Skip the Trip to New York and See an Edgy New Play At FAU in Boca Raton-It’s Hot

There’s nothing like saying, “I saw that play before it became big.” Good news. Floridians can have this experience in Palm Beach County by seeing a play at Theatre Lab, located at FAU in Boca Raton. 

The hottest ticket in town is at Theatre Lab at FAU in Boca Raton. Photo: Morgan Sophia Photography

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Former New Yorkers will tell you that Florida is a cultural wasteland. Going to the theater is a big part of New York life, and they miss it. Everyone knows about Broadway, but one of the more remarkable experiences of city life is going to see new plays off the beaten path. Theatre Lab, which began in 2015, isn’t new, but most don’t know about it and the quality productions they’re putting out. I saw “Last Night In Inwood,” a play by Alix Sobler, at Theater Lab through February 12th. What an experience. This 95-seat theater has the vibe of an edgy, New York, intimate theater. No matter where you’re sitting, you feel like you’re a part of the action. It’s theater as it’s meant to be seen. 

A dramatic moment from “Last Night in Inwood.” Theatre Lab has an intimate setting, and the audience feels like they’re part of the action. Photo: Morgan Sophia Photography

Matt Stabile is the Producing Artistic Director for Theatre Lab. Stabile started with founding director Louis Tyrrell at Arts Garage in Delray Beach. This evolved into partnering up with a school so that students could experience not only seeing theater but also being able to perform in theater. That’s when they partnered up with FAU. The Theatre Lab space was a food court at one time. FAU gives Theatre Lab in-kind support, but programming dollars and grants come from private donations, which is how they built out the small theater we have today. 

Producing Artistic Director Matt Stabile introduced a play to a sold-out audience at Theatre Lab.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who know about this theater already,  you may have experienced a Pulitzer prize-winning work or two at this theater. If you’re fortunate, you may have seen the reading  Christopher Demos-Brown’s “American Son,” which went on to Broadway and Netflix.

One of the founding “inner circle” donors is Boca resident Francesca Daniels. I asked Daniels why she got involved, and she said;

“I’m a New Yorker! I always went to and loved the theater in New York. When I moved to Boca six years ago, I found an opportunity through a friend to help build out Theatre Lab. I got involved in a big way! Everything I’ve ever done has been in a big way. This has been a dream, and I am so proud to be a part of it.” -Francesca Daniels.

Through generation donors like Francesca Daniels, Theater Lab at FAU continues to thrive.

When asked why theater is important, Stabile had this to say;

“There is something different about being in a room with other humans and experiencing a story together. You can go to a movie theater and experience the gasps with the other theatergoers and the laughs, but the performers don’t get to experience that with the audience. When you’re in the theater and feel everybody take that breath together, there’s nothing like it. We, as human beings, need to experience stories together. It helps us understand how other people think, function, and believe so we can navigate the world together.” -Theatre Lab Producing Artistic Director Matt Stabile.

Theater as it’s meant to be seen. You don’t have to go to New York. You can experience this at Theatre Lab in Boca Raton. Photo: Morgan Sophia Photography

There’s only one more week left for “Last Night in Inwood.” In March is the New Play festival. The next play after that is “Refuge,” which previews April 6th and 7th and runs through April 23rd. Theatergoers should consider becoming inner circle members and have their names on a wall in the theater in recognition of their generosity or consider becoming season subscription members while you still can. This theater is excellent, and I feel that it will soon be the hottest ticket in town. Theatre Lab is located at 777 Glades Road. Tickets can be purchased a or by calling 561-297-6124. 

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Other stories you may want to read:

The Andre Design District in Delray Beach is the New Wynwood for the Arts


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