South Florida’s Playground for the Performing Arts

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The Lyric Theatre

The Lyric Theatre

Does the ballet beckon? Care to see a comedy? In the mood for a musical? Lovers of the arts have come to the right place, as Palm Beach and Martin counties boast some of the best theaters in the state, which serve residents from Boca Raton to Stuart to Wellington and draw others from less culturally friendly communities.

This list of venues represents a much vaster one that, year after year, produces performances, plays and a variety of other shows to scratch everyone’s itch for good theater.

Arts Garage | 180 NE First St. (Delray Beach) | (561) 450-6357 | www.artsgarage.org

Culture meets the concrete at Arts Garage in Delray Beach. The industrial yet imaginative performance hall on the ground floor of the city’s parking structure delivers diversity to a stark stage caressed by color.

The Arts Garage spotlight has shone on Grammy Award-winning artists, emerging jazz musicians, thought-provoking plays and Radio Theatre, its popular throwback series. Last month actors read a script adapted from the classic movie Dracula and they will do the same with It’s a Wonderful Life in December.

A cool twist: Audience members sit at intimate tables and can bring their own food and drinks.

“Theatre at Arts Garage is for young people looking for edgy new work…for middle-age people looking to reconnect with the essence of their passion…for mature adults who want to continue to fill their lives with adventure,” Artistic Director Lou Tyrrell said.

Ballet Palm Beach | Eissey Campus Theatre – 11051 Campus Dr. (PBG) | (561) 630-8235 | www.balletpalmbeach.org

Ballet Palm Beach adds a touch of elegance and grace to the local arts scene in the form of 15 dancers whose elevés and en pointes opened the 14th season this October. The talented troupe’s next production, The Nutcracker, comes to the Eissey Campus Theatre at Palm Beach State College Nov. 28-30.

While rooted in the art form’s tender tradition, Ballet Palm Beach also gets jiggy with it. In September, black-clad ballerinas twirled around a conference room at the Boca Raton Resort & Spa with rapper Vanilla Ice. They’ve also made their own stages at the Juno Beach Pier, Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society and other outdoor locations in flash mobs.

“People need to see art,” Artistic Director Colleen Smith said. “Art needs to be part of everyone’s lives personally and on a community level.”

The Kravis Center | 701 Okeechobee Blvd. (WPB) | (561) 832-7469 | www.kravis.org

Perhaps the pinnacle of performing arts in Palm Beach County, the Kravis Center has played to millions of theater-goers throughout 22 seasons of showtimes. With a mission of enhancing the community’s quality of life, the nonprofit’s events calendar – peppered with top-notch artistry from around the world – outdoes itself every year.

Patrons purchasing tickets this month will have a lot of choices to make.

“A best bet for November is a hard one,” said Linda Birdsey, the center’s marketing director. “We have a variety, starting with Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella to our 22nd annual Reach for the Stars Benefit, ‘Kravis Royale: Cha Cha Ching Party!’ But then we can’t forget the Russian State Symphony Orchestra and So You Think You Can Dance live. It’s like picking a favorite child, and who can do that so easily?”

The Lyric Theatre | 59 SW Flagler Ave. (Stuart) | (772) 286-7827 | www.lyrictheatre.com

When guests attend a show at The Lyric Theatre in Stuart, they take a trip back in time. Built in 1926, the 500-seat venue belongs on the National Register of Historic Places and has become a downtown destination for the young and old.

The fully restored storefront with its iconic marquee has built a reputation for stellar, small-town theater by way of brand-name, big-city talent. Appearing onstage in the next three months: Clint Black, Peter White and Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.

“Much more than a concert hall, The Lyric offers a diverse lineup of programming that includes national and international rock, country, folk, classic and pop artists, art cinema and film festivals, as well as comedy and Broadway,” said John Loesser, the theater’s executive director. “The Lyric is also committed to community outreach and providing arts and education programs for the Treasure Coast.”

The Eissey Campus Theatre | 111051 Campus Dr. (PBG) | (561) 207-5900 | www.balletpalmbeach.org

The Eissey Campus Theatre in Palm Beach Gardens strives to give performing groups a space to show their talents, explained Ann Faber, the theatre’s ticket office manager.

“Our goal is to have the theatre impact and enrich the lives of everyone in the community,” she said.

Besides hosting Palm Beach State College student performances, the 750-seat theatre rents itself to a number of organizations needing a performing space throughout the year.

“They know they can come in and we will work with them to put on a wonderful performance at a wonderful production value,” Faber said. “They’re going to get a lot for their money.”

A number of people have grown up with the theatre, Faber said. This year marked the Eissey Campus Theatre’s 20th anniversary.

“It’s a great little gem.”

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