By Dale King
The venerable theatrical venues in Delray Beach and Lake Worth open their 2016-2017 seasons in October, offering a schedule of old, new, comic and classic productions.
Both community theaters are marking major milestones. Located on the shore of Lake Ida, Delray Beach Playhouse turns 70 this year. And Lake Worth Playhouse at 713 Lake Ave. downtown is presenting its 66th annual schedule of shows.
“With a presidential election looming in November, the Delray Beach Playhouse decided to begin its 70th season with a rib-tickling farce that would give the members of all our political parties an evening of non-partisan laughter and merriment,” said Artistic Director Randolph DelLago.
First show up is The Sensuous Senator, “about a presidential candidate who has one political liability: he adores the fairer sex and cannot resist the urgings of his libidinous nature.” It plays from Oct. 8-23.
Right behind that, running from Dec. 3-18, is the musical, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. “We chose to produce it when we realized how enormously successful it had been Off-Broadway,” said DelLago. “I think any show that runs for 12 years and more than 5,000 performances can safely be called an audience pleaser.”
DBP opens 2017 with a classic, Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, playing from Feb. 4-19. “Simon’s plays earned a place among Broadway’s ‘Best Ten Plays of the Season’ for 15 years in a row. That’s why we felt it fitting to celebrate Simon’s amazing career by reviving one of his most popular Broadway hits.”
The Playhouse steps back in time for its fourth production, the musical comedy, Once Upon a Mattress, being staged March 25-April 9. “Even though the musical is based on the classic children’s story about ‘The Princess and the Pea,’ it is actually a wry, tongue-in-cheek satire of fairy tales that delighted sophisticated Broadway audiences in 1959 and anticipated Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods’ by almost 30 years.” The original Broadway show also launched the career of Carol Burnett in the comic role of Winnifred the Woebegone, nicknamed “Fred.”
Delray wraps up the season with Christopher Durang’s comedy, Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike, which DelLago said is “arguably the single funniest play to appear on Broadway in the past 25 years.” The show runs from May 20 to June 14.
In addition to the mainstage plays, Delray Beach Playhouse also offers its “Musical Memories” series beginning in October with “Look, Ma, I’m Dancing,” featuring music associated with the work of choreographer Jerome Robbins. Performance are scheduled Oct. 17-20 and 24-27.
For tickets, call 561-272-1281 or visit delraybeachplayhouse.com.
Lake Worth Playhouse, a historic downtown site built in 1924 as a silent film movie theater, kicks off with Urinetown, the Musical, running from Oct. 6 through Oct. 23. A satirical comedy musical, it takes a sardonic look at social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy and corporate mismanagement.
The second show of the season, Death by Design, runs from Nov. 17 to Dec. 4, and is set during a weekend in an English country manor in 1932. Edward Bennett, a playwright, and his wife, Sorel Bennett, an actress, flee London and head to Cookham after a disastrous opening night. But various guests arrive unexpectedly, each with a long-held secret. When one of the guests is murdered, it’s left to Bridgit, the feisty Irish maid with a macabre interest in homicide, to solve the crime.
Evita, the popular musical penned by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, opens the New Year and runs from Jan. 19 to Feb. 5. It concentrates on the life of Argentine political leader Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón. The story follows Evita’s early life, rise to power, charity work, and death at the young age of 33.
Playwright Nathan Sanders’ The Sugar Bean Sisters is an absurd Southern gothic comedy set in the fictional swamp town of Sugar Bean, Fla. The show focuses on three women desperate to escape the drudgery of their lives. The show runs from March 2-19.
The season concludes with They’re Playing Our Song, a musical based on a book by Neil Simon, and written by Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager. It will be presented April 3-19.
Complementing the main stage performances at Lake Worth Playhouse are films and other productions at the Stonzek Theater next door. An event to watch for is the L-Dub Film Festival, to be held in late winter or the spring of 2017. It features local and international films, features, short films, documentaries, music videos and works by young filmmakers.
For information about all shows, call 561-586-6410 or visit www.lakeworthplayhouse.org.