Performing Arts

New Plays take center stage at Theatre Lab, NNPN showcase

Pulitzer winner Marsha Norman will speak at Theatre Lab’s New Play Fest and hear a reading of her ‘Secret Report from the War on Girls.’
Pulitzer winner Marsha Norman will speak at Theatre Lab’s New Play Fest and hear a reading of her ‘Secret Report from the War on Girls.’

Lots of high-profile new play readings are on the horizon for South Florida, with Theatre Lab’s inaugural New Play Festival in Boca Raton (open to the public) and the National New Play Network’s new play showcase in Cutler Bay (for conference goers only) running simultaneously. Also look for the fleeting return of Outré Theatre’s thrilling Thrill Me in Fort Lauderdale, a new version of Miami’s MicroTheater for kids, and a wide-ranging conversation with Tony Award-winning musical director Paul Gemignani in West Palm Beach.

▪ Theatre Lab, the new professional company run by Florida Stage-Theatre at Arts Garage founder Louis Tyrrell, won’t be presenting fully produced work on the campus of Florida Atlantic University until next season. But the coming week brings a big event, the New Play Festival, to add to the theater’s program of staged readings of plays and concert-style presentations of new musicals.

Running Tuesday through Dec. 13, the festival begins with a free 7:30 p.m. reading on Tuesday of original works by FAU students. At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Motherland by Allison Gregory will be read, followed by This Random World by Steven Dietz at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Echo Location by Carter Lewis at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11. On Dec. 12, the program begins with a reading of American Son by Christopher Demos-Brown at 2 p.m., followed by a free performances of original works from Theatre Lab’s student outreach program at 5 p.m. and a reading of Harlowe by Jennifer Lane at 7:30 p.m.

Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman will give the keynote speech at 2 p.m. Dec. 13, followed by a reading of her new work, Special Report From the War on Girls. The festival closes with a 5:30 p.m. playwrights’ panel and reception.

New Play Festival events will be in Parliament Hall on the FAU campus at 777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton (park in Garage 2). Tickets are $10 for each reading ($20 for the Norman speech and reading, $15 for the panel and reception). Festival passes are $70. For information, call 561-297-4784; for tickets, call 800-564-9539 or visit

▪ The National New Play Network is holding its National Showcase of New Plays from Thursday to Dec. 13 at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay. Hosted by member company New Theatre, the gathering will draw theater professionals from all over the country. Between meetings and committee work, participants will hear readings of Sam by Donnetta Lavinia Grays, The Open Hand by Robert Caisley, Against the Hillside by Sylvia Khoury, The Arsonists by Jacqueline Goldfinger, How to Use a Knife by Will Snider and American Son by Christopher Demos-Brown. They’ll also attend a performance of New Theatre’s current world premiere show, Two Weekends and a Day by Susan J. Westfall.

▪ For one weekend only, Outré Theatre is bringing back its much-praised production of Thrill Me, a two-character musical about thrill killers Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. Mike Westrich and Conor Walton will again play the notorious duo, with Caryl Fantel serving as musical director and pianist. Performances are at 8 p.m. Dec. 11-12, 2 p.m. Dec. 13 in the Abdo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $30. Call 954-462-0222 or visit

▪ MicroTheater Miami is launching MicroTheater for Kids, bringing its popular shipping-container show concept to a younger audience. Running Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 20, the five short shows will be done in English, Spanish or both from 3 to 6 p.m. each day. Tickets cost $5 per show. The plays are #Santa by Andres Felipe (English and Spanish), El sapo, la princesa y el rey by Christian Garcia (Spanish), Tomorrow by Miguel Sahid (English), Capitan Pijama by Javier Leon and Sofia Leon (Spanish) and Ser pirata es una lata by Susana Mercado (Spanish). MicroTheater shows are in the side courtyard at Centro Cultural Español, 1490 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. For information, call 305-448-9677 or visit

▪ Lifetime Achievement Tony Award-winning musical director Paul Gemignani will be interviewed about his extraordinary Broadway career at 2 and 7 p.m. Tuesday as part of the Dramalogue series at Palm Beach Dramaworks. Tickets are $20, and the program is at the Don & Ann Brown Theatre, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Call 561-514-4042 or visit

Christine Dolen: 305-376-3733, @christinedolen