If you’re seeking safe, predictable mainstream theater, avoid the annual Humana Festival of New Plays at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. If you seeking “thought-provoking, edgy new work,” this is the mecca for South Floridians who want to glimpse what theater is evolving into during the coming decades.
If the 38th annual Carbonell Awards honoring theatrical excellence in South Florida are considered a mirror by some, the nominations provide some interesting material for observers to chew over.
A pre-holiday foray to a snow-struck Broadway delivered a master class of insights that last beyond a temporary season, whether it was Macbeth or Matilda, The Glass Menagerie or A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, even A Night With Janis Joplin, Domesticated and Murder For Two.
When it came time to cast the roles of the King’s children for its production of The King and I, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre did more than just a casting call. They consulted data, sent more than 500 letters, reached out to schools and chambers of commerce and businesses – even some restaurants – all to find actors of Asian descent to play the children of the King.
Few Broadway shows can equal the track record of 1986’s Rags: closed after four performances, rewritten, remounted, rewritten again. There are at least 10 scripts. But something about the drama about immigrants on the Lower East Side keeps artists and audiences coming back. And now, Rags has been overhauled for a run at The Plaza Theatre in Manalapan.
A brand-new troupe, Primal Forces, is targeting a group previously left to fend for themselves: the Boomers who came of age during the political and social tumult of the 1960s and 1970s. The company opens with David Mamet’s The Anarchist at Andrews Living Arts Studio in Fort Lauderdale
Careful, he’s got a gun. Nicholas Richberg is waving around a Civil War pistol and sporting an equally dangerous moustache while he sings as Booth in Zoetic Stage’s Assassins. But there are hidden sides to Richberg revealed here, including his cat’s reactions to his singing, how real estate is like theater, and a previously undisclosed talent involving a semi-tractor trailer.
It’s been 100 years since Leo Frank’s trial in 1913 for the death of Mary Phagan. And on Thursday, the Boca Raton-based Slow Burn Theatre Company – which prides itself on presenting challenging works of musical theater to its audiences – will take on the musical Parade, which was inspired by the Frank case a century ago.
When Fort Lauderdale playwright Tony Finstrom met Florida’s First Lady of Theater Jan McArt three years ago, he felt like he had already “known her forever.” She felt the same camaraderie. It was this initial spark that led to Finstrom’s new musical Glamour Girl! The Jan McArt Story, which will be presented in a staged reading Monday at Lynn University.
At a minimum, Thursday’s opening of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s fresh spin on Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra is a watershed event for the region. But this co-production of GableStage, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Public Theater lays out a put-up-or-shut-up challenge to South Florida audiences and funders: Do you want to become a major theatrical hub?