South Florida theater is anything but dead in the summer. This weekend, you have the ongoing productions of Samuel D. Hunter's The Whale at GableStage in Coral Gables, Mid-Life 2! (The Crisis Continues) at Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables, H2OMBRE at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center, Butterflies Are Free at Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs. But there are other options too, three of them just opening.
The catch-it-before-it-closes exception is the ambitious production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Area Stage Company in Coral Gables. Sondheim's music is challenging enough for most professional adult actors, but Area's cast is drawn from students in its highly regarded, five-year-old conservatory program. Artistic director John Rodaz, who founded the company 25 years ago on Miami Beach's Lincoln Road, cast Katerina McCrimmon as the crafty Mrs. Lovett and Javier Romero as the vengeful, murderous barber.
The final four performances are at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Aug. 16. Area performs at the Riviera Theatre, 1560 S. Dixie Hwy., Coral Gables. Tickets are $10-$25. Call 305-666-2078 or visit the company's web site for details.
Fort Lauderdale's Thinking Cap Theatre is offering more provocative food for thought with the opening of Young Jean Lee's Church. The site-specific production about faith and the evangelists who preach it is taking place in a revival-style tent next to The Vanguard, the company's future home, at 1501 S. Andrews Ave. Nicole Stodard directs Carey Brianna Hart, Scott Douglas Wilson, Ann Marie Olson and Vanessa Elise as the evangelists, and Sabrina Gore leads a praise band featuring Mariah Busk, A.J. Calaluca, Chas Collins, Michael Friedman, Amy S. London and Miles Smith.
Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday, with an additional show at 10 p.m. Saturday, through Aug. 24. Since it does tend to rain (a lot) this time of year in South Florida, the show will move to the Muse Center for the Arts, 99 SW 14th St., Fort Lauderdale, if the heavens open up. Tickets are $28 ($15 for students). For info, call 813-220-1546 or visit the theater's web site.
Also in suddenly theater-jammed Fort Lauderdale, City Theatre and Island City Stage are opening Shorts Gone Wild 2, a fresh batch of adult-oriented, LGBT-friendly short plays . On this year's program are Lion in a Bear Bar and Sarah Stein Sends a Selfie by Michael McKeever, I Alone by Christopher Demos-Brown, The Emperor Is Naked! by Michael Leeds, The Last Time I Saw Bathhouse Betty by Tony Finstrom, A Bump Between Friends by Fielding Edlow, Game On by Gary Garrison and Glamping by Carey Crim.
Margaret M. Ledford, Teddy Harrell, Gail S. Garrisan and Leeds direct the versatile company, which features Niki Fridh, Matthew Stabile, Gladys R. Benton, Renee Elizabeth Turner, Larry Buzzeo and Craig Moody. Shorts Gone Wild 2 is being presented at Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Dr. Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday, through Sept. 7. Tickets are $30. Call 954-519-2533 or visit the Island City Stage web site for info.
Even wilder, we're guessing, is the 40th anniversary production of the 1974 revue Let My People Come opening at the Andrews Living Arts Studio, 25 NW Fifth St. in (you guessed it) Fort Lauderdale. Staged by artistic director Robert D. Nation, the all-about-sex show features actors L'Oreal Joiner, Raibelis Paulino, Dora LaFrance, Ashley Hyde, Caleb Santos, Sujotta Pace and Brian Bonk. Pseudonyms? I'm betting on a few.
The show by Earl Wilson Jr. features some new music, lyrics and text, and there are interactive verbal bits (a sex trivia game, for one) that are likely to make the inhibited turn scarlet. Not to mention artfully lit frontal nudity, and a no-one-under-18 policy. Don't say you weren't warned. Let My People Come runs through Sept. 6. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Tickets are $29.95. Call 800-838-3006 or visit the ALA web site.
(Photos of Area Stage's 'Sweeney Todd,' Thinking Cap Theatre's 'Church' and City Theatre-Island City Stage's 'Shorts Gone Wild 2')