Heaven Help Us! The Swingin' New Rat Pack Musical: This toe-tapping world premiere about God sending the Rat Pack back to Vegas to help a suicidal lounge owner is stylishly presented, with the terrific cast belting out some great tunes. Some 29 hits pop up in the show, ranging from brief refrains to full-blown song-and-dance numbers. Co-creator Ray Roderick's snappy direction and choreography and a fine onstage jazz combo also sparkle. But the performance and production strengths only emphasize the weaknesses of the decidedly half-baked script: Heaven's creative team needs to get back in the kitchen. -- Ronald Mangravite Through September 5. Florida Stage, 262 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan. 561-585-3433.
The Water Coolers: Looking for a little something to while away a hot summer night? This refreshing, fast-paced musical revue about life in the corporate world is graced with an exceptionally gifted cast and stylish, inventive staging from Playhouse director David Arisco and his choreographer Barbara Flaten. Cole Porter it's not (the jokes and the music are rather bland), but the show's upbeat charm and five terrific performers make for a sparkling entertainment that goes down as cool and easy as a summer cocktail. -- Ronald Mangravite Through September 5. Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. 305-444-9293 or www.actorsplayhouse.org.
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Trumbo: He was called "fascinating, abrasive, wise, vain, ruthless, tenderhearted, indefatigable, and contentious." Such was the impact of Dalton Trumbo, the famed screenwriter and raconteur whose principled struggle with the McCarthy-era witch hunt is at the heart of this play by his son Christopher. As theater Trumbo's travails have solid dramatic potential, but it is his copious letter-writing and his penchant for pungent, often hilarious commentary that make him a prime candidate for a stage project. The two-man show tracks the reminiscences of Christopher alternating with his father's raucous, passionate letters to an array of friends and foes. But despite the torrent of words, it's the warmth of the personalities that shine through in this passionate, detailed portrait of an American original. -- Ronald Mangravite Through September 12. Gablestage, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. 305-445-1119.