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Orange County looks to offset massive cuts to state arts funding, plus more in performing arts news

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Good news for supporters of public arts funding: Orange County commissioners are increasing cultural funding by $572,742 in the upcoming fiscal year. Local leaders are dipping into the general fund to help make up for the state of Florida's recent 94 percent reduction in arts funding. That brings the County's contribution up to $1.3 million, or $1 for every resident – a ratio not seen here since 2008, and whose reinstatement was debated during May's Orange County mayoral candidates forum.

All criminal charges against James Brendlinger (see Live Active Cultures, June 13) were dropped in early July. Since then, the former Lake Howell High School teacher has announced that he is relaunching Penguin Point Productions, the acclaimed costume shop and theater company he ran for 13 years out of LHHS, in a new home at the Oviedo Mall. After-school classes for teen thespians are scheduled to start in October 2018, along with the return of Penguin Point's community prop and costume exchange; visit penguinpointproductions.com for details.

Orlando Ballet School director Dierdre Miles Burger has left after eight years running the dance company's American Ballet Theatre-accredited educational wing. Phillip Broomhead, who danced with the Houston Ballet, has been appointed interim director of the school, and Burger will still participate in Orlando Ballet's summer intensive in Jacksonville, where she is moving. Burger's resignation follows the departure last fall of executive director Caroline Miller, who was recently replaced by Shane Jewell, leaving artistic director Robert Hill as the ballet's lone longstanding leader.

NOW PLAYING

The Wedding Singer, through Aug. 12 at Athens Theatre ... Gigolo: The New Cole Porter Revue, through Aug. 19 at Winter Park Playhouse ... Including Shooter, through Aug. 19 at Breakthrough Theatre ... The Little Foxes, through Aug. 26 at Mad Cow ... Pirates of Penzance, through Aug. 26 at CFCArts.

UPCOMING

Buyer & Cellar, Aug. 10-Sept. 2 at Mad Cow ... Humor Mill Orlando: The Summer of Our Discontent, Aug. 11 at Orlando Shakes ... Florida Festival of New Musicals, Aug. 23-26 at Winter Park Playhouse ... Human Error, Aug. 23-26 at Theatre UCF ... Gypsy, Aug. 24-Sept. 16 at Garden Theatre ... Spotlight Cabaret: Natalie Cordone, Sept. 5-6 at Winter Park Playhouse ... In the Heights, Sept. 5-Oct. 7 at Orlando Shakes ... Nunsense, Sept. 7-16 at TheatreWorks Florida ... The Full Monty, Sept. 7-30 at Bay Street Players ... A Year With Frog and Toad, Sept. 8-30 at Orlando Rep.