Cultural Preview: Theater
Save the date for some of Palm Beach County's most highly anticipated theater events of the 2017-18 season.
Palm Beach Dramaworks, downtown West Palm Beach’s premier repertory theater, has balanced its 2017-18 offerings with a mix of tried-and-true plays and world premieres. The established works include Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes (to November 12), Ernest Thompson’s On Golden Pond (January 31 to February 25), and Peter Shaffer’s Equus (May 16 to June 10). Intermixed are two new plays by Terry Teachout and Joseph McDonough. An acclaimed author and theater critic, Teachout explores the real-life friendship between playwrights Tennessee Williams and William Inge in Billy & Me (December 6-31). Conversely, McDonough builds an imaginary scenario between writers Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson for Edgar & Emily (March 28 to April 22). The year is 1864, and, unlike the real Poe who passed away in 1849, this fictional Poe is on the run from a would-be assassin when he encounters the meek wannabe poet. Here, McDonough chats with PBI about Edgar & Emily and the task of bringing two of history’s greatest scribes to life. (561-514-4042) Click here for a behind the scenes look at Edgar & Emily with playwright, Joseph McDonough.
Vero Beach’s Riverside Theatre boasts two stages that will produce a total of seven theatrical experiences. On the Stark Stage, attend Hank Williams: Lost Highway (to November 12), Million Dollar Quartet (January 2-21), Lombardi (January 30 to February 18), Gypsy (March 6-25), and Mamma Mia! (April 10-29). The more modest Waxlax Stage mounts The Mystery of Edwin Drood, inspired by an unfinished Charles Dickens story, from January 16 to February 4, as well as Buyer & Cellar, an avant-garde comedy about an aspiring actor who finds himself working in a diva’s personal shopping mall—yes, you read that right—onstage March 20 to April 8. (772-231-6990)
In addition to its annual New Play Festival scheduled for January 3-7, Theatre Lab, Florida Atlantic University’s professional resident company, will stage a trio of new works as part of its 2017-18 season. First up is the world premiere of Peter Sagal’s Most Wanted, which we highlight in detail on page 151. Two Florida premieres follow, with The Revolutionists by Lauren Gunderson slated for February 8-25 and Be Here Now by Deborah Zoe Laufer taking place April 5-22. (561-297-4784)
The Maltz never disappoints. This Carbonell Award darling consistently produces family-friendly shows of outstanding quality—and this year is no exception. Audiences are currently giggling with glee for Born Yesterday, a charming comedy onstage through November 12. We can’t wait to see how the Maltz, which is locally lauded for its musical prowess, tackles Disney Newsies (November 28 to December 17), Hairspray (January 9-28), and South Pacific (March 6-25). There’s also An Inspector Calls (February 4-18), a psychological thriller that revolves around a wealthy family and a murdered acquaintance. Beyond its main-stage productions, the Maltz will also host many limited engagements, including Simply Streisand, featuring Carla Del Villaggio singing the best of Babs, January 15; The Children of Willesden Lane, a compelling one-woman show about a teenage Holocaust survivor, February 21; and Celtic Tenors, a world-renowned vocal group that can belt out “Danny Boy” like no other, March 12. (561-575-2223)
Lake Worth Playhouse
Lake Worth Playhouse might be two shows deep into its season already, but there’s still plenty to see at this 65-year-old community institution. The satirical holiday hit A Christmas Story ushers in the yuletide spirit November 16 to December 3. Three blockbuster musicals follow: Paint Your Wagon (January 18 to February 4), Lend Me a Tenor (March 1-18), and Oliver! (April 12-29).
More entertainment awaits at Stonzek Theatre, the playhouse’s adjacent black box venue. Now through November 5, catch Lobby Hero, a drama from Kenneth Lonergan, writer and director of the critically acclaimed 2016 film Manchester by the Sea. Leslye Headland’s Bachelorette follows with a few laughs February 1-11, while Bent, a Tony-nominated play about the persecution of gay men in Nazi Germany, closes the season April 26 to May 6. (561-586-6410)
The Wick Theatre and Costume Museum in Boca Raton celebrates the glitz of showmanship and the charm of the American musical canon with five main-stage shows and a new costume exhibition. Its lineup includes favorites like Singin’ in the Rain (January 11 to February 18) and Brigadoon (March 8 to April 8), but we highly recommend a lesser-known comedy, The Drowsy Chaperone (to November 12). This Tony Award winner borrows themes and motifs from the jazz era’s best shows, resulting in a hysterical homage to the art of the musical. Whether you’re heading down to The Wick for a performance or a bite to eat at The Tavern, be sure to check out “Bling: The Brilliant History of Glitz.” This fifth annual installation opened last month and displays dozens of highly embellished costumes from Broadway shows like La Cage aux Folles and The Producers, as well as pieces from Liberace’s personal collection of stage ensembles. Daily tours are available throughout the season, but stop by on November 6 when Jonathan Warren, the executive director of the Liberace Foundation for the Creative and Performing Arts, will give a lecture on the man behind the sequins. (561-995-2333)