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The Laboratory Theater of Florida Announces 16th Season

FORT MYERS, FL (March 4, 2023) – The Laboratory Theater of Florida is thrilled to announce its 16th season. 

The Laboratory Theater of Florida is proud to continue the tradition of community service while adding its own tradition of bringing new and thought-provoking theater to our area, with another season packed with premieres. Season 16 features another world premiere and a lineup that includes a musical fresh off Broadway, a Florida premiere, and six southwest Florida premieres. In a continued effort to keep theater affordable for everyone, Lab Theater offers two half-price preview nights, Thrifty Thursday discounts, deeply discounted student tickets, and expanded season-pass options. Returning for Season 16 is the perennial favorite 24-Hour Playwriting Project, the New Play Contest, staged readings, post-performance talkbacks, special events, and more. 

The 16th Season of The Laboratory Theater of Florida is supported by The City of Fort Myers, Bruce and Janet Bunch, The Allegretti Foundation, The LGBTQ Fund, The Visitor and Convention Bureau, The Fort Myers Rotary Club, The Bireley Family Foundation, Art Zupko, Arlene Foreman, Hulett Environmental Services, The School District of Lee County, Marlene and Darrell Smith, Stacy Lee-Williams, Ella Nayor and Jeffrey Cull, The North Law Firm, Fort Myers School of Music and thousands of loyal patrons. 

There remain opportunities to sponsor shows, advertise businesses, help repair and refurbish the beautiful 100-year-old building, and help rebuild the Actor’s Fund.  

Summer Season

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Season 16

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Alien: A Musical Parody

WORLD Premiere, a Lab Original Production

Alien: A Musical Parody withbook and lyrics by Annette Trossbach and music by Earl Sparrow opens Friday, June 7th.

This June, the Lab presents an original musical parody of the iconic 1979 film Alien. Our motley crew of cosmonauts awakes from hyper-sleep to investigate a distress signal from a nearby planet. They unwittingly bring onto the ship an aggressive alien bent on reproduction and domination. With tap dancing!

With book and lyrics by Laboratory Theater Artistic Director Annette Trossbach and music by Earl Sparrow, this brand new musical parody of the iconic 1979 film Alien makes its world premiere on our stage this June. Enjoy songs like “Why Mansplaining is For Your Own Good,” “ Everyone Who’s Homophobic is Secretly Gay,” and the tap-dancing show stopper “Sacrifice.” This motley crew of cosmonauts and cephalopods will have you laughing, applauding, and rooting for our alien, who just wants to be a mom.

Performance dates:

June 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29  at 7:30  pm

June 9, 16, 23  at 2 pm

Special Events: 

June 5, 6  at 7:30  pm    Half-price preview night.

June 10  at 7:30 pm     Teens get a free ticket to the performance (reservations required.)

June 27  at 7:30 pm     Sensory-friendly performance.

Alien: A Musical Parody is available for sponsorship

Squirrel Girl Goes to College

Squirrel Girl Goes to College by Karen Zaracias is a limited engagement offering from July 11-14 as part of the theater’s award-winning education program. 

Doreen Green, aka Squirrel Girl, wants what any typical college student wants – to make friends, have cool professors, and go to parties. But when it comes time to save the day from an evil villain, can she do it while protecting her secret identity?

 “…it has a great message… Like girls RULE, education is cool, and honesty really is the BEST policy.” – NPR

Performance dates:

July 11, 12, 13  at 7:30 pm

July 14 at 2 pm.

Special thanks to the Lee County School District for generously providing scholarships for students involved in this production.

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Clyde’s

Southwest Florida Premiere

Clyde’s, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lynn Nottage, opens on July 26th.

This comedy features Clyde, who rules over her sandwich shop with an iron fist. Her ex-con staff hopes for a second chance at life outside prison – will building the perfect sandwich guarantee redemption?

Clyde’s is a sandwich shop and last-chance haven for those who have been cast aside by society. The indomitable Clyde, played by Sonya McCarter, oversees her eclectic team of misfits with an iron fist, while they all grapple with their own demons and strive for a better future. A searingly honest portrayal of life on the margins, this story of redemption and hope is brought to life by one of the most celebrated playwrights of our time.

