The world premiere Elián at Miami New Drama is not remotely what you expect. Elián is not really about Elián. It’s about the political, social and moral firestorm fueled by ego, pride and bureaucracy that created one of the community-defining incidents in Cuban-American history — told with passion, yes, but shot through with satire, one-liners, a Castro puppet and sex jokes.
There is a delightful irony to Heisenberg, GableStage’s enthralling play about uncertainty: When you leave it, you’re not quite sure what it was really about. The reward is you can debate it in the car ride home and theorize about it the next morning. About the only thing you can be really sure of is, if were willing to open yourself, you have had an engrossing night of thought-provoking, challenging theater.
Much of the audience at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s opening night of Jersey Boys was its traditional well-heeled well-coiffed crowd. But their increasingly unfettered applause, then cheers, then standing ovation while clapping to their music reflected a specific message. “Our time, our music, our youth mattered.”
Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach opened its 50th season with Butterflies Are Free, a charming romantic comedy harkening back to the years of the theater’s beginning. While it may not be the big-name musical with which Riverside usually launches a season, it’s a frothy of-its-time favorite with appealing characters and plenty of laughs.
The musical comedy Pageant at Island City Stage delivers a lush array of talented contestants in carefully coifed wigs and gowns — except they’re all men.
The complexity of Sweeney Todd with tongue-twisting lyrics and a breakneck score is, far more difficult to master than most civilians appreciate. So render props to Pembroke Pines Theatre of the Performing Arts’ respectable production, which features some engaging performances, some quite fine voices and an earnestness of artists clearly filling items on their bucket list.
Zoetic Stage’s Mlima’s Tale is a theatrically-lush indictment of illegal ivory trafficking and shared responsibility for the slaughter of animals, not so much for the artistic trinkets that result, but for human greed. Imagine a Discovery Channel documentary dramatically told as a fever dream awash in lights, sound, music and movement.
Don’t feed the plants! Once again, nebbishy Seymour just won’t listen, so we get another evening of wackiness in Slow Burn Theatre’s edition of Little Shop of Horrors.
A love of language and a love of theatricality meld in Thinking Cap Theatre’s ingeniously staged re-interpretation of The Importance of Being Oscar, a celebration of Oscar Wilde. The trio of actors, director and creative team embraces and elevates Wilde’s words of wit and wisdom as if playing glorious music.
Sometimes, the worthwhile reason to see Palm Beach Dramaworks’ mounting of 4000 Miles, the satisfying treat is watching the vibrating depiction by up-and-comer Gabriell Salgado of a deeply troubled young man and the brilliant portrait by Patricia Conolly of a 91-year-old grandmother staying vital and engaged while struggling with the debilitating effects of old age.