Season of the Arts

Hamilton is just one stellar stage performance planned this year. Here are nine more.

Theater listings

“Hamilton,” Jan. 28-Feb. 16, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, West Palm Beach, and Feb. 18-March 15, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami.

Déjà vu or simply one of the greatest musicals of all time? Yes, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” was the hottest ticket of the 2018-2019 South Florida theater season, when approximately 105,000 people experienced the Pulitzer Prize-winning show about “10-dollar Founding Father” Alexander Hamilton during its run at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. A different “Hamilton” touring company will hit the stage at the Kravis Center in January, then move south to Miami’s Arsht Center, so thousands more subscribers and people lucky enough to score single tickets will get to see for themselves that all the fuss about a musical performed by Latinx, black and Asian actors is thoroughly justified.

And a note to those who have already seen “Hamilton” or can’t get a ticket: New to South Florida this season are “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (Dec. 3-8) and “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” both coming to the Arsht Center; “Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville” (Nov. 19-Dec. 1), “Disney’s Aladdin” (Jan. 8-19), “Mean Girls” (March 3-15) and “Bandstand” (May 5-17), all playing the Broward Center; and “The Play That Goes Wrong” (Dec. 10-15) and “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” (April 28-May 3) at the Kravis Center.

Theater #3 - Karen Stephens and Clive Cholerton in Zoetic’s American Son at Arsht, by Chris Headshots.jpg
Karen Stephens and Clive Cholerton appear in Zoetic Stage’s “American Son” at Arsht in January. Chris Headshots

“American Son,” Jan. 9-26, Zoetic Stage at the Arsht Center, Miami.

Christopher Demos-Brown achieved a playwright’s dream when his searing, intense play “American Son” ran on Broadway last season with Kerry Washington as its star. Now the Zoetic Stage co-founder will see the play done in Miami, where it is set and where it was developed, with Karen Stephens and Clive Cholerton playing the estranged couple whose biracial teen son has gone missing in the dead of night. The strong Zoetic season also includes the world premiere of Hannah Benitez’s set-in-Cuba “Gringolandia” May 7-24.

“A Wonderful World,” March 5-April 5, Miami New Drama at the Colony Theatre, Miami Beach.

Opa-locka native Aurin Squire, who co-wrote the script for “Confessions of a Cocaine Cowboy” with Billy Corben last season, has another world premiere set for Miami New Drama this season. The musical “A Wonderful World” tells the story of music legend Louis Armstrong from the perspective of his single teen mom and four wives, with Armstrong-linked songs flavoring the work. Actor-turned-playwright Michael Leon will also see his world premiere play “The Cubans” at the Colony this season. Running Jan. 23-Feb. 16, his script is about the intergenerational dynamics and search for identity in a Cuban-American family.

Theater # 6 -  Elizabeth Dimon in Ordinary Americans at Palm Beach Dramaworks and GableStage, photo by Samantha Mighdoll.jpg
Samantha Mighdoll

“Ordinary Americans,” Dec. 6-29, Palm Beach Dramaworks, West Palm Beach, and Jan. 18-Feb. 16, GableStage at the Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables.

With the ugly, frightening resurgence of anti-Semitism, the world premiere of Joseph McDonough’s set-in-the-1950s “The Goldbergs” is resonant and timely. This collaborative production by Palm Beach Dramaworks and GableStagetells the story of TV sitcom stars Gertrude Berg and her husband Philip Loeb, whose hit show was imperiled by the rise of McCarthyism and anti-Semitism. Both companies also have other gems in their lineups: GableStage will present the world premiere of Augusto Federico Amador’s “Kissing Che” (May 23-June 21) as well as Lucas Hnath’s Broadway hit “Hillary and Clinton” (Nov. 23-Dec. 22), while Dramaworks is staging the Tennessee Williams classic “A Streetcar Named Desire” (Oct. 11-Nov. 3) as well as the sumptuous musical “The Light in the Piazza” (April 3-26).

“Ragtime,” March 20-April 5, Slow Burn Theatre at the Broward Center, Fort Lauderdale.

