Season of the Arts

The money man, the bloodsucker and the kindness of strangers

“Hamilton” comes to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts as part of its 2018-2019 season.
“Hamilton” comes to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts as part of its 2018-2019 season.

“Hamilton,” Dec. 18-Jan. 20, Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.

No question: Since its Broward Center run was announced last year, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical about the “ten-dollar Founding Father without a father” has been the hottest ticket of the 2018-19 season. With Tony Award-winning orchestrations by Miami’s own Alex Lacamoire, Miranda’s brilliant distillation of Hamilton’s life utilizes hip-hop, achingly beautiful ballads and more to draw audiences of all ages into the story of an orphaned immigrant who helped found a nation. If you threw away your shot at a guaranteed ticket that came with a season subscription, you might get lucky and score a single ticket. People ask, “Is ‘Hamilton’ really that great?” Yes, it is.

“Dracula,” Oct. 11-28, Zoetic Stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater in Miami.

From Bram Stoker’s 1897 Gothic horror novel to a whole host of vampire-themed novels, movies and television shows, vampires have long fascinated mere mortals with their mixture of seduction, violence and (undead) immortality. At Zoetic Stage, multiple Carbonell Award-winning playwright Michael McKeever offers a new take on a familiar story, one with a markedly feminist point of view. The world premiere is part of a strong Zoetic season, with Ryan Didato starring in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” (Jan. 17-Feb. 3), Gregg Weiner in the solo show “Every Brilliant Thing” (Feb 14-March 3) and another bloody great Stephen Sondheim musical, “Sweeney Todd” (March 14-April 7).

“Indecent,” Oct. 19-Nov. 11, Palm Beach Dramaworks in West Palm Beach, and Jan. 26-Feb. 24, GableStage at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.

Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel made a much-delayed Broadway debut in 2017 with “Indecent,” an intense and deeply moving play about the controversy surrounding Sholem Asch’s 1923 drama “God of Vengeance,” whose cast members were arrested on charges of obscenity. Homophobia, censorship and anti-Semitism are just three of its thematic threads, and this season, two award-winning South Florida companies will mount separate productions of it. Passionate theatergoers will have the rare chance to see for themselves how different interpretations affect a production. Dramaworks fans will also want to check out the world premiere of Lyle Kessler’s “House on Fire” (Dec. 7-30), while GableStage offers the smart and scathing “Kings” by “Dry Powder” playwright Sarah Burgess (May 18-June 16).

“Dear Evan Hansen,” March 26-April 7, Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale, and “Come From Away,” June 18-23, Arsht Center in Miami.

Beyond “Hamilton,” the musical hits “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Come from Away” are the touring Broadway shows to seek out this season. “Dear Evan Hansen,” which bested “Come from Away” to win the best musical Tony Award in 2017, features a gorgeous Tony-winning score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and the Tony-winning Steven Levenson book telling the intense story of a high school senior with severe social anxiety whose life is vastly altered when he lies about being friends with a classmate who committed suicide. “Come from Away,” with a score and book by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, is inspired by the true story of how the people of Gander, Newfoundland, welcomed and cared for the passengers and crews of 38 international flights after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. For those into Broadway classics, consider seeing Betty Buckley (who won a Tony as the original Broadway Grizabella in “Cats”) in “Hello, Dolly!,” which plays Miami’s Arsht Center Nov. 20-25 and the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach Dec. 11-16.

“Cocaine Cowboys,” March 7-April 7, Miami New Drama production at the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach.

Miami New Drama moves forward with its mission to explore and reflect a diverse South Florida with a four-show season featuring three world premieres, the one with the most name recognition being “Cocaine Cowboys.” Told from the point of view of hit man Jorge “Rivi” Alaya, the docudrama by University of Miami grad Billy Corben and playwright Aurin Squire (who grew up in Opa-locka) is based on the hugely successful Corben-directed 2006 film documentary about the evolution and murderous violence of Miami’s illegal drug trade in the 1970s and ‘80s. Also part of Miami New Drama’s uber-relevant season are Kemp Powers’ “One Night in Miami,” about the night in 1964 when newly minted World Heavyweight Champion Cassius Clay (later to become Muhammad Ali) celebrated in Overtown with activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football star Jim Brown (Oct. 25-Nov. 19); the world premiere of the art world play “Fake,” written by and starring “Rum & Coke” author Carmen Pelaez (Jan. 24-Feb. 17); and the world premiere of the Afro-Venezuelan musical “Viva La Parranda!” (April 25-May 19).

“Exquisita agonía,” Nov. 15-18, Arca Images production at Miami-Dade County Auditorium’s On.Stage Black Box in Miami.

Though its run is a brief one and performances are in Spanish (with simultaneous English translation), catching this play written and directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz is a must for anyone who savors the Miami-raised playwright’s lyricism and haunting imagery. The drama, about a middle-aged opera singer who finds and falls for the young man who received her late husband’s heart, had its world premiere at New York’s Repertorio Español in May in celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary.

“9 to 5,” March 28-April 14, Slow Burn Theatre production in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.

With Jane Fonda recently confirming that a “9 to 5” movie sequel starring herself, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton is in the works, the time seems right for a refresher on the joys of workplace revenge. Slow Burn has announced a great, deep-bench cast for its production of the 2009 Broadway musical, with Laura Hodos, Erica Lustig and Jeanine Levy playing the aggrieved gals who get the best of Ben Sandomir’s sexist Franklin Hart. The show is part of a strong Slow Burn season, which begins with Disney’s “Freaky Friday” (Oct. 18-Nov. 4) and ends with the fabulous “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” (June 13-30).

Theater #16 Havana Music Hall gets a world premiere at Actors’ Playhouse.jpg
For 2018-2019 Season of the Arts.

“Havana Music Hall,” Oct. 10-Nov. 18, Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables.

Actors’ Playhouse begins its season with the world premiere of “Havana Music Hall,” a Broadway-aspiring musical with music by Richard Kagan, lyrics by Kagan and Jose Perico Hernandez, and a book by “Rum & Coke” writer-star Carmen Pelaez (she’ll also star in the Miami New Drama world premiere of her play “Fake” this season). Directed by “On Your Feet!” associate choreographer Maria Torres, the show spans 60 years as it follows the husband-wife musical act Rolando and Ramona Calderón, a couple on the cusp of international stardom when the Cuban revolution changes their fate. Also on tap at Actors’ this season is the Broadway and Brit hit “One Man, Two Guvnors,” a crazy comedy based on Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters.”

“We Will Not Be Silent,” Feb. 8-24, Theatre Lab production in Parliament Hall at Florida Atlantic University.

A three-character history play with deep contemporary resonance, David Meyers’ “We Will Not Be Silent” gets its southeastern premiere at Theatre Lab. Looking at the role ordinary Germans played in the rise and rule of Adolf Hitler, the playwright tells the true story of Sophie Scholl, who paid with her life for leading the White Rose movement calling for Hitler’s peaceful overthrow during World War II. The drama is part of Theatre Lab’s all-premiere season, which begins with the American premiere of Allison Gregory’s family-friendly “Ronia the Robber’s Daughter” (through Sept. 30), continues with the southeastern premiere of Tammy Ryan’s “Tar Beach” (Nov. 30-Dec. 16) and ends with the world premiere of Jennifer Lane’s “Harlowe” (March 29-April 14).

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