Sometimes the joint is jumpin’ in M Ensemble Company’s Ain’t Misbehavin’, sometime things are sluggish; sometimes you can savor the brilliant lyrics coming from a talented quintet , sometimes you can only understand half the words. The moments that work are a joy to be present for a, some others are a disappointment.
Hamilton, which explodes with power, vitality and imagination in the Kravis Center through Feb. 16, is not the Second Coming as many overheated observers would have you believe. But this tour demonstrates why this musical epic is a watershed work that may well transmute mainstream theater for a decade to come.
The first things to know about Slow Burn Theater Company’s musical Groundhog Day is (a) do not go expecting to see the movie and (b) do not go expecting Bill Murray. The third thing is that it doesn’t matter. At all. This unapologetically uplifting, deeply poignant and very funny version is well worth seeing over and over on its own terms.
Across the face and embedded in the voice of the hero-narrator we can see a drive he can’t ignore, the profound costs and the unequaled joy of creating art in West Boca Theatre Company’s moving production of My Name Is Asher Lev. This tale of a Jewish boy maturing into a world-class painter incisively depicts the considerable price of heeding, pursuing and staying true to an artistic calling.
Face it. Resistance is useless when it comes to enjoying The 39 Steps. Any theater worth its comic salt will plunge head long into this madcap Hitchcock parody — Vero Beach’s Riverside Theatre included.
Given the multiple challenges inherent in mounting a stage version of the iconic film The Graduate, the Empire Stage production does reasonably well because of the commitment of everyone involved, but it does not qualify any better than an average night of theater.
Michael Leon’s world premiere The Cubans at Miami New Drama delivers an almost tactile depiction of how an extended family with multiple generations prioritize family unity while trying to preserve their culture and values against social pressure to assimilate and their children embrace a diverse outside world.
If Area Stage Company’s world premiere production of Peter x Wendy documents anything, it’s that Giancarlo Rodaz is the Orson Welles-like wunderkind of South Florida theater. It is a testament to the wildly inventive and stylistic virtuosity of Rodaz as playwright, director, sound designer, lighting designer, set designer, costumer designer, composer and even playing the guitar live offstage.
Mamma Mia! is another one of those Great Continental Divides in theater: you either love it – or you hate yourself for standing up and clapping along in the final mega-mix medley of infectious earwigs. As proven by Actors’ Playhouse’s full-out production, the damn thing can be a lot of good ol’ fun if you let yourself enjoy it.
Franklin Graham, the homophobic alt-right son of Billy Graham, just finished a revival tour of Florida this weekend. Too bad he didn’t attend the revival of the musical Altar Boyz at Island City Stage that energetically, if gently, teases boy bands and evangelistic Christian pop rock by infusing a decidedly gay undercurrent. It would have driven him crazy.