Florida breaks in the dancing shoes of a new cast this month when the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center hosts the opening dates of the first national tour for In the Heights (October 27-November 1), the Tony award-winning tribute to life in New York’s Washington Heights. The company is headed by Kyle Beltron as Usnavi, Natalie Toro as Camilla and Arielle Jacobs as Nina.
Meanwhile, the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami brings up the curtain on Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple (October 27-November 1), the musical that gave the Broadway treatment to Alice Walker’s tale of sisterhood in rural Georgia. And in Fort Lauderdale, Chaim Topol continues his farewell run as Tevye in the touring production of Fiddler on the Roof at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (October 6-18).
In Sarasota, the Asolo Repertory Theatre has an ambitious season opener with Contact (October 23-November 22), joining forces with the Sarasota Ballet to produce this dance fusion musical that explores the distance between lovers in their ongoing chase for each other. Meanwhile, Fort Myers’ Florida Repertory Theatre kicks off their season with Marc Camoletti’s farce Boeing-Boeing (October 30-November 21), where a lady-killing American racks up frequent flyer miles with three airline stewardesses. Elsewhere in Fort Myers, an aging art dealer falls for a vital young admirer in Alan Brody’s romantic comedy Time and Ina Meyerhoff (October 9-24), while Venice Theatre stages David Mamet’s electioneering satire November (October 29-November 15).
For some season-appropriate chillers, head north to Tampa, where Gorilla Theatre presents Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of the Susan Hill ghost story The Woman in Black (October 15-November 8) and Jobsite Theater gives us their adaptation of George Romero’s classic zombie film Night of the Living Dead at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center (October 21-November 8). In Orlando, a burglar and a recluse find themselves literally fighting for affection in John Kolvenbach’s twisted comedy Love Song at Mad Cow Theatre (October 2-25), while Orlando Shakespeare Theatre stages Steven Dietz’s Yankee Tavern (October 14-November 8), a sly barroom meditation on the power of paranoia.
On the east coast, the New Theatre in Coral Gables premieres David Caudle’s In Development (October 9-November 8), a chronicle of “sex, death and dramaturgy” at a playwright’s conference. The Gable Stage at the Biltmore has the southeastern premiere of Neil LaBute’s scathing lovers spat reasons to be pretty (October 24-November 22), while the University of Miami tackles the Bard with their modern take on Hamlet at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre (October 21-31).
Further up the coast, see the music of Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and others brought to life in the Harlem musical Bubbling Brown Sugar at the Broward Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs (October 16-November 22). Nearby in Fort Lauderdale, the Rising Action Theatre Company digs into Kander and Ebb’s back catalogue with their production of Flora the Red Menace (October 16-November 22), a musical clash between Communism, commerce and love.
The West Palm area covers the spectrum from dense drama to madcap belly laughs. Henrik Ibsen’s wistful classic A Doll’s House covers the former at Palm Beach Dramaworks (October 16-November 29), while Delray Beach Playhouse gives us the latter with The Sugar Bean Sisters (October 9-25), Nathan Sanders’ loopy musical of seniors and spacemen. Florida Stage in Manalapan rounds things out with their premiere of Seth Rozin’s Two Jews Walk Into a War… (October 21-November 29), the story of two Afghanistan Jews’ battle against the waning Taliban regime and each other.