By Bill Hirschman
Slow Burn Theatre Company, the scrappy young Palm Beach County troupe with a reputation for skillfully mounted and thought-provoking musicals, will tour two of its productions next season to the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center.
After the shows close at the company’s home base at the West Boca Performing Arts Theater, Slow Burn will move its productions of next to normal, the cutting edge rock musical about a troubled bipolar housewife, to Aventura Nov. 7-10, and move Chess, the musical by Tim Rice and some members of ABBA, from April 10-13, 2014.
Director/choreographer Patrick Fitzwater who founded the company with frequent performer Matthew Korinko was quoted in a news release, “Slow Burn Theatre Company is devoted to presenting contemporary musicals — those shows that if you weren’t in New York at the right time you might never have seen. These musicals dig deeper than their predecessors and address the topics and struggles of more recent times.” For instance, the company has presented critically acclaimed productions of Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods and this season, the cult musical, Side Show. The company is currently rehearsing Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, set to open next week.
Slow Burn’s founders have been very careful during its three seasons not to overextend itself financially, especially in scheduling only two weekends to ensure that ticket sales could support the run. Currently, it runs too few performances to be eligible for Carbonell Award consideration. So to extend the run to another county for a third weekend is a major step in its growth. The Palm Beach/Miami Dade model, in fact, has been kicked around as a pipe dream for years, with area professionals suggesting that the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Actors Playhouse in Coral Gables and GableStage might be prime candidates for such an attempt.
One encouraging sign of Slow Burn’s success is that the size of its audiences in the cavernous theater inside a high school has steadily grown show after show due to rapturous reviews and word of mouth about the quality of the work. Side Show, a musical almost no one saw in New York and whose cult following is due to a recording, was the theater’s best attended show to date.
Tickets for performances of next to normal at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center go on sale April 12 and Chess tickets will be offered in the fall. Tickets for the Aventura engagements are $34.50 and $39.50. For more information, call the box office at (877) 311-7469 or visit online at www.AventuraCenter.org. The theater is located southeast of the Aventura Mall at 3385 N.E. 188 Street.
For more information about Slow Burn’s current and upcoming season, visit http://slowburntheatre.org.