Shawn Paonessa and Summer Bohnenkamp-Jenkins
in Dog Sees God
(© Brian Smallheer.)
Shawn Paonessa and Summer Bohnenkamp-Jenkins
in Dog Sees God
(© Brian Smallheer.)
Summer hits Florida hard in August, and the beach isn't the only place they're stripping down. Orlando's Mad Cow Theatre stages a "chamber" version of Macbeth (August 6-29), with three actors rotating through all the roles in Shakespeare's bloody saga of betrayal and ambition. Don't hold with the "less is more" philosophy? Take in the Red Chair Affair gala at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center in Orlando on August 28 featuring season preview performances from 14 Central Florida arts groups including the Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, and Cirque du Soleil.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's furry modern classic Cats keeps on strutting, with touring dates in Tampa at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts (August 13-15) and the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne (August 16-17). Also at the Straz Jr. Center, see Jobsite Theater's production of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead (August 4-22), Bert Royal's melancholy "Peanuts" parody, while the Gorilla Theatre stages Caryl Churchill's Far Away (August 5-15), a surreal meditation on a world ruled by fear.

In Coral Springs, head to the Broward Stage Door Theatre to peek behind the scenes of the silent movie era in the Jerry Herman musical Mack & Mabel (August 20-September 26). Nearby in Fort Lauderdale, the Women's Theatre Project gives us the U.S. premiere of Wicked Sisters (August 5-29), a comic drama by Australian playwright Alma DeGroen that lays bare the jealousies and bonds between three women who come to visit a widowed friend. And in Boca Raton, Caldwell Theatre Company raises the curtain on Joel Gross' The Comfort of Darkness (August 11-September 5), a romance about real-life hypnotist Dr. Anton Mesmer and his love for a blind pianist.

Sarasota's Banyan Theater Company has a jazzman playing the blues as he recollects the breakdown of his family in Warren Leight's drama Side Man (August 5-22). In Bradenton, the Manatee Players strike up some slightly perkier tunes with the sweeping Rodgers & Hammerstein musical South Pacific (August 19-September 5).

South Florida embraces the camp with not one but two productions of Evil Dead: The Musical, the goofy and gory comedy that turns Sam Raimi's horror cult classic into an over-the-top farce complete with front-row "splash zones". Wear a raincoat and catch it at the Venice Theatre August 13-29 or Nova Southeastern University's Black Box Theatre, August 20-September 12. Over in Fort Myers, Theatre Conspiracy mines somewhat deeper source material with their production of Searching For Eden: The Diaries of Adam and Eve (August 20-September 4), a comedy that plants the first love story into the present day.

Finally, peek in on a jaded husband and wife as they fill the gap of an absent son with long-buried tension in Michael Weller's Fifty Words, playing at the Gable Stage at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables (August 14-September 12).