SeaWorld bringing the wonders of Antarctica to Orlando.

SeaWorld is opening “Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins” next spring as its latest theme park attraction.

ORLANDO – It may sound like a genuine oxymoron: Antarctica in, of all places, tropical Central Florida.
In a region that virtually never sees snow, it’s safe to say Orlando doesn’t have much in common with the Earth’s southernmost continent, where the temperature has reached −89 degrees.
Brian Morrow understands all that, but he and his employer are nothing if not ambitious.
“You might not know it, but Antarctica is the driest, windiest and coldest place in the world,” Morrow said, adding that the continent is also a place largely misunderstood by other nations.
“What most people don’t know is that everyone in the world is a citizen of Antarctica, because there is a treaty and 50 nations are a part of that,” he said. “Antarctica is not the North Pole, it’s actually the South Pole, so Santa doesn’t live there.”
But if Morrow’s boss, the theme park giant SeaWorld Orlando, has its way, a whole lot of penguins will be living there – and Central Florida’s residents and visitors alike will be able to see and greet them on a daily basis.
“In 2013, we will be building the world’s largest penguin habitat outside of Antarctica,” he said. “It is the single largest attraction we have ever constructed. There’s multiple things to do there.”
SeaWorld is opening “Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins” next spring, as the latest addition to the Orlando-based theme park’s attractions like Discovery Cove and Aquatica. Continue reading

Central Florida Theatre in Process In-Cite: Weekend Picks!

Theatre Downtown in Orlando is presenting Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” opening next week.