Since its move to the Broward Center in 2015, Slow Burn Theatre has built an enthusiastic, growing audience with a host of popular titles. It has more of those coming this season, including the stage musical versions of the movies “Shrek,” “A Christmas Story,” “Groundhog Day” and “Footloose.” But the company’s production of the challenging “Ragtime,” with its harrowing book by Terrence McNally and the beautiful Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty score, bridges the former and current iterations of Slow Burn. Anna Lise Jensen, Tony Edgerton and Chaz Rose — great musical theater actors with big voices — star in the piercing story of white, Jewish immigrant and black characters whose lives become entwined at the start of the 20th century.

Theater #20 - Summer Shorts 2019 Big Fat Cow at Arsht Center, photo by George Schiavone.jpg

The 25th anniversary of Summer Shorts, June 4-July 5, City Theatre at the Arsht Center, Miami; and the 35th International Hispanic Theatre Festival, July 10-26, Teatro Avante and other companies at the Arsht Center and other venues, Miami.

Two much-admired South Florida theater festivals are celebrating anniversaries this season. City Theatre is bringing back its two-program format for its 25th Summer Shorts, with Program A highlighting some of the best past shorts and Program B offering an all-new lineup of short plays and musicals (including commissions from Florida playwrights). The company is also producing Bekah Brunstetter’s full-length “The Cake” Dec. 5-22 and the family musical “Three Little Birds” (with songs by Bob Marley) June 18-July 5. And the International Hispanic Theatre Festival, which brings companies from the Spanish-speaking world and beyond to Miami, will celebrate 35 years next summer.

“Miami Motel Stories,” Juggerknot Theatre Company; productions at locations and dates to be announced, Miami.

Though specifics of the next two editions of Juggerknot’s hit “Miami Motel Stories” immersive theater series are at this point elusive, we do know that resident playwright Juan C. Sanchez is writing short plays about people and events in North Miami Beach. Following the company’s successes in Little Havana, MiMo and Wynwood, Juggerknot pretty much has a place-illuminating franchise, one that appeals especially to younger theatergoers who seem to enjoy getting their history dramatized in absorbing 10- to 15-minute plays. Producer Tanya Bravo and playwright Sanchez have developed a powerful partnership.

“Lipstick,” Nov. 14-Dec. 15, Island City Stage world premiere at the Wilton Theater Factory, Wilton Manors.

Though Island City most often produces gay plays, the LGBTQ-focused company has picked the world premiere piece “Lipstick” by Alice Stanley to launch its new season. Carbonell Award nominee Vanessa Elise is featured in the play about a woman, her ex and her gay best friend. It’s part of a strong Island City season, one that includes a production of Tennessee Williams’ “Suddenly, Last Summer” (March 26-April 26) starring the powerful Angie Radosh as the frighteningly manipulative Mrs. Venable.

“To Fall in Love,” March 14-April 5, Theatre Lab at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton.

Theatre Lab artistic director Matt Stabile and Carbonell Award winner Niki Fridh are among South Florida’s most impressive actors. They’re also married to each other, which brings an extra layer to their upcoming appearance in the southeastern premiere of Jennifer Lane’s “To Fall in Love.” The play explores whether honestly answering a set of 36 questions, then maintaining four minutes of eye contact, can help a couple whose marriage is being consumed by tragedy fall in love again. Theatre Lab will also share world premiere honors when it stages Stephen Brown’s “Everything Is Super Great” Nov. 30-Dec. 22 concurrently with the play’s Off-Broadway debut.

Theater #18 - Actors’ Playhouse will produce Camelot, here seen in a touring production, photo by Scott Suchman.jpg
Scott Suchman

“Camelot,” March 18-April 12, Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, Coral Gables.

The eclectic new season at Actors’ Playhouse features an artist-driven musical (“Ring of Fire,” built around the music of Johnny Cash, Oct. 30-Dec. 8), an enduringly popular one (“Mamma Mia!” with its score of ABBA smash hits Jan. 22-Feb. 23), Ken Ludwig’s take on Agatha Christie (“Murder on the Orient Express” May 13-June 7) and a fresh production of the great solo show “¡Fuácata!” by Elena Maria Garcia and Stuart Meltzer. But what has the potential to be most impressive is the spring production of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s “Camelot.” This lavish traditional musical, so full of a king’s vision, illicit romance and tragedy, features one of the great Broadway scores. Whether seeing “Camelot” means revisiting a favorite show for older theatergoers or discovering it for the first time for younger ones, it’s a moving piece of stage art.

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