By Lionel Bart. Through December 26 at Actor's Playhouse, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293; actorsplayhouse.org.
Oliver! is the 50-year-old musical by Lionel Bart based on the Dickens novel, but there's nothing stodgy about it. The glittering new production at Actor's Playhouse is so fresh, fun, and with-it you could almost believe Bart wrote and scored the thing last week. For Oliver!, director David Arisco has lashed together most of the topnotch musical theater actors in South Florida and put them on a stage with dozens of good, game child actors — at least one of whom, I predict, is going to be very famous, very soon. Playing the central role of Fagin, the miserly leader of a gang of prepubescent pickpockets, Gary Marachek gives a wild-eyed, spindly limbed performance that imbues the material — notably the song "Reviewing the Situation" — with more belly laughs per minute than even Lionel Bart could have intended. BRANDON K THORP
By Gerard Alessandrini. Through December 26 at Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722; arshtcenter.org.
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Tony Award-winning Forbidden Broadway has been cutting the theater mecca's bloated self-importance down to size since 1982. And, with recent popular shows such as Jersey Boys and In the Heights, writer and director Gerard Alessandrini isn't lacking material. Presented with a kind of old vaudevillian flair, this year's production comes at you with brutal wit and brilliant comedic timing. Whereas past performances of Forbidden Broadway focused on poking fun at old legends like Ethel Merman, this rendition saves some if its sharpest, most sardonic criticism for the Disneyfication of theater. Whether it's The Lion King or Chicago, Forbidden Broadway doesn't hold back on cutting into Broadway's most revered productions with hilarious results. CHRIS JOSEPH
December 30 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 3101 N State Rd 7, Hollywood; 954- 327-7625; seminolehardrockhollywood.com.
Lewis Black is one cranky comedian. Think of him as Gargamel, and you as a Smurf. Except, instead of him trying to eat you, he's more concerned with explaining why you're so fking stupid! He's got plenty of reasons. First off, for all you political pr!cks out there, he's got this to say: "A Republican stands up in Congress and says, 'I got a really bad idea!' and the Democrat stands up after him and says, 'And I can make it shittier!'" And he wants every yuppie, tree-hugging a$$hole to understand this very important fact: "There's no such thing as soy milk. It's soy juice." Think you're above Lewis's ridicule? Try him this Thursday when he takes his act pumped full of Tourette's-like zingers to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at 8 p.m. And because we know you're too goddamn lazy to look up prices yourself, tickets range from $52-$113. You're f*%cking welcome, sh!thead. ELYSE WANSHEL