“[T]his is a very clever, multi-layered and deliciously self-aware allegory from the writer Lynn Nottage that deftly shrouds its true intent between two pieces of bread.” – NY Daily News

Performance dates: 

July 26, 27 at 7:30 pm

August 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10  at 7:30  pm

July 28 at 2 pm

August 4 at 2 pm

Special Events: 

July 24, 25  at 7:30  pm Half-Price Preview 

July 26  at 7:30 pm Teens get a free ticket to the performance (reservations required).

August 8  at 7:30 pm Sensory-friendly performance                                                                      

Clyde’s is sponsored by Janet & Bruce Bunch

Regular Season:

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Gutenberg! The Musical!

Southwest Florida Premiere

Gutenberg! The Musical by Scott Brown and Anthony King

In this two-man musical spoof, Bud and Doug are hoping that a producer will take a shot at their new show concept, an embellished version of the life of famous inventor Johannes Gutenberg. Prepare to be swept away on a hilarious and heartwarming journey through the annals of literary history with “Gutenberg! The Musical!” This uproarious production is set to delight audiences with its witty humor and infectious charm. In this side-splitting musical extravaganza, audiences are transported to 15th-century Germany, where Johannes Gutenberg embarks on a quest to revolutionize the literary world with his groundbreaking invention. With an unending supply of enthusiasm, Bud and Doug sing all the songs and play all the parts in their ridiculous historical epic, with the hope that one of the producers in attendance will give them that elusive Broadway contract. Packed with catchy tunes, laugh-out-loud moments, and a dose of heartfelt sincerity, “Gutenberg! The Musical!” is a theatrical gem that celebrates the power of friendship, ingenuity, and the written word. Whether you’re a history buff, a musical aficionado, or simply looking for a night of non-stop entertainment, this production promises to delight audiences of all ages.

“The plot is clever and stupid, in the best way possible — the way that lends itself to brilliant, laugh-out-loud moments of silliness…. – Entertainment Weekly

Performance dates:

September 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 at 7:30 PM 

September 15, 22, 29 at 2 PM

Special Events: 

September 11, 12 at 7:30 PM Half-price preview nights

September 14 at 7:30 PM Teens get a free ticket to the performance (reservations required)

September 26 at 7:30 PM Sensory-friendly performance

Gutenberg! The Musical is partially sponsored by Dave Yudowitz. Full sponsorship is available. 

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Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors

SWFL Premiere

Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors  by Gordon Greenberg & Steve Rosen opens on October 18th.

Nobody’s ever seen a Dracula this funny. Five actors play dozens of zany characters in a madcap take on the classic tale that’s guaranteed to induce blood-curdling screams – of laughter!

Get ready to sink your teeth into a hilariously twisted take on a timeless tale of terror! “Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors” is an uproarious blend of classic horror and side-splitting humor. This comedic adaptation breathes new life into Bram Stoker’s iconic novel, delivering an unforgettable theatrical experience that will leave you howling with laughter. Join the fearless Van Helsing, the bumbling Jonathan Harker, and a cast of eccentric characters as they confront the ultimate vampire himself, Count Dracula, in a battle of wits and whimsy. With clever dialogue, ingenious sight gags, and plenty of surprises lurking in the shadows, “Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors” is a fang-tastic romp that’s perfect for fans of comedy and horror alike.

“Sexy and campy…I didn’t stop laughing for 90 straight minutes….You don’t want to miss this campy and vampy production.” – Forbes

Performance Dates:

October 18,19, 24, 25, 26, 31 at 7:30 pm

October 20, 27 at 2 pm

November 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 at 7:30 pm

November 3 at 2 pm

Special Events:

October 16, 17  at 7:30 PM Half-price previews

October 19  at 7:30 pm Teens get a free ticket to the performance 

November 7  at 7:30 PM Sensory-friendly performance

Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors is currently available for sponsorship.

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24 Hour Playwriting Project

The 24-Hour Playwriting Project — November 16

The perennial favorite bucket list event known as The 24-Hour Playwriting project is back for Season 16!  The theme for this season is once-again a well-guarded secret, as are the handicaps, props, and other requirements given to the playwrights at the absolute last minute. Playwrights will be assigned a theme, a director, and actors. Within just 24 hours, you will see the fruits of their labor when we present all of their short plays to be judged by a panel of area theater and arts professionals.   A hugely popular event! Included in your season pass upon request. 

