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Florida Spotlight: September 2009

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Chaim Topol in Fiddler on the Roof
(© Joan Marcus)
The touring production of Fiddler on the Roof, at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center (September 29-October 4), is the final bottle dance for Topol as he makes his farewell performance as Tevye. Meanwhile, the Orlando Repertory Theatre opens their season with the bittersweet farmland fable Charlotte's Web (September 12-October 11), while Theatre Downtown gives us William F. Brown and Charlie Smalls' soulful spin on Oz in The Wiz (September 4-October 3). The Big Bang kicks off the new season at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater (September 16-October 11), as Jed Feuer and Boyd Graham's romp follows a pair of ambitious producers as they sell the biggest big-budget musical of all time, with a script covering nothing less than the entirety of human history. Also in Orlando, Mad Cow Theatre stages a more focused musical with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (September 11-October 18), the Tony-winning comedy of love and war on the spelling bee stage.

On the east coast, catch Tennessee Williams' wistful family drama The Glass Menagerie at the Broward Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs (September 11-November 1), or head south to Plantation as Mosaic Theatre presents the southeast premiere of Rock n' Roll (September 10-October 4), Tom Stoppard's meditation on passion and politics against the backdrop of a turbulent Czechoslovakia. Further south, the Jewish Cultural Arts Theatre in North Miami Beach stages John Patrick Shanley's tense Catholic school drama Doubt (September 2-13), while the University of Miami raises a glass to the songs of Leiber and Stoller in the tribute musical Smokey Joe's Café at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre (September 9-19).

Over to the gulf coast, it's a trio of musical one-acts from Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick with the Venice Theatre's production of The Apple Tree (September 29-October 18). Continuing north, The Players Theatre of Sarasota finds romance and song on the high seas with the Cole Porter chestnut Anything Goes (September 24-October 4), and Bradenton's Manatee Players stages the classic matchmaker musical Hello, Dolly (September 24-October 11).

For less traditional fare, head to Tampa for My Children! My Africa! at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center (September 3-20). Athol Fugard's drama pits a brilliant black student against a white schoolgirl in a literature contest in a segregated South Africa community. Also at the TBPAC, Jobsite Theatre follows up its quirky production of Pericles with And Baby Makes Seven (September 23-October 11), a surreal comedy of imagined adolescence by Paula Vogel.

Finally, the Hippodrome State Theatre in Gainesville presents the charming whimsy of Bridget Carpenter's Up (September 4-27). This play is inspired by the real-life tale of Larry Walters, who in 1982 launched himself and his lawn chair into the air by utilizing weather balloons filled with helium. The same source material inspired the Pixar film of the same name, as well as the 2003 film Danny Deckchair.

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