From innovative stagings of Shakespeare’s plays to premieres of award-winning new works, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater is a source of pride for Central Florida theater-lovers, and April 8 kicks off their most drama-packed two weeks of the year as they present PlayFest! The Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays. Playfest includes “readings” of eight new plays, workshops, panel discussions and a keynote event featuring actor and playwright Mark Brown. As an actor, Brown has been seen in movies with George Clooney and Eddie Murphy; as a playwright, his works have been produced around the world, with his new play, “Don Quixote – The Reckoning”, to be presented as a PlayFest Workshop. With most tickets priced from $5 to $10 (some are free), PlayFest packs a lot of theater into the two weeks from April 8-17. All events take place at the Shakespeare Center at 812 East Rollins St. in Loch Haven Park. For tickets and a complete schedule of events, call 407-447-1700 extension 1 or visit orlandoshakes.org
‘Sugar Babies’ at Winter Park Playhouse
There is one theater in Central Florida where the laughs never stop and the smiles begin before you even walk through the door. The Winter Park Playhouse is about to produce what promises to be its funniest production of the season with the much-anticipated musical “Sugar Babies”. A hilarious Broadway hit that pays tribute to the glory days of Burlesque, “Sugar Babies” takes us back to the days when stages were filled with singing, dancing gorgeous girls in ‘almost-there’ costumes, the jokes were sexy double entendres, and plot never got in the way of the slapstick. Add a cast of local favorites including Michael Edwards, Heather Alexander, Roy Alan and Candace Neal and what you have is an evening of theater with roll-in-the-aisles fun written all over it. “Sugar Babies” will be performed from April 15 to May 15 at the Winter Park Playhouse at 711-C Orange Ave. Call 407-645-0145 or visit winterparkplayhouse.org
‘Carmen’ as a ballet!
This is the season when the Orlando Ballet “brought sexy back,” and that no-holds-barred sexiness continues as the ballet presents a full-length version of “Carmen”. With the passionate music from Bizet’s opera and new choreography by Artistic Director Robert Hill, “Carmen” brings her notorious desires to life onstage at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center on April 15-17. This epic story of passion, jealousy and death follows Carmen’s fiery path of love from the gypsy camps of Spain to the glories of the bullring. We’ve experienced the opera; now the Orlando Ballet invites us to experience those unbridled emotions through movement in a provocative new way. For tickets, call 407-426-1739 or visit orlandoballet.com
And not to be missed this week!
First Thursday – The original-happens-once-a-month-on-the-same-day-of-the-month art party is the award-winning 1st Thursday presented by the Orlando Museum of Art. The event for April 7 (from 6-9 p.m.) is called “Fashionista”. Artists will present works from the chic to the unique, original, and/or creative at the Museum at 2416 N. Mills Ave. Call 407-896-4231 extension 260 or visit omart.org
The Maitland Art Center has their own new art party called Culture & Cocktails — a monthly meet and greet of fine artists, music and cocktails! On Friday, April 8 from 6 to 9 p.m., two popular Central Florida artists — Robin Maria Pedrero and Jon Didier — will be featured along with music, food and drink. Admission is $5 and includes one free drink. The Maitland Art Center is at 231 W. Packwood Ave. in Maitland.