Stagebeat | New Times Broward-Palm Beach


Vampire Lesbians of Sodom is Charles Busch's 1984 camp classic, which became one of off-Broadway's longest-running hits. The story moves from the original Twin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to Hollywood in the Jazz Age, then on to Las Vegas today. A Vampire Succubus and a Reluctant Virgin Sacrifice return after centuries as the undead Condesa and her nemesis, Madeleine, in a plot that calls for sex and holy water, outrageous choreography, crackerjack direction, and deadpan humor, delivering the sort of spontaneity that in truth is anything but spontaneous on stage. This enthusiastic production is a work of love by a troupe that may not know enough to savor Busch's lines but is still probably having a good time putting on the show. There are worse things. (In repertory with Sleeping Beauty, or Coma through December 18, presented by Sol Theatre Project, 1140 NE Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale, 954-525-6555, -- Octavio Roca


Hello Dolly! centers on the prodigious skills of Yonkers matchmaker Dolly Levi (Jodi-Lynne Sylvester), for whom meddling is a career choice. Dolly interferes in everybody's life, including two disgruntled clerks who leave Yonkers to go to New York to find adventure. Brance Cornelius as one of them has a few good moments, and Tyler Fish as the other is consistently adorable as a naive young man on the town. Kerry Sensenbach seems natural as their mean-spirited employer. Danielle Tabino, as the boss' daughter, adds comic effect with her whiny voice. Jessie Alagna as Ernestina Money also has some laughs with her hard-on-the-eyes outfit and piggish decorum. But the show belongs to Sylvester, who has a series of riveting monologues, one to her late husband and one to the audience. Her voice is often too high-pitched, but overall, her songs are powerful. She fits like a glove into her character and her glamorous attire. Moreover, she enjoys herself, which translates into energy for the whole cast. (Through January 2 at the Stage Door Theatre, 8036 W. Sample Rd., Coral Springs, 954-344-7765.)

Miklat: Joshua Ford's 2002 comedy has a knack for finding raucous humor even in the bleakest of moments. The tale follows the plight of an American Jewish couple, Howard and Judy Kleinman, who arrive in Jerusalem in 1991 to visit their grad student son, who has been visiting Israel for several months. The trip starts out badly -- they have to check into their hotel just as the Gulf War breaks out; then they learn that their son has become an ultra-Orthodox Hasid and is about to wed a teenaged girl in a marriage arranged by his yeshiva rabbi. While the play's frequent air raid sequences add some excitement, the wartime setting is mostly window dressing; this is really a traditional family relationship comedy that could just as easily play out in the States. Stylistically Miklat veers, sometimes awkwardly, between broad farce and psychological conflict, but it is most effective in its many comedic sequences. As Howard, Mike Burstyn offers an assured performance, equally at home with the rat-a-tat jokes and the emotional nuances, and Laura Turnbull as Judy is plausible, funny, and touching. The busy, realistic staging tends to flag as the story unravels, bringing attention to the play's fundamental unreality; this Jerusalem is a decorative convenience, a fairy-tale place with no sign of Palestinians or Israeli-Palestinian conflict in evidence or even in passing reference. (Through November 28 at Florida Stage, Plaza del Mar, 262 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan,, 561-585-3433, 800-514-3837.)