As October looms, this means a few things here in South Florida: road construction will become increasingly grating as snowbird traffic begins to grow; pre-season social gigs will pop up with casual flair; and the South Florida theater scene begins its 2012-13 seasons.
Theater in South Florida took a hit during the recession, losing Florida Stage in June 2011, while Boca’s main stage, Caldwell Theatre, is fighting for life-support, as the playhouse is scheduled for foreclosure auction. But, like many situations, when the establishment takes a blow, upstarts and independent operations quickly form to fill the void, and the South Florida theater scene is no different. In fact, the scene has never seemed so vibrant as it does today, with small production houses joining the ranks of established standards from Jupiter to Boca, all progressively advancing theater and drama.
To help prime the cultural pump, below is a listing of the theaters, playhouses, production companies (both professional and community) and acting troupes whose stagings are set to make 2012-13 Palm Beach County’s most moving season yet.
Slow Burn Theatre Co.
Established in August 2009, Slow Burn Theatre Co. came about to fill a void in the South Florida musical theater scene, with a mission to be a “locally based professional theatre company providing the South Florida community the opportunity to see daring, contemporary and intelligent works of musical theatre.” In the few short years Slow Burn has been on the scene, it has achieved this mission with provocative and adventurous production like Bat Boy: The Musical, Urinetown and the seminal The Rocky Horror Show. The 2012-13 season continues this new South Florida tradition, perhaps even taking it a step further.
Avenue Q, opening the season October 26 to November 4, is a musical comedy that navigates those tricky years after college as human and puppet try to find their purpose in life. Slow Burn follows this up with Side Show from January 31 to February 16. The play is based on the true story of Siamese twins Violet and Daisy Hilton as they go from Depression-era Vaudeville to early ’30s Hollywood. The stage changes gears with the musical thriller Sweeney Todd, April 12-21, a musical that will have the audience leaving a little unhinged and, oddly enough, a bit hungry. Slow Burn’s 2012-13 season comes to close a little later in the year (hurray for SoFlo natives) with the production of The Wedding Singer, June 12-30—a salute to awesomeness of the '80s.
All Slow Burn Theatre Co. performances are staged at the West Boca Performing Arts Theater. For showtimes and ticket info, visit Slow Burn Theatre Co.’s website: slowburntheatre.org.
The Plaza Theatre
Manalapan’s only professional theater company, The Plaza Theatre, specializes in comedies, musicals, cabarets and light dramas. The four-production 2012-13 season highlights entertainment for entertainment’s sake, starting with a little cabaret.
The 2012 Fall Cabaret Series starts September 29-30 with “Broadway at the Plaza II,” starring Julie Kleiner, Leah Sessa, Bryan Ortega and Barry Tarrallo. “A Tribute to Ethel Merman” from October 6-7 celebrates the “First Lady of musical comedy stage” as Missy McArdle reimagines some of Merman’s most memorable songs. The fall cabaret series comes to a close when Mia Matthews and friends present “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” from October 13-14.
The Plaza Theatre’s main stage kicks of the season with Driving Miss Daisy from October 19 through November 18. Murray Schisgal’s comedy LUV gives the Plaza a dose of Broadway from December 6-30. Middle-age love and second chances takes the stage January 17 through February 10 with Neil Simon’s Chapter Two. The Plaza Theatre puts a musical note of finality to its 2012-13 season with the comedy Waistwatchers The Musical!, running from February 21 to March 31.
For showtimes and tickets, visit The Plaza Theatre’s website: theplazatheatre.net.
The Women’s Theatre Project
The Women’s Theatre Project, “a company of professional female theatre artists dedicated to producing theatrical works exploring the female voice,” has a new home for its 2012-13 season: Willow Theatre at Sugar Sands Park in Boca Raton. This move from Fort Lauderdale to Boca is a boon for Palm Beach County, as the Willow Stage offers TWTP a chance to broaden its reach with its 155-seats and a growing theater fan base in the immediate Boca area.
TWTP will put on two productions for its 2012-13 season: the Barbara Pease Weber comedy Delval Divas from November 2-18 and Faye Sholiton’s memory play, The Interview, running January 4-20. For showtimes and ticket information, visit The Women’s Theatre Project’s website: womenstheatreproject.com.
Palm Beach Dramaworks
West Palm Beach’s only resident theater, Palm Beach Dramaworks, had a banner 2011-12 season, breaking in its new Clematis Street theater with thought-provoking drama of the highest order. The downtown theater looks to continue its mission with five productions for the 2012-13 season.
