Area Stage Company (ASC), established in 1989, is an award-winning professional theatre company that for 30 years has staged provocative, world-class theatre productions. Founded by John and Maria Rodaz, ASC originated in Miami Beach as one of the pioneers of the Miami arts community that surged in the 1980’s on Lincoln Road when the once high-end shopping area had become a dilapidated strip of empty storefronts. Since its inception, ASC has presented a mix of contemporary plays and original new works, producing numerous world premieres, quickly “changing the perception and standards of what South Florida's theatres can and should be,” according to the Sun-Sentinel, which described the organization as “one of the most influential theatres in the region.”
After ten years of distinguished success on Lincoln Road as one of the key players in the resurgence of the area, ASC was forced to give up its home. In 2008, ASC moved into the beautiful Riviera Theatre in Coral Gables, a dream come true and an opportunity for the company to reinvent itself. With a reimagined mission and vision, the company established a professional-level conservatory program in addition to maintaining a full season of professional productions, concerts, and community events.
The Conservatory program offers young actors, singers, and dancers, ages five and up, professional training and prepares them for higher education performing arts programs and a professional career. In 2012, ASC Conservatory students were invited to perform for the privileged residents of The World, the only private residential community-at-sea where its residents travel the globe with-out ever leaving home. In 2015, a collaboration with Miami Music Project resulted in the world premiere of The Rise of the Titans, written by Associate Artistic Director Giancarlo Rodaz, which was presented at the Arsht Center free of charge to hundreds of students. In March 2016, ASC students were invited to perform at the TEDxYouth at the Arsht Center. In 2016, The Ballad of Janis Mathews and the Dodo Scouts, which world-premiered at the ASC, was nominated by Broad-wayWorld.com as The Best New Work in New Jersey for the Hoboken Children's Theatre production. A group of their students were invited to the Arsht Center by The Children's Trust to perform in a video presentation to honor children victims of violence.
ASC has established exciting strategic partnerships that allow for the continued growth of the organization. ASC developed the Inclusion Theatre Project (ITP) in the South Florida community, sending specialized theatre, voice, and dance coaches to partnering schools throughout the academic year; producing uniﬁed stage performances open to the public; and promoting understanding and appreciation of the artistic abilities of individuals with special needs. Classes expand further to include outreach performances and individualized coaching.
ASC productions have earned over thirty-four Carbonell Award nominations, numerous recognitions as Miami New Times’ “Best Of,” for the Theater Company and national recognition on WLRN, CNN, CNN International, Univision, Telemundo, and, most notably, on ABC’s Nightline with Ted Koppel as the only theatre company ever featured on the program. In 2014, the program earned the Remy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Children's Theatre and for The Best Theatre Program for Children. ASC’s recent Mainstage production of Cabaret was ranked in the top 10 South Florida musicals of 2018 by Boca magazine.This year ASC has been selected by the Coral Gables Award Program for the 2019 Best of Coral Gables Award in the Performing Arts Theater category. Miami New Times named ASC “Best Theater Company 2019,” and Associate Artistic Director Giancarlo Rodaz was honored with a “Silver Palm Award.”
ASC continues to offer world-class theatre that encompasses the dynamic and diverse South Florida community through professional productions, a vibrant conservatory program, and new outreach and engagement programming, keeping inclusion at the forefront of its mission. With a renewed vision of unceasing growth, ASC hopes to remain a key component of Florida’s artistic and cultural growth now and in the future. After 30 years of service to the community, ASC is actively looking for a new home.