By Bill Hirschman
The snow up North notwithstanding, one early sign of winter’s ebb is that theaters in South Florida try to entice the current crop of snowbirds to sign up for their next season by releasing their 2015-2016 schedules.
The fare being offered by Slow Burn Theatre Company, Maltz Jupiter Theatre and Broward Stage Door ranges from regional premieres like Billy Elliot at the Maltz and Heathers at Slow Burn to familiar titles like Spring Awakening at Slow Burn, The Mousetrap at the Maltz, and Harvey at Stage Door.
Florida Grand Opera has already released its schedule (to see it, click here), although FGO officials won’t say until Feb. 15 whether they have raised enough money to finance productions in Broward County next season.
Some theaters wait until late spring or even summer like GableStage. Several more announcement dates have been penciled in: the Broadway Across America season for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts will be announced on Feb. 15; the season at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on March 8, and the Kravis season on Feb. 23. The Wick Theatre and Actors Playhouse are also finalizing their seasons to announce relatively soon.
Slow Burn Theatre Company
Slow Burn moves next season from West Boca Community High School’s auditorium to the Amaturo Theater at Broward Center for the Performing Arts with high-profile entries in keeping with their predilection of edgy or quirky or even flawed works that have elements that deserve a second chance.
June 9–26, 2016: Slow Burn is one of the first regional companies in the country to get the rights to produceHeathers: The Musical, a hilarious romp from off-Broadway last season. It’s a dark, dark comedy about the hell of high school cliques that leads to homicidal revenge. It is based on 1989 darkly comic film with Wynona Ryder and Christian Slater. The creators include Kevin Murphy (Reefer Madness, Desperate Housewives), Laurence O’Keefe (Bat Boy, Legally Blonde) and Andy Fickman (Reefer Madness, She’s the Man). When we saw it in New York in June 2014, it immediately struck us as the kind of Bat Boy / Rocky Horror / High Fidelity show that Show Burn’s founders Patrick Fitzwater and Matthew Korinko love. (To read our review of the New York production, click here). http://www.floridatheateronstage.com/reviews/report-from-new-york-heathers-the-musical-is-absolute-hoot-destined-to-play-south-florida/
Oct. 22 – Nov. 15: Big Fish was a musical that attracted a cult following but failed to build enough box office to survive even a single season in New York City in 2013. It is based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and the film directed by Tim Burton, with music and lyrics by Tony nominee Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party). In the musical, a traveling salesman, who lives life to its fullest, thrills those around him with his incredible, larger-than-life stories. His son, who is ready to become a father himself, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales
Jan. 21- Feb. 7, 2016: Violet was yet another modest New York success that attracted a rabid following in 1997. Remounted a few years ago at Actors Playhouse and revived last season on Broadway with Sutton Foster, it’s a tuneful, funny and moving tale about a scarred young woman from the rural south travelling by bus to ask an evangelist in Tulsa to be healed. Along the way, she meets a young black soldier who teaches her about beauty, love, courage and what it means to be an outsider. The score is by Jeanine Tesori (Caroline Or Change, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Shrek). To read our review of the Sutton Foster revival, click here. http://www.floridatheateronstage.com/reviews/report-from-new-york-violet-shines-from-fosters-glow-but-show-itself-is-a-bit-dimmer/
March 17–April 3, 2016: Spring Awakening has been attempted by schools and non-professionals, but this may be the first professional production in South Florida. As touching as it is honest about adolescence and sex, this rock musical adaptation of the classic play explores the poignant journey of a group of German students in the 19th century as they move from being teenagers to adults. With music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater.
Each production will run for three weeks Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets will be offered on a full four-show subscription for $150 or a three-show flexible subscription for $115 to individual shows are $45.
Buy tickets online at BrowardCenter.org or, Ticketmaster.com; by phone at (954) 462-0222 or TTD/TTY at (800) 359-2525; in person at Ticketmaster outlets or the Broward Center’s AutoNation Box Office.
Negotiations are still underway about which two additional shows will play the Broward Center’s Abdo River Room venue and whether those will be toured to the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center as they have in past seasons. But Slow Burn’s announcement of April auditions cited the musicals Dogfight and Romance Romance.
Maltz Jupiter Theatre
After a current season that encompasses The Wiz, Glengarry Glen Ross and Les Misérables, the Maltz has an equally eclectic season coming.
