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Orlando Fringe gets a presenting sponsor, the Shakes takes on the Bard, plus more performing arts news

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It's already the longest-running festival of its kind in the country, but the Orlando Fringe recently made two big steps toward even greater growth. During last month's Winter Mini-Fest, executive director Alauna Friskics announced that City Beverages, longtime supplier to the event's beer tent, would be the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival's first presenting sponsor in several years; that role was filled earlier this decade by Clear Channel and Walt Disney World. And in January 2022, Orlando will welcome the Fringe World Conference, making us the first American city to host the biennial gathering of international festival leaders, which has previously been held in Edinburgh and Montreal.

Orlando Shakes is jumping on the Game of Thrones bandwagon by branding their ambitious effort to produce seven sequential Shakespearean history plays as the "Fire and Reign" series. Between this spring and 2021, the Bard's entire Lancastrian saga will be staged in chronological order, beginning with Richard II, continuing through all the Henrys (IV-VI), and concluding with Richard III. Patrons with the patience to attend every production will be able to pick up a limited edition shirt at the series' conclusion.

Winter Garden's Garden Theatre has announced a 2019-2020 season full of big Broadway titles that artistic director Rob Winn Anderson calls "one of our most dynamic yet." The season kicks off in August with Ragtime: The Musical, the Tony-winning 1996 adaptation of E.L. Doctorow's historical novel. Ira Levin's killer comedy Deathtrap will enliven October, followed by Michael Wilson's spirit-centric version of A Christmas Carol, the Jeanine Tesori/Brian Crawley musical Violet and Patrick Barlow's comic reimagining of Ben-Hur. The season concludes next year with Matilda: The Musical in the spring, followed in the summer by Grease. Subscriptions to all seven shows start at $189. visit gardentheatre.org or call 407-877-4736 to purchase tickets.

NOW PLAYING:
Ain't Misbehavin: The Fats Waller Musical Show, through Feb. 23 at Winter Park Playhouse ... West Side Story, through Feb. 24 at Theater West End ... Gloria, through March 7 at Mad Cow ... Gertrude and Claudius, through March 23 at Orlando Shakes ... Hamlet, through March 24 at Orlando Shakes.

UPCOMING:
The Street of Crocodiles, Feb. 21-March 3 at Theatre UCF ... My Favorite Year, Feb. 22-March 10 at CFCArts ... Always, Patsy Cline, Feb. 22-March 17 at Athens Theatre ... Emotions Dance presents Element Earth, Feb. 22-23 at Orlando Shakes ... A Murder Is Announced, March 1-10 at Wayne Densch ... 1984, March 1-17 at Garden Theatre ... Fiddler on the Roof, March 5-10 at Dr. Phillips Center ... The Feldman Dynamic: 15th Anniversary, March 8 at Stardust Video & Coffee.