Florida Studio Theatre has announced the lineup for its winter season, and it’s a mix of rollicking comedy, hard-hitting drama, musical cabaret revues and even a world premiere.
The season consists of four mainstage shows and a three-show cabaret series. First up: the production called “Broadway’s new big, fat hit” by the New York Post, Something Rotten! Set in Elizabethan England, the musical comedy follows Nick and Nigel Bottom, two playwriting brothers who are having trouble keeping up with that man Shakespeare. Desperate for a hit, they end up creating the world’s very first musical. Nominated for 10 Tony awards, Something Rotten! will open Nov. 9 in the Gompertz Theatre and is set to run through Jan. 1, 2023.
The season switches gears with Heidi Schreck’s Obie Award-winning What the Constitution Means to Me. Styled as a dramedy, the show goes back and forth in time as it tells the story of Schreck’s putting herself through college by winning debates about the constitution across the country. But it also traces the document’s impact on four generations of women in her family over the decades. It opens Dec. 7 in the Keating Theatre and will run through Feb. 26; it’s a Florida premiere for the play The New York Times called “the best and most important new play of the season” when it opened on Broadway three years ago.
Lee Hall’s adaptation of the 1976 Paddy Chayefsky film Network bows next. Chayefsky won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay for this classic centered on veteran anchorman Howard Beale, who famously goes into a rant live on the air that sends his ratings up. Where will that lead? Bryan Cranston starred as Beale (played so memorably by Peter Finch in the movie) in the Broadway production. Producing artistic director Richard Hopkins notes that “Network is so much more profound now,” when it’s not only TV but the internet and other media that influence how we think. The regional premiere of Network opens Jan. 25 and will run through March 19 in the Gompertz Theatre.
The fourth offering of the mainstage season is a world premiere, Visit Joe Whitefeather (and bring the family!) by Bruce Graham. Set in the small town of Beaver Gap, Pennsylvania, during the early 1970s, this comedy begins with the city council’s plans to drum up tourism by renaming the town in honor of a dead Native American war hero with no local connection whatsoever. Commissioned by FST as part of the theater’s Playwrights Project in the midst of the Covid pandemic in the summer of 2020, Joe Whitefeather will run at the Gompertz April 5 through May 21.
FST’s cabaret series presents two original musical revues and a new show taking the audience on a journey through the music of the feature film. First up: The ’70s: More Than a Decade, the new show tracking that pivotal era through music by The Who, Harry Chapin, the Bee Gees, Marvin Gaye and others. It’s set to run Oct. 5 through Feb. 12 in the Court Cabaret.
Stevie Wonder is the next songwriter getting his due with A Place in the Sun: A Tribute to Stevie Wonder, running Nov. 16 through March 26 in the Goldstein Cabaret. Expect such hits as “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” “Superstition” and Isn’t She Lovely?” in this one.
The winter cabaret series finishes with Reel Music, featuring songs from black and white films and movie musicals ranging from Casablanca to The Greatest Showman. It takes the stage of the Court Cabaret Feb. 15 through June 25, 2023.
Subscriptions are now on sale at floridastudiotheatre.org, or by calling (941) 366-9000.