• Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo and Animals Out of Paper
What do a doomed tiger and a lonely woman have in common? Each is a focal character in plays by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph, works that will be done in repertory at Mosaic Theatre Feb. 7-March 17, 2013. Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo plunges the audience into a world of violence, opportunism and destruction, both mental and physical, during the Iraq War; in Animals Out of Paper, a divorcing woman with a talent for origami finds her diminishing world changed by a teacher and an angry, talented teen.
Mosaic productions at the American Heritage Center for the Arts, 12200 W. Broward Blvd., Bldg. 3000, Plantation. Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $40 per play for adults ($36 for seniors 65 and older, $15 for students). Call 954-577-8243 or visit www.mosaictheatre.com.
• Venus in Fur
Inspired by a 19th century novel that gave rise to the term “masochism,” David Ives’ Broadway hit Venus in Fur becomes a study in sexuality and power, as a playwright auditions an erotically intriguing, surprising actress for the lead role in his stage adaptation. Betsy Graver and Matthew William Chizever star in a provocative play that is the quintessence of the way director Joseph Adler loves to push and challenge his audiences. His whole season is a best bet, with Tarell Alvin McCraney and Bijan Shebani’s adapted Hamlet (Jan. 12-Feb. 10, 2013), Amy Herzog’s 4000 Miles (March 16-April 14, 2013), Mike Bartlett’s Cock (May 18-June 16, 2013), David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People (July 20-Aug. 18, 2013) and Stephen Karam’s Sons of the Prophet (Sept. 21-Oct. 20, 2013).
GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables, Nov. 10-Dec. 9, 2012. Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday (no late Sunday show opening weekend). Tickets are $37.50-$50. Call 305-445-1119 or visit www.gablestage.org.
• In the Heights
Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables is one of two big South Florida theaters (the Maltz Jupiter Theatre is the other) that knows how to pull off a first-rate production of a big Broadway musical. This season’s challenge is In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Tony Award-winning exploration of life, love and death in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood. Though the show is set in New York, the infectious mix of Latino music and hip-hop in its score has the perfect sabor for Miami.
Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, March 6-April 7, 2013. Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15-$50. Call 305-444-9293 or visit www.actorsplayhouse.org.
• I Am My Own Wife
Miami’s still-young Zoetic Stage has built a strong reputation with nearly all original work so far, but this season the company broadens its reach. Leading off is Doug Wright’s Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, a fascinating play about the transgendered Charlotte von Mahlsdorf. Tom Wahl takes on the challenge of portraying the real-life character, who survived (as she notes in the play) both the Nazis and the East German Communists.
Zoetic production runs Oct. 4-21, 2012 as part of the Theater Up Close series in the Carnival Studio Theatre at the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday (additional 3 p.m. show Oct. 6). Tickets are $40-$45. Call 305-949-6722 or visit www.arshtcenter.org.
• War Horse
Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s young adult book about the World War I experiences of a British farm lad and his valiant horse made for a stirring movie. But it was the Royal National Theatre’s brilliantly theatrical stage version of War Horse that inspired Spielberg in the first place. The highlight of the touring Broadway season in South Florida uses ingenious life-sized horse puppets, creatures that are so effectively manipulated that the “horses” quickly seem to be living, breathing animals. The play is moving, heart-breaking and triumphant, a must-see for anyone who treasures the art of theater.
Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, May 7-19, 2013. Performances are 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (additional shows 7:30 p.m. May 12, 2 p.m. May 15). Tickets are $49.50-$79.50. For information, call 954-462-0222 or visit www.browardcenter.org.