Beauty of the Father:There is much to savor and even more to contemplate in Nilo Cruz's new play, now receiving a visually compelling world premiere at the New Theatre. The production offers several pleasures, first and foremost of which is Cruz's poetic, luxuriant language. Listening to Beauty is like floating in a tropical, flower-scented river of words, to use a Cruzian simile. That river may meander and its current may seem awfully slow, but that's really part of its charm. Cruz isn't interested in white-water adventures, in taking you somewhere else in a blinding rush. He's more into exploring the expanding dimensions of emotional and tactile experience. Time slows down in Cruz's plays -- it's meant to -- but awareness heightens. The words, the poetry, and the imagery behind them, when well spoken, become an act of seduction. This writer is into aural sex. Through February 22. New Theatre, 4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables. 305-443-5909 or www.new-theatre.org.
A Hotel on Marvin Gardens:An eccentric group of friends gets carried away by a Monopoly game in this comedy by Nagle Jackson. Through February 15. The Actors' Playhouse at Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. 305-444-9293.
Stop Kiss:Stop Kiss, a romantic drama about two women and their unexpected relationship, is a high-water mark for Robert Hooker and his Sol Theatre troupe, and certainly one of the best shows to hit South Florida in a long time. Stop Kiss follows the erratic, erotic journey of one young New Yorker, Callie, a stressed-out traffic reporter who lives a cluttered, modern life in her cluttered, modern apartment. Into her routine blunders Sara, a cheerful Midwesterner newly arrived in town to teach elementary school in the Bronx. The two women strike up an odd-couple friendship that awkwardly moves toward romance, an emotional riptide that's as frightening as it is irresistible. Through February 15. Sol Theatre Project, 1140 NE Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale. 954-525-6555.
Strands: Reviewed in this issue. Through February 29. M Ensemble Actors Studio, 12320 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami. 305-895-8955.
Ten Unknowns: An aging, out-of-fashion painter exiles himself to Mexico as he confronts the decline of his career. Through March 7. GableStage at the Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables. 305-445-1119.
Jolson and Company:This hit off-Broadway musical biography chronicles the life of Al Jolson, one of American popular culture's most remarkable performers. Through March 7. Coconut Grove Playhouse, 3500 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove. 305-442-4000.
lago:This fictionalized drama by James McLure, premiering here, is loosely based on the lives of actors Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Peter Finch, and playwright Noel Coward. Through April 4. Caldwell Theatre Company, 7873 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton. 561-241-7432.
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