Lake Worth Playhouse in Lake Worth, Florida
I recently had the loveliest time last week going to the Lake Worth Playhouse when I was visiting friends in Florida. The occasion to go to the Lake Worth Playhouse in Lake Worth, FL was to see their ebullient production of “The Pajama Game.” I caught the production during its final weekend and was extremely impressed with the cast and staging of the show. Also, last year, the Lake Worth Playhouse presented an excellent staging of “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” so “The Pajama Game” was not my first exposure to the quality of the shows produced at this theatre.
The Lake Worth Playhouse actually has a very interesting history: it first opened its doors on November 3, 1924 as a silent movie palace at the reported cost of $150,000. When it first opened, it was called the Oakley Theatre, and, unfortunately, in 1928, a hurricane ended up destroying the theatre. The two brothers who bought the theatre in 1924 quickly rebuilt it, but the Depression struck South Florida and they lost ownership of it. In the ensuing years, the theatre changed ownership several times, showing art films, mainstream films, and, later, blue movies.
But, on December 1, 1953, the Lake Worth Playhouse was incorporated by a group of Lake Worth citizens. At first, shows were presented in the auditorium of the Lake Worth City Hall, but, in 1975, the Lake Worth Playhouse purchased the Oakley Theatre and much-needed renovations were made. Since then, the Lake Worth Playhouse has offered a variety of both live and film presentations and the rest, as they say, is history.
Back to my feelings about “The Pajama Game”: the show was extremely well-done, with two strong-voiced, appealing leads in Aaron Lee and Alexandra Garcia. Other standouts for me were Eva Kosmos doing dazzling work as Gladys, especially in the “Steam Heat” second act opener, and she and the terrific Danny Distasio transformed a relatively minor number, “Her Is,” into an extremely memorable moment in the show. (I will make a quick comment here that, if anyone is staging “Chicago” in the Florida area, Eva Kosmos would make a sensational Velma Kelly). Director/Choreographer Roger Dunson also deserves praise in keeping the show moving at a good clip and, overall, “The Pajama Game” at the Lake Worth Playhouse made for fine entertainment.
The Lake Worth Playhouse is a 501c3 non-profit community theatre and does year-round programming of both plays and musicals, as well as children’s shows and concerts and other alternative programming. The theatre’s artistic director is Jodie Dixon-Mears and the upcoming season has just been announced. The season includes such shows as “Rock of Ages,” “Urinetown, the Musical,” “Evita,” “’They’re Playing Our Song,” and two plays, “Death by Design” and “The Sugar Bean Sisters.”
One other amusing note about the Lake Worth Playhouse is that, not only do they cast actors in their productions, but, in a recent production of “Legally Blonde, the Musical,” they let my friends’ adorable dog Esther participate in the show!
For anyone who is looking for quality theatre in South Florida, the Lake Worth Playhouse in Lake Worth, FL is an absolute must. There are also many fine restaurants nearby and places to get desert, making for a wonderful evening out. For more information, please visit their website at www.lakeworthplayhouse.org or call the box office at 561-586-6410.