The shows don’t end over at Florida Studio Theatre when the weather heats up. The company stays busy during the summer months with productions on its mainstage and in its cabarets, with music and comedy dominating the mix.
Opening before it’s technically summer is Roger Bean’s The Marvelous Wonderettes (May 29 through June 16), onstage at the Gompertz Theatre. It’s 1958, and the Springfield High prom has suddenly lost its musical act. Cue the four girls at the party “with hopes and dreams as big as their crinoline skirts,” who rally to entertain in four-part harmony. Expect hits from the era like Lesley Gore’s “It’s My Party,” Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” and The Chordettes’ “Mr. Sandman.”
Next up is Sarasota playwright Larry Parr’s Ethel Waters: His Eye Is on the Sparrow. As he did with productions of Hi-Hat Hattie (about actress Hattie McDaniel) and My Castle’s Rockin’ (about singer Alberta Hunter), Parr focuses on the career of an African-American performer who climbed up the show biz ladder despite the obstacles in her way, Ethel Waters. That means Waters hits like “Stormy Weather,” “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Am I Blue?” during the run, June 26 through Aug. 4 at the Keating Theatre.
The last mainstage show of the season is The Cottage, by Sandy Rustin, taking the Gompertz stage July 31 through Aug. 18. Things get very Noel Coward-ish in this comedy set in the English countryside in 1923, when Sylvia Van Kipness decides to reveal her secret love affair to her husband. Turns out there’s more than one secret here.
Earlier in the summer, in the Court Cabaret, Carole J. Bufford (who performed her Roar! The Music of the 1920s and Beyond at FST in 2017) is back with a show devoted to a more recent era. Come Together: When the ’60s Met the ’70s features music from the likes of The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Creedence Clearwater Revival and more as it touches on some of the big social changes that took place from 1965 to 1975. Onstage June 11 through July 21.
The musicians known as The Swingaroos are back by popular demand at FST with Hollywood Serenade, July 23 through Aug. 30 in the Court. This jazzy revue pays tribute to such icons as Frank Sinatra, Cab Calloway and Fred Astaire as it travels back to the 1930s and '40s, when big bands and swing dancing were the rage.
And another star, of a later era, is saluted with Who Loves You, a tribute to the songs of Franki Valli and the Four Seasons filling the Goldstein Cabaret Sept. 3 through Oct. 13. Hits like "Sherry," "Walk Like a Man" and "Big Girls Don't Cry" are on the bill.
For more information, call FST at 366-9000 or go to floridastudiotheatre.org.