Board Games, the Undead, and You

Here’s the thing about musicals: They can’t be all brass and balls. Not every number is going to be as inspiring as the last, and sometimes a show full of stale duds can be saved by one climactic song at the right moment. Back in the old days, theaters would open around 8:30 p.m., and they’d often save their best number – you know, the one where the star of the show comes to some great realization while really showcasing his or her pipes – until just before the curtain fell at 11. Those 11 o’clock numbers, as they’re called, were the rejuvenating pieces that made sure every last punter left happy.

So it’s fitting that Rising Action Theatre (840 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) chose John Kane’s award-winning musical, The 11 O’Clock Number, as their climactic second production after the opening of their new Fort Lauderdale digs. The play itself is a bit quirky: Bobby Dupree, a huge fan of classic musicals, receives a beat up old Scrabble set for his 45th birthday that’s rumored to have belonged to the Great Dame of Broadway herself, Ethel Merman. Merman’s been dead since ΄84, of course, but when her copy of Scrabble gets busted out… well, let’s just say she can’t resist a good match. Chances are Merman will be notching another 11 o’clock number in her belt, even if it’s from beyond the grave. The show runs Thursday through Sunday until January 13. Tickets start at $30, and for $55 you get dinner too, courtesy of Primavera Restaurant. Visit, or call 800-595-4849.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 4. Continues through Jan. 13, 2008

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John Linn