Today’s world can be an obnoxiously noisy place, and many of us are seeking ways to check out and chill out even if it’s just for a little while. Thankfully there is the theatre! Treasure Coast entertainment venues have spectacular performances in store this season offering theatre fans a welcome retreat.
The Sunrise Theatre in historic downtown Fort Pierce has 26 shows lined up for the whole year. In addition to a multitude of live concerts by national touring celebrities and tribute artists, Sunrise has some unique performances on tap. In November The DRUMLine Live Holiday Spectacular takes you on an unforgettable musical journey featuring dazzling vocalists, talented musicians, coupled with energetic choreography, and spectacular lighting. Another notable holiday show is back by popular demand; The Midtown Men - Holiday Hits which features 4 Stars From the original Broadway cast of Jersey Boys! December’s production of The Nutcracker will be performed by the National Ballet Theatre of Odessa from Ukraine. Another dance performance in December will feature the South Florida Dance Company in A Christmas Carol.
Speaking of dance, Ballet Vero is back for its second year with its stunning The Nutcracker on the Indian River. But this year, in honor of the Vero Beach Centennial some of the action has been moved to the year 1919 when Vero Beach was founded. The ballet's heroine takes a holiday journey from New York to Florida, and Fifth Avenue Mansions, Grand Central Station, and rail cars become settings. Instead of the traditional second act featuring candy characters and ethnic dances, she dreams of the shores of the Indian River Lagoon and is entertained by all manner of local flora and fauna.
Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach unveils its 45th season with a broad spectrum of theatrical choices from the recent to the golden age of the Broadway musical. The Main Stage will open with Leiber and Stroller’s Smokey Joe’s Café featuring the chart-topping songs from the fifties and sixties. Then there are the back-to-back productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s mega-hit, Evita followed by one of the all-time great favorites of the musical stage, Lerner and Loewe’s, My Fair Lady. For those who love a good play, there’s a little jewel about finding the spark of love near the end of life’s rainbow, in Joe DiPietro’s, The Last Romance. Closing the Mainstage season, Riverside joins forces with Walnut Street Theatre to produce the jubilant Broadway musical based on the hit movie, Legally Blonde.
On the intimate Waxlax Stage, a remarkable theatrical experience is promised with one of the most compelling musicals of recent years. The Pulitzer Prize-winning, Next to Normal by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, is about a mother who struggles with worsening bipolar disorder and its effects on her family. The musical also addresses the issues of grief, suicide, drug abuse, ethics in modern psychiatry and the underbelly of suburban life. Next to Normal has been hailed by critics as one of the best musicals of the 21st century. Also, in the Waxlax theatre goers will engage in the fertile mind of playwright Michael Hollinger with Ghostwriter. It is a play about the meaning of truth and should have audiences debating the meaning of that very timely question long after the curtain falls.
For community theatre fans, The Vero Beach Theatre Guild has a whole new approach this year. They went from five stage shows to six and opened their season in July instead of September, but there is still plenty to see. Audiences will be delighted by the quirky and hilarious holiday whodunnit The Game’s Afoot. In January Tom Dudzick’s Miracle on South Division Street promises lots of laughs courtesy an appearance by the Blessed Mother in a Buffalo barbershop. Steven Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum will be the March musical taking audiences on a joyous romp through Rome. The season will close in May with The Savannah Sipping Society by the comedy team of Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, masters of southern humor.
A new offering is the Guild’s Apron Series for Reader’s Theatre. Billed as “Staged Readings in Front of the Grand Drape” the Guild has four scheduled this season.
12 Angry Men by Sherman Sergel will kick off the series in October followed by Tom Mula’s Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol in December. A Night in the Theatre by Lawrence Casler followed by the adults-only Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight by Peter Ackerman will finish the Apron Series.
When Molière said “of all the noises known to man, opera is the most expensive” he certainly wasn’t talking about Vero Beach Opera which is celebrating its
30th season this year. Patrons will enjoy reasonably priced tickets to this year’s performances which open in January with Carmen, a fully staged opera with English supertitles. February brings a Bel Canto Concert with Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti arias, duets, and ensembles. The performance will feature Tenor Matthew White, the first-place winner of the 2018 Deborah Voight-Vero Beach Opera Foundation International Vocal Competition. In March audiences will savor Tenor, Marcello Giordani in concert with the rising stars from the vocal competition. Vero Beach Opera Performances take place at the Vero Beach Performing Arts Center.
If the reality of politics and economics is more your style, Riverside Theatre’s Distinguished Lecturer Series enters its 21st season and welcomes Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, James Stavridis on the topic of Global Security. President of Purdue University and former Governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, Jr. will speak in February on the issue of affordability, accessibility and accountability in higher education, followed by Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Member, Kimberley Strassel with Inside the Trump Presidency. These lectures sell out quickly so get your tickets early.
Still one of the best-kept secrets on the Treasure Coast is the wildly talented students of Vero Beach High School and their outstanding performing arts center. New this year is The Sounds of the Citrus Bowl which will feature not only the award-winning Symphony and Jazz bands but also the “Pride of the Treasure Coast” Fighting Indians Marching Band. The season will open with the traditional Fall Choral Classics followed by the always popular Orchestral Spooktacular, a Halloween themed family-friendly evening. The Winter Wonderland concert is a musical delight capable of getting the scroogiest of scrooges into the holiday spirit. Side by Side Sondheim is the Tony Award-winning musical planned for November and Mary Poppins- the New Musical will be presented in February. Among the many Band, Symphony, Orchestra and Choral performances scheduled throughout the year, the 26th Annual Red, White, and Blue Concert is still THE patriotic event of the year.
So, when you need a break from all the noise in your world, take a few hours some afternoon or evening, turn off the phone, calm down and go to the theatre!
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