With three world-class performing arts centers, more than two dozen professional theater companies, scores of art galleries, myriad dance companies and six million diverse patrons representing nearly a hundred nationalities and cultures, South Florida maintains one of the most vibrant regional arts scenes in the country.
Here is a brief look at highlights from the 2011-12 arts season in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties:
The Best of Broadway
In Broward County, the Broward Center turns back the clock for RAIN – A Tribute to the Beatles, direct from Broadway, Oct. 4 to 16, to kick off the Broadway Across America season (BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com). RAIN will be followed by Beauty and the Beast, the romantic fairy tale come to life, Nov. 15 to 27 (BeautyAndTheBeastOnTour.com).
They’re creepy and they’re crawly….and they’re the hottest ticket on Broadway. The Addams Family musical makes its South Florida debut just in time for Halloween as part of BAA’s season at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com), Oct. 25 to 30, and then in West Palm Beach for the Kravis on Broadway series at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts (Kravis.org), Nov. 8 to 13.
Actors Playhouse in Coral Gables gives us a blast from the past with Hairspray, the musical based on John Waters’ film about desegregation in 1960s Baltimore, Oct. 12 to Nov. 13. The theater (ActorsPlayhouse.org) is located on the Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, a perfect destination for dinner and a show.
Maltz Jupiter Theatre (JupiterTheatre.org) opens its season with The 39 Steps, the whodunit thriller that forces the small cast to master dozens of madcap roles. Get caught up in the intrigue in Jupiter, Nov. 1 to 13. The company then switches gears with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s classic rock musical, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, Nov. 29 to Dec. 18.
Broward Center’s Pride Series
For 2011-12, the Broward Center offers a special Pride Series for the LGBT community. The first production is Jon and Juan’s Wedding, Oct. 12 to 23. The boys are getting married and you’re invited to the flamboyant and dysfunctional ceremony. Be careful what you wish for because these boys don’t know what they’re in for.
Oy Vey….In a Manger! The second performance in the Pride Series features the Kinsey Sicks, the twisted “dragappella” vocal group, in a special holiday concert that is certain to entertain and horrify audiences at the same time. Catch their act Saturday, Dec. 3.
And don’t forget to mark your calendars next year for an appearance by Leslie Jordan (“Will & Grace,” “Sordid Lives”) and fabulous female impersonator Varla Jean Merman on April 7.
Visit BrowardCenter.org for more information.
Miami City Ballet
Fresh off its triumphant residency in Paris, Miami City Ballet presents Program I, including works set to the music of Vivaldi and Corelli, Debussy and Philip Glass at the Arsht Center in Miami, Oct. 21 to 23; the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale, Oct. 28 to 30; and the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Dec. 9 to 11.
The company, headed by George Balanchine protégé Edward Villella, then ushers in the holiday season with The Nutcracker. Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, this Christmas classic will be presented at the Arsht Center, Dec. 15 – 18, and the Broward Center, Dec. 21 – 24.
Visit MiamiCityBallet.org for more information.
Producing Artistic Director Joseph Adler opens his season at GableStage at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables with Red, the award-winning—and very intense—play about 20th century painter Mark Rothko, Nov. 5 to Dec. 4. Visit GableStage.org.
Florida Grand Opera explores the Spanish form of musical theater, zarzuela, with Federico Moreno Tombola’s “Luisa Fernanda.” Set during the republican-monarchist conflicts of 1868, this production incorporates both spoken monologue and singing. Presented at Miami’s Arsht Center, Nov. 12, 15, 18, 20, 23 and 26, and Fort Lauderdale’s Broward Center on Dec. 1 and 3. Visit FGO.org.
The Miami Gay Men’s Chorus sings in the holidays with “Tales from Toyland,” on Dec. 3 at Instituto San Carlos in Key West and Dec. 16 – 18 at the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach. Visit MiamiGayChorus.org.
The Bakehouse Art Complex in the Wynwood Arts District, celebrates 25 years this fall. The non-profit complex promotes the work of more than 60 emerging artists from 20 countries working in diverse mediums from oils and watercolors to ceramics and street arts. Visit BACFl.org.
What happens when Jim Henson’s Muppets stray from Sesame Street? Find out at “Stuffed and Unstrung,” a comedic, adults-only performance by more than 80 miscreant puppets at Miami’s Arsht Center on Sunday, Oct. 9. We have a feeling you’re going to learn a little more than elementary phonics and math at this show! Visit ArshtCenter.org.
