by Jan Davisson
The Maltz Jupiter Theatre
BELIEVE… is the name of the newest growth campaign at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Exciting future plans to bring year-round theater into the north county, including pre-Broadway shows. No longer just Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.; it could now be Jupiter, Florida. I believe. After seeing what Producing Artistic Director Andrew Kato and his talented staff have pulled off in just a few short years, I definitely Believe.
With the start of the new season at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, it’s certainly off to reaching these lofty goals. The Maltz Jupiter Theatre is one of the first Regional Theatres to produce The Audience. It opened in 2013 at the Gielgud Theatre in the West End of London. Then on to Broadway in 2015, starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, winning nominations and Tony Awards. Here it is only 2016 and already the Maltz Jupiter Theatre has it as the opening for the new season.
The October 23 opening of The Audience, which takes a peek behind the walls at Buckingham Palace and what goes on in the weekly audience with eight of the prime ministers, starting with Winston Churchill, the first in the long line of PMs who have gone through the royal reign of Elizabeth II.
Starring Karen MacDonald as Queen Elizabeth II and featuring some high powered actors creating the roles of 8 of the former prime ministers. Kicking off with Colin McPhillamy as Winston Churchill; Mark H. Dold as John Major; Henny Russell as Margaret Thatcher; Rod McClachlan as Harold Wilson; and Peter Smith Hilton in the dual roles of Tony Blair/David Cameron. Skye Elizabeth Friedman, a talented local actress, is the “young Elizabeth.” Remember, she was a mere slip of a girl when she ascended onto the throne of Great Britain. Although the story is historical fiction, the author, Peter Morgan, did a great deal of research of the current events at the time of each Prime Minister and gives a good idea of the topics and conversations at the weekly audiences.
Directed by Lou Jacob who takes the words of the author and makes the production a painless way of learning Great Britain’s history. The Audience runs through November 6.
Now in rehearsals for a November 29-December 18 musical extravaganza, Me and My Girl, which takes you back to merry old England with wonderful costumes and scenery and show-stopping hits such as “Love Makes the World Go Round” and “The Lambeth Walk.” It’s a singing and dancing sensation, and the perfect show for the holiday season.
Maltz Jupiter Theatre, 1001 E. Indiantown Rd, Jupiter. Tickets: (561) 575-2223; www.jupitertheatre.org
Palm Beach Dramaworks
Stunning is the main adjective that comes to mind when talking about the opening play at the Palm Beach Dramaworks in West Palm Beach. The Tennessee Williams classic, The Night of the Iguana, is spectacular from the Michael Amico stage setting to the Paul Black fantastic lighting design, and we haven’t even started on the acting and directing.
Producing Artistic Director William Hayes guides his cast through the difficult writings of Williams, and one can easily see where Palm Beach Dramaworks gets its name. This production puts the the drama into Palm Beach Dramaworks and kicks off their 17th season with a winner. This is not an unusual happening for Palm Beach Dramaworks. It features many classics and shows that you’d never have the opportunity to see.
In regards to the stellar cast of professionals, Tim Altmeyer as Rev. T. Lawrence Shannon certainly demonstrated what signs to look for in someone having a nervous breakdown. As the defrocked minister reduced to guiding tourists on bus trips, you forgive him his past as he undergoes the torments of hell in his daily life.
Katie Cunningham as Hannah Jelkes does her best to console and council the Rev. Shannon as she also deals with her aging father, Nonno, (Dennis Creaghan), a poet who just wants to create his final poem. Creaghan is always a pleasure to watch.
Kim Cozort Kay as the lusty hotel owner, Maxine Faulk, is outstanding. Although she’s trying to adjust to her new status as a widow as she creates a woman on the prowl, her need for someone else in her life is apparent. This is a difficult role to capture, but capture she does.
The stern group leader on the tour bus, Miss Judith Fellowes features Irene Adjan, another outstanding local actress. You can almost hear the audience saying, “oh no, hang onto your hats, it’s that woman again.” We’ve all had at least one female in our family tree who terrifies anyone coming into her sight line. She also brought quite a bit of humor into the production with her outstanding characterization. The cast of 14 are all top-notch professionals and certainly puts the production on your “must see” list. The production runs through November 13 at the Don & Ann Brown Theatre.
