After Orlando Project is local artists uniting for healing

By : Anna M. Johnson
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The Orlando theater community is about to gain visibility in an international way. Hometown playwrights’ pieces are going to be performed as part of an anthology series all over the United States and the world, with venues from New York City to London. On Oct. 17 though, the playwrights’ work will be showcased in a very local way at the Orlando Shakesspeare Theater.

The After Orlando Project is an “International Theatre Action” put on by Missing Bolts Productions and NoPassport Theatre Alliance and Press; both groups are based out of New York.

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Kristofer Geddie and the Venice Theatre would like to diversify your theater-going experience

By : Jeremy Williams
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Venice, Florida, is a quaint little town of a little more than 20,000 people just south of Sarasota. It isn’t as worldly known as some of the bigger cities surrounding it – Tampa, St. Petersburg or Orlando – but the small Gulf Coast town is home to one of the most well-known theaters in the U.S., the Venice Theatre.

“Who knew that would happen here? Before I came here I never knew that Venice’s community theater was one of the largest in the country,” says Kristofer Geddie, Venice Theatre’s director of diversity.

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Win tickets to “Ragtime the Musical: In Concert”

By : Jamie Hyman
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Watermark is giving away 2 pairs of tickets to see Ragtime The Musical: In Concert, presented by Encore! at the Dr. Phillips Center, July 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Simply comment on this post and tell us your favorite Ragtime song.

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Orlando 2016 Fringe Review: Darlings

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Darlings
Pink venue, find showtimes

It seems ever since Finding Neverland debuted on Broadway, references to Peter Pan, Wendy Darling, Captain Hook, the Lost Boys and Mr. Smee have become ubiquitous in pop culture, especially theater—and the show Darlings is a great example of the re-imagining and re-working of the ever-loved story of Peter Pan.

Playing in the Pink Venue and put on by Animal Engine Theatre Company from New York, the show features, and was created by, the company’s two artistic directors Karim Muasher and Carrie Brown, who are also husband and wife. Brown plays Mrs. Darling and Muasher plays Mr. Darling, and you’re thrust into their world the moment you step into the venue. The show is a whirlwind of pain, giddiness, longing and childish innocence, as the play tells the traditional story of Peter Pan but from a new perspective: in the eyes of the Darling parents.

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Orlando 2016 Fringe Review: 21 Chump Street

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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21 Chump Street
Purple venue, find showtimes

From the opening lines to the fast-paced rap lyrics, you can tell this show was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, but Troupe 1139 from Boone High School definitely bring it to life.

This 15-minute show follows the story of Justin, a straight-A senior in high school, who gets caught up in drugs to impress and woo an attractive new girl named Naomi, who is really an undercover cop. The show is based on an episode of “This American Life”, an NPR radio show, which was a part of the show’s Valentine’s Day show titled “What I Did for Love.”

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Orlando Fringe 2016 Review: The Space Pirate Puppy Musical

By : Nicole Dudenhoefer
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Tasty Monster Productions Presents: The Space Pirate Puppy Musical
Yellow venue, find showtimes

With a title like The Space Pirate Puppy Musical, this production is expected to entertain and it certainly does not disappoint.

The audience must bounce their attention between the shifting characters as the four cast members take on the roles of the dogs, pirates, and a ninja kitten, oh my!

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Orlando Fringe 2016 Review: Chocolate Cake

By : Nicole Dudenhoefer
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chocolate cake

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Toasted Theatre Company Presents: Chocolate Cake
Purple venue, find showtimes

Chocolate Cake follows the story of Marsha and Marty, aka the Modern Day Marthas, and their quest for fame and fortune via YouTube.

As Marsha continues to obsess over the best formula for Internet stardom, she finds her recipe for success doesn’t go to plan.

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5.5.16 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

Billy Manes

It was a sweaty, stinky mess lingering beneath swaying light bulbs and an odd sense (scent?) of danger – bathrooms not necessarily included. At least that was the hurry-up-and-wait feeling that I got upon my arrival via tarnished spaceship in Orlando in 1997, plopped down in the middle of theater festival without a theater or air conditioning. The Orlando Fringe never existed on pretense, though, so postscript stands second only the euphoria of the moment, right next to that strange guy looking at you like you’re a strange guy, then laughing and the barriers being broken on stage. Orlando and Fringe were a match made in heaven. In the late ‘90s, the Fringe stood in stark contrast to the Lou Pearlman boy-band brigade seeking to whiten the city’s teeth. It was Haight-Ashbury more than hating ass-berries, and as such, it was the de facto cultural clutch the city needed.

