Summer used to be a sort of cultural dead zone in South Florida. As the snowbirds flew, so did way too many of the arts options. That’s so not the case any more. Many of the region’s best theater companies keep right on producing year round. And what they’re offering isn’t just light summer fare.
In coming weeks, theater lovers can catch the world premieres of shows by Michael McKeever, Maribeth Graham andDana Rowe and a revamped version of an original by Paul Tei. The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is building its summer around the edgy, urban Cirque Eloize iD, and the center is also hosting the XXVI International Hispanic Theatre Festival throughout July.
Families can enjoy Cirque du Soleil’s Alegría at BankAtlantic Center in July, Camp Kappawanna at both the Arsht and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and a couple of other shows.
Check out the details below, and you’ll find political theater, gay theater, comedies, dramas, musicals and a Broadway biggie. So if you (or the kids) are bored and have seen every summer movie out there, hit an air-conditioned playhouse for a different summer entertainment experience.
City Theatre’s Summer Shorts mixes short dramas, comedies and musicals in a strong program headlined by ex- Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Fab Five member Jai Rodriguez. Shorts winds up its run at the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater Sunday, then moves to the Broward Center June 30-July 2.
Dirty Little Secrets is Shorts star Rodriguez’s late-night, flamboyantly introspective look at his life so far; its last show is at the Arsht’s Carnival Studio Theatre Friday, June 24, then Rodriguez heads to the Broward Center for a single performance July 2.
Florida Atlantic University’s Festival Repertory Theatre features two musicals headlined by professional actors Terry Hardcastle, Bruce Linser and Laura Wayth. The 1940s Radio Hour and Hooray for Hollywood: A Tribute to the Best Movie Musicals of All Time run in rep through July 24.
Rising Action Theatre’s Two Boys in a Bed on a Cold Winter’s Night, a funny and provocative play about (largely naked) guys who have a one-night stand, is so popular that its run has been extended twice, this time through July 17.
Opening in July
Broward Stage Door Theatre has three shows opening in two locations in July. Jon Peterson takes audiences on a tour of the careers of Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Sammy Davis Jr., George M. Cohan and more in Song and Dance Man, running July 1-24 in Coral Springs. The romantic comedy Crossing Delancey runs in Stage Door’s other Coral Springs theater July 8-Aug. 14. Stage Door also opens the bubbly 1960s musical Suds at its new Miami Beach outpost at the Byron Carlyle Theater July 29-Aug. 4.
The Caldwell Theatre Company has a pair of hot summer shows: the world premiere of Michael McKeever’s Stuff, about famous real-life hoarders the Collyer Brothers, runs July 6-31; then comes Sharr White’s Six Years, a drama about a marriage played out over 30 years, Aug. 10-Sept. 4.
The XXVI International Hispanic Theatre Festival brings theater from around the Spanish-speaking world to the Carnival Studio Theater in Miami’s Arsht Center July 7-24. See plays from Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Argentina and the United States.
Martin McDonagh’s harrowing play The Pillowman resurfaces in South Florida, this time courtesy of Infinite Abyss Productions. The play about a writer whose stories eerily echo a series of child murders plays Fort Lauderdale’s Empire Stage July 7-30.
Area Stage’s conservatory students perform Urinetown, the funny but edgy Tony-winning musical about a certain sort of rationing in a totalitarian state, July 8-10 and July 15-17.
GableStage takes on another provocative play July 9-Aug. 7 in Ilan Hatsor’s Masked, an Israeli drama about three Palestinian brothers in a life-and-death struggle in a West Bank village in 1990.
Writer-performer Maribeth Graham and composer Dana Rowe unveil See Jane Run, their world-premiere musical about the frenzied life of the 21st century woman, at Actors’ Playhouse July 13-Aug. 14.
Mamma Mia!, the pairing of ABBA music and a silly yet incredibly popular story, returns to the Broward Center for a rare summer visit by a monster Broadway hit July 19-24.
Cirque du Soleil’s Alegría brings its celebratory magic and athleticism to the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise July 20-31.
Cirque Eloize iD is the biggest summer deal at the Arsht Center. A collaborative effort of Canada’s Cirque Eloize and Cirque du Soleil, this athletically urban production with a driving rock-electronica-hip-hop score hits the Ziff Ballet Opera House stage July 26 for an already-extended run through Sept. 4.
Opening in August
Ann Morrissett Davidon’s Chittering Heights, about a 1962 weekend getaway that brings together writers Lorraine Hansberry and James Baldwin, plays The Women’s Theatre Project Aug. 4-28.
Mad Cat founder-artistic director Paul Tei has a new play — So My Grandmother Died, Blah, Blah, Blah — running Aug. 19-Sept. 10 as the company’s first production in its new digs at The Light Box.
Playwright and director Ron Mangravitte has adapted William Shakespeare’s Henry V for New Theatre’s annual summer Shakespeare production. The action-filled history play opens Aug. 26 for a run through Sept. 11.
Camp Kappawanna, the original musical by Lisa Loeb and Marco Ramirez, shares its comedy-with-a-message, summer-camp experience at the Arsht this weekend, then moves to the Broward Center July 1-3.
Fantasy Theatre Factory brings its Cinderella: A Fractured Fairy Tale!, a wacky, slapstick version of the classic tale, toFairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Tuesday-July 1.
Madeline and the Gypsies, an adventure featuring the famous Parisian girl, runs Saturdays at Actors’ Playhouse through Aug. 6.