There are plenty of interesting productions looming in the area this season, but the hottest ticket is unquestionably Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, at the Kravis Center in late January and then the Arsht Center the following month. Do what you have to to get tickets. You didn’t need that right arm anyway.
A year ago, the Stage Door Theatre was readying a move to a larger, better equipped venue in Lauderhill, but a few months later the company was forced to fold. A four-show season has hastily been created to keep the lights on at the performance center this year.
And a much anticipated co-production of Paula Vogel’s Indecent was announced between Palm Beach Dramaworks and GableStage, then fell apart over actors’ union regulations. Chastened, the two companies will try again this year on a world premiere work.
Here’s how the upcoming season looks, in a tour from the top of Palm Beach County to the bottom of Miami-Dade.
The Maltz Jupiter Theatre is barreling ahead with its ambitious $24 million expansion, but that does not stop the company from rolling out another ambitious season. Of course, it includes major musicals: The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Dec. 3-19), Chicago (Jan. 14-Feb. 2) and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (March 17-April 5). But producing artistic director Andrew Kato insists on including plays too, like a new comic, effects-laden Dracula to open the season (Oct. 27-Nov. 10) and the late Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs (Feb. 23-March 8).
In West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Dramaworks is readying a world premiere play about TV pioneer Gertrude Berg, Ordinary Americans (Dec. 6-29), a co-production with GableStage. PBD’s season kicks off with Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire (Oct. 11-Nov. 3), along with two more recent popular works – David Hare’s Skylight (Feb. 7-March 1) and Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero (May 22-June 7). Also in the mix is another subscription season musical, Adam Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza (April 3-26).
Having begun its season with a successful Man of La Mancha in the Kravis Center’s Rinker Playhouse, MNM Productions is following it up with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Nov. 22-Dec. 8), with more ahead TBA.
In the Kravis Center’s Dreyfoos Hall, the performing arts center has a powerhouse Broadway season lined up, headed by the Tony and Pulitzer-winning hip-hop Hamilton (Jan. 28-Feb. 16). Perhaps you’ve heard of it? The series opens with the always welcome Fiddler on the Roof (Nov. 12-17), based on the recent Broadway revival – No, not in Yiddish. It will be followed by the giddy The Play That Goes Wrong (Dec. 10-15), A Bronx Tale (Jan. 7-12), Miss Saigon (March 3-8), the post 9/11 musical Come From Away (March 31-April 5) and Summer (April 28-May 3), a celebration of the disco hits of Donna Summer.
The Wick Theatre in Boca Raton opens with an import from Down Under, the tap happy Hot Shoe Shuffle (Oct. 17-Nov. 10). The rest of the season is on more familiar ground – The Music Man (Nov. 29-Dec. 29), Evita (Jan. 16-Feb. 23), A Chorus Line (March 12-April 12) and Nunsense (April 23-May 17) starring Sally Struthers, back after her acclaimed appearance in Annie.
It’s a season of premieres, of sorts, at Theatre Lab on the Florida Atlantic University campus in Boca Raton. The professional company will be serving up a co-world premiere, Everything Is Super Great (Nov. 30-Dec. 22), then a U.S. premiere, The Glass Piano (Feb. 8-March 11) and a Southeastern premiere, To Fall in Love (March 14-April 5), this last one directed by former artistic director Louis Tyrrell.
Boca’s Primal Forces also has a line-up of plays you’ve never heard of before. Artistic director Keith Garsson has found a quartet of scripts that fit his – and hopefully the audience’s – offbeat tastes. There’s Andy and the Orphans (Nov. 15-Dec. 8), Villainous Company (Dec. 18-Jan. 12) and Warrior Class (March 11-April 5). And hands down, Primal wins the longest title sweepstakes with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City (Feb. 5-March 1).
Playhouse Productions takes a couple of rental slots as Boca Raton’s Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center with a pair of comedies – My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy (Dec. 19-Jan. 12) and The Secret Comedy of Women — Girls Only (Jan. 15-Feb. 23).
Moving into Broward County, the Lauderhill Performing Arts Center takes up the slack from the belly-up Stage Door Theatre, producing its own musicals. On the slate are West Side Story (Nov. 14-Dec. 1), Once (Dec. 5-22), Kinky Boots (Jan. 13-Feb. 9) and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Feb. 20-March 8).
