Coconut Grove Has U.S. Premiere of Halpern & Johnson, Plus Jolson & Co. in 2003-04

News   Coconut Grove Has U.S. Premiere of Halpern & Johnson, Plus Jolson & Co. in 2003-04
 
Coconut Grove Playhouse in the Miami area will stage the American premiere of Halpern & Johnson, a play inspired by a 1984 film that starred Jackie Gleason and Laurence Olivier, March 16-April 4, 2004.

The play by Lionel Goldstein is about "two very opposite men" who "meet at the gravesite of Mrs. Halpern," according to Coconut Grove production notes. "Although unknown to each other, each had close ties with the now deceased Flo. During the course of the play, Halpern and Johnson's relationship arcs from dislike and disdain to a fond, warm and often humorous experience."

The 1984 HBO film script evolved into a stage play a decade later and has been performed from Israel to Argentina to Australia. This marks the American premiere.

The 2003-04 season for the not-for-profit begins with Charles Busch's The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Nov. 4-30, heralding a slate that will include Theodore Bikel, the musical Jolson & Company and more.

Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt's popular North American play with music, 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, plays Dec. 9-Jan. 4, 2004. Performed by Mark Anders and Carl J. Danielsen (who replace original creator/performers Richard Greenlatt and Ted Dykstra), the piece "covers musical maestros from Beethoven and Bach to Billy Joel as the actor-pianists take on many roles, including teachers, parents and even the ghost of Antonio Vivaldi. Every child who has taken a music lesson or adult who thought they shoulda/coulda/woulda been a star will relate to the music, antics and characters."

Broadway's Theodore Bikel stars in The Chosen, Jan. 13-Feb. 8, 2004. The adaptation is by Aaron Posner and Chaim Potok, from Potok's 1967 novel. "This 1940s coming-of-age drama recounts the story of two Jewish teenagers that meet as rivals and blossom into best friends. Can the boys' once-in-a-lifetime camarderie withstand the religious and family differences that threaten to destroy it?" Jolson & Company, Feb. 17-March 7, 2004, is the South Florida premiere of the Off-Broadway musical biography of one of the 20th century's leading entertainment figures. Jay Berkow and Stephen Mo Hanon created the three-actor show, which offers classic songs from the Jolson repertoire, including "Swanee," "Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye" and more.

A sixth mainstage show will be announced, to run April 13 May 2, 2004.

In the intimate Encore Room Theater, Coconut Grove will offer Rum & Coke, Nov. 18, 2003-Jan. 25, 2004, the solo show by and featuring Carmen Peláez. "Miami born-and-raised Cuban-American actress-playwright Carmen Peláez amply transforms from one character to another, all of them ladies in search of an identity, in her funny and insightful one woman show." The show was previously seen at Arena Stage.

Also in the Encore Room will be Becky Mode's Fully Committed, March 2-May 9, 2004, the one-actor comedy about a trendy restaurant and its patrons and employees (all played by a struggling actor who is moonlighting there).

For Coconut Grove information, visit www.cgplayhouse.com.

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