Starting things off October 12 through November 11, the Pulitzer Prize-winning romance Talley’s Folly by Lanford Wilson opens on the Donald and Ann Brown stage. Edward Albee’s dark comedy and Pulitzer Prize winner, A Delicate Balance, runs from December 7 through January 6, a cautionary tale of when a guest truly becomes a pest. Drama in its highest form, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun challenges the audience with an emotionally and intellectually provocative play from February 1 to March 3. From March 29 through April 28, PB Dramaworks returns to comedy with Eugene Ionesco’s Exit the King, a tale about the difficulties of moving on. The 2012-13 season wraps with Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa, a memory play about the rural upbringing of two sisters in Ireland.
For showtimes and ticket information, visit Palm Beach Dramaworks’ website: palmbeachdramaworks.org.
FAU Theatre and Dance
Established in 1966, Florida Atlantic University’s theater department has seen monumental growth since its humble beginnings 46 years ago. Now part of the school of arts, the theatre and dance department includes bachelors of arts in theatre for general education, design and technology, and performance as well as advanced degrees and a master's of fine arts in acting as well as design and technology. Staged at FAU’s Art Complex, which includes the Carole & Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium, Studio One and Two theaters, and the University Theatre, student performances are fully produced by FAU students.
The 2012-13 theater season and the Studio One Theatre stage has an eye for drama, starting September 28 with the production of Neal Bell’s Thérèse Raquin, adapted from the Émile Zola novel of the same name, running through October 7. November 9-18 is Tennessee Williams’ play Summer and Smoke, his follow-up to A Streetcar Named Desire. Peter Shaffer’s drama Equus runs February 15-24, a suspense-filled play about a psychiatrist’s attempt to treat a young man convicted of blinding six horses. FAU’s four-production season comes to a close with Lysistrata, a musical adaptation of Aristophanes, April 12-21.
Students of dance take on the University Theatre Stage for three engagements this season that are not to be missed: Dances We Dance: Fall Showcase, November 30 and December 1; Repertory Dance Theatre Ensemble, February 1-3; Dances We Dance: Spring Showcase, April 26-27. Dancers, from classically trained and multi-generational to contemporary and modern, will perform an array of dance genres, showcasing choreography, technical skill and the expressive merit of dance.
For tickets and showtimes, visit FAU’s department of theatre and dance’s website: fau.edu/theatre.
Lake Worth Playhouse
The Lake Worth Playhouse, one of Palm Beach County’s cultural mainstays, was so excited about its Diamond Jubilee—understandably so—that it opened its 2012-13 billings in July with Hairspray. Now, a few months removed, Lake Worth Playhouse is at is again with an additional five productions for season proper.
The King of Siam and his English governess kick-start the fall offerings with The King and I, opening October 4-21. Next is 1970s Broadway byway of the 1940s, when The 1940's Radio Hour, a musical portraying "the final holiday broadcast of the Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade on the New York radio station WOV in December 1942," takes the stage November 15 through December 2. The Tony Award-winning musical The Drowsy Chaperone rings in 2013 from January 17 to February 3. The Larry Shue comedy The Foreigner opens February 28 and runs through March 17. To round out Lake Worth Playhouse's sixtieth season, the greatest musical on earth, Barnum, part musical theater part circus, running April 11-28. As a supplement to the ongoing season, limited engagement performances and events are scheduled throughout; check here and mark your calendar: www.lakeworthplayhouse.org
- Showtimes are as follows: Thursday through Saturday, 8 p.m. (6 p.m. dinner and show package available on the preview performance for each production—first Thursday of production run); Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. matinee.
- Ticket cost as follows: opening night, $35, which includes pre- and post-performance appetizer and cocktails; preview night, $23 mezzanine/$27 orchestra; Individual tickets, $26 mezzanine/$30 orchestra.
Delray Beach Playhouse
Established in 1947, the Delray Beach Playhouse is one of the area’s oldest-running theaters. This year, the community theater plans on making its 2012-13 season its biggest yet with five main stage plays and five Broadway musical songbook repertoires. The playhouse plays begin October 5 with the Jerome Chodorov and Norman Panama mystery, A Talent for Murder, running through October 21. The Von Trapp take the stage next with The Sound of Music from November 30 through December 16. Ethel Waters: His Eye is on the Sparrow, a musical biography by Larry Parr, runs from January 25 through February 10. Joe DiPietro’s comedy, The Last Romance, takes the stage March 22 through the April 7. The Delray Beach Playhouse 2012-13 season comes to a close with a production of A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia.
