Performing Arts

Summer stages keep South Florida theater hot

Former ‘Love Story’ costars Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw will kick off a national tour in ‘Love Letters’ at the Broward Center.
Former ‘Love Story’ costars Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw will kick off a national tour in ‘Love Letters’ at the Broward Center. Austin Hargrave

Summertime, and you’re wondering: I’ve been to the beach, I’ve seen Jurassic World, now what? Even if you’re in and out of town all summer, you’ll have cultural options when you’re home. Particularly if what you enjoy is theater.

Plenty of terrific shows are on stages from Coral Gables to Boca Raton and beyond through the end of the month, though if you’ve waited to see Michael McKeever’s tremendously moving Daniel’s Husband at Island City Stage in Fort Lauderdale, you’re out of luck — except for a few tickets on the Fourth of July, even the extension is sold out.

July brings the 30th anniversary edition of the International Hispanic Theatre Festival and the high-flying Lookingglass Alice to Miami’s Arsht Center, a reunited Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw in Love Letters at the Broward Center, a Palm Beach Dramaworks concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music and more.

In August, Laura Turnbull will demonstrate her solo show chops as super agent Sue Mengers in I’ll Eat You Last at GableStage, Mad Cat will offer a world premiere at the SandBox in Miami Shores, and Island City Stage will team with City Theatre for a third edition of Shorts Gone Wild.

Here’s a rundown of some of South Florida’s tantalizing summer theater choices.

ON NOW

The Book of Liz: Amy and David Sedaris cook up a not-too-cheesy comedy about an Amish-like group supported by the labors of gifted cheese-ball maker Sister Liz, who flees into the outside world and winds up in a theme restaurant. Christina Groom, Elena Maria Garcia, Scott Douglas Wilson and Matt Stabile are comic shape-shifters. Find them at The Vanguard, 1501 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, through June 28; www.vanguardarts.org.

Casa Valentina: Harvey Fierstein’s Tony-nominated play is about straight men who retreated to a Catskills resort in the early ’60s to indulge their secret passion: dressing like women. Wayne LeGette, Cliff Burgess, Ryan Didato, Roland Rusinek, Kevin Reilley, Howard Elfman, Irene Adjan and Patti Gardner explore the double life complexities in director Joseph Adler’s fine production. See it at GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel, 1300 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables, through June 28; 305-445-1119 or www.gablestage.org.

Into the Woods: The young actors of Entr’acte Theatrix take on the challenge of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods, exploring characters from familiar fairy tales and what happens after “happily ever after.” The show is running at the Delray Beach Center for the Arts/Crest Theatre, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach, through June 28; 561-243-7922, ext. 1, or www.entractetheatrix.org.

Little Shop of Horrors: Slow Burn Theatre’s final show at the West Boca Performing Arts Theatre is a man- and woman-eating hoot. Mike Westrich, Amy Miller Brennan, Shane Tanner, Matthew Korinko and a great girl group sing the heck out of the Howard Ashman-Alan Menken score, and the ravenous Audrey II makes short work of pretty much everyone. See it at the West Boca theater, 12811 W. Glades Rd., through June 28; 866-811-4111 or www.slowburntheatre.org.

MicroTheater Miami: MicroTheater Miami turns three with its first festival of short plays in Spanish and English in its seven shipping container “theaters.” Featured South Florida companies are Lost Girls Theatre with Dinner at the End of the World, City Theatre with Open: A Play on Expression, the Fort Lauderdale Fringe with Reality Check, Teatro de Bellas Artes with Pareja de Tres, the Trail Theater with Lo tuyo es ... MicroTeatro, Teatro 8 with Plástico and Havanafama with Amor eterno. Find them in the side courtyard at Centro Cultural Español, 1490 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, through June 28; 305-448-9677 or www.miamimicrotheater.com.

Sisters of Swing: Sara Ashley Teate, Molly Anne Ross and Malia Nicolini take on the hits of the Andrews Sisters in a musical bio that includes such signature numbers as Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. The harmonious revue runs through July 12 at Stage Door Theatre, 8036 W. Sample Rd., Margate (Waist Watchers the Musical will run in Stage Door’s other theater July 10-Aug. 16); 954-344-7764 or www.stagedoortheatre.com.

Summer Shorts: City Theatre’s 20th anniversary edition of its popular short play festival is one of its best. Actors Karen Stephens, Tom Wahl, Elizabeth Dimon, Bechir Sylvain, Michael Uribe and Chastity Hart nail the comedy and the drama. Catch it in the Carnival Studio Theatre at Miami’s Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., through June 28; 305-949-6722 or www.arshtcenter.org.

OPENING SOON

The Recommendation: Jonathan Caren’s play about two very different roommates at Brown University gets the Ground Up & Rising treatment at Miami’s Artistic Vibes (June 27-July 12) and Miami Beach Botanical Garden (July 18-26). Christian Vandepas, O’Neil Delapenha and Kevin Walton perform the intense play about privilege and morality. Artistic Vibes is at 12986 SW 89th Ave., the Garden at 2000 Convention Center Dr.; 305-562-5849 or www.groundupandrising.org.

IN JULY

George M!: The Yankee Doodle Dandy, George M. Cohan, is the subject of a musical bio presented in concert at the Wick Theatre. Give My Regards to Broadway, Over There, You’re a Grand Old Flag and plenty of dazzling dancing are all part of the show running July 2-19 at the Wick, 7901 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton; 561-995-2333 or www.thewick.org.

