Every theater is saddled with the same basic challenge -- figuring out what audiences want. At Florida Stage, founder and producing director Louis Tyrrell isn't looking over his shoulder to see what others are doing. Nor is he serving up crowd pleasers just to sell tickets. Instead he's leading the way with challenging programming that you can't see anywhere else. In the past year, Florida Stage presented effervescent productions of three Florida premieres (with one more on the way this spring). Last summer the theater produced Michael McKeever's provocative new play, The Garden of Hannah List, as well as a Cole Porter revue that really was the tops. Not everything the theater presents is an unqualified success, but its willingness to take chances is.

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