by Jan Davisson
Every year at this time, the theaters within the area announce their productions for the coming season. It’s always great to speculate on what might be in store for theater goers; however, I’m always surprised at some of the productions that are available.
The Maltz Jupiter Theatre just finished a remarkable production of the political drama Frost/Nixon—certainly appropriate in these days of constant in-your-face political news. For those of us who were around for Watergate, it brought back some sad memories. Director J. Barry Lewis did an outstanding job of taking a basic two-actor story production and turning it into an exciting performance. There were other actors involved, but, as the title stated, it was all about the Frost/Nixon television interview.
It’s always a pleasure to see a return of some of the audience favorite local actors including Jim Ballard as Nixon’s Marine staff member. He’s had a lot of training as a Marine, so the role rang true from start to finish. Kenneth Kay, who last appeared at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Glengarry Glen Ross, and Wayne LeGette, a regular at the Maltz, demonstrated their acting abilities and showed why they continue to be cast in productions. John Jellison as Richard Nixon was outstanding. He must have watched a lot of old Nixon’s tapes as he had the mannerisms down perfectly. The script by Peter Morgan shows a completely different side of Nixon, even a sense of humor.
Peter Simon Hilton, an actor with a strong Shakespearian and musical background, acted like a television host: cool under pressure. Since Frost had put up most of his own money to produce the interview, he had a great reason to be anxious.
Speaking of Shakespeare; next up at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre is Kiss Me Kate, a drama that revolves around a feuding theatrical couple who need one another to regain their careers on Broadway and decide to perform The Taming of the Shrew. The music doesn’t get any better than the clever lyrics written by Cole Porter. Directed by Peter Flynn, this adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic work is sure to dazzle audiences. Kiss Me Kate runs from March 8-27. For tickets, www.jupitertheatre.org or (561) 575-2223 or just stop by 1001 E. Indiantown Rd. in Jupiter, and treat yourself to an evening of intrigue, music and laughter.
While you’re there, make sure to check out the upcoming season. It’s being called Let Us Entertain You, and indeed it will. The first two productions take you to merry ole’ England with The Audience October 26-November 6. It’s one of the shows that I’m amazed the Maltz Jupiter Theatre has been able to get the stage rights to produce here in Jupiter. It was a huge Broadway hit just last season.
The holiday musical is Me and My Girl, a romantic comedy story of an unrefined charmer who learns he is heir to the Earl of Hereford. The music includes Love Makes the World Go Round and The Lambeth Walk. This is a fine show for the entire family.
The height of the season brings a show that hit the height of Broadway. The talented Jupiter Theatre staff will be staging the outrageous humor of Mel Brook’s The Producers. Winner of 12 Tony Awards, Brooks decided that nothing is sacred, including Broadway. The Producers is filled with wit, great music and a ridiculous plot that only Mel Brooks could create. The Producers will run from January 10, 2017-January 29.
The February production is always something that the serious theater audience can sink its teeth into: Disgraced, a Pulitzer Prize-winning, thought-provoking new Broadway hit.
This outstanding season ends with one of Broadway’s favorite shows. The season is Let Us Entertain You, and the show is Gypsy. This is the story of how Gypsy Rose Lee became an exotic dancer and used this as her entrance song. Along with other favorites composed by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim, like Together, Wherever We Go, the stripper’s words of advice to young Rose, You Gotta have a Gimmick and the show-stopping Everything’s Coming Up Roses.
Sounds like everything’s coming up hits at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre!
The musical hits keep coming to the Kravis on Broadway at the Kravis Theatre of the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach. Motown the Musical left its magic at the beginning of the month. An entire show surrounded by the best of Motown music from the Supremes to the smooth sounds of the Commadores and the beginning of the career of Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5. The story of the founder of Motown, Berry Gordy and his close relationship with Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross results in a complete overload of the best of the sounds. How do they follow that up?
With a hit that’s still on Broadway, the delightful musical, Matilda, considered by Time magazine to be the best musical since The Lion King. Matilda runs from March 1-6, so get your tickets early on www.kravis.org or call (561) 832-7469.
Heading to Clematis Street? It’s the perfect time to see the classic Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night at the Don and Ann Brown Theatre, presented by Palm Beach Dramaworks.
Producing Artistic Director, William Hayes, keeps the season full of classic hits that you can’t see anywhere else in South Florida. Plays such as Picnic; A Raisin in the Sun; Our Town and Dancing at Lughnasa. Hayes directed the current production, Long Day’s Journey into Night. It runs through March 6. Be prepared to be dazzled.
The upcoming production, to be directed by J. Barry Lewis, was written by John Patrick Shanley, who received both a Pulitzer and a Tony for Doubt: A Parable and an Academy Award for original screen play with Moonstruck. He’s struck gold again with Outside Mullingar, a romantic comedy, that will run March 25-April 24. Box office (561) 514-4042 or online at www.palmbeachdramaworks.org.
Next Curtain Up will feature the upcoming season for the Kravis on Broadway series and some notes about upcoming shows just perfect for kids. See you at the theater!