1. Antony and Cleopatra
Miami’s soaring young playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney crafts a set-in-Haiti version of William Shakespeare’s turbulent history play, moving the action to the late 1700s on the eve of the Haitian revolution. The production is a collaborative effort by the Royal Shakespeare Company, New York’s Public Theater and South Florida’s GableStage, which will present the play at the roomier Colony Theatre on Miami Beach. McCraney’s newest work is part of another strong GableStage season, one that includes Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop (March 15-April 13 )and this year’s best play Tony Award winner, Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (May 17-June 15).
GableStage production at the Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, Jan. 11-Feb. 9; 8 p.m. Friday (tickets $65), 8 p.m. Saturday ($75), 2 p.m. Sunday ($70). Call 305-445-1119 or visit www.gablestage.org.
2. Fear Up Harsh and Clark Gable Slept Here
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The still-young Zoetic Stage proved itself ascendant last season with its award-winning production of Doug Wright’s Pulitzer Prize winner I Am My Own Wife. This season, part of the focus shifts back to original works by two of its playwright-founders. Christopher Demos-Brown’s Fear Up Harsh focuses on a Medal of Honor winner with a hidden past; Michael McKeever’s Clark Gable Slept Here on a closeted movie star facing a career-killing crisis. The dual world premieres highlight a lineup that also includes Zoetic’s first musical, Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins (Jan. 30-Feb. 23).
Zoetic Stage productions, part of the Theater Up Close series, at the Carnival Studio Theater at the Arsht Center’s Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Nov. 7-25 (Fear Up Harsh) and March 20-April 6 (Clark Gable Slept Here). Performances are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $45. Call 305-949-6722 or visit www.arshtcenter.org.
3. Next to Normal
Yes, Next to Normal has been done in South Florida by Actors’ Playhouse, but the adventurous Slow Burn Theatre is offering its own fresh take on the Pulitzer winning musical about a bipolar mom and her damaged family. The rock-driven piece is also fueling the impressive company’s growth: After its run in Boca Raton, the show will move to the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center, as will Slow Burn’s spring production of the musical Chess.
Slow Burn Theatre production at the West Boca Theater of the Performing Arts, 12811 W. Glades Rd., Boca Raton, Boca Raton, Oct. 18-Nov. 2; moves to Aventura Arts & Cultural Center, 3385 NE 188th St., Aventura, Nov. 7-10. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday (additional show 8 p.m. Nov. 7 at Aventura). Tickets are $25-$40 in Boca Raton, $34.50-$39.50 in Aventura. Call 1-866-811-4111 or visit www.slowburntheatre.org.
4. The Book of Mormon
Last season’s must-see Broadway touring show was War Horse. This year it’s the Tony Award-winning, in-your-face smash The Book of Morman. Though a musical about Mormon missionaries doing their thing in Africa might not sound like such hot stuff, add that it’s by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone (plus Avenue Q’s Robert Lopez) and you get why the deliberately outrageous, sometimes gross and oddly sweet musical is an enduring hit. Though the Fort Lauderdale run is a month long, expect tickets to evaporate.
Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Nov. 26-Dec. 22. Performances are 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday (some variations). Tickets are $44.50-$154.50. Call 954-462-0222 or visit www.browardcenter.org.
5. Once and War Horse
This season Miami audiences will get to see what all the War Horse fuss was about in Broward last spring — and if you missed the magnificent National Theatre production, do go — but Arsht Center audiences will be the first locally to experience the lovely, romantic musical Once. The Tony winner, based on the hit movie about an Irish street musician and a Czech pianist, is a glorious exploration of the connection between a man, a woman and their music.
Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Feb. 4-9 (Once) and March 4-9 (War Horse). Performances are 8 p.m. Tuesday- Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $26-$96. Call 305-949-6722 or visit www.arshtcenter.org.