Now in its eighth year, this all-purpose, free-form artists' collective is still a gathering spot for whatever avant-garde there may be in the West Palm Beach area. Housed in three connected, enormous Quonset huts -- big enough to be airplane hangars -- on a dead-end street off the Florida East Coast railroad tracks in newly gentrified Flamingo Park, the UA is an umbrella for a rotating menagerie of fabulous freaks. Sometime residents include working artists, an ongoing stream of theatrical productions, the irregularly scheduled Purple Door nights (a performance evening rooted in the Anglo-American expat/draft evader community of '70s Copenhagen), and whatever off-the-wall anomalies may wander through town (like a young anarchists' convention not long ago). Founding patron Alan Patrusevich holds title to the real estate, but as long as something creative is happening, the beer is cold, and nobody's fighting, one and all are welcome. The evenings of theater are often interrupted by passing freight trains, but that's just part of the charm.
Now in its eighth year, this all-purpose, free-form artists' collective is still a gathering spot for whatever avant-garde there may be in the West Palm Beach area. Housed in three connected, enormous Quonset huts -- big enough to be airplane hangars -- on a dead-end street off the Florida East Coast railroad tracks in newly gentrified Flamingo Park, the UA is an umbrella for a rotating menagerie of fabulous freaks. Sometime residents include working artists, an ongoing stream of theatrical productions, the irregularly scheduled Purple Door nights (a performance evening rooted in the Anglo-American expat/draft evader community of '70s Copenhagen), and whatever off-the-wall anomalies may wander through town (like a young anarchists' convention not long ago). Founding patron Alan Patrusevich holds title to the real estate, but as long as something creative is happening, the beer is cold, and nobody's fighting, one and all are welcome. The evenings of theater are often interrupted by passing freight trains, but that's just part of the charm.
Haig's performance in Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (at the Mosaic Theatre in Plantation) was little seen but indelible. An insular literature professor imprisoned in war-torn Beirut, chained in place for the entire play, Haig could barely move, not even stand, but still managed to conjure a moving, nuanced portrait of a limited, conflicted man who discovers a well of strength he never knew existed. As a medieval scholar, Haig's character initially seems the frail one, a man living through his ancient texts in an ivory tower into which harsh reality never makes its way. But Haig reveals a man capable of something more and shows us a strength derived from words, not force. Haig has always chosen intelligent roles, so it's worth your while to choose his performances whenever they pop up.
Haig's performance in Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (at the Mosaic Theatre in Plantation) was little seen but indelible. An insular literature professor imprisoned in war-torn Beirut, chained in place for the entire play, Haig could barely move, not even stand, but still managed to conjure a moving, nuanced portrait of a limited, conflicted man who discovers a well of strength he never knew existed. As a medieval scholar, Haig's character initially seems the frail one, a man living through his ancient texts in an ivory tower into which harsh reality never makes its way. But Haig reveals a man capable of something more and shows us a strength derived from words, not force. Haig has always chosen intelligent roles, so it's worth your while to choose his performances whenever they pop up.
As Max, a spoiled rich kid turned film critic, Tei turned in an over-the-top performance that stole the show, no small feat in a strong cast and strong play. But Tei's done it before, in the fabulous Popcorn last year at GableStage and other productions around town. It was time, however, for Tei to break mold, and this year he did, pushing into new emotional territory in his own Mad Cat Company's dark tale Portrait and as the tortured, sarcastic, vodka-swilling Sergio in New Theatre's Smithereens. Yet Tei's ability to wring humor out of twisted situations is one of his best assets, and as the terminally juvenile Max, he did just that, giving South Florida a genuine treat.
As Max, a spoiled rich kid turned film critic, Tei turned in an over-the-top performance that stole the show, no small feat in a strong cast and strong play. But Tei's done it before, in the fabulous Popcorn last year at GableStage and other productions around town. It was time, however, for Tei to break mold, and this year he did, pushing into new emotional territory in his own Mad Cat Company's dark tale Portrait and as the tortured, sarcastic, vodka-swilling Sergio in New Theatre's Smithereens. Yet Tei's ability to wring humor out of twisted situations is one of his best assets, and as the terminally juvenile Max, he did just that, giving South Florida a genuine treat.
Roza was memorable as a tightly wound professional woman in Manhattan being stalked by a would-be suitor. Her emotional range and willingness to explore the character's ugly sides helped turn Rebecca Gilman's issue-driven potboiler into a dark, troubling character study. We've seen Roza before in other psychological dramas, such as Extremities, where she played a rape victim who turns the tables on the perpetrator, literally and emotionally trapping her tormentor; and in her disturbing performance in Medea Redux (the title tells you something), one of three plays in Bash by Neil Labute, where she revealed a simultaneous vulnerability and hardness that made us remember why watching live performances by talented actors is a riveting experience.

Roza was memorable as a tightly wound professional woman in Manhattan being stalked by a would-be suitor. Her emotional range and willingness to explore the character's ugly sides helped turn Rebecca Gilman's issue-driven potboiler into a dark, troubling character study. We've seen Roza before in other psychological dramas, such as Extremities, where she played a rape victim who turns the tables on the perpetrator, literally and emotionally trapping her tormentor; and in her disturbing performance in Medea Redux (the title tells you something), one of three plays in Bash by Neil Labute, where she revealed a simultaneous vulnerability and hardness that made us remember why watching live performances by talented actors is a riveting experience.

You don't see Bill Cruz around very much anymore. In fact, the last time we spotted him (November 2001), he opened a Little Havana concert for difficult ingénue Cat Power, who suffered an on-stage breakdown that created a most uncomfortable evening for performer and audience alike. But her rather unglamorous self-implosion served to illuminate Cruz's polish and effortlessness. His 1998 release, Three Shades, still stands among South Florida's best indie-folk albums of all time; it's studded with Cruz's poignant, pin-prick guitar work and introspective but never self-obsessive lyrics. The guy can make himself sound like Mark Eitzel or Jeff Buckley, but he's best when he just sounds like himself. If only the cheerfully obscure Cruz would come out of hiding more often.
You don't see Bill Cruz around very much anymore. In fact, the last time we spotted him (November 2001), he opened a Little Havana concert for difficult ingénue Cat Power, who suffered an on-stage breakdown that created a most uncomfortable evening for performer and audience alike. But her rather unglamorous self-implosion served to illuminate Cruz's polish and effortlessness. His 1998 release, Three Shades, still stands among South Florida's best indie-folk albums of all time; it's studded with Cruz's poignant, pin-prick guitar work and introspective but never self-obsessive lyrics. The guy can make himself sound like Mark Eitzel or Jeff Buckley, but he's best when he just sounds like himself. If only the cheerfully obscure Cruz would come out of hiding more often.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of