By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Educating Rita: With this tale of upper-crust English professor Frank mentoring lower-class literary wannabe Rita, Dramaworks' director Nanique Gheridian sends us into a supposedly well-recognized Pygmalion paradigm. But for those of us who shied away from seeing the 1983 Michael Caine film version of the play, it is not as My Fair Lady-like as you might think. It's really more of a coming-of-age love story about literature than a tale of social-class-hopping. As Rita, Claire Tyler abounds with an energy that fills her character with life. In the role of the jaded professor, Dan Leonard plays off of Tyler with skill and confidence. This is Tyler's show, though, and she takes control. But a true lesson from Educating Rita is this: If you're brave, you'll find the good books regardless of the obstacles, with or without wood paneling and stuffy mentors. Dave AmberThrough April 9. Palm Beach Dramaworks, 322 Banyan Blvd., West Palm Beach; 561-514-4042, www.palmbeachdramaworks.org.
The Full Monty: The first thing people want to know about this show is not if it's any good, but if the male performers actuallybare their tackle. The answer is yes. This Broadway musical is based on the 1997 UK film of the same name. And for anyone unfamiliar with British slang, the full monty literally means the whole amount. In the context of this play, the phrase describes the antics of six average-looking men who cast off their unmentionables. Although the story begins and ends with a strip tease, The Full Monty deals with more than bare-chested hip-thrusting. The plot may be contrived losers turn to amateur stripping and win the heart of a town and predictable, but Terence McNally's book equates to a spunky and light-hearted piece of theater. Joanne GreenThrough April 9. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293, www.actorsplayhouse.org.
Miami Beach Dance Festival: Celebrating its second anniversary, the Miami Beach Dance Festival is not your usual rabid, soul-fiend reunion. The event showcases the many facets of modern and contemporary dance. Orchestrated by Momentum Dance Company artistic director Delma Isles, the fest features a series of performances, discussions, films, and master classes by six dance troupes, including Miami's Momentum Dance Company, Dance Now! Ensemble, and Ballet Flamenco La Rosa. The guest company at this year's festival, the Lula Washington Dance Theatre, will perform March 31 at the Byron Carlyle Theater. Joanne GreenThrough April 2. Various locations in Miami Beach. For information, contact Momentum Dance Company at 305-858-7002, www.momentumdance.com.