This is a piece I wrote for The Sun about new plays premiering in Gainesville in March.
A love quadrangle. A family curse. A fraud gone awry. And a sight to behold.
So what else is new in Gainesville’s theater scene?
Well, four new plays are opening this month. And collectively they promise to deliver a little song, a little dance, a lot of laughs and a dramatic slice of family life.
Start with the Hippodrome Theater’s “Living On Love,” opening on March 11. It’s an ego-driven battle of wits between an much-loved opera star, her faithless husband and the hapless ghost writers they both hire to help spice up their life stories.
Hipp Artistic Director Stephanie Lynge says Joe DiPietro‘s fast-paced comedy “is one of the shows we had scheduled for the season that we now fondly refer to as the season that wasn’t” due to Covid. “We’re super glad to be actually doing it now.”
“Everyone’s falling in love with everyone else, and of course at the end everybody ends up with who they are supposed to end up with.” says Lynge. “It’s a fantastic conglomerate of high comedy and low comedy. Our season this year is just about refinding our joy, and this one just makes me laugh.”
“Living On Love” runs March 11-27. For show times, ticket prices and other information go to the Hipp’s web page.
But if you are looking for fewer laughs and a sobering insight into what it means to be Black, female and married in the Deep South, you might want to check out the Actor’s Warehouse production of “Daughters Of The Mock,” which also premiers on March 11 and runs through March 27.
“Daughters” is Judi Ann Mason’s drama about a clan of Louisiana women whose menfolk have a disturbing habit of dying young. This might be happenstance…or it might be because Grandmother Maumau, a practitioner of the voodoo arts, cast a spell to protect her daughters from domestic abuse.
“The grandmother was horribly treated by her husband when she was young, so she decided that the women of her family would never suffer again,” said director Kevin O. Mack. “What sets things off is that the youngest granddaughter comes home from college and she wants to marry. But she’s only 20, and according to the mock (curse) the women may marry at 28,” setting the stage for family confrontation.
This all-female cast represents three generations of a family rooted in traditions but longing to for release from their restrictions. “You’re going to see a story about how complicate love can be,” Mack said. “Often times we see the friction between older generations and younger generations. Each has their own idea of what’s right and how to get there.”
For show times and ticket prices go to the Actors Warehouse web page.
On the other hand, if you are looking for advice on how (not) to succeed in show business without really trying, then you will want to see the Gainesville Community Playhouse’s reprisal of Mel Brooks’ hit Broadway play “The Producers.” (March 17-April 10).
Long story short: A down on his luck producer and his milquetoast accountant scheme to defraud investors by staging a play that is guaranteed to fail on opening night. Only it doesn’t.
So how can a play called “Springtime For Hitler” possibly end up rocking the house? Well, that’s the story, isn’t it?
This is the second go-around for “The Producers” at GCP. “We did this play 10 years ago and I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to do it again,” says director Erin Moore. “It’s got some really great songs and some wonderful jokes. It’s classic Mel Brooks’ humor.”
Audiences “need to walk in with a sense of humor,” she added, “especially in this political day and age. And they should expect to be offended at least once. It’s just the nature of the show, it offends equally.”
See GCP’s web page for details.
And finally, if you are in search of full, um, disclosure, go to the Acrosstown Repertory Theater to see its production of the Tony Award-winning musical “The Full Monty.”
Based on the 1997 British film that became a cult favorite, the play follows a group of laid-off Buffalo steelworkers who hit upon a novel idea to make some money – this after their wives come home raving about seeing a Chippendale male strip show during girls night out.
“A lot of people remember the movie but they don’t really know the musical,” said director Jackie Collins. “It’s risqué and I’m not going to tell you how it ends in our theater. But the focus is on female empowerment and male insecurities. These are real guys up close, and nobody’s going on a diet or working out to get ready” to strut their stuff.
“Monty” features a large ensemble, about 15 actors, some of them playing multiple roles. “For Acrosstown that’s pretty big,” said Collins. “Ensemble roles are really fun, people are constantly changing into different characters.”
See the ART web page for details.