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Florida Spotlight: July 2007

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A scene from La omisión de la familia Coleman
(© Maxime Seuge)
As summer progresses and temperatures rise, multiple festivals and productions of well-known classics are providing more entertaining alternatives for those looking to get off the shores of South Beach or escape the long lines of the state's many theme parks.

The XXII International Hispanic Theatre Festival (July 6-29) features 13 productions from six different countries, presented at various locations throughout Miami Dade County. Performances and events are presented either in Spanish or English, with some also using supertitles. Argentina's Timbre 4 gets things started with La omisión de la familia Coleman (The Coleman Family's Omission), an exploration of ties and conflicts within an eccentric family that takes audiences to the edge of the absurd. One of the festival's founding companies, Miami's Prometeo Theatre, presents the world premiere of La casa de todos (Everyone's Home) (July 11-14), about a group of tenants in a rooming house who are ensnared in a tangled web of secrets, truths and lies. On July 21, the festival celebrates International Children's Day with ¿Te acuerdas? (Do You Remember?) presented by Spain's Fabula, Teatro Infantil, which offers a gentle display of light, music and movement that takes children and adults back to the peaceful harmony of the womb. Finally, festival producer Teatro Avante brings down the curtain with Yerma (July 26-29), an adaptation by Raquel Carrio of Federico Garcia Lorca's classic.

In Central Florida, the Orlando Repertory Theatre has coordinated the first Target Family Theatre Festival (July 12-22). Things kick off at the Orlando Museum of Art with This is Our Land, an exploration of America and the world through the illustrations of children's books. Then, ORT's Summer Youth Academy presents the regional premiere of All Shook Up, featuring the songs of Elvis; Wiley and the Hairy Man teaches kids to overcome their fears and uncertainties; Jiggleman Will Blow You Away! offers high energy, interactive juggling and acrobatics; the MicheLee Puppets presentation of EXTREME Health Challenge lets kids laugh while learning about good nutrition and active lifestyles; and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra's Instrument Petting Zoo provides an opportunity for children to try their hands at a variety of instruments while discovering how much fun making music can be.

Last on the festival front, City Theatre's Summer Shorts Festival, which began last month at the Carnival Center, makes the move to Fort Lauderdale's Broward Center for the Performing Arts (July 12-15). The lineup includes 15 brief one-acts, presented in two alternating programs.

Musical lovers in the Palm Beach area have a rich variety of options to choose from: SHOUT! The Mod Musical (July 10-August 5), a revue featuring the greatest hits of the 1960s, returns to the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts; Palm Beach Dramaworks presents Side by Side by Sondheim, the musical revue that features 30 songs by Stephen Sondheim (July 5-August 26); and at the Lake Worth Playhouse, Dr. Frank-N-Furter does dangerously delightful things to Brad and Janet in The Rocky Horror Show (July 13 - August 4).

If it's straight plays you're after, the New Theater in Coral Gables presents William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (July 12-Aug. 5) while Pembroke Pines Theatre of Performing Arts performs Neil Simon's The Odd Couple (July 6-29).

Lastly, for the kids in the south of the Sunshine State, the Kravis Center has My Little Pony LIVE! The World's Biggest Tea Party (July 13-15) and the Broward Center hosts France's Coatimundi Puppet Theater for four very special performances of Hats Off to the Sea (July 20-21), an interactive puppet adventure that tells the story of Seraphin, who takes a trip across the sea, fights a dragon, discovers a mermaid's secret, and finally achieves his heart's desire.

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