John Thomason is the managing editor of Boca Raton and Delray Beach magazines, where he also serves as arts and entertainment editor and features writer. He writes three blogs per week covering the A&E beat on BocaMag.com, and contributes theatre previews for Time Out Miami; freelance film reviews for Palm Beach ArtsPaper; and freelance theatre reviews for FloridaTheaterOnStage.com; and concert reviews for Miami ArtZine. He is a voting member of the Florida Film Critics Circle and a former Carbonell Awards judge. 

John Thomason has written for Time Out Miami since 2016.

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John Thomason

John Thomason

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Articles (3)

These are the best things to do in Miami this weekend

These are the best things to do in Miami this weekend

Welcome to the rainy season in Miami. After a stalled start, the daily deluges arrived with a vengeance last week. Luckily, the flood warnings have all expired (for now)—and a good thing, since there are plenty of fun ways to break outside and explore Miami this weekend. On deck, we've got festive Pride events, lots of live music and exciting food and beverage pop-ups around town. An immersive exhibit tracing the illustrious life and career of Leo Messi, a prehistoric garden installation and a slew of adorable farmers markets round out the festivities. Ready to have some fun in the 305? Here are the best things to do in Miami this weekend.  RECOMMENDED: Things to do in Miami

The best Miami theater and shows to see this spring and summer 2024

The best Miami theater and shows to see this spring and summer 2024

In the theater world, summer used to be a creatively fallow period, with most playhouses shuttered as the snowbirds prepared their northern migration. And in some pockets of South Florida—Palm Beach comes to mind—it still is. But in Miami and Broward, there’s no end to the “season.” That’s evidenced by a robust calendar of plays, music and dance recitals all the way through August, from the major regional players like Zoetic Stage, GableStage and Actors’ Playhouse; to the touring companies dropping some of their most blockbuster shows, like Peter Pan and Les Misérables, during Miami’s sweltering dog days. Maybe this flurry of activity has something to do with the new, culture-craving residents still moving to Florida in unprecedented numbers. Whatever the reason, we like it—and we think you will too. Here’s a taste of what’s on tap. RECOMMENDED: The best museums in Miami

The best theater and shows to see in Miami in fall 2023

The best theater and shows to see in Miami in fall 2023

After a slow summer of blanketing heat and darkened theaters, stage lights have finally started to flicker on and curtains rise as theater companies across South Florida kick off their dynamic fall seasons. There’s a lot to sort through over the last three months of 2023, and our picks for the most exciting shows are a testament to the diversity of producers, audiences and talent in the cultural melting pots of Miami-Dade and Broward.  Expect to encounter both timeless (Twelve Angry Men) and contemporary (The Book of Mormon) classics, plus newer works that examine LGBTQ and Latinx issues with compassion, nuance and biting humor. We’re especially excited for the second season of Miami’s freshest producing company, LakeHouseRanchDotPNG (they really should do something about that cumbersome name), whose new plays reveal different sides of its mission to bring absurdist and avant-garde stories to the region. Looking to inject some culture into your autumn in Miami? Peruse our fall theater preview below, a roundup of the best shows across South Florida to book right now. RECOMMENDED: The best museums in Miami

Listings and reviews (71)

Cuban Chicken Soup: When There’s No More Café

Cuban Chicken Soup: When There’s No More Café

Chameleonic comedic actor Elena Maria Garcia co-wrote and stars in this world-premiere solo play developed with co-writer and director Stuart Meltzer. As in their celebrated previous collaboration, ¡Fuacata! A Latina’s Guide to Surviving the Universe, Garcia will play a multitude of characters inspired by her life as she embarks on an unexpected crisis-turned-adventure. Zoetic Stage at Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd (305-949-6722, arshtcenter.org). May 2–19: 7:30pm Thu–Sat, 2:30pm Sun; $55–60

Peter Pan

Peter Pan

Larissa FastHorse, the first Native American playwright in American theatre history to make the list of the top 10 most-produced plays in the country this season (for The Thanksgiving Play) scripted this novel interpretation of the timeless J.M. Barrie fairytale. Expect aerial theatrics, magical special effects and spectacular Broadway showmanship to accompany familiar hits such as “I Won’t Grow Up” and “Neverland.” Broadway in Miami at Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd (305-949-6722, arshtcenter.org). May 7–12: various show times; $25–$130

FlamenGO

FlamenGO

A prizewinning professional flamenco dancer born in northern Spain, Paula Rodriguez Lázaro will perform in the Miami premiere of her multimedia production El Latir del Mantón (The Beating of the Shawl), an hour-long sensory journey combining her sensual choreography with guitar and percussion, and with accompaniment from fellow award-winning flamenco singer José del Calli. Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach (305-674-1040, miaminewdrama.org). May 11: 8pm; $36.50–$56.50

