Miami Motel Stories: North Beach (Review)

With Miami Motel Stories: North Beach, Juggernaut Theater continues to grow immersive theater into a wonderful cultural experience worthy of any major metropolitan area.

In its most ambitious production yet, North Beach compartmentalizes eighteen different characters into four unique story-lines.

The show starts at the Broadmoor Hotel. Upon check in, you’re given a free drink (vodka or Perrier). You chill in the lobby and wait. An actor eventually enters (Alex Alvarez) declaring himself a filmmaker in the midst of producing a movie called North Beach. The audience is anointed as extras and assistants in the movie. Thus the immersive experience begins.

The audience is then divided into four groups and lead half-a-block down the street to an abandoned re-imagined hotel.

Miami Motel Stories: North Beach

North Beach is four different plays spread across a two-story hotel using over twenty rooms and about thirty cast members.

You experience one of the plays.

From talking to several theater-goers, all story-lines shine.

Playwright Juan C. Sanchez is arguably Miami’s most prolific working literary writer across any genre, like it’s his time and he is shining. In North Beach, Sanchez essentially creates thirteen one-act plays, as well as the connective tissue story-line of the movie in production.

The plays range in time period, plot, nuance, and genre, but they have one thing in common, North  Beach history. From 2018’s “Squatters” to creepy 1997’s “Andrew Cunanan” to 1991’s “Thieves” to 1969’s “Mob Guy” Sanchez winks at the neighborhood’s criminal underbelly.

From a domestic worker to a shoemaker to a gay Hasidic Jew, Sanchez nods at the displaced and misunderstood in popular culture. He, like Teo Castellanos in NE 2nd Avenue, tells the stories of those whose stories are usually not told, and he tells them very, very well.

Words don’t convey just how well this show plays, from the writing, directing, set design, and of course acting (with special performances from Maggie Maxwell, June Raven Romero and Luckner Bruno).

Miami Motel Stories

North Beach is the fourth edition of Miami Motel Stories –we covered them all –the first in Little Havana, then Midtown Miami on Biscayne Boulevard and the rushed Wynwood Stories at now the defunct Wynwood Yard.

In our opinion, North Beach is the best thus far.

Miami Motel Stories

Now – Feb 29, 2020
Starting: 7:30 PM

Recurring weekly on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday through Feb 29, 2020

Tickets can be found here.

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J.J. Colagrande

Has written about Miami culture for fifteen years, first with The Miami Herald, then Miami New Times and Huffington Post.