Key West residents and visitors to the island are fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy outstanding live theatre and musical performances at several venues.
Throughout the tourist season there are a wide variety of cultural events going on nightly that should appeal to a wide variety of entertainment tastes.
The island has always treasured the performing arts and many playwrights and artists have made a home for themselves here.Tennessee Williams (“A Streetcar Named Desire”, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”) first purchased a small “conch house” here in the 1940’s where he spent winters and holidays until his passing. Writer James Kirkwood (“A Chorus Line”) and Terrence McNally (“Love! Valour! Compassion!”,“Master Class”) also called Key West home. Legendary drag diva Divine (“Pink Flamingos”) lived quietly on United St. for many years.
The Waterfront Playhouse, located on Mallory Square, is the oldest continuously running theatre group in Florida. This community acting company is entering it’s 72nd year at the historic old brick building on the Gulf of Mexico in the heart of Old Town. In 2010, Florida Monthly magazine named the Waterfront Playhouse the best professional theater in Florida. For information on the upcoming shows and performance schedules, call 305-294-5015.
The Red Barn Theatre is an intimate 88 seat facility presenting professional drama, comedy, musical and children’s productions from late fall through spring. A full-service bar, comfortable theater-style seating and an air-conditioned environment are among the amenities that bring back faithful patrons year after year. Located at 319 Duval St., the Red Barn has been an island cultural hotspot for almost three decades. For information or reservations call (305) 296-9911.
The Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center is located on the campus of Florida Keys Community College at 5901 College Rd. on nearby Stock Island. This state-of-the-art facility is the largest auditorium in the area which hosts a wide variety of productions. Locally produced shows can be seen here annually, as well as touring road companies which bring in professional dance, opera, music and Broadway style shows. The Williams Center is also home to both the Key West Symphony Orchestra and The Key West Pops, the newest additions to the local cultural map. For more information call the box office at (305) 296-1520.
Though not primarily a venue for live performances, The Tropic Cinema is run through the auspices of the Key West Film Society. Located on Eaton St., the facility houses two auditoriums designed to bring art and alternative cinema to the community. They are, however, constructed with a proscenium arch, fly and wing space and the lighting equipment which enables them to present live performances in addition to their primary use as a home for fine films. For more information about the society, call (305) 295-9493 or visit their website at http://www.tropiccinema.com.
Key West Theater – The newest addition to live perfomance spaces is Key West Theater, and they have created something outstanding and needed. As a result of their efforts, Key West now sees national touring acts regularly visit the intimate theater which seats less than 300 people. What was originally a church, is now home to some of Key West’s best music, comedy, and theater offerings. Wait staff attentively services patrons seated at tables, providing full bar service from the comfort of one’s seat. Located at 512 Eaton Street, for more information call 305-985-0433, or visit https://www.ticketfly.com/venue/18671-key-west-theater/?_ga=1.218849247.791533369.1481561418 to see the upcoming show calendar and purchase tickets.