ‬Overture of Brahms and the‭ ‬Enigma Variations of Sir Edward‭ ‬Elgar.

The fine Canadian‭ ‬violinist‭ ‬Lara‭ ‬St.‭ ‬John‭ ‬appears Dec.‭ ‬1‭ ‬at Key West‭’‬s Tennessee Williams Theatre,‭ ‬on Dec.‭ ‬2‭ ‬at the Broward Center and Dec.‭ ‬5‭ ‬at the Lincoln Theatre.‭ ‬She‭’‬ll perform Mozart‭’‬s Concerto No.‭ ‬3‭ (‬in G,‭ ‬K.‭ ‬216‭) ‬and Sarasate‭’‬s‭ ‬Ziegunerweisen‭; ‬Alfonso will lead the orchestra in the Beethoven Fourth Symphony‭ (‬in B-flat,‭ ‬Op.‭ ‬60‭)‬.

Pianist Barry Douglas,‭ ‬a frequent South Florida concert guest during the season,‭ ‬handles the huge Brahms Second Concerto‭ (‬in B-flat,‭ ‬Op.‭ ‬83‭) ‬in a concert at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach on Jan.‭ ‬30.‭ ‬He‭’‬s in Key West on Jan.‭ ‬28‭ ‬and at the Broward Center Feb.‭ ‬1,‭ ‬and the orchestra also will perform‭ ‬the‭ ‬Masquerade Suite of Aram Khachaturian and the‭ ‬Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis,‭ ‬by‭ ‬the‭ ‬English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.‭

Miami native and part-time Pompano Beach resident Ellen Taaffe Zwilich sees two of her pieces on the fourth and‭ ‬fifth‭ ‬concerts‭ ‬in the‭ ‬series.‭ ‬The Sima Trio performs the Zwilich Septet for piano trio and string quartet,‭ ‬which‭ ‬had its Florida premiere earlier this year at the Kravis.‭ ‬Also on the program are the‭ ‬Brandenburg‭ ‬Concerto No.‭ ‬3‭ ‬of Bach and the‭ ‬String‭ ‬Sextet No.‭ ‬2‭ (‬in G,‭ ‬Op.‭ ‬36‭) ‬of Brahms.‭ ‬Concerts are set for March‭ ‬2‭ ‬in Key West,‭ ‬March‭ ‬3‭ ‬at‭ ‬the‭ ‬Broward Center,‭ ‬and‭ ‬March‭ ‬7‭ ‬on the new Frank Gehry-designed campus of the New World‭ ‬Symphony in Miami Beach.

Pianist Adam Golka joins the orchestra on April‭ ‬29‭ ‬in Key West,‭ ‬May‭ ‬1‭ ‬at the Broward Center,‭ ‬and‭ ‬May‭ ‬2‭ ‬at the Gehry campus for‭ ‬the‭ ‬perennially popular Tchaikovsky Concerto No.‭ ‬1‭ (‬in B-flat minor,‭ ‬Op.‭ ‬23‭)‬.‭ ‬Zwilich‭’‬s Fifth Symphony also is on the program with the‭ ‬Festive Overture of Dmitri Shostakovich.

Alfonso said the concert series marks a move‭ ‬by the‭ ‬orchestra to raise its‭ ‬arts profile.

‭“We are committed to becoming leaders in the cultural landscape of South Florida by striving to present high-level classical programming,‭ ‬world-class guest artists,‭ ‬introducing new works and most importantly to become a leader‭ ‬in music education for the area,‭”‬ she wrote in an e-mail message.‭ ‬“We are seeking grants,‭ ‬sponsorships and partnerships that will allow us this privilege.‭”‬

For more information about the series and ticket sales,‭ ‬call‭ ‬800-775-4086‭ ‬or visit www.southfloridasymphony.org.

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