The playhouse’s Musical Memories series commences with “Something’s Coming,” an ode to Harry Prince’s impact on Broadway from 1954 to 1964, playing October 15-25. “Something Sort of Grandish” celebrates the songs of Burton Lane from December 10-29. The playhouse takes on the songs of Lorenz Hart February 4-14 with “My Funny Valentine.” From April 1-10, the music of Cole Porter enlivens the Lake Ida stage with “Anything Goes!” The Musical Memories series wraps May 27 through June 5 with a final nod to Harold Price’s 1970 to present-day songbook in “I’m Still Here!”
For showtimes and ticket information, visit Delray Beach Playhouse’s website: delraybeachplayhouse.com.
The Boca Raton Theatre Guild
Community theater turned professional in 2011, the Boca Raton Theatre Guild has enlivened the Willow Theatre in Sugar Sand Park. The nonprofit, professional theater brings productions to the main stage each season: one play and one musical. Starting the 2012-13 season September 28, the guild will bring A.R. Gurney’s comedy Sylvia (think Wilfred) to stage through October 14. The guild follows Sylvia with the classic musical offering Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville, March 1-17. brtg.org
- Showtimes for Sylvia at Willow Theatre in Sugar Sand Park are as follows: Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 2 p.m.; tickets cost $25.
- Showtimes for Chicago at Willow Theatre in Sugar Sand Park are as follows: Tuesday-Saturday 8 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 2 p.m.; ticket prices TBD.
Maltz Jupiter Theatre
North County’s premiere theater destination, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, is fresh off a banner year, pulling in eight Carbonell Awards (the most of any South Florida nominee) and a record-breaking 7,350 subscribers for the 2012-13 season—and that was by the end of June! All this adds to big expectations for 2012-13, and with the production lineup set to launch in October, it looks like the Maltz will fully fill those shoes and then some for its tenth anniversary season.
The theater starts the season off with a single-night run of Through the Looking Glass, a contemporary retelling of Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The Maltz’s full five-production run starts October 30 through November 11 with the Tony Award-winning bio-drama, Amadeus. Harold Hill goes for the long con in the classic American musical The Music Man, November 27 through December 16. Ringing in the New Year with umbrella in hand, Singin’ in the Rain brings its classic songbook to stage January 8-27. The Maltz shifts to drama February 5-17 with the production of the critically acclaimed Doubt. Rounding out the Maltz’ tenth anniversary season, the Tony Award-winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie will have members of the audience dancing the Charleston in the aisles March 5-24.
For showtimes and tickets, visit the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s website: jupitertheatre.org.
The Theatre at Arts Garage
Arts Garage and the Creative City Collaborative is, to me, one of the most exciting things to happen to PBC in years. It’s a cultural home base where musicians, visual artists and performers can bring their work to an educated and eager audience, a vital component to vibrant community. Continuing this mission, Arts Garage added theater to its offerings with The Theatre at Arts Garage, a new dynamic to an already ambitious art undertaking, debuting with Woody Sez in March.
The Theatre at Arts Garage begins its 2012-13 season December 7-30 with the production of Lauren Gunderson’s Exit, Pursued by a Bear, best described as a contemporary Southern “revenge comedy.” The theatre follows this up with the production of Gloucester Blue by acclaimed playwright Israel Horowitz (father of Adam Keefe Horowitz, aka Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys) from January 25 through February 17. The Theatre wraps its 2012-13-fall season with the March 15 through April 14 production of drama Lungs, from playwright Duncan MacMillan.
For show times and tickets, visit Arts Garage’s website: artsgarage.org.
SOL Children Theatre Troupe
Though most think of theater as an outlet for adults, live theater can be a powerful experience for children. SOL Children Theatre Troupe strives to unlock that power for children, giving them the tools to provide theater at its highest form. SOL’s mission to “provide children with a safe, secure and highly professionalized theatre experience” shines through with the production value of the performances. Armed with this mission, SOL is helping train the next generation of theater professionals and fans. Testament to this is SOL’s 2012-13 season, where the kids lead the productions.
SOL’s tenth season kicks off with Rumplestiltskin, October 26 to November 11. A two-day engagement of The Commedia Pinocchio gives theatergoers a much-needed break from the Nutcracker from December 21-23. Timberlake Wertenbaker’s The Ash Girl, January 18 to February 3, is a reimagining of Cinderella, with a light shined on darker recesses of the story, which are oft glossed-over in Disney-esque versions. Speaking of Disney, SOL presents a musical experience February 22-24 with the “Disney on Broadway & Musical Theatre Comedy Concert.” The one-act musical comedy, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, May 4-19, seems an apropos fit for SOL, celebrating the whimsy of childhood to the wisdom of old age. SOL puts bow on its tenth season with the Broadway musical Beauty and the Beast from August 9-25.
For class and show information, visit SOL Children Theatre Troupe’s website: solchildren.org.