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Florida Spotlight: March 2009

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A scene from Gilligan's Island: The Musical
Their source material may be cheesy, but there are several delectable flavors on the menu for touring shows coming through Florida in March. A new production of Gilligan's Island: The Musical officially kicks off its tour in the Sunshine State, coming to the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater (March 4), Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce (March 5), and Wilson Center for the Arts in Jacksonville (March 6-8). The show has deep ties to the original TV series, with a book by show creator Sherwood Schwartz and his son Lloyd, and music by daughter Hope Schwartz. Meanwhile, Monty Python's Spamalot ends the Florida leg of its tour with a week of inspired silliness at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center (March 3-8). Legally Blonde: The Musical holds court at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center in Orlando (March 10-15) before making its south Florida premiere at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach (March 17-22). Finally, William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee makes the only Florida appearance on its current tour with a show at the Tallahassee/Leon County Civic Center (March 5).

A number of Cirque du Soleil alumni are involved in Cirque Mechanics' Birdhouse Factory, which comes to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale (March 20-21). Also in Fort Lauderdale, Broadway warhorse Dame Edna brings her razor wit to the Parker Playhouse (March 10-28). It's the "First Last Tour" for the Australian diva, so catch her while you can. Speaking of drag, it's an unlikely mix of cross-dressing and 1940's standards at the Rising Action Theatre with Roger Bean's comedy musical The Andrews Brothers (March 27-April 26).

In Coral Springs, see two distinctly different tributes to the Great White Way. Gerard Alessandrini's revue Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit satirizes popular musicals from The Music Man to Wicked at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts (March 22). Also at the Center, see a more reverent take on show tunes with Neil Berg's 100 Years of Broadway (March 29), which brings five Broadway veterans onstage to recreate musical moments from past and present.

Further up the coast, catch the world premiere of Cagney! at the Florida Stage in Manalapan (March 25-May 3), a musical tribute to the life of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" James Cagney. Nearby, the Delray Beach Playhouse presents TomFoolery (March 27-April 12), celebrating the work of the plucky mathematician and musical satirist Tom Lehrer. Further north, see the tragedies and triumphs of the Knights of the Round Table set to music in Shiloh Theatrical Productions' staging of Camelot at the Lyric Theatre in Stuart (March 25-29).

In Daytona Beach, a "killer" script leads to mayhem for a blocked playwright as the Daytona Playhouse presents Ira Levin's thriller Deathtrap (March 20-29). Also in Daytona, catch Jesus Christ Superstar at the Peabody Auditorium (March 25) on its whirlwind tour through the state. The current touring production of the Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical stars Ted Neeley reprising his role from the Norman Jewison film version as Jesus.

In Orlando, Mad Cow Theatre presents Peter Shaffer's Amadeus (March 20-April 19), a tense tale of rivalry between the composers Mozart and Antonio Salieri. Also in Orlando, celebrate the 60th anniversary of Arthur Miller's quintessential American tragedy Death of a Salesman with a production at Theatre Downtown (March 6-29). Meanwhile, the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre stages two takes on the Bard at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center with Much Ado About Nothing (March 11-April 25) and The Merchant of Venice (March 18-April 26).

Continuing west to Tampa, Jobsite Theatre presents a local premiere of Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's Shimberg Playhouse (March 19-April 5), a pitch black comedy about a pet-loving Irish terrorist. The nearby Gorilla Theatre keeps it stateside and sentimental with their production of Tom Lysaght's Nobody Don't Like Yogi (March 12-22), a play that chronicles Yogi Berra's bittersweet return to Yankee Stadium.

South to Sarasota, we find comedy both slapstick and sharp at the Asolo Theatre. Take your pick from Murderers (March 13-May 23), Jeffrey Hatcher's twisting and wacky tale of homicide at a retirement community, or George Bernard Shaw's The Devil's Disciple (March 20-May 24), a comedic morality play set among the Puritans during the days of the American Revolution. Elsewhere in town, the Gompertz Theatre hosts Florida Studio Theatre's production of Y. York's ...And L.A. is Burning (March 4-19), a culture clash that takes place in the buildup to the Rodney King riots. Finally, The Players Theatre presents the Tony Award-winning Titanic the Musical (March 12-22). We don't want to give away the ending, but we're fairly sure the boat sinks.

In Fort Myers, it's culture and comedy at a breakneck pace at the Theatre Conspiracy's production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (March 19-April 11), while the Florida Repertory Theatre presents The Art of Murder (March 20-April 12), an Edgar award-winning mystery from Joe DiPietro. Nearby, the Venice Theatre presents And The Winner Is... (March 12-29), a journey into the afterlife of a egotistical actor from Tuesdays With Morrie author Mitch Albom. The Venice Theater rounds out March with Ken Ludwig's Leading Ladies (March 31-April 19), a comedy that finds two down-and-out thespians scheming to inherit a fortune.


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