By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Little Shop of Horrors: Huge carnivorous plants from outer space really capture the imagination. Witness how Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's Little Shop was launched twice in SoFla in the past month — once in a very amateur production in Hollywood, and now here, at much-less amateur (though still nonprofessional) Main Street Playhouse, in Miami Lakes. You could chalk it up to Halloween, but it can't be that — neither Phantom nor Sweeney Todd have made an appearance in October, and both are, arguably, much Halloweenier. Perhaps it has something to do with Crystal, Chiffon, and Ronnette; our collective fear of dentists; and a distinctly American mistrust of vegetables. — Brandon K. Thorp. Through November 10. Main Street Playhouse, 6766 Main St., Miami Lakes; 305-823-154, www.mainstreetplayers.com.
Urinetown: Unlike other Tony Award winners (it picked up three in 2002), Urinetown goes deep and weird. Everything is very meta: Urinetown isn't even set in Urinetown — it's a musical in which people sing about a place called Urinetown (which, when you're seeing the thing on Miracle Mile, turns out to be Coral Gables. Not what you expected, huh?). The setup has to do with a dystopian, drought-plagued future in which private bathrooms are unthinkable, and a single company (the Urine Good Company, natch) has control over all the "public" ones. It's the kind of setup that'd be irresistible to Kilgore Trout, fleshed out with a lot of exciting, genre-hopping music that mercilessly pokes fun at other musicals, performed by a cast — including Tally Sessions, Gwen Hollander, Cherilyn Franco, Jim Ballard, and a shit-ton of others — that is the most mind-bending assemblage of raw talent in recent SoFla memory. Even if you saw it on Broadway, you haven't seen anything like this. — Brandon K. Thorp. Through November 11. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293, www.actorsplayhouse.com.
In the Continuum: Following the parallel lives of Abigail (Kameshia Duncan) and Nia (Lela Elam), an African newswoman and a black Los Angeles teenager, both of whom are pregnant and incubating HIV, In the Continuum gets more depressing as the one-act twitches and mewls its way across the stage. Both women believe that bringing their children to term will make their men want to stick around. Not true, but they don't know that, and right up to the very end, they're filled with an artless hope that everything will turn out all right. It makes you sick at heart to see, because they can't know the future and you do. But it's not presented as fated. As Duncan and Elam each hold down a side of the stage, switching roles constantly — a boyfriend's mother, a shaman, a counselor, a cousin, a doctor — they are making choices, weighing consequences, keeping faith with the audience by refusing to be reduced to sociology and statistics. They'll become statistics one day, most likely, but that will be a lie. — Brandon K. Thorp. Through November 18. GableStage, the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 305-445-1119, www.gablestage.com.