Press Release Mlima's Tale - Florida Premiere by Lynn Nottage kicks off the Theater Up Close season - October 13-30

Zoetic Stage and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County Present

By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Stuart Meltzer


A New York Times Critic’s Pick

Zoetic Stage kicks off the 2022-23 Theater Up Close season with the powerful journey of an elephant who haunts the poachers and bystanders benefitting from his tusks

“A beautiful, endlessly echoing portrait of a murder and its afterlife. Ms. Nottage shaped this story with such theatrical inventiveness and discipline that it never feels sensational.” – The New York Times

October 13, 2022 – Preview
October 14, 2022 – Opening Night
through October 30, 2022
Tickets: $55, $60*
Carnival Studio Theater

Miami, FL – September 22, 2022 – Zoetic Stage (@ZoeticStageMIA) and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County (@arshtcenter) are proud to present the Florida premiere of MLIMA’S TALE, a haunting and powerful exploration of the international underground ivory market told through the eyes of the elephant who was poached for the prized possessions. Written by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage (MJ the Musical) and featuring an all-local BIPOC cast, MLIMA’S TALE kicks off the 2022-2023 Theater Up Close season.

Tickets to MLIMA’S TALE are $55 and $60*. Tickets may be purchased at the Adrienne Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at

Zoetic Stage will continue their Second Sunday Talkback series immediately following the matinee performance on Sunday, October 23 with special guest Ron Magill of Zoo Miami on the importance of wildlife conservation.

PNC Bank is the presenting sponsor of the 2022-2023 THEATER UP CLOSE series. WLRN is the media sponsor. The Arsht Center’s THEATER UP CLOSE series gratefully acknowledges the founding support of Adrianne and Jerry L. Cohen.

“It is a tremendous honor to present Ms. Nottage's artful and powerful play to South Florida audiences. She is a playwright whose words reverberate to the core of humanity and transcends us to other worlds. Mlima's Tale is a piece of art of the utmost importance,” said Zoetic Stage Artistic Director Stuart Meltzer.

Mlima is a magnificent elephant trapped by the international underground ivory market. As he follows a trail littered by a history of greed, Mlima takes us on a journey through memory, fear, tradition and the penumbra between want and need. From Lynn Nottage, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Sweat and Ruined, MLIMA’S TALE is a captivating and haunting fable come to life.

MLIMA’S TALE features an all-local, BIPOC cast led by Jerel Brown (Mlima). This is Brown’s second time performing a Lynn Nottage piece, the first being GableStage’s Ruined in 2012. He recently did a reading of The Public Execution of The American President (Finstrom Festival of New Work) and Smoke, Lillies and Jade (Hued Songs). He choreographed productions of Kitty Hawk (Adrienne Arsht Center), The Addams Family (NextStopBroadway) and Once On This Island (Slow Burn Theatre). Other credits include Kinky Boots, Matilda, Head Over Heels (Slow Burn Theatre), Hair (MNM Productions), Guys and Dolls, West Side Story (The Wick), Victor/Victoria, Sweet Charity (Broward Stage Door), Rock Odyssey (Adrienne Arsht Center) and Universal’s Monsters Live (Universal Studios Japan).

The supporting cast of MLIMA’S TALE includes Phillip Andrew Santiago, Paul Torres Wong and Sydney Presendieu. The play’s creative team features movement direction by Herman Payne, scenic design by Michael McKeever, lighting design by Rebecca Montero, costume design by Marina Pareja and Glennys Jean, sound design by Matt Corey, properties design by Miriam Sierra, video direction by Delavega, projection mapping by Covey Theatrical Projections, and stage management by Vanessa McCloskey. For detailed cast and crew bios, please click here.

