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Florida Spotlight: April 2010

They Call it Xanadu logo
Max von Essen in Xanadu
(© Carol Rosegg)
Relive some of the best dance moves of the 1980's (and the worst fashion decisions) when the touring production of Xanadu roller-skates through the state this month. Florida dates include Sarasota's Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall (April 20-21), Naples' Philharmonic Center for the Arts (April 23-25), and the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre in Orlando (April 27-May 2). The tour currently stars Anika Larsen as Kira and Max von Essen as Sonny.

Prefer your musicals without the cheese topping? The soulful touring adaptation of Alice Walker's The Color Purple also makes an appearance at Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale (April 6-18). Also at the Broward Center, catch the premier of The 12 (April 1), a new rock musical about the 12 apostles from Neil Berg. Over in Coral Springs at the Broward Stage Door Theatre, it's another Broadway veteran's premiere as producer Arthur Whitelaw plays himself in the musical autobiography Full Circle (April 23-May 30). Nearby, the Mosaic Theatre in Plantation stages Christopher Shinn's Dying City (April 15-May 9), where an Iraq widow's old wounds are reopened by the appearance of her husband's twin.

In Miami, a New Jersey heavy metal band runs afoul of the devil in Marco Ramirez's rock and roll fantasy Broadsword at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (April 29-May 9). At the Gable Stage at the Biltmore, two Holocaust survivors test each other's faith in David Brandes and Joseph Telushkin's The Quarrel (April 24-May 23). And the University of Miami takes on Jonathan Larson's modern classic Rent at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre (April 21-May 1).

It's festival season in Central Florida, with Mad Cow Theatre covering the musical options at their annual Orlando Cabaret Festival (April 30-May 16), bringing crooners from all corners of the globe together including KT Sullivan and The Broadway Boys. Meanwhile, the Lowndes Shakespeare Center plays host to Playfest! the Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays (April 2-11), featuring a full schedule of readings, workshops and a keynote discussion with Philip Seymour Hoffman on April 10.

West to Tampa, follow a plucky English housewife on the road to her dreams with Gorilla Theatre's production of Shirley Valentine (April 15-May 2), while Jobsite Theater brings their Shakespearean mash-up musical Pericles: Prince of Tires back to the David A. Straz Jr. Center (April 7-11) for a short run before they take the hit to New York.

Elsewhere, Palm Beach Dramaworks in West Palm Beach explores the stormy space between a mother and her estranged son in Edward Albee's Three Tall Women (April 23-June 13). Back on the west coast, Venice Theatre stages Richard Kalinoski's Beast on the Moon (April 15-May 2), the evolution of a marriage from its unlikely roots in the Armenian genocide of 1915-1923. And Fort Myers' Florida Repertory Theater brings us a look at the twilight years of Nuremburg trial judge Francis Biddle with a production of Joanna McClelland Glass' Trying (April 9-25).

For family audiences, the touring production of Beauty and the Beast spreads a little Disney across the state with dates at the Saenger Theatre in Pensacola (April 8), the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers (April 13-18), Daytona Beach's Peabody Auditorium (April 19-20), and the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center (April 21-22).

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