Special Issues » Fall Guide




URINETOWN Mad Cow Theatre continues the season-opening run of its Broadway-derived musical parody, set in a future in which even the simple pleasure of relieving oneself carries a price. The five-week span of the Cows' production may seem like a long time to hold it, but don't forget how big those bovine bladders can get. (through Oct. 23; 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday; also 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3; Mad Cow Theatre; 407-297-8788; $14-$24; www.madcowtheatre.com)

TWELFTH NIGHT The Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival's season opener enters its final weeks of cross-dressing Bardian comedy, reimagined as taking place in the Hollywood of the 1930s. (through Oct. 9; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; Margeson Theatre, Lowndes Shakespeare Center, Loch Haven Park; 407-447-1700; $20-$35; www.shakespearefest.org)

THE FANTASTICKS The Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble, a group arisen from the ashes of Orlando Broadway Dinner Theatre, favors us with its interpretation of the legendary off-Broadway musical, which concerns itself with fun subjects like true love and rape on horseback. The show is directed by Patrick Braillard, who helmed Ghostlight's Brilliant Traces; the musical director is Tim Turner, piano player for the troupe's Love Crossing. (Sept. 29-Oct. 16; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; Studio Theatre; 407-463-3584; $12-$15; www.ghostlightonstage.com)

A LESSON BEFORE DYING Revisiting the motif of racial awareness that sparked their well-received Yellowman, Mad Cow Theatre probes what it meant to be black in the Louisiana of the 1940s in this Stage Right production. (Oct. 6-30; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday; also 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26; Mad Cow Theatre; 407-297-8788; $18-$22; www.madcowtheatre.com)

POE John DiDonna, the star of several run-throughs of The Rocky Horror Show, steps into the considerably flatter shoes of Edgar Allen Poe, taking the lead in The Organic Theatre Company's interpretation of the last four days in the life of a brilliant but still misunderstood writer. Elaborative choreography and visual projections are promised to get the audience feeling suitably raven-ous as this Theatre Downtown perennial receives a new lease on morbid life. (Oct. 7-31; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; also 2:30 p.m. Oct. 16 and 23, and 7 p.m. buffet followed by 8 p.m. show Oct. 31; Theatre Downtown; 407-841-0083; $15, $18, Halloween buffet/performance $40; www.theatredowntown.net)

"FRANKLY, MY DEAR …" (A FABLE ABOUT GABLE) Playwrights' Roundtable hosts a workshop reading of a new work by Rick Plastina, Guy Barile and Dennis Sook. As the title would appear to indicate, it's a lighthearted spoof of the making of Gone With the Wind. (1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9; Seminole County Central Branch Library, Casselberry; 407-788-8468; free; www.playwrightsroundtable.org)

ROBINSON CRUSOE Follow the progress of Jim Helsinger's adaptation of the Defoe shipwreck classic as this public reading reveals how its script has evolved since last year's PlayFest new-play festival. (7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10; Studio B, Lowndes Shakespeare Center; 407-447-1700; free; www.shakespearefest.org)

ARMS AND THE MAN Having abandoned its fondly recalled tradition of filling the month of October with some of the classiest spookery around, the Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival instead sets aside time to showcase the work of George Bernard Shaw, a chronicler without peer of the sheer lunacy a war can bring to Eastern Europe. (Oct. 12-Nov. 20; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; also 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9; Goldman Theater, Lowndes Shake-speare Center; 407-447-1700; $20-$35; www.shakespearefest.org)

DO'S & DONUTS Effortlessly christening a brand-new genre, playwright Linda Treiber says her story of two North Carolina sisters is a "whodonut." The staged reading is preceded by a silent auction, with the proceeds earmarked to help the Women Playwrights' Initiative keep its own treats coming. (auction 7 p.m., reading 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18; Lobby Stage, Orlando Repertory Theatre; 407-380-1812; free, donations welcome; www.womenplaywrights.com)

WIT In one fell swoop, The Orlando Theatre Project launches its residency at the Orlando Repertory Theatre and a "greatest hits" season of reprised plays. First up is the cancer-themed drama Wit, which, when performed a few years ago at Seminole Community College, stirred up a community-relations flap over some essential, unerotic nudity – briefly making "body stocking" the biggest buzzword in local theater. (Oct. 20-Nov. 13; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; Edith Bush Theatre, Orlando Repertory Theatre; 407-896-7365, ext. 237; $18, $22 Friday-Sunday; $20 Thursday; www.otp.cc)

ALL HALLOWS 10 FOR THE FRINGE One of the kickiest changes the Orlando International Fringe Festival has seen in recent years is the apparently permanent transition of its "10 for the Fringe" program of short plays into a specifically Halloween-themed fund-raiser. This year's compendium of dark, 10-minute fantasies includes original contributions from Fringe stalwarts like Eric Pinder, Chad Lewis, David Lee, Amy Steinberg and Michael Wanzie (who also hosts). Food, drinks and a costume contest sweeten the deal as the Fringe audience goes bobbing for playlets that can chill the spine and tickle the funny bone. (Doors 6 p.m., performances 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 and 28, and Saturday, Oct. 29; Footlight Theater, The Parliament House; 407-648-0077; $10; www.orlandofringe.org)

FAUSTUS PROJECT #14 Chicago transplants The Crooked Twilight Theatre Company make their Orlando debut with this original adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus. Avant-garde accoutrements like puppets and masks reinforce the tragedy of Faustus' misguided pact with the devil, a soul-selling arrangement that's as raw a deal as … well, moving to Orlando from Chicago. (Oct. 21-Nov. 5; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday; Studio Theatre; 800-322-0726; $10-$13; www.crookedtwilight.com)

THE KING AND I In the opening credits of Hart to Hart, Lionel Stander told us that his boss, Stefanie Powers, was "gorgeous" and "a terrific lady" – but did he know that she could hold her own against the King of Siam? Find out what Max missed when Robert Wagner's former partner in crime steps out in the SunTrust Broadway in Orlando presentation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, The King and I. Stefanie Powers? Hey, it's better than Rosie O'Donnell. (Oct. 25-30; 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday; Carr Performing Arts Centre; 407-849-2020; $34-$62)

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU The Orlando Repertory Theatre isn't expressly for kids: Who but an informed adult could grasp the complete context of its American Classics Series? In the ORT production of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1930s comedy, an eccentric family brushes up against society's more conservative element. Some cultural historians call the play the blueprint for every TV sitcom that was to come down the pike – but we'd prefer to think that According to Jim is a problem wholly unto itself. (Oct. 28-Nov. 13; 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; Orlando Repertory Theatre; 407-896-7365; $9, $13; www.orlandorep.com)

BUS STOP Mad Cow Theatre takes up where Marilyn Monroe left off, interpreting William Inge's portrait of a bunch of colorful strangers thrown together by inclement weather. The Cows note that this 50th-anniversary production of the show is also their 50th main-stage production … not that they're superstitious or anything. (Nov. 17-Dec. 11; 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday; also 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28; Mad Cow Theatre; 407-297-8788; $14-$24; www.madcowtheatre.com)

GREATER TUNA Jay Hopkins and Jason Horne reprise their roles as, well, everybody in this prequel to A Tuna Christmas, allowing The Jester Theater Company to revisit the comedic milieu of the third smallest town in Texas. By returning to direct, Anitra Pritchard cements her status as the Jesters' favorite Tuna helper. (Nov. 25-Dec. 18; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday; also 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5; Studio Theatre; 407-927-5043; $10, $12 Friday and Saturday, $10 Sunday, $8 Monday; www.jestertheater.com)

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