MLIMA’S TALE is directed by Zoetic Stage Artistic Director Stuart Meltzer. Stuart is a Miami-native and the proud recipient of numerous Carbonell Awards for Best Director. He is also a Carbonell Award winner for Best New Work for his play The Goldberg Variations. Altogether, he has been honored with eighteen Carbonell nominations. His Zoetic Stage directing credits include Our Dear Dead Drug Lord, Side by Side by Sondheim, Deathtrap, GringoLandiaFrankenstein, American Son, The Wolves, Sweeney Todd (winner of best production of a musical), The Gin Game, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (winner of best production of a play), Fuácata! or a Latina’s Guide to Surviving the Universe (co-written with Elena Maria Garcia), Dracula, Fun Home, Dancing Lessons, Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts, Topdog/Underdog, The Caretaker, Sunday in the Park with George (winner of best production of a musical), After, Passion, Rapture, Blister, Burn, Stripped, Betrayal, Trust, Detroit, The Great God Pan, Assassins (best production of a musical)I Am My Own Wife, Fear Up Harsh, Moscow, The Savannah Disputation, Captiva, The SantaLand Diaries, and South Beach Babylon. Additionally, Meltzer initiated new programming including The Finstrom Festival of New Work & Zoetic Schmoetic. He is the recipient of five Silver Palm Awards for his work as the Resident Director of Zoetic Stage and has been named Best Director in Miami by the Miami New Times twice. He received his M.F.A. in Directing from the Actors’ Studio.

Lynn Nottage
is a playwright and a screenwriter. She is the first, and remains the only, woman to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice. Her plays have been produced widely in the United States and throughout the world.

Most recently, Nottage premiered MJ the Musical, directed by Christopher Wheeldon and featuring the music of Michael Jackson, at the Neil Simon Theater on Broadway; Clyde's, directed by Kate Whoriskey at Second Stage Theater on Broadway; and an opera adaptation of her play Intimate Apparel, composed by Ricky Ian Gordon and directed by Bart Sher, commissioned by The Met/Lincoln Center Theater.  

Her play Sweat (Pulitzer Prize, Evening Standard Award, Obie Award, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Tony Nomination, Drama Desk Nomination) moved to Broadway after a sold-out run at The Public Theater. It premiered and was commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival American Revolutions History Cycle/Arena Stage. Inspired by her research on Sweat, Nottage developed This is Reading, a performance installation based on two years of interviews, at the Franklin Street, Reading Railroad Station in Reading, PA in July 2017.

@ArshtCenter                       #ArshtCenter

*All programs, artists, ticket prices, availability, dates and times are subject to change without notice. Visit for up-to-date information.

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is made possible by the public support of the Miami-Dade County Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council and the City of Miami Omni Community Redevelopment Agency, as well as the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The Adrienne Arsht Center also receives generous support from individuals, corporations and local, state and national foundations.


Set in the heart of downtown Miami, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is committed to welcoming and connecting ALL people to the arts, to the Arsht Center and to each other. Our stages are alive year-round with artists from around the world, innovative programming from our resident companies and local arts partners, free community events that reflect Miami’s unique identity and arts education experiences for thousands of Miami children each year.

 Since opening in 2006, the Arsht Center, a 501C3 non-profit organization, has been recognized as a catalyst for billions of dollars in new development in the downtown area, a leader in programming that mirrors South Florida’s diversity, a host venue for historic events and Miami’s hub for arts education.

Each year, we serve more than 60,000 young learners and offer more than 100 culturally diverse and inclusive education programs — many enhanced by the Arsht Center’s relationship with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, local teaching artists and Miami-based arts organizations.

The Arsht Center is also a home stage for three resident companies — Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony — and a launch pad for local artists to make their mark on the international stage. Our 300+ events each year include the Center’s Signature Series of classical, jazz, Broadway, local theater and much more. We present a robust series of touring Broadway musicals direct from New York, the largest jazz series in South Florida, a major annual Flamenco Festival and an award-winning Miami-based theater program. In addition, our Family Fest, Free Gospel Sundays, CommuniTEA LGBTQ+ celebration and Heritage Fest are among dozens of free events that bring together people from all corners of our community. For more information, visit

About Zoetic Stage

Zoetic Stage was founded in 2010 to create fresh, bold interpretations of contemporary plays and musicals, and is dedicated to enhancing South Florida’s national artistic profile by producing regional premieres and developing new works to become part of the American stage repertoire.

In 2020, Zoetic Stage was named the Best Theater Company by the Miami New Times. The theater has been nominated for an impressive 120 Carbonell Awards (of which 15 were for Best Production of the Year) and won 42, including six for Best New Work and four for Best Production of a Play or Musical. Zoetic Stage productions have received over thirty Silver Palm Awards for Outstanding Achievement. 

Zoetic Stage is an Associate Member of the National New Play Network and a member of the South Florida Theater League. 

Visit for more information.





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Alexandra Medina

Gino R. Campodónico