Patrick Fitzwater and Matthew Korinko, the founders and co-artistic directors of Boca Raton's Slow Burn Theatre, would tell you they've grown their company cautiously since launching it in 2010 with a production of Bat Boy: The Musical. But fans of the company -- and there are many -- think the longtime partners have gone from zero to 60 in what seems like the blink of an eye. And with their just-announced next season in the Amaturo Theater at Fort Lauderdale's Broward Center for the Performing Arts, they're going into overdrive.
Since Bat Boy, Fitzwater (who directs and choreographs the shows) and Korinko (who stars in many and runs the business side of the company) have built a strong reputation for pulling off fine productions of big, challenging musicals. Fitzwater is particularly deft at unearthing the strengths in musicals that had short Broadway runs, effectively giving them new life in South Florida. At last spring's Carbonell Awards, Fitzwater was named best director of a musical for his staging of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Next to Normal.
As the company has grown, Fitzwater and Korinko have taken their shows on the road. This season, Bonnie & Clyde will play the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center Feb. 12-15 after its run at the West Boca Performing Arts Theater Thursday-Feb. 8, and Slow Burn's Rent will go to Aventura April 30-May3 after it runs in Boca April 9-26.
Already, the company has started establishing itself in the Broward Center's Abdo New River Room, first with The Marvelous Wonderettes in October-November, and next with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Feb. 26-April 19.
Next season, Slow Burn will be all about Fort Lauderdale. The company and the Broward Center will be producing partners, presenting musicals in the Amaturo.
Andrew Lippa's Broadway musical Big Fish launches the season Oct. 22-Nov. 8. Based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and movie by Tim Burton, the show centers on a traveling salesman with a penchant for tall tales and his son, an expectant father.
Violet, the Jeanine Tesori musical earlier produced by Actors' Playhouse, will run Jan. 21-Feb. 7, 2016. It tells the story of a disfigured young woman who seeks out an evangelist in hopes of a miracle, only to experiences life-changing encounters along the way.
The Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening will run March 17-April 3, 2016. Merging Frank Wedekind's 1891 play with a rock score by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, the show about repressed German teens discovering their sexuality is hot, tragic and captivating.
The 2016 summer show will be the South Florida premiere of the Off-Broadway hit Heathers: The Musical. Running June 9-26, 2016. Based on the 1989 movie, the darkly comic musical by Kevin Murphy, Laurence O'Keefe and Andy Fickman is about a teen misfit who hangs with the popular girls in high school and falls in love with a sexy, dangerous new kid.
Each show will have performances Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Amaturo, which will be renovated before the start of next season. Theatergoers can buy a four-show subscription for $150 or a three-show flexible subscription for $115. Current Slow Burn subscribers and Broward Center Entourage members can buy subscriptions starting Friday. New subscriptions will be available on Jan. 31, and tickets to individual shows, priced at $45, go on sale Feb. 13.
(Photo of Bruno Faria as Clyde and Jessica Brooke Sanford as Bonnie by Patrick Fitzwater)