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Florida Spotlight: February 2010

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Chandra Lee Schwartz and Donna Vivino in Wicked
(© Joan Marcus)
Take a detour off the yellow brick road to the darker side of Oz this month as the touring production of Wicked comes to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa (February 3-28). With still-inventive songs by Stephen Schwartz, this Tony-winning tale of the unlikely early friendship between the two witches of Oz doesn't need brooms to fly. Also at the Straz Jr. Center, see StageWorks Theatre's production of Agnes of God (February 11-28), the John Pielmeier drama that puts faith on trial over a contested virgin birth at a Catholic convent.

In Miami, the stage of the Adrienne Arsht Center takes a pounding from a host of European dancers at Flamenco Festival Miami (February 13-19) including performances from the acclaimed Compañía María Pagés. Nearby, the University of Miami stages a duo of quirky comedies in repertory at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre: John Cariani's rural meditation on love, Almost, Maine (February 25-March 6) and Baby With the Bathwater (February 24-March 7), Christopher Durang's dark romp through parenthood. And in Coral Gables, the Gable Stage at the Biltmore sees the southeast premiere of the late Sarah Kane's Blasted (February 27-March 28), a bleak and profane parable in which a luxurious hotel room becomes a literal and metaphorical war zone.

Musical revues paint a sunnier picture in the West Palm area, with the Delray Beach Playhouse production of the Charles Strouse songwriting showcase Put On a Happy Face (February 8-17) and the Maltz Jupiter Theatre's staging of Tintypes (February 9-28), an evening of turn-of-the-century patriotism from the likes of George M. Cohan and John Philip Sousa. Things quiet down and heat up between a trio of scheming crooks at Palm Beach Dramaworks with David Mamet's American Buffalo (February 19-April 4), while the Kravis Center plays host to the singular sensation of A Chorus Line's latest revival (February 2-7) before it moves on to the King Center in Melbourne (February 16-17), the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater (February 18-20) and Tallahassee's Donald Tucker Center (February 22-23).

A cast of four takes on a crowd full of roles in the comic Alfred Hitchcock send-up The 39 Steps at the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale (February 10-28), while the Broward Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs hits a more sincere note (or two) with their production of the classic feel-good musical Singin' in the Rain (February 12-March 28). In nearby Plantation, fans of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee can get a taste for the earlier works of its whimsical composer in Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn at the Mosaic Theatre (February 25-March 21).

Another celebrated Broadway voice can be heard in person at the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts February 26 in An Evening with Sutton Foster. Coming off successful roles in The Drowsy Chaperone and Shrek the Musical, the songbird will perform hits from those shows as well as her upcoming album. In Fort Myers, Theatre Conspiracy throws the spotlight on the career of the infamous 1940's singer and eternal optimist Florence Foster Jenkins in Glorious! (February 5-20) while the Gulfshore Playhouse in Naples presents James Sherman's comedy Beau Jest (February 19-March 7), where a teacher hires an actor to play Mr. Right for her demanding Jewish parents.

Finally, dancing queen Tracy Turnblad primps up for a quick run around the state with the touring production of Hairspray. Catch it at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota February 9, the Phillips Center in Gainesville February 10, Panama City's Marina Civic Center February 16, or the Saenger Theatre in Pensacola February 17.

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