by Jan Davisson
Palm Beach County is the place to be for great theatre! The selection of professional plays throughout Palm Beach County during the month of February and early March offer something for everyone from drama and mystery to magic—and a classic musical favorite for Valentine Day.
Maltz Jupiter Theatre
The new year started with Hairspray, the quintessential sixties musical complete with big hair, 60s-style dance music and an inspirational story line. Unlike most musicals, Hairspray has a number of messages to deliver. Since it took place in the early ‘60’s, integration is a key message for teenager Tracy Turnbald, who proves that you don’t have to be svelte to get a chance to be part of the the Corny Collins television dance show. She also gets the “guy” just by being nice and openhearted. The energetic cast of this all-American musical sing and dance throughout the entire show. I’ve never seen so many big production numbers. They’re amazing! Hairspray is fun, inspirational and delivers a strong message to many people who face the everyday problem of not being accepted. Mary DiGangi as Tracy is fantastic. Assisted by Philip Hoffman as her father, Wilbur and Michael Kostroff in the John Travolta role of Edna Turnblad, she has quite a backup team of pros. When you also add the talents of love interest, Zane Phillips as Link and the powerful gospel voice of Altamiece Carolyn Cooper as Motormouth Maybelle, you’ve got a show that brings the audience to its feet. It is dated so the younger people, although loving the show, missed some really good one-liners about life in the sixties.
The annual Who Done It at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre is on stage from February 4-18. It’s the 2018 production of J.B. Priestly’s An Inspector Calls and features the return of actress Angie Radosh, who appeared in the Maltz Jupiter’s production of Cabaret. Although written in 1945, it is still considered to be a classic in mid-20th century contemporary theater.
Special student rates are available for some performances. Check with the box office.
Exciting news from the Maltz Jupiter Theatre—the announcement of the 2018/19 season. The schedule includes a couple of beloved American standards; Steel Magnolias (October 28-November 11). A perfect holiday show, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (November 27-December 16). A secret splashy Broadway musical to be announced in April, but this show is guaranteed to have audiences dancing in their seats (January 15-February. The South Florida regional premier of A Doll’s House, Part 2 (February 24-March 10) is a comedy straight from Broadway that continues Henrik Ibsen’s famous drama, The Doll House. A bit of a new twist on what happens to Nora fifteen years after she left her husband and children. Nora’s saga continues 138 years after Ibsen first penned his story. Last, but definitely not least, is the West Side Story (March 26-April 14), the modern version of Romeo and Juliet. Spectacular music by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, this tale of star crossed lovers is one of those shows that never gets old. The dancing is something one never forgets!
Maltz Jupiter Theatre, 1001 E. Indiantown Rd, Jupiter. Tickets: (561) 575-2223; www.jupitertheatre.org.
The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
Magical is the correct adjective to describe Finding Neverland, the recent production of the Kravis on Broadway series at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. Based on the Academy Award-winning movie starring Johnny Depp, it follows author J.M. Barrie’s life to reveal the real reasons and events that led to his most celebrated story, Peter Pan. Throughout the production, different things happen, and you experience an “Ah Hah” moment of how it fits into the Peter Pan story. It was the perfect holiday production as parents and children filled the audience to enjoy the charm and chance to peek between the pages of Peter Pan.
Next up is Cabaret… Definitely a “for mature audience only” show. Cabaret, is a gritty story, set in the decadent nightlife of Berlin’s raucous pre- World War II days. The infamous Kit Kat Klub welcomes all as the Kit Kat Klub emcee sings, Willkommen. Headliner at the club is singer Sally Bowles. The story line revolves around the growing dilemma surrounding Sally and her friends in Germany. It’s a heart wrenching story by John Kander, Fred Ebb and Joe Masteroff that drags up the influence of the Nazi party as it gained its hold in pre-World War II Germany. Cabaret runs from Feb 6-Feb 11 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.
From magical to drama to the mystical, The Illusionist brings you back to the wonder of being a kid again. Prepare to be dazzled at this astounding, brain-bending, high-tech extravaganza for the entire family. On stage at the Kravis Theatre for the Performing Arts from March 6-11, 2018.
Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach Tickets (561) 832-7469 or 800-572-8471; www.kravis.org.
Palm Beach Dramaworks
The hits keep on coming at the Don & Ann Brown Theater on Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach. PBD Producing Artistic Director, William Hayes, presented a mesmerizing world premier of a play by author Terry Teachout. Billy and Me featured Nicholas Richberg as Tennessee Williams and Tom Wahl as William Inge. It’s one of those productions featuring actors that are so darn good, you’re afraid to blink ’cause you might miss something. It was directed by William Hayes, who seems to find several of these magnificent new plays every season. Another one coming up on March 31 is the world premiere of Edgar & Emily. I can hardly wait.
The classic On Golden Pond by Ernest Thompson, opened on February 2 and runs through February 25. Many have seen the award-winning movie starring Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn and Jane Fonda. With the many retirees in the audience, we’ll all identify with the retired couple who lose their lovely solitude when their daughter shows up with a new fiancé and his son.
Palm Beach Dramaworks has so much going on, it’s hard to keep up with it. Dramalogue, is a talking theater series made up of six programs that explore all aspects of theater in conversations with or about the industry’s top professionals and master artists. On February 6, Mark Perlberg explores the life and times of poet Emily Dickinson in anticipation of Joseph McDonough’s world premiere play, Edgar & Emily, which opens on March 31. The fourth program on March 6, features Palm Beach Dramaworks director, J. Barry Lewis, in a conversation with theater/ film star Bill Pullman, who has an extensive acting background in both film and stage, including plays by the likes of Albee, Mamet, Miller, Shepard and Shakespeare.
Audiences are invited to participate in a Q&A at the conclusion of each event. Remaining individual tickets are $23.
Palm Beach Dramaworks, 201 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach FL 33401 Tickets: 561–514–4042 Ext. 2; www.palmbeachdramaworks.org.
The Wick Theatre and Costume Museum
The classic musical, Singin’ in the Rain, is currently on stage at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton through February 18. It’s considered by many to be the greatest movie musical of all times. The play was adapted from the movie by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and is pure joy for all fans of the Golden Age of movie musicals. Who can forget Gene Kelly Singin’ in the Rain or Donald O’Connor and Gene Kelly as they sing and dance to Fit as a Fiddle and Ready For Love. It’s all on stage now at the Wick. What a great Valentine’s Day present…tickets to see Singin’ in the Rain!
The Wick Theatre & Costume Museum,7901 North Federal Highway Boca Raton, FL 33487. Tickets: (561) 995-2333, email@example.com