A Rock Sails By

A Rock Sails By

This timely dramedy from playwright Sean Grennan enjoyed its world premiere in 2023. Dr. Lynn Cummings, an astrophysicist with little patience for magical thinking, finds her beliefs challenged when a UFO is spotted hurtling toward Earth. When a journalist misquotes her reaction to the phenomenon, she invites him to witness the fly-by together, with both of their credibilities at stake. Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile (305-444-9293, actorsplayhouse.org). May 15–June 9: 8pm Wed–Sat, 3pm Sun; $40–$100

Laughs in Spanish

Laughs in Spanish

This recently premiered, quintessentially Miami story from playwright Alexis Scheer has already been praised as “a new American classic.” It’s set during Art Basel, and charts the personal and professional fallout when Wynwood gallery owner Mariana finds her inventory stolen. Arriving at this inopportune time is Mariana’s estranged movie star mother Estella and her assistant Jenny, who may have shared a past with Mariana. GableStage, 1200 Anastasia Ave (305-445-1119, gablestage.org). May 17–June 9; various show times; $40–$65

Daniel’s Husband

Daniel’s Husband

Premiering almost concurrently with the Supreme Court’s landmark 2015 ruling on marriage equality, this high-water mark for South Florida playwright Michael McKeever explores the issue through the microcosm of a gay couple, one of whom rejects the heteronormative traditions of marriage and the other who vehemently wants to wed “because we can now.” When a tragedy bisects the play, it shifts the skeptic’s perspective. The Foundry, 2306 N. Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors (954-826-8790, ronnielarsen.com). May 23–June 16; various show times; $37.50

Skintight

Skintight

Playwright Joshua Harmon, who captured neurotic family dynamics so memorably in his hit “Bad Jews,” returns with another scorched-earth comedy centered on a middle-aged mother Jodi as she deals with twin relationship grievances: Her ex-husband is courting a 24-year-old woman, and her father has taken up with a glistening himbo named Trey, who may be an adult film star. Island City Stage, 2304 N. Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors (954-928-9800, islandcitystage.org). May 30–June 23; various show times; $40–$45

Summer Shorts: Flipping the Script

Summer Shorts: Flipping the Script

The 27th iteration of this seasonal staple from City Theatre features eight new short plays heavy on comedy and satire, all performed by a crack cast of South Florida’s most diverse and industrious actors. Potential highlights include Swordfish Grilled, set in a West Kendall bistro, and This Week in the Land of Democracy, about how algorithms filter our information. City Theatre at Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd (305-949-6722, arshtcenter.org). June 6–23: various show times; $50–$75

Clue

Clue

Every spectator is their own Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot in this spirited and cheeky musical adaptation of the 1985 movie of the same name, which is itself, of course, inspired by the Hasbro board game. When the Lord of a manor winds up dead at the end of Act I, any of the six colorful guests could be the murderer. Armed with randomly selected cards unknown to the actors, the audience ends up deciding the killer, their weapon and where the homicide took place. Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave, Fort Lauderdale (954-462-0222). June 11–16: various show times; $35–$131

Les Misérables

Les Misérables

Eight Tony wins upon its 1987 Broadway premiere would only mark the beginning of this theatrical warhorse, which would finally close its run on the Great White Way some 16 years later. Buttressed by glorious melodies, elaborate sets and costumes, and enough pomp and circumstance for two or three musicals, the story, about an imprisoned peasant seeking redemption and the police inspector hunting him down, remains as timeless as ever. Broadway in Miami at Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd. (305-949-6722, arshtcenter.org). June 18–23: various show times; $45–$155

Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami: Kaleidoscope

Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami: Kaleidoscope

Specializing in classical ballet rigor with a modern edge, this company founded by former Miami City Ballet principal couple Carlos Guerra and Jennifer Kronenberg continues its residency in South Miami with a program featuring the main stage premiere of “Arcadia,” a new work by artist-in-residence Yanis Eric Pikieris; as well as Jorge García’s “Majisimo.” South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 S.W. 211th St. (786-573-5300, smdcac.org). July 13: 8pm; $25–$45

Hundred Days

Hundred Days

Real-life couple Shaun and Abigail Bengson, a fixture in the New York theatre world, created this critically acclaimed musical that is at once inspired their tumultuous love and haunted by the inevitably of death; hence the show’s motto, to live and love as if you only had 100 days left on Earth. The Bengsons’ rousing folk-punk score helps propel the minimalist plot and design. Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables (305-444-9293, actorsplayhouse.org). July 17–Aug 4: 8pm Wed–Sat, 3pm Sun; $40–$100

News (4)