International Hispanic Theatre Festival: The annual festival that brings companies from all over the world to perform (mostly) Spanish-language theater in Miami celebrates its 30th anniversary this year by paying tribute to Brazil. The festival kicks off July 9 at the Arsht Center with performances of Peace Transcends/Aje by the Viver Brasil Dance Company. The rest of the fest brings companies from Spain, Brazil, Uruguay, El Salvador, Mexico and the United States, including Miami’s Teatro Avante, the company founded by festival artistic director Mario Ernesto Sánchez. The festival runs through July 26 at the Arsht Center, Teatro Prometeo and other locations; 305-445-8877 or www.teatroavante.org.

The Last Five Years: Ben Sandomir and Sara Grant play a guy and a gal who fall hard for each other, one telling the story from beginning to end, the other from end to beginning in Jason Robert Brown’s intimate musical. Evening Star Productions will do a the show at the Sol Theatre, 3333 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton, July 17-Aug. 2; 561-447-8829 or www.eveningstarproductions.org.

Lookingglass Alice: The big summer show at Miami’s Arsht Center comes from Chicago’s Tony Award-winning Lookingglass Theatre. It's a circus-style interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s classic about a curious girl’s trip down the rabbit hole into a strange new world. A high-flying Alice and company bring a different Wonderland to the onstage audience at the Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, July 8-Aug. 16; 305-949-6722 or www.arshtcenter.org.

A Little Night Music: Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s gorgeous, bittersweet, Ingmar Bergman-inspired musical gets the summer concert treatment at Palm Beach Dramaworks. Kim Cozort, William Michals and Joy Franz sing principal roles, with Cozort as Desirée getting Sondheim’s haunting Send in the Clowns. Performances are July 10-19 at Dramaworks, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach (110 in the Shade will also be presented in concert Aug. 14-23); 561-514-4042 or palmbeachdramaworks.org.

Love Letters: Big buzz surrounds the reunion of Love Story co-stars Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw as they kick off a national tour of A.R. Gurney’s play about a 50-year relationship captured in correspondence. The duo will read the funny, poignant letters of Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, July 21-26; 954-462-0222 or www.browardcenter.org.

Unnecessary Farce: Actors’ Playhouse likes it light in the summer, and this year’s comedy by Paul Slade Smith is about an embezzling mayor, his sexy accountant and the cops monitoring their meeting. In the strong cast are Allan Baker, Chris Crawford, Katherine Amadeo, Cliff Burgess, Elizabeth Dimon, Jim Ballard and Jessica Brooke Sanford. See it July 15-Aug. 9 at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293 or www.actorsplayhouse.com.

IN AUGUST

Bed and Sofa: Outré Theatre, which had planned to present The Threepenny Opera, has swapped out that show for Polly Pen and Laurence Klavan’s Obie Award-winning musical about a love triangle in long-ago Moscow. It opens Aug. 28 and runs through Sept. 13 in the Abdo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222, www.browardcenter.org or www.outretheatrecompany.com.

Bug: Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts’ unsettling play about a lonely waitress and a paranoid Gulf War veteran returns to South Florida (it was previously done at GableStage) . Evening Star Productions is doing it in association with Infinite Abyss at the latter’s theater, 2304 N. Dixie Hwy., Wilton Manors, Aug. 12-29; www.eveningstarproductions.org or www.infinite-abyss.org.

I’ll Eat You Last: Famous Hollywood agent Sue Mengers gets the solo treatment in a wild and witty play by Red author John Logan. Carbonell Award winner Laura Turnbull will play the larger-than-life Mengers in a production directed by Michael Leeds. See it at GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables, Aug. 1-30; 305-445-1119 or www.gablestage.org.

Lazy Fair: Mad Cat Theatre is doing the world premiere of a play by company member Theo Reyna, in which the playwright explores the limits of greed. Catch it Aug. 20-Sept. 6 at Miami Theater Center’s SandBox, 9806 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores; www.madcattheatre.org.

Peter Pan: The musical about the boy who refused to grow up and the London kids who follow him to Neverland gets a month-long run Aug. 6-Sept. 6 at the Wick, 7901 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton; 561-995-2333 or www.thewick.org.

Side by Side by Sondheim: MNM Productions brings the Stephen Sondheim revue, featuring music from Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and other shows to the Delray Beach Center for the Arts/Crest Theatre, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach, July 30-Aug. 9; 561-243-7922 or www.delraycenterforthearts.org.

Shorts Gone Wild 3: The adults-only edition of Summer Shorts, a joint effort of Island City Stage and City Theatre, will feature short plays by Michael Aman, Tony Finstrom, Paul Rudnick, Michael Leeds and four other playwrights, performed by Larry Buzzeo, Craig Moody, Niki Fridh, Gladys Ramirez and Christina Groom. See them at Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale, Aug. 6-Sept. 6, then at the Fillmore Miami Beach Sept. 10-13; 954-519-2533 or www.islandcitystage.org.

FAMILY FARE

Jack and the Beanstalk and Miranda and the Frog Prince: Dream Child Productions brings a pair of plays for kids to the Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton (a special fairy tale lunch is available for an extra charge). Jack runs July 10-18, Miranda July 31-Aug. 8; 561-995-2333 or www.thewick.org.

Mary Poppins: The musical about the magical nanny and the family she saves is the big summer show from the Pembroke Pines Theatre of the Performing Arts. Catch it July 17-Aug. 9 at the Susan Katz Theatre at the River of Grass ArtsPark, 17195 Sheridan St., Pembroke Pines; 954-437-4884.

Seussical: The Fort Lauderdale Children’s Theatre takes on Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s show featuring a gaggle of Dr. Seuss characters. Find it July 17-19 at Bailey Hall at Broward College, 3501 Davie Rd., Davie; 954-763-6882 or www.flct.org.

Shorts 4 Kids: City Theatre’s popular family version of Summer Shorts takes kids and their parents inside a video game console for four short plays. See it on the weekends through June 28 in the Carnival Studio Theater at the Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722 or www.arshtcenter.org.

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