Current Stage Shows

 Clarence Darrow's Last Trial: It's a trial all right. Shirley Lauro's new play takes a long time to bring to life the minor last chapter of a major life in law. There is certainly nothing wrong with Rafael de Acha's production or with his cast, which boasts entertaining performances by John Felix, John Bixler, Ricky J. Martinez, Susan Dempsey, and others. But the piece is at best a mildly entertaining courtroom drama, overlong middlebrow fare peppered with fine acting but nowhere nearly as satisfying as your basic Law & Order rerun. Or even JAG. -- Octavio Roca Through February 20. New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables; 305-443-5909.

Edge: This one-woman show about the tormented life of poet Sylvia Plath features a startling, riveting performance by Angelica Torn that blazes as fiercely as Plath's poetry. Paul Alexander's play depicts Plath's failed romances and suicide attempts, and excoriates her husband Ted Hughes as a controlling monster who profited mightily from her royalties after her death. Despite these fireworks and a welcome dose of wry humor, this tale of rage and obsession feels rather flat dramatically. Edge works best as a performance showcase for the splendid Torn. -- Ronald Mangravite Through March 27. Coconut Grove Playhouse, 3500 Main Hwy., Miami; 305-442-4000.

Enchanted April: The tale begins in 1922 in dreary England, where a frumpy Lotty Wilton (Cary Anne Spear) finds herself dissatisfied with her tyrannical husband and her humdrum existence. Escape comes through an ad in the paper -- a castle in Italy for rent. Heart aflame with possibility, she ropes a reluctant friend, Rose (Laura Turnbull), into the vacation scheme. To help pay the bills, Lotty and Rose bring along two other ladies. The foursome makes a peculiar party, but the castle suits them, and the unfolding relationships are moving. Spear is priceless, turning from flighty victim to natural and exuberant leader of the group. Turnbull evolves from a repressed wife into a woman ready to accept love. -- Rachel Galvin Through February 13. Caldwell Theater, 7873 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton; 561-241-7432.

Songs for a New World: The wonderful voices of Blythe Gruda, Rachel Jones, Kevin Smith Kirkwood, and Tally Sessions sing in beautiful harmony about hope, dreams, and the dilemma of happiness in this musical revue, which meshes gospel, R&B, and jazz into eighteen heartfelt melodies by Jason Robert Brown. Highlights include Jones's "Stars and the Moon," a beautiful and simple song about wanting the world and the danger of getting what you wish for; and "The Steam Train," led by Kirkwood, about a basketball player determined to make a name for himself. With its honest and optimistic vision, Songs is literally music to our ears. -- Dan Hudak Through February 13. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293.

 
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