New Theatre 1-Act Festival / Slow Burns Sets Season

Slow Burn Looks Ahead

Slow Burn Theater Company, the Boca Raton troupe attracted to edgy, challenging work, has chosen the titles for their 2013-2014 season, said co-artistic director Patrick Fitzwater and Matthew Korinko. Specific dates are not nailed down, but the shows will be slated close to the slots in their current season at West Boca Community High School.

They will open their fifth season around October or November with Next To Normal, the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt. The excoriating work explores a housewife’s struggles with bipolar disorder and the fallout that her illness and attempts at a cure have on her family. It is arguably one of the finest new musicals of the past 10 years, many observers say. Fitzwater and Korinko believe there is an audience in Palm Beach and Broward counties who did not travel to Coral Gables when Actors Playhouse mounted its acclaimed production last season.

Slow Burn’s January/February show in 2014 will be Jason Robert Brown’s Parade, the musical retelling of the Leo Frank tragedy in Atlanta in 1915 when a Jewish businessman was lynched by an anti-Semitic mob. Brown’s score and the book by Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) were praised when the show opened in 1999 and both men won Tony Awards, but it had a short run. The show’s last major production in South Florida was by Broward Stage Door in 2003. But since then, Brown has scaled down the scope of what was usually staged as a massive epic.

The April/May show will be Chess with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and lyrics by Tim Rice, the frequent early collaborator with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Chess follows two charismatic competitors in a chess tournament that mirrors the Cold War, has a soaring sung-through score made popular by a concept album and later cast recordings.  But the much revised show had a rocky production history during the 1980s and has never been successfully revived.

Intentionally seeking a lighter show for the June/July slot, Slow Burn has chosen  High Fidelity. It features the first Broadway score by Next to Normal’s Tom Kitt mimicking tunes from a dozen recognizable pop music sub-genres. It also has a book by David Lindsay-Abaire and lyrics by Amanda Green. The show had a very brief run on Broadway in 2006. Based primarily on the Nick Hornby novel rather than the movie, the musical centers on a record shop owner in his 30s with a  sort of Peter Pan syndrome who seems to be watching life rather than experiencing it himself.  When a romance goes south, his music provides him the insight to grow up and move on to true contentment.

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Shorts in Wintertime

New Theatre is hosting another edition of its “Miami 1-Act Festival” over three days this month featuring the short new works from 16 playwrights either based in South Florida or whose work has appeared here before.

The festival separates the shows into two different programs with eight plays each: Program A at 8 p.m. Dec. 21, and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 23, and Program B at 8 p.m. Dec. 22 and 1 p.m. Dec. 22 at New Theatre’s home at the Roxy Performing Arts Center,
1645 SW 107th Avenue in Miami.

Playwrights scheduled to participate are Catherine Bush, Will Cabrera, James Carrey, Todd Caster, David Caudle, Joe Feinstein, Vanessa Garcia, Marion Grey, Monnie O. King, Tony Macy-Perez, Ricky J. Martinez, Marj O’Neill-Butler, Marla E. Schwartz, Thomas Daniel Valls, David Victor and Susan Westfall. Some material is rated PG-13 for language and adult situations

Tickets are $10 per person per program. Beer and sangria will be available for a donation. For more information, call (305) 443-5909 or visit

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