A scene from The Sparrow
(© The House Theatre of Chicago)
A scene from The Sparrow
(© The House Theatre of Chicago)
The spring bloom brings a couple of theatrical snowbirds down from the Windy City this month, starting with the Florida premiere of The Sparrow at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami (April 7-May 1). This phantasmagorical tale of a small-town high school turned on its ear by a super-powered wallflower generated plenty of buzz in its 2007 opening at the House Theatre in Chicago.

Meanwhile in Plantation, noted Chicago actress Jenny McKnight joins the cast of another Florida debut: Stephen Belber's Dusk Rings a Bell, making its way to the Mosaic Theatre (April 7-May 1) after a delayed opening. McKnight will star opposite Clint Hooper in this drama about a lovers' reunion darkened by secrets on both sides.

Adventurous audiences have plenty of options in Orlando, with Playfest! The Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays serving up workshops, "play-in-a-day" events and readings of new works fresh off the printer at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center April 8-April 17. Of course, there's plenty of theatrical comfort food, too: The latest touring production of A Chorus Line will be high-stepping to South Florida Community College in Avon Park (April 13), Sarasota's Van Wezel Performing Arts Center (April 14), Gainesville's Phillips Center (April 15-16), the Saenger Theatre in Pensacola (April 22) and the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach (April 23). Also touring is the relentlessly silly Monty Python musical Spamalot, with dates at the Mahaffey Theatre in St. Petersburg (April 19), the Van Wezel in Sarasota (April 20-21), Naples' Philharmonic Center (April 22-23) and the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center (April 24).

Droll wit is the order of the month on the west coast, with the ghostly guffaws of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit at the Gulfshore Playhouse in Naples (April 8-23) and The Drowsy Chaperone, that love letter to yesteryear's musicals, at the Venice Theatre (April 5-23). In Fort Myers, the Apollo moon landing marks a summer of uncertainty for the Pazinski clan in King O' the Moon, Tom Dudzick's sequel to Over the Tavern at the Florida Repertory Theater (April 5-24). And April goes out with a bang (and a crash, and a clang) at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall with a visit from the junkyard jams of Stomp (April 30-May 1).

In Sarasota, the Asolo Repertory Theater fleshes out Stephen Drukman's The Innocents (April 15-May 14), a sexually charged comic mystery that first saw light with a reading at last year's Unplugged New Play Festival, and complements it with a more time-honored whodunit in Ira Levin's murderous Deathtrap (April 1-May 14). North to Tampa, get a dose of jailhouse redemption in A Lesson Before Dying at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center (April 7-24), Romulus Linney's adaptation of the Ernest J. Gaines novel. Less noble - but no less entertaining - lessons can be learned at An Inappropriate Evening with Klaus Kinski (April 14-May 1), Gorilla Theatre's brash introduction to the late firebrand of film starring Steve Mountan.

Boys will be boys and grown-ups will be even worse in Boca Raton at Caldwell Theatre Company's production of Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage (April 10-May 15), a slow-burning comedic confrontation between a pair of families. For broader laughs, listen in on the saucy Confessions of a Mormon Boy, Steven Fales' titillating trilogy playing in repertory at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale (April 7-24). Nearby, the Women's Theatre project presents Teresa Rebeck's Sunday on the Rocks (April 21-May 15), where four wayward roommates break fast and form bonds over an early-morning bottle of scotch.

In Stuart, an already accomplished showman gets a little help from his furry friends in the Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre at the Lyric Theatre (April 19-23), featuring Moscow Circus vet Gregory Popovich. For more feats of athletic whimsy, catch the colorful Cirque Dreams Illumination, touring through the King Center in Melbourne (April 16-17), the Van Wezel in Sarasota (April 19) and the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach (April 20-24). And speaking of color, you'll hardly be able to miss the costumes in the tour of the ABBA-riffic musical Mamma Mia!, making its only Florida visit in April at the King Center in Melbourne April 4- 5.