John Leguizamo headlines a 2019 summer theater season in South Florida stacked with diverse stories, drama, musical triumphs, and laughs galore. The prolific Tony Award-winning character actor is bringing his Broadway hit Latin History for Morons to the Ziff Ballet Opera House in July, joining a crazy-good lineup of fantastical productions, big and small, that will keep audiences of all ages entertained during the dog days of summer.
Here's a sampling of the productions coming to South Florida stages this summer:
Kings. Making its South Florida debut, Sarah Burgess’ lacerating comedy tackles politics in the age of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Kate is a whip-smart lobbyist who doesn’t waste time on anyone who can’t get elected and get her clients what they want. But when she represents a political neophyte with staunch ideals, she faces a choice that might change everything for her: Does she back the system, or back what she believes in? Now through June 16 at GableStage, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 305-445-1119; gablestage.org. Tickets start at $50.
Veronica’s Position. Set in 1990s Washington, D.C., Veronica’s Position is a star-spangled comedy in which love and politics intermingle. When Veronica, a self-absorbed movie star in midlife (think Liz Taylor), agrees to costar in a revival of Hedda Gabler with her favorite ex-husband (think Richard Burton), both egos and calories get burned. The younger female director of the play within the play gets a better performance from Veronica’s ex-husband offstage than on. Meanwhile, Veronica’s gay assistant falls in love with an old pal, a controversial photographic artist who has just been denounced by Veronica’s current flame — a powerful United States senator. When conflicts build between those she adores, the fervently apolitical Veronica is forced to take a position on the one subject she cares about – love. Thursday, May 30, through June 30 at Island City Stage, 2038 N. Dixie Hwy., Wilton Manors; 954-519-2533. Tickets start at $38.
Summer Shorts. City Theatre’s annual Summer Shorts program returns with all of its usual hilarity. Featuring eight short plays — including four world premieres and three Southeastern premieres — the 2019 slate offers side-splitting comedies and thought-provoking dramas by the country’s leading playwrights, composers, and lyricists. Performed by a company of South Florida theater all-stars, the Summer Shorts lineup gives theatergoers a fun-filled 90 minutes of new comedies, dramas, and minimusicals. Thursday, May 30, to Saturday, June 1, at the Carnival Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722; arshtcenter.org. Tickets cost $35 to $70.
Sisters. In Marsha A. Jackson's Sisters, two women find themselves stranded on the 20th floor of a downtown Atlanta office building during a snowstorm on New Year's Eve. Alone in the middle of a power outage, the women tackle each other’s prejudices, divisiveness, and the challenges that lie in their differences. June 6-23 at the M Ensemble Company, Sandrell Rivers Theater, 6103 NW Seventh Ave., Miami; 786-320-5986; themensemble.com. Tickets cost $16 to $31.
A Bronx Tale. Robert DeNiro and Chazz Palminteri’s movie and Broadway hit takes you to the stoops of the Bronx in the 1960s, where a young man is caught between the father he loves and the mob boss he’d love to be. Bursting with high-energy dance numbers and original doo-wop tunes from the songwriter of Beauty and the Beast, A Bronx Tale is an unforgettable story of loyalty and family. June 11-23 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222; browardcenter.org. Tickets start at $40.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Based on the smash-hit movie, Priscilla Queen of the Desert is the heartwarming, uplifting musical adventure of three friends — Tick, Bernadette, and Adam — who agree to take their glamorous, Sydney-based cabaret show to the middle of the Australian outback. They hop aboard a battered old bus called Priscilla, searching for love and friendship, and end up finding more than they could ever have dreamed of. June 13-30 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222; browardcenter.org. Tickets cost $47 to $60.
Come From Away. Come From Away takes you into the heart of the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clash and nerves run high, but uneasiness turns into trust, music soars into the night, and gratitude grows into enduring friendships. June 18-23 at the Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722; arshtcenter.org. Tickets start at $34.
The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical. Based on the best-selling Disney-Hyperion novel by Rick Riordan, this musical tells the tale of Percy Jackson, a kid having a very tough time of it because he happens to be the son of Poseidon. The Greek gods are real, and they're ruining Percy's life. As a scion of Poseidon, Percy has newly discovered powers he can't control and monsters on his trail; he's also on an epic quest to find Zeus' lightning bolt to prevent a war among the gods. June 25-30 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222; browardcenter.org. Tickets start at $29.50.
Puss in Boots. Everyone’s favorite swashbuckling feline in footwear shines in this musical retelling of the classic tale by Charles Perrault. Discover how Puss gets his bodacious boots and flashy fedora, and then join him as he helps the miller’s youngest son go from rags to riches. Can Puss convince the king that the poor miller’s son is the marquis de Carabas? Can he help the miller’s son win the hand of the beautiful princess and trick the ogre out of his castle? The answers await you in this terrific “tail” of intrigue and cunning. July 6-27 at Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293; actorsplayhouse.org. Tickets start at $20.
Latin History for Morons. John Leguizamo’s Broadway hit Latin History for Morons will take over the Ziff Ballet Opera House in the Arsht Center for a limited engagement this July. Written, starring, and directed by Leguizamo, the one-man production was inspired by the lack of Latin representation and history the artist found in his son’s American History textbooks. From a mad recap of the Aztec empire to stories of unknown Latin patriots of the Revolutionary War and beyond, Leguizamo breaks down the 3,000 years between the Mayans and Pitbull into an irreverent and uncensored tour de force. July 12-14 at the Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722; arshtcenter.org. Tickets start at $49.
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Murder for Two. Everyone is a suspect in this hilarious musical murder mystery, set in a house of eccentric characters unfazed by the dead body on the floor. Mixing classic musical comedy with a dash of Agatha Christie, Murder for Two comes with a twist: One actor investigates the crime, the other plays all 13 suspects, and they both play the piano. July 17 to August 11 at Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293; actorsplayhouse.org. Tickets start at $40.
Men on Boats. Ten explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. This is the true(ish) history of an 1869 expedition that saw a one-armed captain and a crew of insane yet loyal volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River. July 19 to August 11 at Main Street Players, 6766 Main St., Miami Lakes; 305-558-3737; mainstreetplayers.com. Tickets sold per package, starting at $81 for three tickets.
Skeleton Crew. Skeleton Crew tackles the corrosion of the American Dream – and the economic, racial, and social tensions of a city, a workforce, and a nation. Set in a small factory in Detroit, this play articulates the workers' struggle to survive. Their banter and confrontations are a powerful currency posing urgent questions and revealing startling truths. July 20 to August 18 at GableStage, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 305-445-1119; gablestage.org. Tickets cost $50.