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For community troupes, challenging fare

As a general rule, community theaters do pay directors but don't pay their actors, some of whom may indeed mix paid professional work with their unpaid gigs.  But the line that separates the best community theater companies from professional troupes can be thin indeed, and community theater fare can be ambitious and challenging.  Lake Worth Playhouse, for example, is winding up its run of the John Kander-Fred Ebb Broadway hit Chicago this weekend.

This weekend through Aug. 14, two other community companies have shows worth checking out.

19 Opening Friday at the Main Street Playhouse in Miami Lakes is William Mastrosimone's intense play Extremities.  Skye Whitcomb is directing the Main Street Players production, which features Sabrina Gore, Daniel Nieves, Andrea Uzategui and Lucy Nuñez.  Extremities focuses on a woman who tries to take vengeance on a would-be rapist.  It is not, obviously, light summer fare.  But it is a genuinely absorbing play.

Extremities will run through Aug. 14 at the Main Street Playhouse, 6766 Main Street, Miami Lakes.  Performances are 8 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, with an additional show at 8 p.m. Aug. 11.  Tickets are $20 ($18 seniors and students).  Call 305-558-3737 or visit the company's web site for more info.

Also this weekend, you can catch a rare mounting of William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's The Gondoliers, directed by Peter Librach.  The Pembroke Pines Theater of the Performing Arts is doing the operetta, the pair's 12th (and their last great success), at the Susan B. Katz Theater at the River of Grass Arts Park, 17195 Sheridan St., Pembroke Pines.  Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.  Tickets are $20 ($15 for seniors, $13 for children).  For info, call 954-437-4884 or visit PPTOPA's web site.