One performance only – November 16th 

The 24-Hour Playwriting Project is sponsored by Stacy Lee-Williams.

Christmas with the Crawfords

Southwest Florida Premiere

Christmas with the Crawfords opens on December 6. 

Created by Richard Winchester. Written by Mark Sargent.

This riotous camp classic is based on the actual Christmas Eve live radio broadcast from Joan Crawford’s Brentwood mansion in 1949. Tinsel Town divas abound and sing beloved classics while Crawford seethes.

Step into the glamorous and uproarious world of Hollywood’s golden age with “Christmas with the Crawfords,” the hilariously irreverent holiday extravaganza that’s sure to leave audiences in stitches! Reimagining the iconic 1949 Christmas radio broadcast with Joan Crawford and Hedda Hopper, this rollicking comedy invites theatergoers to join a veritable gaggle of silver screen icons for a festive celebration like no other. Audiences are treated to a madcap journey filled with laughter, music, and plenty of toe-tapping musical numbers. This dynamic production captures the spirit of the season with a delightful twist.

“Christmas With The Crawfords puts the fun back in dysfunctional…” – BroadwayWorld

Performance dates:

December 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 at 7:30 PM

December 8, 15, 22 at 2 pm

Special Events: 

December 5, 6  at 7:30 pm Half-price preview nights

December  7 at 7:30 pm Teens get a free ticket to the performance (reservations required)

December 19  at 7:30 PM Sensory-friendly performance

Christmas with the Crawfords is sponsored by Arthur Zupko

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Good Bad People

Good Bad People  by Rachel Lynett opens on January 24

June returns home to make amends with her family after her brother is shot by a police officer. But when her family refuses to make a statement and her personal beliefs are questioned, suddenly June is forced into the spotlight and must decide which is more important: making amends with her family or standing up for her brother’s life.

Written by Rachel Lynett, Good Bad People opens during the aftermath of the death of Amiri Johnson, a 23-year old Black man living in Los Angeles who was shot by a police officer while taking out the trash. His sister June returns home to help her family and finds that her father has disappeared, her mother is refusing to leave her bedroom, and her sister Audre is doing everything in her power to control public perceptions of Amiri’s death. Old resentments begin to boil over as the three women attempt, in very different ways, to negotiate their private grief against the public outrage that Amiri’s death has sparked.

“…a well-balanced, hard-hitting, thematically resonant and genuinely funny play that asks us to sit with the gravity of Black lives lost.” – Arts ATL

Performance dates:

January  24, 25, 30, 31  at 7:30 pm

January 26  at 2 pm

February 1, 6, 7, 8  at 7:30 pm

February 5  at 2 pm

Special Events: 

January 22, 23  at 7:30 pm Half-price preview nights

January 25 at 7:30 pm Teens get a free ticket to the performance (reservations required)

February 6 at 7:30 PM Sensory-friendly performance

Good Bad People is currently available for sponsorship.

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Jesus Christ Superstar

Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyrics by Tim Rice, Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, opens on Feb. 28. 

This rock opera has been captivating audiences for over 50 years! Told from Judas Iscariot’s point of view, the show focuses on the final week of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. This award-winning show is not to be missed! From its electrifying score to its revolutionary storytelling, “Jesus Christ Superstar” continues to captivate audiences around the globe with its powerful message and unforgettable music. Set against the backdrop of Jesus Christ’s final days, this groundbreaking musical takes audiences on a riveting journey through faith, betrayal, and redemption. With its dynamic blend of rock, gospel, and contemporary music, “Jesus Christ Superstar” transcends the boundaries of traditional theater, creating an immersive experience that speaks to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

“A conceptual and artistic triumph.” – The New York Times

Performance dates:

February 2, at 7:30 pm

March 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22 at 7:30 pm

March 2, 9, 10, 23  at 2 pm.