In Wilton Manor, Island City Stage devotes its schedule to LBGTQ-themed works, both classic and contemporary. Look for Lipstick (Nov. 14-Dec. 15), the boy band send-up Altar Boyz (Jan. 16-Feb. 16), Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer (March 26-April 26) and The Mystery of Love and Sex (June 11-July 12).
At the Vanguard in Fort Lauderdale, Thinking Cap Theatre is still thinking about what, if anything, it will produce. That leaves plenty of room for New City Players in the space, which opts so far to serve up Falling, by Deanna Jent, a drama of a family tested by its teenage autistic son (Oct. 10-27).
Slow Burn Theatre Co. has grown less adventuresome in its show choices since moving its operations to the Broward Center. Still, artistic director and resident choreographer Patrick Fitzwater has cult-like but audience-friendly tastes. His upcoming season includes such Broadway musical fare as Shrek (Oct. 25-Nov. 10), A Christmas Story (Dec. 13-29), Groundhog Day (Jan. 31-Feb. 16), Ragtime (March 20-April 5) and Footloose (June 5-21).
Across the plaza from Slow Burn, in the Broward Center’s larger Amaturo Theatre, its Broadway series opens with the newly restaged Les Misérables (Oct. 8-20), followed by Jimmy Buffett’s beach party show, Escape to Margaritaville (Nov. 19-Dec. 1). Next are three shows currently running in New York – Disney’s Aladdin (Jan. 8-19), Mean Girls (March 3-15) and Come From Away (April 7-19) – plus the short-lived, but admired Bandstand (May 5-17).
Keep driving to Miami and you will find the area’s leading African-American troupe, M Ensemble. It starts its season with the Fats Waller revue, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Feb. 6-23), followed by a couple of new plays about the black experience, Emergency (April 9-26) and Cowboy (June 11-26).
Artistic director Michel Hausmann and artistic associate Moises Kaufman consistently challenge audiences under their Miami New Drama umbrella at Miami Beach’s Colony Theatre. Their eclectic season begins with a new adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey (Oct. 24-Nov. 17). It is followed by The Cubans (Jan. 23-Feb. 16), a new musical, A Wonderful World (March 5-April 5), and The Great Leap (April 23-May 17).
Miami’s Arsht Center has many Broadway series shows in common with the Kravis Center. For instance, it will present the tours of Fiddler on the Roof (Oct. 29-Nov. 3), Hamilton (Feb. 10-March 15), Miss Saigon (April 7-12) and Summer (May 12-17). Its exclusives this season are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Jan. 1-5) and Jesus Christ Superstar (Jan. 23-28).
In the Arsht’s smaller Studio Theater, Zoetic Stage offers up the area premiere of The Wolves (Oct. 31-Nov. 17), a metaphorical drama of high school soccer girls, as well as a post-Broadway staging of resident playwright Chris Demos-Brown’s unblinking look at race in this country, American Son (Jan. 9-26). The company continues its march through the Sondheim canon with A Little Night Music (March 19-April 12) and concludes with Hannah Benitez’s Gringo Landia (May 7-24), about a Cuban man’s return to his native land after 50 years away.
Also in the Arsht’s Studio, City Theatre celebrates its 25th year of producing a menu of 10-minute plays, Summer Shorts (June 4-July 5). Before that, however, it offers a rare full-length script that it is high on, The Cake (Dec. 5-22), about a North Carolina baker caught in a dilemma over whether to supply a cake for a lesbian wedding.
Actors’ Playhouse on Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile opens with a jukebox musical of Johnny Cash songs, Ring of Fire (Oct. 30-Dec. 8). Following the jukebox theme is ABBA’s Mamma Mia! (Jan. 22-Feb. 23), then the classic Camelot (March 18-April 12) and a new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (May 13-June 7) by the prolific Ken Ludwig.
Coral Gable’s GableStage produces provocative theater year round, so it is hard to tell where one season ends and the next one begins. Still on through Oct. 20 is Wiesenthal, the one-man show about the crusader who brought over 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice. Ostensibly, the company’s season then begins with Lucas Hnath’s suppositional look at the 2012 presidential primary, Hillary and Clinton (Nov. 23-Dec. 22), followed by Ordinary Americans (Jan. 18-Feb. 16), fresh from its premiere at Palm Beach Dramaworks. Also on tap are Life Sucks (March 21-April 19) and Kissing Che (May 23-June 21).