Jungle Fantasy is one of a dozen Cirque Dreams’ productions that surround pretty impressive circus acts in otherworldly music, fluid lighting and spectacular costumes filled out by ultra-buff bodies. This edition has played all over the world since 2008 but it’s the first time that Neil Goldberg’s Pompano Beach-based company has brought it home to Broward.
Worldless, disconnected, as neutral and interpretable as a Rorschach ink blot, H2OMBRE is a Cirque du Soleil-like show designed by and aimed at people raised on comic books and fantasy flicks. Anyone seeking a conventional definition of theater will be appalled. But this creation will close in on sheer nirvana for those seeking an immersive experience akin to a South Beach club erected at Comic-Con.
These fluffy summer fripperies at Actors’ Playhouse must be successful because here’s a sequel Mid-Life 2: the Crisis Continues, the off-spring of 2008’s Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical. Once again, the same folks have achieved precisely what they sought: a fun, light-hearted divertissement, but the varied quality of the material is not worthy of the skill, talent, polish and unflagging commitment of the cast and crew.
Samuel D. Hunter’s The Whale at GableStage focuses on a morbidly obese man wanting to reconnect with his abandoned daughter before his imminent death. But the darkly funny and affecting play — awash in profanity, cynicism, alienation and fatalism — reveals itself to be about hope rooted in the innate decency inside scalded souls.
Palm Beach Dramaworks’ current staged concert of Frank Loesser’s 1956 musical The Most Happy Fella overflows with a purity of emotions common to even the most ordinary of us, proclaiming them one of the glories of existence to be welcomed, not shied away from.
Ground Up & Rising’s courageous production of 9 Circles is a dichotomy that is deeply felt and deeply flawed at the same time – bluntly and uninhibitedly slashing away at one dimension of a brilliant subtle multi-dimensional script.
The musical revue Bernstein on Broadway at The Plaza Theatre is a bouncy bauble that achieves exactly what it aims to: deliver a diverting and entertaining summer evening. It’s like one of those pleasant summer pops concerts emanating from a riverside bandshell on a verdant lawn in the municipal park – it just happens to be staged inside a theater.
Coming to a theater near you in South Florida within a year or two – if it takes even that long – is Heathers: The Musical. It is closing off-Broadway, but it is destined to be a ubiquitous hit across this country whether it’s mounted by companies like Slow Burn Theatre encouraging a younger audience or even drama departments in progressive high schools.
Theater Shelf, a recurring feature, reviews recently-released books, CDs and DVDs of interest to theater lovers. Some are popular titles like a new Original Cast Recording, others are works you’ll be intrigued by, but didn’t even know about.
Satchmo at the Waldorf triumphs with very little music and none of it created live by the brilliant John Douglas Thompson’s resurrection of the jazz great. Instead, Thompson summons up Louis Armstrong reminiscing near the end of his life after a performance at the titular hotel. The evening is an incisive character study not a greatest hits concert.