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Leave Your Troubles Behind

The only difference between Winter Park Playhouse and Broadway is the size of the stage.

At The Winter Park Playhouse it’s all musicals, all the time. “We’re Central Florida’s only professional musical theatre, which means all we do is musicals — mostly lesser or unknown smaller-scale works,” explains co-founder Heather Alexander, adding that all the artists, actors, musicians and technicians are professionals, not volunteers, which makes the quality exceptional.

“We like to call ourselves the ‘Forget Your Troubles Theatre,’” she quips. “No deep, dark, depressing stuff. It’s a happy place — a family-oriented, welcoming space that’s entertaining, uplifting and inspiring.”

Partner and artistic director Roy Alan wholeheartedly agrees. “We started the Playhouse to help keep musical theatre alive and make it more accessible to audiences. It goes back to the ’30s when people would spend five cents to see Fred and Ginger Rogers and forget about the Depression. We describe it as a place to escape.”

Roy adds that the quality of performances is as good as anything you can see at the Dr. Phillips Center — or on Broadway, for that matter. “Many of our performers are outstanding artists who’ve moved here from New York where they worked on Broadway. We have incredible musical directors and musicians, because that’s the way it’s meant to be. We started the Playhouse to keep musical theatre alive. It’s an original American art form, just like jazz.”

The Playhouse also holds the annual Florida Festival of New Musicals, an international event that fosters the development of new musicals and the artistic growth of writers and composers. “We invite them from around the world to submit their work,” Roy explains. “A panel pores over the material and we choose six shows to present at our festival in June.”

Now in its 21st year, the Playhouse is a family-oriented, welcoming space. “You can literally walk through our doors, leave your troubles outside and have a wonderful time being entertained,” Heather explains. “And it isn’t only the show that provides a sense of community. That happens the moment you step inside.”

ON THE ROSTER

Mainstage:

Year-round series of six musicals, new or rarely produced in the region

Monthly Spotlight Cabaret:

Premiers showcasing singers in a “New York” style cabaret

One-Night-Only:

Quarterly events featuring professional singers & musicians

“It isn’t just the show that provides a sense of community and belonging. That happens the moment patrons walk through the door. They feel great commitment to this place as more than just a theatre.”

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