The final curtain rang down on Theatre Downtown's home late last month. After 25 years at the corner of Orange and Princeton, the company closed their annual Christmas Carol Dec. 23, then took a final bow with a pair of emotional concerts organized by Jay Levy Dec. 27-28. Evicting landlord Florida Hospital was lambasted in a Little Shop parody by Natalie Doliner; OW's own Adam McCabe belted Frank N. Furter's "I'm Going Home" sans amplification; and everyone cried during the "For Now" finale from Avenue Q. Theatre Downtown will be a gypsy company for now, and will present at the 2015 Fringe; as producer Frank Hilgenberg vowed, this is the end of "a building, not a theater."
Though Theatre Downtown has gone dark, other local companies are charging ahead with their first productions of 2015:
Beth Marshall, who last presented the outrageously entertaining Janine Klein: The Mutha F'ing Musical (A Jew Doing a Christmas Cabaret) at Parliament House, does a tonal 180 with her new show. Doubt, a Parable runs Feb. 6-22 at Garden Theatre, with Michael Wanzie as an accused Catholic priest.
Kenny Howard directs Cabaret at the Abbey from Jan. 21-Feb. 8, with Blue Star as Sally Bowles and Griffith Whitehurst as the Emcee.
Orlando Shakespeare Theatre opens To Kill a Mockingbird Jan. 21, starring national actors Warren Kelley, Jamil A.C. Mangan and Eric D. Hoffmann. Shakes' repertory season starts Feb. 4 with Merry Wives of Windsor, joined in rotation by Henry V Feb. 18.
Explore Theatre & Dance and the Coby Project team up Jan. 17 at the Orange Studio: See Explore: (ID)entity, an exploration of racial tensions, and stay for Chance: a Haphazard Course of Events, with audience interaction in between.
Playwrights' Round Table Launch 2015, through Jan. 18 at Orlando Shakes ... Something's Weird in Weeki Wachee, through Jan. 31 at Parliament House.
Cornerstone Theatre presents Regrets, Jan. 15-25 at Princess Theatre in Sanford ... Steel Magnolias, Jan. 23-Feb. 1 at Queen's Head Theatre, Winter Park ... Newsies, Jan. 27-Feb. 1 at Dr. Phillips Center ... Dark Side of Saturn presents Orpheus Descending, Jan. 30-Feb. 8 at Orlando Shakes ... Potted Potter, Feb. 2-15 at Dr. Phillips Center.