By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
La Cage aux Folles: This weirdly resonant story began life as a French play, got reworked as a now-classic French-Italian film, was turned into a Jerry Herman/Harvey Fierstein musical that proceeded to win just about every Tony ever invented, and then received a Hollywood face-lift to emerge as The Birdcage, starring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams. Obviously this is a story with legs. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to make it work onstage: You just need to have faith that classics become classics for a reason, and try to keep your interpretation as servile to the material as possible. This is what the Actor's Playhouse has done, and though its production is not across-the-board successful, we should still be grateful for the affection, yea, reverence, with which they treat Fierstein's book and, to a lesser extent, Herman's last great score. Brandon K. Thorp Through April 8 at Actor's Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. Call 305-444-9293, or visit www.actorsplayhouse.org.
Betrayal: Everything in popular culture can be referred back to Seinfeld, even a major work by a Nobel Prize-winning playwright. Harold Pinter's 1978 play was the inspiration for what is colloquially referred to as "The Backwards Episode" of Seinfeld, which aired November 20, 1997. The sitcom episode begins with Jerry, Elaine, and George returning from a wedding in India, and unspools backwards to take in the events leading up to their trip. (The groom in the story is named Pinter.) The play begins with the aftermath of an affair that threatens the marriage of Emma and Robert, and moves backward in time, from the end of the affair to its beginning. Betrayal is considered one of Pinter's masterpieces. Frank Houston Through April 15 at Palm Beach Dramaworks, 322 Banyan Blvd., West Palm Beach. Call 561-514-4042, or visit www.palmbeachdramaworks.org.
Animals & Plants: Adam Rapp's Animals & Plants is a desert island story set in North Carolina. Rapp usually likes to tromp around in the less-gentrified neighborhoods of the human psyche (if you saw Mosaic's 2006 production of Red Light Winter, Rapp's brooding meditation on unrequited love and friendship, you already know the score), and that's as true in Animals & Plants as anywhere. It's the tale of a couple of unimportant New York drug dealers, trapped in a Carolinian motel room in the middle of a vicious blizzard. In isolation, they discover the sorts of things one usually discovers in isolation primarily, that too much of the real world can very nearly turn you into a vegetable. Animals & Plantsis directed by theatrical polymath Paul Tei, and stars local favorites Erik Fabregat, Joe Kimble, Scott Genn, and Kei Berlin. Brandon K. Thorp Through April 20 at The Light Box, 3000 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Call 305-576-6377, or visit www.madcattheatre.com.