There will be hundreds of appreciation pieces in print and online memorializing Stephen Sondheim who died Friday. There will be tens of thousands of mourning Facebook posts and emails spun around the globe. But this one will be slightly different from the majority, although thousands and thousands of devotees feel the same way.
Secretly, we wonder if we could be heroic in real life, whether we could find the courage to risk our lives to protect or rescue someone else. The question is at the heart of Michael McKeever’s The People Downstairs premiering at Palm Beach Dramaworks, focused on the people who hid Anne Frank’s family for two years.
Despite two of the finest performances in what already has been a surprisingly benchmark season so far in South Florida, the most memorable player in Theatre Lab’s superb To Fall In Love is silence — not simply during the breath-arresting finale, but the silence reigning over the tense, tentative minutes of the opening scene and employed regularly throughout the evening by director Louis Tyrell and actors Matt Stabile and Niki Fridh.
Middletown is a charming, comfortable evening at Actors Playhouse, sitting around a living room with middle-class couples (Loretta Swit, Didi Conn, Adrian Zmed, Donny Most) telling you familiar stories of their lives and yours. Intentionally told with no props, scenery and the cast reading from scripts on music stands, the simplicity is intentional, perhaps to underscore the universality of the touchstones being discussed.
GableStage’s Joseph Adler died shortly after his direction of The Price was cut short by the pandemic. His successor, Bari Newport, took his notes, cast, creative team and infuses it with her own sensibilities. The production would make Joe proud. Theater to make you think about your own lives. Newport’s insightful direction of superb actors navigates the dense story of past sibling strife that has crippled their present.
The protagonists’ primary fear in Lungs — bringing a child into an environmentally crumbling world and an economy in freefall – is secondary to the challenging script’s focus: examining the fragility and tensile strength of relationships – both given a solid production by New City Players.
Lots of news here as the theater season heats. Memorial set for Joe Adler; Over the long weekend of Nov. 10-14, there are TEN shows opening across the region and four will still be running: dramas, comedies, musicals, professional companies, a national tour, community theater and children’s theater. Check out the calendar at floridatheateronstage.com.
Reading today’s headlines about corruption, you wonder not so much the why of weakness for the lure of power, but the process of how it happens. Kenneth Lin’s Warrior Class, enjoying an incisive production at the rechristened Boca Stage company, is an inside depiction of human beings, not monsters, slipping inside this web of compromise, pragmatism and fading conscience.