Funny man David Sedaris returns to South Florida for one night only, Monday, Nov. 1, at The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater. With his “sardonic wit and incisive social critiques,” Sedaris has become one of the preeminent humorists today and he’ll have you laughing all night long. Visit FillMoreMB.com.
Side Effects, the look at a couple’s evolving marriage by Michael Weller, is the first production this fall by Mosaic Theatre in Plantation, Sept. 15 to Oct. 9. Then, the award-winning company literally tackles the story of famed football coach Vince Lombardi with Eric Simonson’s Broadway hit, Lombardi, Nov. 10 to Dec. 4. Visit MosaicTheatre.com.
Rising Action Theatre, which has found a niche producing gay and lesbian-themed plays, opens its season with Douglas Carter Bean’s As Bees in Honey Drown, directed by Carbonell Award-winner Avi Hoffman and, for the first time, featuring an Equity cast, Sept. 9 to Oct. 9. The Leopold and Loeb musical, Thrill Me, a murder mystery follows Oct. 21 to Nov. 20. Visit RisingActionTheatre.com.
“Peter Frampton Comes Alive!” when the ‘70s rocker brings his 35th anniversary tour to Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood on Oct. 9. He’ll be offering a complete performance of his 1976 multi-platinum album of the same name. Visit MyHRL.com.
The South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble, the region’s LGBT band, opens its 26th season with music from around the globe in its fall concert, “Beyond Borders,” on Nov. 5 at the Broward Center. Visit PrideWindEnsemble.org.
The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida offers songs of good holiday cheer Dec. 14, 16 and 17 with “Ring Them Bells” at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale. Visit GayMensChorusOfSouthFlorida.org.
The Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale examines through photographs and film how pivotal life decisions are made in diverse cultures around the world with The Art of Caring: A Look at Life through Photography. The exhibit includes works by noted photographers Annie Leibovitz, Alfred Eisenstadt and Dorothea Lange. Through September 25. Visit MOAFL.org.
The Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida presents Harlequinade, the whimsical adventures of a harlequin and his lover, set to the music of Riccardo Drigo, Oct. 1 and 2 at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale and Oct. 9 at Aventura’s new Cultural Center. Visit ArtsBalletTheatre.org.
Catch the best in gay films at the Third Annual Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Oct. 13 to 16. Screenings will take place at The Manor in Wilton Manors and organizers are promising a fun festival of films and parties. Visit FLGLFF.com.
Boca Raton’s Caldwell Theatre kicks off the 2011-12 season with Amy Herzog’s drama, After the Revolution. The play explores the trans-generational conflicts of an American family torn apart during Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s infamous witchhunts for Communist sympathizers. Visit CaldwellTheatre.com.
Palm Beach Dramaworks inaugurates its new theatre on West Palm Beach’s artsy Clematis Street with Arthur Miller’s morality play about the cost of lying and the price of truth-telling, All My Sons, Nov. 12 to Dec. 11. Visit PalmBeachDramaWorks.org.
Singer K.d. Lang has explored many musical styles over her career and been “the best singer of her generation” by the legendary crooner Tony Bennett. On Saturday, Oct. 8, she sings from her latest studio album, “Sing It Loud,” along with her new band, The Siss Boom Bang, at the Kravis Center. Visit Kravis.org.
Cabaret reigns supreme at The Colony Hotel’s Royal Room in Palm Beach. Another star-studded season kicks off Nov. 4 to 5 and 11 to 12 with Baby Jane Dexter, making her sixth engagement since 2003. Broadway veteran and local favorite Avery Sommers follows Nov. 18 to 19 and 25 to 26. Visit TheColonyPalmBeach.com.
Smooth jazz saxophonist Dave Koz returns to South Florida just in time for the holidays with his Dave Koz and Friends tour, Sunday, Nov. 27 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. For this 14th annual tour, Koz is joined by special guests Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler and Candy Dulfer. Visit Kravis.org.
The whimsical mixed media sculptures of Colombian artist Federico Uribe will be on exhibit at the Boca Raton Museum of Art from Sept. 21 to Dec. 4. Using everyday objects like shoe laces and colored pencils, Uribe is known for creating fascinating and unpredictable works of art, including his 2008 installation, “Animal Farm,” which depicts a life-sized farmer family and barnyard animals. Visit BocaMuseum.org.
One lady who is not afraid to speak her mind is the hilarious Wanda Sykes. The out comedian brings her hilarious stand up routine to South Florida on Sunday, Dec. 11 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach for one performance only. Visit Kravis.org.