Florida Keys Stages Come Alive With Theater Performances
FLORIDA KEYS — The 2023 performing arts season in the Florida Keys & Key West offers audiences lively musicals, comedies, dramas and other first-class offerings. Here are some upcoming highlights.
Since 1978 The Key Players group has provided live community theater in the Upper Keys. The next production, “I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change,” is slated to run Feb. 23-26 and March 2-4. The musical comedy celebrates the mating game and takes on the truths and myths behind that contemporary conundrum known as “the relationship.” Performances are staged at the Murray E. Nelson Government & Cultural Center at 102050 Overseas Highway. Visit thekeyplayers.org or call 305-942-4339.
Started as a small community group in 1944, the Marathon Community Theatre at 5101 Overseas Highway has grown to perform memorable and popular shows with a talented group of local residents.
Productions include the theater’s annual “One Weekend Only Silent Auction and Variety Show” running Feb. 2-4. Tickets are $45 each and include a champagne toast and buffet dinner. Set for March 9-25 is “Desperate Measures,” a witty and wild musical comedy that remixes William Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” and shakes things up. From April 27 through May 13 “Scapino!” — set in Naples, Italy — presents a fun-filled and hilarious musical adaptation of Moliere's comic tale of “Les Fourberies de Scapin (Scapin’s Deceits).” Visit marathontheater.org or call 305-743-0994 for more information.
Originally built in 1829 as a carriage house, the building that is home to Key West’s Red Barn Theatre at 319 Duval St., rear, has hosted modern-era performances since 1981. All curtain times are at 8 p.m.
This season’s standouts include "The Code,” which graces the Red Barn stage March 7-25 as playwright Michael McKeever humorously explores the hypocrisy of what it took to be a man in Hollywood in the 1950s. A Red Barn Theatre favorite, “Short Attention Span Theatre,” is set to run April 4-29. Filled with pertinent and hilarious short plays, the production is helmed by a group of directors guiding a handful of favorite Key West actors. For more information, visit redbarntheatre.com or call 305-296-9911.
Entertaining audiences for over 80 years at its 310 Wall St. location beside Key West’s renowned Mallory Square, the Waterfront Playhouse presents the Tony Award–winning musical “Kinky Boots” (Feb. 15 through March 18) about a shoe factory owner and a drag queen.
Other springtime performances include “Trunk Material 4: A Broadway Musical Revue” (March 5), a celebration of Tennessee Williams’ artistry in “Suddenly Last Summer” (March 12-13), “Three Tall Women” (April 5-22) and the comic mystery “Arsenic and Old Lace” (May 10-27). Visit waterfrontplayhouse.org or call 305-294-5015.
Dedicated to art-house theater shows presented in intimate settings and featuring Key West talent, Fringe Theater Key West is set to stage most of its series of upcoming performances at the Armory, 600 White St.
In February, Fringe presents “El Isleño 1921: The Untold Key West Story.” Small-town secrets come to light in this powerful telling of a true Key West story of love, crime and resilience written by local musician and author Ben Harrison (Feb. 15-25). The spring roster includes “A Woman of the World,” a hilarious one-woman show at the Key West Woman’s Club that explores the surprising life of Emily Dickinson’s neighbor (March 14-15); and “The Other Place,” a haunting drama about a successful neurologist on the brink of revolutionizing brain research (April12-22). Visit fringetheater.org or call 305-731-0581.
Located on the Key West campus of the College of the Florida Keys at 5901 College Road, the Tennessee Williams Theatre presents exciting musical and theatrical entertainment. Spring standouts include “The Simon & Garfunkel Story” (Feb. 10), “Neil Berg's 50 Years of Rock n' Roll, Part III” (Feb. 28), “Tony Danza: Standards & Stories” (Mar. 17), “R.E.S.P.E.C.T: A Celebration of the Music of Aretha Franklin” (April 1), and “On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan” (April 5). Visit keystix.com or call 305-295-7676.
Situated at 512 Eaton St. is the Key West Theater, an all-around performing arts center that presents national touring artists, concerts, local songwriter showcases and more. Upcoming productions include Key West Burlesque’s “Oh My Gods & Goddesses: A Celestial Burlesque Show” set for Feb. 10. Live comedic offerings include shows by Paul Reiser (Feb. 25) of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and “The Kominsky Method,” and Ryan Hamilton (April 29). Visit thekeywesttheater.com or call 305-985-0433.
Comedy Key West is devoted entirely to local and visiting standup comedians, many of whom appear on television’s Comedy Central and live stages nationwide. A full slate of acts is scheduled at 218 Whitehead St., Unit 5. February highlights include New York City regulars Joe List and Sarah Tollemache (Feb. 2-4); a special two-night event with Michael Winslow (Feb. 8-9); and Ari Shaffir (Feb. 10-11) who will be performing with local Key West comedians.
March shows kick off with Andy Woodhull (March 2-4), whose resume includes appearances on “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” “Conan,” “Live at Gotham” and “The Half Hour” on Comedy Central. View a monthly performance calendar at comedykeywest.com.
The Studios of Key West, located at 533 Eaton St., uses the arts to build friendships and supports the advancement of Keys’ creatives through studio space, lectures, workshops and artist residencies. In addition, Studios offers a season of performances at Hugh’s View, a rooftop terrace, and the Helmerich Theater.
Among those planned are “See Jane Run,” a fast-paced and funny musical in which a trio of leading ladies plays over 20 roles in delightful scenes and songs, premiering Feb. 8-11 and 15-18. Subsequently, Chantal Pavageaux’s “The Dinner Party” is to be staged March 22-25 and March 29 through April 1. The campy play-within-a-play explores the intersections of women’s experiences, art, truth … and dinner theater? For more special events, visit tskw.org.
Florida Keys cultural information: fla-keys.com/culture
“Desperate Measures” is a witty and wild musical comedy that remixes William Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” and shakes things up, at Marathon Community Theatre.
Fringe Theater Key West presents “A Woman of the World,” a hilarious one-woman show that explores the surprising life of Emily Dickinson’s neighbor.