In Central Florida, May signifies a more homegrown theatrical tradition as Loch Haven Park in Orlando plays host to the nation's oldest Fringe Festival. The Orlando Fringe (May 14-25) provides venues for more than 60 local and national shows ranging from improv troupes to experimental drama and everything in between, as well as a miniature art festival, children's entertainment, and a full slate of side events. For a more focused fest, check out the Orlando Cabaret Festival (May 1-17) featuring Andrea Marcovicci, the Broadway Boys, and more bringing torch songs and harmony to the stage at Mad Cow Theatre. Orlando's not lacking for touring shows either, with the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons coming to the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center in Jersey Boys (May 6-24).
Nearby, the Billy Joel / Twyla Tharp dance collaboration Movin' Out moves into the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach for its only Florida appearance this month (May 4). On both coasts, you can see the wry yet nostalgic sleeper hit The Drowsy Chaperone when the tour makes a stop at the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater (May 10) and the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne (May 12-13). Further south, hear "All That Jazz" and more in the Tony Award-winning Chicago, playing the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami (May 26-31). Other offerings on the east coast include Tango Undressed, the season closer from the Miami Contemporary Dance Company at the Colony Theater (May 8-16), the Southeastern premiere of Joe Penhall's Dumb Show (Promethean Theatre @ The Mailman Hollywood Theatre, May 15-31), and Amy Wilson's maniacal and maternal off-Broadway solo show Mother Load at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale (May 22-23).
In the West Palm area, follow the yellow brick road to the Kravis Center for the touring production of The Wizard of Oz (May 12-17) or get a dose of '80s nostalgia at the Lyric Theatre in Stuart at they host the musical version of Footloose (May 27-31) on their tenth anniversary tour. The Florida Stage in Manalapan offers a world premiere with their production of Yankee Tavern (May 13-June 21), a conspiracy-laden thriller from Lonely Planet author Steven Dietz. Meanwhile, it's wild satire at the Delray Beach Playhouse as they present Steve Martin's comedy of manners The Underpants (May 22-June 7).
Crossing the state, we find Stageworks presenting Conor McPherson's quiet and compelling ghost story Shining City at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center (May 7-24). At the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, catch a newer suspense story in Jason Wells' Perfect Mendacity (May 15-June 14), where political hypocrisy and a dark past add up to a tense evening for a scientist. For lighter fare, go no further than Bradenton, where the Manatee Players are staging their production of that time-tested Broadway musical comedy, La Cage Aux Folles (May 14-31).
Further south, the Venice Theatre stages a musical to satisfy any sweet tooth with the adaptation of Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (May 5-24). And finally, in Fort Myers we find the Florida Repertory Theatre delving into the everyday life and not-so-everyday dreams of an English housewife in Willy Russell's Shirley Valentine (May 29-June 7).