Amadeus: Peter Shaffer's play about the life and death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a satisfying potboiler, and John Felix is splendid as the villainous Antonio Salieri, a hard-working but mediocre composer who seethes with jealousy and despair when Mozart effortlessly proves his musical genius. Director Richard Jay Simon ably stages the monster show -- the production features 15 performers in full 18th-century regalia jammed onto the Mosaic's tiny stage -- and the supporting cast is solid if not exceptional. But the production is hampered by a lumbering pace and some subpar production elements. The large cast juggles scores of complex entrances and exits, but the play's extended length (nearly three hours with intermission) has a price, especially in the creaking second act. Most damaging is a stunningly bad sound design that, together with a mediocre sound system and poorly executed cues, puts a real damper on the play's pace and effect. For a play about music, sound design should have been a top production priority. (Through October 31 at Mosaic Theatre, 12200 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation, 954-577-8243, www.MosaicTheatre.com.) -- Ronald Mangravite
Singin' in the Rain: It's 1927 and talkies have come into vogue. Diva Lina Lamont's voice is so dreadful that producers dub in the angelic chanteuse Kathy Selden's (Margot de la Barre). Things get sticky when Lina (Laura Summerhill) insists that her "publicity" romance with on-screen partner Don Lockwood (Tim Falter) is real, though Don loves Kathy. This ambitious undertaking doesn't flow until scene ten, with the song "Moses Supposes," which includes a great tap number by Courtier Simmons (Cosmo Brown) and Falter. Part of the problem is technical. The actors are often over-the-top, but they warm to their characters. The meat of the play is in the song and dance. Simmons monkeys about the stage doing some well-intentioned, roly-poly choreography over couches for "Make 'Em Laugh," but it comes off too contrived. He teams up with de la Barre and Falter for "Good Morning," with delightful results. But it's Falter's performance of "Singin' in the Rain" that everyone waits for; "real rain" falls, making it one of the most interesting moments on stage. (Through November 12 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, 954-327-7575.)
Last Night of Ballyhoo: Alfred Uhry's play mixes Southern and Jewish gentility and bigotry in a slice-of-life presentation. When Eastern European Jew Joe Farkas (Jeff Silver) pays a visit to his boss Adolph's (Rusty Allison) family (the "right kind of Jews" from Germany), romance and drama ensue. It's December 1939; Atlanta is abuzz about the premiere of "Gone with the Wind." A squinty and bespectacled Lala (Elizabeth King) buys a hoop dress that inspires her uncle Adolph to call her "Scarlet O'Goldberg." King is delicious as Lala, balancing her glasses and horse-toothed grin beneath a tussle of wild black curls decorated with two tiny bows. She slouches, fidgets, and bounces like a preteen in saddle shoes. As weak-willed as a willow, she bends easily under her mother's hard-edged manipulation. Charming, intelligent, and in love, Meryl Bezrutczyk is good as Sunny, the well-balanced sister, and Aaron Lee is clever and funny as Peachy Weil, Lala's "prospective." For characters and controversy alone, this is a worthwhile see. (Through November 28 at the Stage Door Theater, 8036 W. Sample Rd., Coral Springs, 954-344-7765.)
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