Final Productions of the 2015/16 Season
The Maltz Jupiter Theatre ended the season with a bang. Kiss Me Kate, a spectacular production that features a story line behind the scenes of the Shakespeare production of The Taming of the Shrew, has everything going for it from set design, costumes and ensemble talent to wonderful leads with the amazing talents of Peter Reardon as Fred Petruchio and the amazing vocal range of of Sally Wilfert as Lilli/Katharine. (The two names after the characters denote their Shakespearean part in Taming of the Shrew and their character in Kiss Me Kate.)
Don’t overlook the second leads, Lois Lane/Bianca, played by the delightful Shayla Benoit and her leading man, Bill/Lucentio played by Antuan “Magic” Raimone. He deserves the name of “Magic” as he nimbly dances around the stage.
Scene stealers were Danny Rutigliano and John Treacy Egan as the gangsters who get pulled onto stage in “The Taming of the Shrew” to protect their interest in getting a gambling loan paid back. They brought down the house with “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.” Both actors have top Broadway credits.
Kiss Me Kate was written by Sam and Bella Spewack, and, although the play first came out in 1948, it’s the wonderful formula that got us all hooked on Broadway musicals. Because it’s a two-for-one story about a sparring couple off stage and a sparring couple in the Taming of the Shrew Shakespearean production, it doesn’t come across as dated, just lots of fun.
How could director Peter Flynn go wrong when he has the star talents backed up by a wonderful ensemble cast of singers and dancers? Plus, the songs were all written by Cole Porter, so the audience is very familiar with the score. As usual, musical director Helen Gregory and her great musicians add tremendously to the entire production. Kiss Me Kate runs through March 27 and winds up the season for the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. However, don’t forget to check Curtain Up for upcoming productions that are perfect as an introduction to the theater to develop a new audience for the future.
The Maltz Jupiter Theatre, 1001 E. Indiantown Rd., Jupiter. Box Office: (561) 575-2223 or online at www.jupitertheatre.org.
Although the lights have dimmed in the north county until the 2016/17 season begins in October, two West Palm theaters, Palm Beach Dramaworks and the Kravis on Broadway series have two more productions.
Next up at Palm Beach Dramaworks is Outside Mullingar. This is directed by J. Barry Lewis, who just recently directed the Frost/Nixon production at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. He is very much in demand.
Outside Mullingar, written by John Patrick Shanley, is about his Irish roots. If his name sounds familiar, it is because he is a well known playwright with numerous off Broadway plays and Doubt, which was also made into a movie. He also wrote Moonstruck, which won numerous awards in Hollywood.
Outside Mullingar is slated to run from March 25 through April 23 at the Don & Ann Brown Theatre, 201 Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach. Tickets are online at www.palmbeachdramawork.org and by calling (561) 514-4042.
While we focus on Palm Beach Dramaworks, our congratulations to Bill Hayes and his talented team. They have been named the 2016 recipient of the Muse Award for Outstanding Major Arts & Cultural Organization (Budget Over $500,000) by the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. The awards will be presented on Thursday, March 31 at the Kravis Center’s Cohen Pavilion. The Muse Awards honor individual and organizational excellence in art and culture throughout the county.
Palm Beach Dramaworks continues to bring unique new programs to the area. The newest innovative program that is just being kicked off by Palm Beach Dramaworks is The First Developmental Production of The Dramaworkshop. It’s a brand new play, Buried Cities, written by Jennifer Fawcett.
The Dramaworkshop, which launched in 2014, is PBD’s developmental lab for new work, and Buried Cities was one of four plays selected for staged readings and workshops during the premier season. Fawcett participated in a two-week workshop last May with a company of resident artists; the developmental production enables her to see the play fully staged in front of an audience, with professional actors, sets, costumes and lights, providing an opportunity to learn what additional work needs to be done before the play’s official world premiere. The audience becomes part of the process, offering feedback during talkbacks following each performance.
You’ll be happy to see some of South Florida’s favorite actors, including Ethan Henry, Margery Lowe, Joe Ferrarelli and Katherine Amadeo. Direction is by Mark Perlberg, scenic design by Michael Amico, costume design by Brian O’Keefe and sound design by Brad Pawlak.
The Dramaworkshop’s inaugural developmental production, Buried Cities by Jennifer Fawcett, opens on April 8 in the newly renovated Studio Theatre at the Don & Ann Brown Theatre and runs through April 17. There will be two previews, on April 6 and 7. Tickets are only $25 and available through the box office.
And now, it’s almost season over for Kravis on Broadway; however, there are still a couple of fantastic shows ready to delight audiences. Bullet over Broadway is a musical written by Woody Allen based on his film written with Douglas McGrath. It has everything from lots of jazz and popular standards from the years between WWI and the 1930, like “Running Wild” and “Let’s Misbehave,” to gangsters, gun molls and flappers. The original choreography and direction created by Tony Award-winning choreographer Susan Stroman promises to make this an over the top production.
Rounding out the Kravis on Broadway Series is The Bridges of Madison County, the 2014 Award Winner for Best Score. The Bridges of Madison County was adapted from the book by Robert James Waller and made into a film starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. The Bridges of Madison County is a new show on the National Tour circuit.
After looking at the new 2016/17 season of hits for Kravis on Broadway, it appears that they’ve done it again with their January 31-February 5 production of Beautiful, The Carole King Musical that won so many awards at last year’s Tony Awards. To me, the excitement is over An American in Paris (December 6-11), The Phantom of the Opera (March 23-April 1) and Kinky Boots (April 18-23), winner of best musical. Now, round out the season with everyone’s favorite family musical, The Sound of Music (May 9-14), then comes Dirty Dancing (January 3-8) and kicking off the season with a mystery, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a play adapted by Simon Stephens from the novel of the same name by Mark Haddon (November 15-20), and you have a schedule with something for everyone.
The Kravis Theatre of Performing Arts is delivering a wonderful range of some of the old favorites combined with several of the new.
Tickets are available at (561) 832-7469 or (800) 572-8471 and online at www.kravis.org. The Kravis Theatre for the Performing Arts is located at 701 Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach.