Point of View

The Inside Dish from Jersey Boys Cast Members

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is thrilled to have the touring company of the 2006 Tony Award-winning musical, Jersey Boys, on its campus for a three week engagement. This critically acclaimed musical relates the incredible story of how a group of blue collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the biggest American pop sensations of all time – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Playing from March 2nd through March 20th in the Ziff Ballet Opera House, Jersey Boys brings an electrifying cast to Miami. Go backstage with cast members Matt Bailey, Alayna Gallo, and Quinn VanAntwerp, and find out what they are doing in Miami when they aren’t on stage.

October 21, 2010, 6:15 pm
Filed under: Broadway Across America

Straight from the world-famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, the smash hit musical DREAMGIRLS made its Miami premiere at the Adrienne Arsht Center last week!   Miami native, Florida International University graduate, and “American Idol” favorite Syesha Mercado returned to her hometown in a starring role.  Syesha lights up the stage as “Deena,” the role inspired by Diana Ross, later portrayed by Beyónce, and now the perfect vehicle for this stellar Floridian  musical performer! 

We asked Syesha to riff on “Idol” vs. Broadway, coming home to Miami, and stepping on stage in this famous role.  Here are a few thoughts from our hometown  star!

POV: What is it like to go from competing on “American Idol” to touring with this production of Dreamgirls?

Syesha: It’s been a wonderful transition.  I’ve taken all of my experiences from ”Idol” to this show. Broadway requires a lot of discipline and “Idol” sure did teach me what that means!

POV: How does it feel to come back to Miami to perform for your hometown audience?

Syesha: It’s always good to be back home. This will be the first time fans get to see me in a theatrical production. I’m thrilled! 

POV: What has been the hardest part of playing Deena?  The most exciting?

Syesha: The hardest part is all the costume changes… ha!  The most exciting part is the opportunity to use the stage as a way to inspire and motivate others to “Follow their Dreams.”

DREAMGIRLS runs at the Adrienne Arsht Center from October 18-24, 2010.  For more information on DREAMGIRLS and to purchase tickets, click here: www.arshtcenter.org

October 12, 2010, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Broadway Across America, Membership

On Monday, August 20th, a hand-picked group of more than 200 Broadway enthusiasts were greeted with a little slice of Jersey … Jersey Boys, that is.  Three members (Matt Bailey, Alayna Gallo and Christopher Deangelis) of the touring company of the Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys took the Carnival Studio Theater by storm as they gave a behind-the-scenes, sneak preview of the upcoming musical that will be hitting the Ziff Ballet Opera House stage from March 2-20, 2011.   South Florida’s “Voice of Rock’n’Roll”, Rick Shaw, who apparently knows the real Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, was on hand to interview the lead actors in the musical.  Guests were entertained with special live performances as well as some delicious, traditional Italian fare that included pasta, pizza, and cheese cake on a stick! 

Among the many VIPs in attendance were press, group leaders and our very special Marquee Members, a new membership level at the Adrienne Arsht Center that is centered around our Broadway in Miami subscribers.  

Marquee Members’ benefits include exclusive access to our members-only Patrons Salon before every Broadway performance as well as one cast party for the Broadway performance of their choice.  

With all that, our Marquee Members kick started their Broadway season with an all-access invitation to experience Jersey Boys unlike ever before… proof that members really are at the center of it all!

June 3, 2010, 7:11 pm
Filed under: Broadway Across America

Members of the Adrienne Arsht Center staff attended the annual Broadway League Conference in May 2010. There were more than 500 attendees from NYC and around the country, including producers, press agents, artistic directors, booking agents, and marketing professionals.

The conference included four days of workshops that focused on the latest marketing trends, outreach initiatives, as well as negotiation and industry trends. Presentations were made and events were hosted by Broadway’s biggest and most promising new shows, including Tony-nominated Memphis, Million Dollar Quartet, Fela, and American Idiot. Historically, shows that have done well at the Tonys (coming up this June 13th in NYC, and broadcast on CBS) go on a national tour. The Center’s team worked throughout the conference to establish and build relationships with industry influencers to ensure that the best shows come to Miami every year.

Following an enormously successful Broadway in Miami season for 2009-2010, industry leaders at the conference were all ‘abuzz’ about the reemergence of Miami as a major Broadway market, and the producers were lining up to speak to the Center’s programming team about their show’s tours for future seasons. 

The 2010-2011 Broadway in Miami Season was announced in April—a video preview can be viewed here.

My POV: A Guilty One
May 24, 2010, 2:37 am
Filed under: Broadway Across America

As a musical-theater obsessed teen in Miami, I remember sitting in my friend’s car in December of 2006 singing the songs that later became part of my life. A trip to New York in the spring of 2007 followed my curiosity for this show. As an 8th grader I had never seen anything so electrifying on stage in my life. When I heard Spring Awakening was coming to Miami, I knew I wanted to be part of the experience. “The Guilty Ones” (G.O.) -as they called themselves—are a group of Spring Awakening fanatics in every city that helps promote the Tony Award-winning show. I went to the first meeting not really knowing what it was all about. I made an impression on Crystal Chancellor (Promotions Manager) when I showed my enthusiasm for the project. Telling Miami about this great show was a lot harder than I thought, but the one group  that I knew would connect with this show was of my peers and my fellow teenagers.

