This weekend is one of those when a theater lover could be driving from Miami to West Palm Beach to catch the four (yes, four) new productions that are opening -- and that's not counting the forever-popular Wicked, which has returned to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts for a run through Feb. 17.
Triple Carbonell Award nominee Michael McKeever, the very successful South Florida playwright whose 1998 play 37 Postcards is going to be produced (in Russian) at the Boshoi Drama Theatre in St. Petersburg starting in June, has proven he can write it all: comedies, dramas, full-length plays and short ones. The Whole Caboodle, a collection of seven short McKeever plays, opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Studio Theatre in the Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton.
Parade Productions is presenting the show, which features several plays McKeever originally wrote for Naked Stage's 24-Hour Theatre Project and City Theatre's Summer Shorts Festival. On the bill are American Gothic, Craven Tutweiler (The Real Life Story Of), Laura Keene Goes On, Knowing Best, Splat!, Love Machine,Rusted and Move On, or Sondheim at Studio 54.
In the versatile cast are Elena Maria Garcia, Clay Cartland, Jacqueline Laggy, Casey Dressler, Candace Caplin and the multitasking McKeever. Kim St. Leon is directing. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, through Feb. 24. Tickets are $35 and $40. Call 1-866-811-4111 or visit the Parade Productions web site.
Also in Boca Raton, but way out west, Slow Burn Theatre is mounting yet another lavish musical, this one the rarely produced Side Show. Kaela Antolino plays Daisy Hilton, and Courtney Poston is Violet Hilton, real-life conjoined twins who became famous in the 1930s and appeard in the Tod Browning movie classic Freaks.
Also in the large cast are Carbonell nominee Matthew Korinko, Rick Pena, Jerel Brown, Conor Walton, Karen Chandler, Krissi Johnson, Lisa Kerstin Braun, Sabrina Gore, Alisha Todd, Justin Schneyer, John Corby, Dan Carter, Michael Mena and Bruno Faria. Patrick Fitzwater is directing and choreographing the show.
The musical, by Bill Russell and Henry Krieger, runs through Feb. 10 at the West Boca Performing Arts Theatre, 12811 W. Glades Rd., Boca Raton. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $35 ($30 for seniors, $20 for students). Call 1-866-811-4111 or visit the Slow Burn web site.
Palm Beach Dramaworks takes a fresh look at an American classic with its production of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, about a black Chicago family in the 1950s arguing over how to use an insurance payment to change its future. Carbonell Award nominee Ethan Henry plays Walter Younger, Pat Bowie his mother Lena, in a cast that also includes Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Shirine Babb, Marckenson Charles, Dave Hyland, McLey LaFrance, Jordan Tisdale, Mekiel Benjamin, Joshua Valbrun, Lanardo Davis and Jeffrey Brazzle. Seret Scott is the director.
Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday, through March 3. Tickets are $55. Dramaworks performs in the Don & Ann Brown Theatre, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Call 561-514-4042 or visit the company's web site.
Miami's New Theatre is also tackling a classic drama beginning this week: John Pielmeier's Agnes of God. Christina Groom plays a novice nun accused of murdering her newborn baby. Pamela Roza plays the psychiatrist trying to get to the heart of the shocking mystery, while Barbara Sloan is the young nun's protective Mother Superior. Ricky J. Martinez is staging the play.
Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, through Feb. 17 (no late show Feb. 3). Tickets are $40 ($35 Thursday and Sunday evening; $15 student rush tickets, and the first 25 students under 25 get in free opening weekend). New Theatre performs at the Roxy Performing Arts Center, 1645 SW 107th Ave., Miami. Call 305-443-5909 or visit the theater's web site.
Yes, it's a way busy theater weekend with many promising choices. But get ready: Next weekend is even busier.