Next up Tru by Jay Presson Allen and directed by Lynnette Barkley, Tru is the story of writer, Truman Capote, who releases excerpts from a novel he’s writing. Unfortunately, his high society friends recognize themselves as the characters in the unfinished book. He humorously discusses his failures in life as well as the so-called society friends. Tickets are now available for the December 2-January 1, 2017 production
Palm Beach Dramaworks 201 Clematis Street West Palm Beach FL 33401 Tickets: 561–514–4042 Ext. 2; www.palmbeachdramaworks.org.
Kravis on Broadway Series… opens with Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. The winner of five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Play, it has been called “One of the most fully immersive works ever to wallop Broadway”(The the New Your Times); this dazzling (Associated Press) adaptation by Simon Stephens adapted from Mark Haddon’s best selling novel about a young, exceptionally intelligent boy who is unable to interpret everyday life. Accused of killing a neighbor’s dog, the fifteen-year-old sets out to identify the true culprit. His journey will change his life forever.
Tickets are also on sale for An American in Paris, another Tony Award-winning production. This musical takes place in Paris at the end of World War II and starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in the movie. Lots of dancing and great songs.
Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach Tickets (561) 832-7469 or 800-572-8471; www.kravis.org
The Wick Theatre & Costume Museum….Heading south, you’ll discover that the Wick had ongoing events all summer; however, the start of their 2016/17 season has some real winners. They’ve just completed They’re Playing Our Song starring Andrea McArdle of Annie fame. Time now to get ready for the November 25-December 23 production about a wannabe disco diva, Deloris Van Cartier, who witnesses a crime. The cops decide to hide her away in the last place the Mafia boys would think to look…a convent. If the plot sounds familiar, there’s a reason. It’s called Sister Act and is indeed habit forming with great music, lots of laughs and a lovely, feel good story. Tickets are now on sale for the end of the month opening.
The Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton. Box office (561) 995-2333 or the www.wick.org
A side note about a dinner theater presentation at Harbourside, U.S. Highway 1 & Indiantown Road in Jupiter. Written by Donna Carbone, Shell of a Man has proven to be “riveting” and is a true story about Robert Logan, a Vietnam veteran. His trials and tribulations as a man born in the south picking cotton and then battling his 40-year battle with PTSD is what heart break is all about for our veterans suffering from this little known mental disorder. It stars Ewan Leslie as Robert Logan along with Jeanne Tidwell and Lee Marlow.
Shell of a Man is being presented at in Harborside. Ticket $40 tickets include a prix fixe meal at Another Broken Egg Cafe then a short walk to the new Vanilla Box Theatre for the performance of Shell of a Man. The dates are appropriate for this tribute to veterans. Performances are November 10, 11, and 12 with dinner at 5 p.m. and show at 7 p.m. For tickets call 561 385-1584.
For the young theater audience:
Maltz Jupiter Theatre Kids Korner Series: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, November 16; 10 & 11:45 a.m. All tickets are $5.
Four children explore an old wardrobe and end up in the mystery of Aslan, also known as the Great Lion and his struggle with the White Witch.
The Nutcracker, presented by Ballet Palm Beach at the Eissey Campus Theatre, Palm Beach Gardens. November 25 and 26 at 2 pm. & 7:30 p.m. November. 27 at 4 p.m. Tickets online at www.balletpalmbeach.org or call (561) 207-5905
How many times can one see and still enjoy The Nutcracker? There is no end. As long as there are daughters and grand daughters around, Nutcracker is always in demand. The sheer beauty of the costumes, the story and the music make this a perfect gift to to the giver and the receiver. Being with someone who is seeing it for the first time is a joy that can’t be measured.
Other Nutcracker productions. Boca Ballet’s Nutcracker also runs Nov. 25-27 at the Boca Ballet Theatre at the Olympic Heights Performing Arts Theatre. Tickets: (561) 995-0709
If you miss it in November, don’t despair, The Nutcracker performed by The Miami City Ballet comes to the Kravis Center in West Palm for five shows, Dec. 27-30 Tickets at (561) 832-7469
So many great shows, so little time before the holidays. Find some time to relax, and support your local theaters.