Slow Burn Theatre Company, the acclaimed troupe specializing in musicals that many companies shy from, is moving its main operation from Boca Raton to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts beginning next season.
The move brings a significant theater producer to a county that has suffered the loss of major companies in recent years.
The professional theater, which has been growing steadily over the past five years, will move from West Boca Community High School’s auditorium to the 590-seat Amaturo Theatre in Fort Lauderdale. Last season, it extended the run of two shows, next to normal and Chess, to play at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center.
But beginning with the Broadway musical Big Fish in October 2015, Slow Burn will perform its entire season at the Amaturo, co-founder Patrick Fitzwater announced this weekend. The company already began a partnership this fall with the Broward Center, producing lighter musicals in the Abdo New River Room, such as the current The Marvelous Wonderettes.
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For the current season, Slow Burn will be the only theater company operating in all three South Florida counties and perhaps the only one in the region’s history.
Professional theater in Broward has been troubled in recent years. Mosaic Theatre in Plantation, Rising Action in Oakland Park and The Promethean Theatre in Davie closed in 2011 and 2012. But at the same time, new smaller companies, such as Island City Stage and Thinking Cap Theatre, based in Fort Lauderdale, have set down roots.
Slow Burn was organized in 2009 by two friends from St. Louis, director-choreographer Fitzwater and actor Matthew Korinko. Their goal was to mount contemporary or challenging musicals — cult musicals like Side Show and shows that did poorly on Broadway but were reworked, such as Parade.
Asked if their audience would follow them, Korinko said that 70 percent of their patrons come from Broward.