Kicking into a NEW YEAR on Stage

December 28, 2016
by
3 mins read

Local theatre lovers have a wealth of quality productions in the upcoming year. For openers:

  • Alhambra Theatre & Dining is celebrating 50 years, starting with the return of the first production ever performed at the theatre, Neil Simon’s Come Blow Your Horn, on January 4. 
  • Artist Series presents one of its best top-to-bottom seasons in years, including the return of The Book of Mormon.
  • The 5 & Dime is moving to a permanent home in the Urban Core. The nomadic theatre company will open at 112 E. AdamsSt. (near the former location of Burro Bar),just in time for its fundraiser cabaret show LIVE at The 5 & Dime: An Evening of Song on January 20 and 21 at 8 p.m.

As we dream of a parallel universe where The 5 & Dime, Chomp Chomp, and Burro Bar could have all existed in the same strip of Downtown Jacksonville, mark your calendars for these productions in 2017:

PETER AND THE STARCATCHER 
After staging the famous characters of Jane Austen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle earlier this season, Theatre Jacksonville takes on the origin story of another British creation in Peter and the Starcatcher.

Starcatcher might be the optimal word for theatregoers buzzing about a cast that includes former Folio Weekly Best of Jax actor Daniel Austin, Jason Collins (who recently drew raves for Let’s Kill Greg from Al Emerick) and Ron Shreve, among others.

The play, which won five Tonys, is based on the novel by author and humor columnist Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, and looks to finally reveal the origin behind Peter Pan, Wendy, the Lost Boys, and Captain Hook.

Director Roxanna Lewis and musical director Erin Barnes create the magical prelude to Neverland that goes beyond the second star on the right and straight on ‘til morning. January 13-14, 19-22, 26-29 at Theatre Jacksonville, theatrejax.com.

’NIGHT MOTHER
The 5 & Dime goes into full production mode at its new East Adams home with Bradley Akers sitting in the director’s chair for Marsha Norman’s ’night Mother — winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The 5 & Dime will occupy 3,400 square feet of space after completion — with a planned 2017 season featuring two musicals, four plays and two cabarets.

In  ’night Mother, Lindsay Curry takes on the Kathy Bates role of Jessie Cates, while Brooks Anne Meierdierks steps into Anne Pitoniak’s role as Thelma Cates from the 1983 Broadway cast.

The mother-daughter drama opens with Jessie telling her mother that she intends to commit suicide. Jessie’s reasons and the lives the two women have led are laid bare through their dialogue. February 17, and running for three weekends through March 4, at The 5 & Dime, the5anddime.org.

KILLER JOE 
Tracy Letts — who later won the Pulitzer for 2007’s August: Osage County — earned his bones in 1993 with Killer Joe. This dark comedy examines trailer park tropes and a contract killer plot that takes some surprising turns.

Letts’ story was optioned for a Matthew McConaughey film that received an NC-17 rating in 2011 and past stagings have gone for shock effects. But the genius in Letts’ play lies in the fast-paced story and the relationships between these characters. March 17-18, 23-26, 30-31 and April 1, at Players by the Sea, playersbythesea.org.

DREAMGIRLS 
The Alhambra knows how to wow audiences with dreamy voices. 

In August, Dayna Richardson and Sarah Sanders (also known as Mama Blue) carried the day in Smokey Joe’s Cafe. They’ll be a tough act to follow, but we’re betting Alhambra director Tod Booth brings talent to the stage again as The Dreams learn the price of fame and international acclaim in DreamGirls. April 12-May 21 at Alhambra Theatre & Dining, alhambrajax.com.

KINKY BOOTS
Artist Series presents a 2017 season that’s creating much more buzz than its comparatively weaker 2015-’16 edition.

This season runs the gamut from the return of hilarious obscenity from The Book of Mormon in January to the contemporary Rodgers and Hammerstein version of Cinderella in June. But the show guaranteed to rock the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts is sure to be Cyndi Lauper’s first foray into musical theatre. Kinky Boots is inspired by true events in the only way a musical based on a British film based on a BBC documentary TV series can be based on a true story. Help in Broadway musicals often arrives from magical places in sturdy stilettos. And somehow, someway, Lauper is now an Oscar away from completing an EGOT. (For those keeping score of Emmys, Grammys and Tonys.) Tuesday, May 2-7, at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, fscjartistseries.org.

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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