Alvin Ailey celebrates 10 years of shows at the Arsht Center

Alvin Ailey celebrates 10 years of shows at the Arsht Center

Robert Battle remembers growing up in Miami’s Liberty City and taking the bus to the Jackie Gleason Theater for a children’s matinee performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. “And look where I am now,” he says. For the past seven years, Battle has been artistic director of that very institution. “People should take that as a guide—that it’s important young people especially see the company, because it can be a transforming experience.” This year celebrates two major anniversaries for the modern-dance company, renowned for its ability to communicate African-American experiences to a global audience through movement. March 30 commemorates 60 years since the theater’s inaugural performance in New York, while 2018 marks a decade of Alvin Ailey at the Adrienne Arsht Center, where its annual program is a cultural staple. And every Miami tour is a homecoming for Battle, whose mother still lives in his childhood home. “Having grown up in Miami, [I think] it’s important that we see a company where the majority of the dancers are dancers of color, that we see images of people that are successful in the field, and that dance can serve as a uniter,” says Battle. “I know Miami. I was there for some of the not-so-good times, the riots. I know how important it is for a company like Alvin Ailey to come and deliver a message of hope.” That theme will no doubt resonate during the theater’s 2018 Arsht program, which features Battle’s Mass, a rapid-fire work for 18 dancers; and Aile

City Theatre’s Winter Shorts series brings the laughs this holiday season

City Theatre’s Winter Shorts series brings the laughs this holiday season

For theatergoers, one of the pleasures of a Miami summer—which begins in April and runs approximately through October (if we’re lucky)—is the air-conditioned escapism of Summer Shorts. Hosted at the Adrienne Arsht Center and produced by City Theatre for the past 22 years, the program’s formula is as familiar and dependable as an IHOP breakfast: eight shorts culled from hundreds of entries, each running no more than 10 minutes, with a bias toward the outrageous. There’s no reason this eccentric assortment couldn’t also work in the wintertime—in City Theatre’s verbiage, “for those nights when South Florida temperatures plunge below 70.” Hence the resurrection of Winter Shorts, Summer Shorts’ chilly companion, which City Theatre last produced in 2001. Its winter revival is part of the company’s fullest season yet, an initiative by recently appointed artistic director Margaret Ledford to expand City Theatre’s footprint. “I am coming on as a full-time, full-fledged artistic director, and trying to grow City,” says Ledford, who has directed for many of South Florida’s most esteemed companies. “We decided Winter Shorts would be a perfect thing to add to this season. We’d love to make it an anchor to the Summer Shorts program in the winter.” The relaunched presentation will have a more consistent thematic focus than its sister show, with all of the plays addressing the holidays. Although some of the shorts are still in negotiation, Ledford is excited to include Oy Vey Maria, Mark Har

Emilio Estefan talks about the Miami homecoming of On Your Feet!

Emilio Estefan talks about the Miami homecoming of On Your Feet!

In November 2015, the preeminent power couple of the Miami music scene added another accomplishment to an already long list that includes Grammy-winning albums, books, films and more. That’s when Gloria and Emilio Estefan became Broadway impresarios, spearheading a musical based on their inspirational, tumultuous lives. Two years after its Broadway debut, On Your Feet! makes its national touring debut in Miami. Emilio Estefan would have it no other way. “Miami is going to be crazy, because most of the people have been with us since we played bar mitzvahs and weddings,” he says. “Miami has always been special to us. It’s a place where we always felt thankful for the good times, and even when we had the accident [that critically injured Gloria, in 1990], everyone was praying for us. It’s going to be amazing going to a theater and seeing the amount of faces we’ll know.” A splashy jukebox musical that earns its exclamation point, On Your Feet! weaves the Estefans’ crossover singles, from their Miami Sound Machine days and Gloria’s solo career, into a narrative about pursuing the American Dream on one’s own terms. The book, scripted by Birdman’s Oscar-winning cowriter Alexander Dinelaris, charts Gloria’s musically precocious childhood in Cuba through her immigration to Miami, her on- and offstage relationship with Emilio and that harrowing bus crash. Along the way, it addresses themes of racism and perseverance, as the Latin pop innovators spar with shortsighted record executives

Inside the Coral Gables playhouse that's been pushing the envelope for 18 years

Inside the Coral Gables playhouse that's been pushing the envelope for 18 years

When GableStage’s Artistic Director Joseph Adler produced Tracy Letts’s Killer Joe in 2000, he wasn’t just testing the waters of onstage depravity and violence. He was ready to jump headfirst into a pool of controversy.  The notorious 1993 play—a white-trash, black-as-death comedy rife with vulgarity, bloodshed and sexual humiliation—puts even the strongest constitutions to the test. A more prudent director might have eased into such a production, carefully cementing a reputation before attempting a work this polarizing. But Adler staged Killer Joe as GableStage’s sixth show, on the heels of safe, established works by David Hare, John Steinbeck and John Patrick Shanley. “When I did Killer Joe, the then executive director asked, ‘You’re going to do this, with nudity and violence? At the Biltmore? In Coral Gables?’ I said, ‘Yes, and it’s going to be the biggest success we’ve had this year,’ ” recalls Adler. “She said, ‘Put it in writing.’ And I did. And it was!” Adler, who became GableStage’s artistic director in 1998, is quick to point out that the theater produces far more than just confrontational shockers. He stages historical dramas and political comedies and erudite monologues and chamber musicals. But his reputation for shows that illuminate the dark corners of the human condition was solidified early, in part because nobody else in the region was doing them at the time: 2004’s Bug, with its unsettling dental surgery, disembowelment and full-nude self-immolation; 2010’s