Special Events: 

February 26, 27 at 7: 30 pm Half-price preview nights

March 1 at 7:30 pm Teens get a free ticket to the performance (reservations required)

March 20 at 7:30 PM Sensory-friendly performance

Jesus Christ Superstar is sponsored by Ella Nayor & Jeffrey Cull.

The Minutes

Southwest Florida Premiere

The Minutes by Tracy Letts opens on April 11.

This scathing new comedy from the author of August: Osage County is about small-town politics and real-world power. It exposes the ugliness behind some of our most closely-held American narratives while asking each of us what we would do to keep from becoming history’s losers.

Prepare to be riveted by “The Minutes,” the electrifying new play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts that has taken Broadway by storm! In this gripping and thought-provoking drama, Letts invites audiences into the heart of a small-town city council meeting, where the seemingly mundane proceedings take a dark and unexpected turn. As tensions simmer and secrets are unearthed, “The Minutes” offers a scathing exploration of power, politics, and the elusive nature of truth.

“You will probably leave at the end with very mixed feelings, but you will talk about it, think about it, and go away with the knowledge that you have never seen anything like it.” – Observer.com

Performance dates:

April 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26  at 7:30 pm

April 13, 20, 27 at 2 pm

Special Events

April 9, 10  at 7: 30 pm Half-price preview nights

April  12 at 7:30 pm Teens get a free ticket to the performance (reservations required)

April 24 at 7:30 PM Sensory-friendly performance

The Minutes is sponsored by Arlene Foreman.

Also included are the Lab’s special events. A Holocaust remembrance on January 27th, 2025, at 7 pm,  and the New Play Winner Readings on May 1-3 at 7:30  pm. 

Passes and individual tickets will be on sale beginning April 1st.

Performance Subscription Packages:

Sizzling Summer Special: $99 – includes tickets for The Lab’s next three performances! (Subject to availability)

Preview subscription  $215 – (June 2024 – May 2025) – includes mainstage show preview nights on Wednesday and Thursday before opening; no special events included.

Snowbird Pass (December 2024. – May 2025) $180 – includes all productions with dates in Dec – May.

Thrifty Thursday Pass $290.00 (June 2024 – May 2025) – Thursday night performances only.

Year-Round Pass Weekend $360 (June 2024 – May 2025) – includes all shows and special events.

Flex Pass 5 seats (June 2024 – May 2025) $205 – 5 seats anytime/anywhere you want them!

Flex Pass 10 seats (June 2024 – May 2025) $405 – 10 seats anytime/anywhere you want them!

Individual Tickets:

Individual ticket prices are $37 for adults and $10 for students for non-musical performances, $42 for adults, and $15 for students for musicals. 

Thrifty Thursday tickets are $32 for adults (non-musicals), $ 37 for adults (musicals),  and $10 – $15 for students. 

Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more, reserved in advance. 

ALL DATES AND SHOWS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

TICKET POLICY: Tickets are nonrefundable; tickets may be exchanged for another date or for a Laboratory Theater of Florida credit. Cancellations must be made by 10 am on the date of the performance. There will be no credit for missed performances. The theater may, but is not obligated to, make reasonable accommodations for performances missed due to illness, traffic, or other unforeseen circumstances. Refunds are only available if the theater cancels the performance for which the patron holds tickets; tickets to postponed performances may be exchanged for another date or for a credit. For holders of our Flex passes, no credit is given for lower-priced performances. Internet service fees are non-refundable. Please note that with ANY ticket purchase (subscription or individual sale), check-in must occur prior to 5 minutes to curtain, or seats will become available for sale to others. 

PREVIEW PERFORMANCES: Please note that previews are considered final dress rehearsals. Thus, it is at the director’s discretion if the show experiences any “holds” for the actors, director, or crew to make adjustments or give/receive notes as needed. 

ABOUT THE LABORATORY THEATER OF FLORIDA

The Laboratory Theater of Florida, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is dedicated to the promotion of the performing arts, through live performance, education, community outreach, experimentation, and the development of ensemble work. The company features ensemble productions, produces classic works, takes artistic risks, which both feature and challenge local performers. For more information visit www.LaboratoryTheaterFlorida.com or the physical location at 1634 Woodford Avenue, in the Fort Myers River District.

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