By Juan Barquin
By Ciara LaVelle
By George Martinez
By Kat Bein
By Ciara LaVelle
By Travis Cohen
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Monica McGivern
Hoagy -- the Hoagy Carmichael Musical: This "biomusical" features the remarkable vocal talents of Broadway chanteuse B.J. Crosby and San Francisco cabaret star Billy Philadelphia as Hoagy Carmichael in an amiable if inspid walk through the life and career of the songwriter-turned-movie actor. Philadelphia is adept at playing Carmichael, and Crosby's assured vocals light up the hit tunes. The production features a first-rate band and inventive staging and choreography from Walter Painter, but suffers from a bland script that avoids most of the drama in Carmichael's life. Music fans will enjoy the tunes, but those looking for some real-life drama will come away disappointed. -- Ronald Mangravite Through November 21. Coconut Grove Playhouse, 3500 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove; 305-442-4000, www.cgplayhouse.com.
Just the Funny: Performers in "Miami's Home for Improv & Sketch Comedy" use props and phrases (both supplied by the audience) and various skits to showcase their comic talents. "Pick a Line" and a Scarface spoof in which the stage is covered with white powder are particularly funny, as is the cast led by Carlos Rivera and David Christopher. Laughs will range from small chortles to hearty chuckles, but the evening is well worth the diminutive price of admission and will leave you smiling. -- Dan Hudak Saturday nights at the JTF Theatre inside the Miami Museum of Science, 3280 S. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-693-8669.
Late Nite Catechism: You don't have to be Catholic to laugh with Vicki Quade and Maripat Donovan's one-woman show starring Kathleen Stefano that has turned the Encore Room into a parochial school complete with holy cards, wooden rulers and one formidable nun who will be sure you do not chew gum, speak without permission or ever everforget your Easter duty. You've heard about Irish Alzheimer's? That's when you forget everything but the grudges. Should priests be allowed to marry? Only if they really, really love each other. You get the idea. -- Octavio Roca Through December 19. Coconut Grove Playhouse, Encore Room, 3500 Main Hwy., Miami. 305-442-4000.
Miklat: The serious issues of Jewish identity and spiritual confusion are at the heart of Joshua Ford's comedy, which is quite funny. The play follows a bewildered American Jewish couple who arrive in Jersualem at the start of the 1991 Gulf War to visit their grad student son, only to learn he has become deeply religious and plans to wed the next day in an arranged marriage. The story runs out of gas before it ends and coasts to an easy, safe resolution, but the production features an accomplished cast and some snappy direction from Bill Castellino. -- Ronald Mangravite Presented through November 28 by Florida Stage, Plaza del Mar, 262 S. Ocean Blvd., Manaplan; 561-585-3433, 800-514-3837, www.floridastage.org.
Shear Madness: The funniest murder-mystery you'll ever see takes place at the Shear Madness Hair Salon in Coral Gables (nestled comfortably inside the Miracle Theatre), where two detectives enlist the help of the audience to figure out which of the four suspects murdered a famous pianist residing upstairs. The jokes are geared toward a South Florida audience and are so frequent and well-delivered it's difficult to catch your breath. -- Dan Hudak Through January 2. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293.
Vampire Lesbians of Sodom: Charles Busch's 1984 camp classic, one of Off-Broadway's longest-running hits, moves from the original Twin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to Hollywood in the Jazz Age then on to Las Vegas today. A Vampire Succubus and a Reluctant Virgin Sacrifice return after centuries as the undead Condesa and her nemesis Madeleine, in a plot that calls for sex and holy water, for outrageous choreography, crackerjack direction, and deadpan humor, for the sort of spontaneity that in truth is anything but spontaneous on stage. This enthusiastic production is a work of love by a troupe that may not know enough to savor Busch's lines but is nevertheless probably having a very good time putting on the show. There are worse things. -- Octavio Roca. In repertory with Sleeping Beauty, or Coma. Presented through December 18 by Sol Theatre Project, 1140 NE Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale; 954-525-6555, www.soltheatre.com.