Playhouse Marks Milestone as Central Florida Vocal Arts Plans Summer Adventure

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Winter Park Playhouse is celebrating the growth of its Florida Festival of New Musicals as the 2024 edition marked the highest attendance in event history: up 10% from 2023. “This growth is a testament to the importance of the festival as a well-established platform for writers and composers to showcase their new musical works and receive feedback from patrons, press, producers, and peers,” reads a statement from the Playhouse.

The festival was created in 2017 to elevate musical theatre by fostering the development of writers and composers in front of a live audience. National and international submissions of musical productions are evaluated with six finalists featured in the festival. A one-hour version of each is performed three times in a concert-style format with minimal staging by casts of professional performing artists. Members of the artistic community and the general public are invited to experience the process and offer feedback.

The 2025 Florida Festival of New Musicals will take place June 19-22. The submission process begins today, July 1, and closes September 13.

The Playhouse announcement comes on the heels of two major local arts announcements: The return of Winter Park’s Weekend of the Arts event and City Commission’s vote to accept the Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts plan to reuse of the old library building.

The Winter Park Arts & Cultural Alliance is planning to revive the Weekend of the Arts next year, Feb. 21-23. The event began in February of 2018 and returned the following year before COVID ended its run. The reboot will offer free events and special programming for all ages while showcasing the contributions of local arts nonprofits.

The Blue Bamboo plan to rehab the former library will combine a live music venue with music and arts education facilities for use by community arts organizations. Among the partners in the effort is Winter Park-based Central Florida Vocal Arts, which begin its 12th season next month with a production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.

Written in 1879, the plot follows the misadventures of a young pirate apprentice who falls in love with the daughter of a major-general. The Pirates of Penzance features arias, ballades, and choruses framed by sharp dialogue and an intricate plot.

The comic opera was the fifth collaboration between W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan and will be the seventh collaboration between CFVA and Space Coast Symphony Orchestra. Their previous productions include Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music and The Sound of Music. Performances of The Pirates of Penzance will happen August 9-11 at the Alexis and Jim Pugh Theater in the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

For tickets and information, log onto Additional information on Winter Park Playhouse schedules and upcoming events is available at, and updates on Blue Bamboo’s progress and performance schedule can be found on their website and social media page.

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