Raising points to get a lot of “junk” was not my intention of being a G.O. Bringing an audience to that theater was my main goal. As I became a top Guilty One, Crystal asked me to come in a couple of times a week to help with the project. I was so excited to begin working at the Adrienne Arsht Center, even if it was for 3 hours a week. Leaving school at 3:45 and running to the metro mover and again to the theater was a mission I embarked on everyday to bring this show to as many people as I could. Making phone calls, emails, letters, and collecting fellow Guilty One’s points was part of the challenge.


(L-R) Victor Legra with one of the cast members of Spring Awakening.

May 11th was coming very close and I could not wait to see the show live again. Hearing the music again brought me comfort knowing that this show lives on as clean and crisp as the first time I saw it, with a fresh new exciting cast. 

The best experience I have had with this show was sitting ON STAGE. The energy on stage becomes an organized chaos. The cast runs all around you and includes you as part of their show. The set was designed to look like some sort of church yard or class room. The bleachers on each side of the stage creates  the fantasy that the audience is part of the class room. A few ensemble members dressed as regular audience members sing the songs on the bleachers giving us the illusion that a teenager is relating to the piece: a very clever design telling the audience that the piece is timeless and will always be related to true life. During intermission of the show I met the Tony Award -winning director, (Michael Mayer) who brought us Spring Awakening. It was an honor to speak to him about his success with the show, his work, and his new shows (Green Day’s Tony Nominated American Idiot & Sherie Rene Scott’s Tony-nominated Everyday Rapture)

Opening Night was another experience of its own. After the show I was invited with a few of my friends to the opening night cast party. The night started off slow with guests arriving to the party. Once the cast and crew came in, the party began. With a few of us singing karaoke and dancing to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies”, the night was a success. I had a blast with the cast during this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Working as a Guilty One has been a thrill and a pleasure. Everyone at the Adrienne Arsht Center has been very supportive with my work and I hope to work with everyone very soon.

April 8, 2010, 9:11 pm
Filed under: Broadway Across America

Broadway’s hit musical Spring Awakening has captured the hearts and minds of an entire generation of young theatergoers like no other musical since Rent. And as a result, a group known as the The Guilty Ones, comprised of the show’s most ardent young fans, has sprung up in every city the show has played, with a mission to spread the word about the show on their own. The Miami Guilty Ones organized last month, made up mostly of teenage girls and boys, ages 14 through 18, from high schools, colleges and theater companies across the state of Florida.  As the Spring Awakening Miami engagement approaches, the Miami Guilty Ones has become the Adrienne Arsht Center’s official fan club and street team of guerilla marketers on behalf of the musical. 

The Guilty Ones; Photo by Paul Kolnick

Broadway’s most talked about new musical and the biggest Tony Award®-winner in years, (8 awards including Best Musical), has its Miami premiere at the Adrienne Arsht Center, May 11 – 16, 2010.  Set against the backdrop of a repressive and provincial late 19th century Germany—but accompanied by a thoroughly 21st century rock score by Duncan Sheik—Spring Awakening is about self-discovery and budding sexuality as seen through the eyes of three teenagers.  In every city it’s played, from New York to San Francisco, word-of-mouth has been an incredibly influential factor in the show’s success.  And a lot of that has to do with the Guilty Ones

Spring Awakening; Photo by Paul Kolnick

In fact, the Guilty Ones are key to the show’s viral campaign:  posting online blogs, bulletins and banners, sending ecards, and emails – lots of emails.  Our Guilty Ones also distribute Spring Awakening flyers at area shows and events, as well as help with group sales.  And it’s set up as a contest among the group members to see who can help their favorite show the most. The more each Guilty One helps promote the show, the more great prizes he or she receives – exclusive stage seats, show tickets, meet & greets with the cast, after parties, signed posters, tee shirts and more.  The coveted stage seats are the ultimate reward for any Spring Awakening fan because it places them right in the middle of the action, on stage with the cast, experiencing the audience and musical just as the cast members do. 

(The Miami Guilty Ones have exclusive claim on the stage seats until about two weeks before opening, at which point any unclaimed stage seats go on public sale.)

April 8, 2010, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Broadway Across America

Opening night of MAMMA MIA! was truly a celebration as the cast of the beloved Broadway show and more than 50 Broadway in Miami subscribers and members enjoyed delicious baklava and a slice of wedding cake, while mingling with the cast and crew.   Have a look at our  “wedding reception” for MAMMA MIA.


