On the touring circuit, get ready for some lean, green antics as Shrek the Musical makes its way through the state with a fast-paced barrage of comedy and songs based on the Dreamworks animated hit about a princess, a donkey and one very obstinate ogre. See it at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa May 3-8, the Times-Union Performing Arts Center in Jacksonville May 10-15, and Orlando's Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre May 17-22. Also on the road is the latest revival of that musical hippie love-in Hair, playing the Straz Center (May 24- 29) and the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami (May 31-June 5), while the words of Pulitzer-winning author Alice Walker burst into song in The Color Purple, making a visit to the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, May 5-15.
Also at the Kravis Center, a young poet's search for her father puts her in the path of a pair of gunmen and one mysterious cab driver in Florida Stage's premiere of Carter W. Lewis' surreal play The Cha-Cha of the Camel Spider (May 4-June 5), while an Irish spinster struggles to escape the web of her elderly mother's needs in Palm Beach Dramaworks' production of Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane (May 6-June 19). A bit further south, we find the loud and liberated ladies of the '60's strutting the stage of the Delray Beach Playhouse in the musical revue Shout!, May 20-June 5.
The musical history lessons continue on the west coast, with Beehive (May 5-15), another trip down the '60's hit parade at TheatreZone in Naples. Fort Myers' Florida Repertory Theatre reaches even further back with their production of The Devil's Music (May 3-22), Angelo Parra's retrospective on the life of 1930's blues diva Bessie Smith. Meanwhile, Venice Theatre stages Wendy Kesselman's uplifting 1997 adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank (May 10-22).
In the Miami area, catch a train to slapstick suspense in The 39 Steps, Patrick Barlow's comedic adaptation of a Hitchcock whodunit at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables (May 11-June 5). Nearby, the Gable Stage at the Biltmore has scandalous commentary on 19th-century mores with Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (May 14-June 12), while the New Theatre goes for chest-beating melodrama in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire (May 27-June 12).
In Fort Lauderdale, the aftermath of a one night stand is the beginning of a slow-burning evening of secrets in James Edwin Parker's 2 Boys in a Bed on a Cold Winters Night at the Rising Action Theatre (May 13-June 12), while the folly of love takes on a lighter tone in St. Petersburg with Freefall Theatre Company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (May 12-21). And at the Straz Center in Tampa, Jobsite Theatre shows that the concept of beauty cuts far deeper than skin in Neil LaBute's scathing drama reasons to be pretty (May 11-29).
Looking for a sing-along evening? Sarasota's Asolo Repertory Theatre takes us dancing through the life of a legendary composer with the poignant George Gershwin Alone (May 19-June 5), and Bradenton's Manatee Players take a stroll through equally familiar avenues with the Hollywood comedy Singin' in the Rain (May 5-22).