Make no mistake, the Orlando Fringe is this town’s matted underdog made good. For every quizzical glance into maladroit disorders and kinky extroversion, there have always been bright eyes staring toward trails of glitter lighting up the path to the colors of its venues, the talent of its participants, the magic of theater on a shoestring. It’s a messy affair, but most good things are. It’s also the place where performance comes from: within not without. And as such, Orlando’s Fringe festival, the longest winding road in this country (if you don’t count actual roads but only the histrionic ones), it’s earned its place in Central Florida’s kaleidoscopic pantheon.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Tampa Pride’s celebrity

By : Anonymous
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Tampa Pride snags its celebrity
With about a month to go, details for Tampa Pride are starting to come in and get finalized. After last year’s huge success when 40,000+ attendees filled the streets in Ybor the pressure is on to try and be bigger and better. Tampa Pride held there Miss Tampa Pride pageant and selected their queen. The grand marshals have been plunked from the community – Fox 13 News morning anchor Russell Rhodes and CEO of Metro Wellness & Community Centers Lorraine Langlois – and now we have our celebrity grand marshal, photographer and designer Mike Ruiz. You might remember Ruiz from Logo’s reality series The A-List, or his appearances on Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, America’s Next Top Model and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Ruiz has also been recognized and praised for working to help LGBT homeless youth.

There be Mormons outside this theater
One of Broadway’s biggest hits, the Book of Mormon, paid a visit to the bay area and had a sold out run Feb. 16-21 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. If you were lucky enough to get a chance to see the show, you probably noticed something charming occurring right outside the theater. A group of well mannered, clean cut, real life Mormons! That’s right, the light hearted Latter Day Saints were parked outside saying “Hello!” to guests as they entered the show. Unlike many conservative, religious groups who would set up camp with picket signs and yell out ignorant chants, these young lads hung out Two by Two with a sign that read, “have your picture taken with the real thing.” They smiled, they shook hands and they talked with anyone about anything without pushing any agenda, only talking about the All-American Prophet and handing out the Bible Part 3, if you so wanted to. They even hung out after the show, asked theater goers if they had a good time and enjoyed themselves and never once condemned anyone to a Spooky Mormon Hell Dream. Well done boys.

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Manatee Players look to explore forbidden love in World War II with the musical Yank!

By : Jeremy Williams
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Yank! is many things: A musical that honors the song and dance of the 1940s; a play that tells the story of sending young men off to war. More importantly though, it’s a history lesson for how World War II was the frontline that created a community that would later become the movement for gay rights.

“I think with a lot of people LGBT history starts with Stonewall, but our history starts far beyond Stonewall,” Yank! director Kenn Rapczenski says. “Many of the soldiers, especially ones who were court-martialed for being homosexual, couldn’t go back to their small towns and farms, so they settled into big cities like San Francisco. This was the first time gays and lesbians were able to be with each other in a united way and started to form communities.”

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Screened Out – 45 Years

By : Stephen Miller
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Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay

45 Years is currently running in Tampa; it will open at Enzian Theater in Maitland Feb. 26.

What makes a marriage last? There are thousands of answers, meaning there are none.

After all this time, a 70-year-old wife still has doubts about her husband’s old flames, their past decisions, and her own self-esteem. It shakes her to her core the same week she plans for a big party. 45 Years is a devastatingly intimate portrayal of a long-term marriage in crisis.

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Longtime Off-Broadway hit launches full-frontal assault at the Parliament House

By : Billy Manes
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And, they’re off! Within approximately five minutes of musical pleasantries and coy sideways glances, the entire cast of longtime Off-Broadway bachelor/bachelorette-party revue Naked Boys Singing sheds its clothing and reveals its combined parcels of manhood. At the show’s Feb. 4 VIP/press engagement in advance of its Feb. 5 opening, the sound may have been a little bit quiet in the Footlight Theatre at Parliament House, but the message was writ large: Nudity isn’t just titillation; it’s bold and honest, especially on a stage in front of a packed house.

“I think it celebrates the male anatomy, but we do it in a humorous way,” William Bruce, he of the Prince Albert affectation and the cojones to match, tells us over an arranged lunch in advance of the performance. “It’s also really poignant.”

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