March 29, 2010, 3:03 pm
Filed under: Broadway Across America

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County proudly announced its 5th Anniversary Broadway in Miami 2010-2011/Broadway Across America season on March 21st with an unprecedented line-up of five Tony® Award-winning Miami premiere engagements at the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House.  The 5th Anniversary Season celebrates the Adrienne Arsht Center’s five years as the community town square – a place where our diverse South Florida community can gather for extraordinary performances, free family-friendly events, and meaningful community-building.  With five phenomenal Broadway shows—all five winners of multiple Tony® Awards—the 2010-2011 season promises to deliver an artistic toast to five fabulous years in Miami!

The season kicks off October 2010 with an all-new production of DREAMGIRLS, direct from New York’s Apollo Theater; followed by a December limited holiday engagement: NETworks presents Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST– the enchanting, romantic musical for all generations. March brings in two of Broadway’s biggest blockbusters and Best Musical Tony® winners: JERSEY BOYS, the story of rock ’n roll Hall of Famers, The Four Seasons, followed by the Latino hit musical IN THE HEIGHTS.  June closes the season with HAIR, the 2009 Tony® Award winner for Best Musical Revival. 

(L-R) Adrienne Warren (Lorrell), Syesha Mercado (Deena), Moya Angela (Effie). Photo by Joan Marcus.


Justin Glaser as the Beast and Liz Shivener as Belle. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Recording Studio; (L to R) Steve Gouveia, Joseph Leo Bwarie, Ryan Jesse and Matt Bailey. Photo by Joan Marcus.

(L-R) Sabrina Sloan, Isabel Santiago, Arielle Jacobs, Genny Lis Padilla. Photo by Janet Macoska.

“Our Fifth Anniversary Broadway Season celebrates artistic programming tailor-made for the city of Miami,” said M. John Richard, President and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center. “Our goal is always to use a thoughtful, community-based approach in programming world-class performing arts at the Center, and this selection of Broadway hits offers a diverse sampling of shows for our multi-cultural, multi-generational South Florida audience.”

March 9, 2010, 6:45 pm
Filed under: Broadway Across America

What is a normal day like at the Adrienne Arsht Center when it’s your job to make the witches of Wicked fly?  Welcome to the wonderful world of Daniel Alzuri, Senior Director of Production for the Adrienne Arsht Center and show business production guru extraordinaire.  It takes a village backstage to bring the Citizens of Oz to life onstage, and for Alzuri it all starts three days before the first performance as the 13 Wicked production trucks pull into the Adrienne Arsht Center loading dock.  With 55 local crew members, 12 Wicked advance crew, and 5 Adrienne Arsht Center production staff, Alzuri supervises the show’s “load-in,” – a tightly choreographed schedule of hanging scenery, rigging props, focusing lights, and motorizing special effects.  To the chorus of clanging metal stage sets, and the occasional shout of “pipe coming in!” Alzuri supervises his team of technicians with aplomb. 

Every minute detail is pre-determined, discussed, and mapped out prior to the show’s arrival, so Alzuri and team can work quickly, efficiently, and safely – after only a few hours, the show’s four ton metal marquis dragon looms over the Ziff Ballet Opera House stage as if he just taxied in from Miami International Airport.  In the meantime, Alzuri’s Wicked citizens are rapidly multiplying, as the actors, dancers, wardrobe and hair dressers, orchestra members, and even the official “greener,” who turns actress Donna Vivino that lovely shade of green, take over the backstage area in a flurry of pre-show preparations.  Alzuri serves as the official mayor of this backstage/onstage mini-city, keeping everyone happy as the minutes tick down to show time.  Although his work may be largely invisible to the patron sitting in the theater, in truth his performance is just as breathtaking as Glinda’s.  As a show business veteran, Alzuri has seen it all: “Crossing the Atlantic in a rowboat is a challenge.  Losing your oars in the water is a problem,” he says with a sly smile.  And then he’s off to check on the flying broomsticks!

February 5, 2010, 3:22 am
Filed under: Broadway Across America

The Adrienne Arsht Center makes its Broadway debut as one of the producers of The Addams Family, a new musical starring two-time Tony® Award winners Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez and Morticia Addams. With book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (Jersey Boys), music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party), choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys) and direction by Jerry Zaks (Guys and Dolls), The Addams Family is scheduled to open on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre April 8, 2010 following its record-breaking pre-Broadway run in Chicago this winter.



In this original story, the famously macabre Addams Family – Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Fester, Grandmama and Lurch – are put to the test when outsiders come to dinner – hurling the family headlong into a night that will change them forever.

“The Adrienne Arsht Center is thrilled to be part of bringing the new musical The Addams Family to Broadway,” says CEO John Richard. “When the Center opened in 2006, the Board of Directors made a commitment by investing and becoming a partner in Elephant Eye Theatrical, the exciting new theatrical and development company, in order to take a pro-active role in the creation of exciting new plays and musicals for Broadway, our home here in Miami and for stages around the world.”

The Center joins producing teams from 15 of the country’s leading performing arts centers, including The Citi Performing Arts Center in Boston and Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, becoming major players in shaping the future of the American musical theater. As shows are developed and ready for production, they will debut on Broadway, then first play at member’s theaters and, finally, at unaffiliated markets across the U.S. and around the world.

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