Oct. 25 – Nov. 8: The Mousetrap, the Agatha Christie suspenseful whodunit thriller which stands as the world’s longest-running play – still selling tickets in London. It’s described as a group of strangers become stranded at a boarding house during a snowstorm and discover that a murderer is in their midst. And he or she is likely to kill again.
Dec 1.-20: Billy Elliot The Musical marks what may be the regional professional premiere of the tale of a young working class boy in the coal fields of England who pursues a dream of becoming a ballet dancer as the adults around him go on strike during the Thatcher Era. This musical adaptation of the acclaimed film has a score by Elton John and was universally acclaimed for its rousing and electrifying dance numbers in its Broadway production.
Jan. 12– 31, 2016: The Will Rogers Follies is a Tony Award-winning musical celebrating the beloved American entertainer Will Rogers who drily quipped, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” The show features Rogers – a film, radio and stage star – emceeing a musical extravaganza with glittering showgirls, tapping cowboys and show-stopping dance numbers.
Feb. 7–21: Frost/Nixon, Peter Morgan’s play recreates the lead-up and then the face off between interviewer David Frost and former President Richard Nixon in which he acknowledged culpability in the Watergate scandal.
March 8 – 27: Kiss Me Kate, Cole Porter’s witty musical that reveals the backstage machinations – including two rocky love affairs — in a musical-within-a-musical production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.
The Maltz also plans a full roster of short gigs including Tony-nominated songstress Brenda Braxton in a cabaret concert of Broadway classics on March 30, 2016; another celebrity benefit concert Nov. 21 with Broadway star Christine Ebersole, and the one-night only summer student conservatory production of The Glass Menagerie on August 15.
The Maltz offers four- and five-play subscriptions beginning at $198 beginning this week. Single play and musical tickets go on sale Aug. 24. Single tickets for special productions, special engagements and limited engagements go on sale May
For more information including a detailed list of special engagements, visit www.jupitertheatre.org or call the box office at (561) 575-2223.
Broward Stage Door
Stage Door’s two side-by-side theaters starts its season in July with a mix of classic plays like Harvey, revues like Pompadour and large-scale musicals like Gypsy and Sunset Boulevard, which may mark the first time any local professional theater has attempted this musical in South Florida.
July 31-Sept. 6: Harvey, the venerable comedy about a gentle man whose best friend is an invisible 6-foot-tall rabbit.
Sept. 4-Oct. 11:– The Fantasticks, the small whimsical musical about the nature of true love as opposed to infatuation from Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt, holds the world’s record for the longest continuing running musical – 42 years and 17,000-plus performances —and was revived in a production still running in Times Square.
Sept. 25-Nov. 1: Promises, Promises, the Burt Bacharach-Hal David-Neil Simon musical based on Billy Wilder’s film The Apartment. Features a terrific period ‘60s score including “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again.”
Oct. 30-Dec. 6: Dial; M For Murder, the classic thriller not about whodunit but will he get away with it?
Nov. 20-Jan. 3: Gypsy, one of the greatest American musicals of all time, from Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents.
Dec. 26-Jan. 31: Pompadour, another revue of 1950s and 1950s hits.
Jan. 22-Feb. 28, 2016: Carnival, one of the loveliest scores in the musical theater canon, drawn from several sources including the movie Lili about a childlike orphaned young Frenchwoman who joins a travelling circus and makes friends with the puppets but not the taciturn puppeteer.
Feb .9-March 27: What’s New Pussycat? Few people held out much hope for this revue when it bowed this past season at the Stage Door. Instead, it turned out to be a surprisingly well-executed and thoroughly satisfying look at the gamut of music that provided the soundtrack to 1960s.
March 18-April 24: Sunset Boulevard, one of the last Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals of any worth, it is based on Billy Wilder’s movie of the same name about a faded silent film star and an opportunistic screenwriter/gigolo.
April 15-May 22: Same Time, Next Year, another venerable comedy with tears about a couple of married people who meet once a year for decades for an adulterous tryst.
May 13-June 19: Putting it Together, a revue of mid-career Stephen Sondheim theater songs.
June 10-July 17: A Night In Motown, a musical revue of… well, you know.
July 9-Aug. 14: Present Laughter, the classic Noel Coward comedy of too-British manners.
For tickets, call (954)344-7765 or visit www.stagedoortheatre.com