‘Tis a cool brisk breeze in the air. . . perfect to go see a show!
The Central Florida Theatre in Process weekend choices and picks are in!
New productions opening include:
* Propaganda! The Musical! is having a free staged reading on Monday, Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre in Orlando.
For information, log on to:!/events/217926585007741/.
* For one night only, the Central Florida Community Arts presents “Epics & Origins” on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Downtown Baptist Church, 120 E. Pine St. This is an exciting evening of thrilling film scores and some of the classical pieces and composers that inspired them, as performed by the 50-piece Central Florida Community Orcehstra.
The concert will be free, with donations to Central Florida Community Arts, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, gratefully accepted. This show is suitable for all ages.
For info:
* Junior Claus runs now through Dec. 23 at the Orlando Repertory Theatre. Santa’s only son, Junior, is less than enthusiastic about taking over the family business. But when a depleted Christmas “belief-o-meter” puts the jolly old man in a deep slumber, junior must quickly master the art of climbing down chimneys, driving reindeer, reading a GPS in a blizzard … and everything else that goes into the greatest delivery in the world. With the help of an elf friend, a homesick penguin, and a youngster who fully believes in the Christmas spirit, Junior may just save Christmas in time in this joyful new musical.
Ticket prices start at just $11. Call 407-896-7365 or visit!
* Beauty and the Beast is being presented by Acting Up Theatre Academy and runs on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door, at Church of the Messiah’s Theatre, 241 N. Main St. in Winter Garden. And by the way, my daughter, Christy Bartel, is Mrs. Potts!
Shows opening next week include:
* Theatre Downtown presents A Christmas Carol!. This classic telling of the Charles Dickens beloved story has something for everyone: Music, dance, and all the characters you’ve grown to love (or hate!) from the mind of Charles Dickens. The show runs Nov. 23 through Dec. 23. The curtain is at 8 p.m., but patrons are encouraged to arrive early for caroling in the lobby!
Tickets are $20 for general admission and $16 for seniors and students. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays, with Sunday matinees on Nov. 25, Dec. 2, 9, 16, and 23 at 2:30 p.m. This show is suitable for all audiences.
Call 407-841-0083 for reservations. Book now for the holidays!
To learn more, log on to
* Bella is a ME Dance, Inc. production that runs Nov. 23, 24, and 25 at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center’s Mandell Theatre.
ME Dance, Inc. is the newest professional dance organization in the heart of Central Florida. Come and experience the true beauty of dance with Bella – The Beauty of ME Dance, Inc. The human experience of love is designed for the sole purpose of showing you what you truly are; it is designed to illumine the nature of your true beauty and the Bella of Dance.
To reserve your tickets, visit ME Dance, Inc. is a not-for-profit arts organization. Patrons like you the will help the arts strive here in Central Florida by seeing this performance on Nov. 23 at 8 p.m., Nov. 24 at 8 p.m., or Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission. The Orlando Shakespeare Theater is at 812 E. Rollins St. at Loch Haven Park in Orlando.
Continuing productions, including some final weekends, are:
* Saturday is your last chance to catch “A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD” at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater in partnership with the University of Central Florida at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center in Orlando. A Tony Award nominee for Best Musical, this whimsical story for the whole family celebrates an unlikely friendship between an eternally optimistic Frog and a rather grumpy Toad. It closes on Saturday, Nov. 17.
Tickets are priced at $9 and $12, are on sale by calling 407-447-1700.
For info: or
* THE THIRD ANNUAL JOHN GORING MEMORIAL ONE-ACT FESTIVAL, presented by the Playwrights’ Round Table at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center in Orlando, is their latest assemblage of original one act plays, presented in the beautifully refurbished Santos Dantin Theatre at 812 E. Rollins St.
Performances are Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m.
Tickets are $15 general admission, $12 for PRT members, students, seniors ages 65 and older, and members of the military. Payment is by cash or credit at the door; online pre-ordered tickets can be purchased at For seating reservations or more information, call 407-761-2683.
This show has mature themes.
For info: or
* Wanzie Presents the Florida premeire of THE TEMPERAMENTALS, an important, moving, sexual, and illuminating historically acurate drama laced with camp and humor. It runs Saturday at 7 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 26 at 7:30 p.m. The Footlight Theatre is at the Parliament House Resort on Orange Blossom Trail. Tickets are $15 in advance. For reservations, call 407-540p0317. Reservations are accepted 24 hours a day, and no credit card is needed. If making a reservation on the same day as the show you wish to atend, you must phone in prior to 4 p.m. on that day. Tickets at the door, if available, are $18.
This show has adult situations but is not at all unsuitable for teens. Youngsters between the ages of 13 and 17 years of age are welcome to attend with a parent or guardian, but must leave the premises at the conclusion of the show. Ticket price includes Parliament House club and female impersonation show admssion for the remainder of the evening for those 18 and over.
* SAK Comedy Lab is a 200-seat improv comedy theater in downtown Orlando. Conveniently located at the City Arts Factory’s second floor at 29 S. Orange Ave., SAK performs live improv comedy shows that are fun and suitable for all ages, Tuesdays through Saturdays. There is a new show on Fridays at 11:30 p.m. — The Brawl for All is back! Check out our website for more information at
* “GETTING TO KNOW WHO?” by PLAY DE LUNA/ Art’s Sake in Winter Park is an evening of one-act plays produced, directed and performed by Art’s Sake students. There are performances Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. For reservations, call 407-436-2359 or email
For info:
Upcoming auditions include:
* The Murder Mystery Company is hiring in Kissimmee. Be a part of one of the fastest growing, interactive dinner theater companies in the nation! They are seeking actors, both male and female, who must have: experience with improv, dinner theater and/or interactive theater, a VERY outgoing personality, reliable transportation and a flexible schedule. Actors are paid for each show they perform in, and get reimbursed for gas.
Please submit your headshot and theatrical resume to, with the subject heading “Kissimmee Auditions” to be considered.
Check them out at
Educational programs include:
* Stevie Vallance is coming to Orlando on Dec. 8-9 to teach an animation V/O class. If you want to break into the world of cartoons, then this the class you need. Sign up at–demos.html.
Each week Central Florida Theatre in Process will provide resources and links to a variety of events playing in the Central Florida area, along with news and views! To get involved, join the conversation at our Facebook group by joining our group at

Contact John DiDonna at

A renegade and a howler find a home at a Rocking Horse.

A former brick factory is in the process of being totally transformed into the Rocking Horse Theatre Company.

ORLANDO – Don’t make the assumption, Sylvia Viles Vicchiullo said, that just because she wants to be a theatrical renegade that she has contempt for the classics.
Far from it.
“Renegade tends to avoid mainstream productions,” Vicchiullo said. “Not that we don’t like them – I’ve done a lot of classics. One of my first productions was directing ‘Twelve Angry Men’ for Wade Hair at Breakthrough Theatre (in 2011). I don’t have an aversion to them, but to me just there’s just so many of the soul searching black comedies that just appeal to me.”
Vicchiullo is one of the creative forces behind Renegade Theatre, which produces plays that are, she admits, a bit outside the mainstream, from avant garde works to pitch black comedies that are unlikely to find their way onto the 8 o’clock family hour on television – and that’s exactly what she’s looking for.
“I have an ultimate respect for the classics,” she said, “but there are so many shows out there that are bent. I love that avant garde-type theater. This isn’t your mama’s Doritos here.” Continue reading

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