[Editor's Note: I will be out of the country June 19 to 29, so enjoy this special two-week preview of our weekly events column. Regular A&E blogs will continue in my absence.—John Thomason]
What: Opening night of “Ring of Fire”
Where: Arts Garage, 180 N.E. First St., Delray Beach
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 561/450-6357, artsgarage.org
“Ring of Fire,” a musical celebration of the songcraft of Johnny Cash, premiered in 2006, around the time “Walk the Line” was playing on hundreds of screens and preparing to accrue its Oscar nominations. But this ensemble musical, with its core group of, usually, six singers, doesn’t attempt to dramatize Cash’s back story, which is now familiar to most fans; its actors do not attempt to impersonate Cash. Rather, it plucks moods and textures that are distinctly Cash-ian, and cycles through the country legend’s various musical personae, from proto-rockabilly star to poignant balladeer, from the purveyor of fine hymnals to a roughneck prison entertainer. Described by creator Richard Maltby Jr. as “a book musical without a book—a play made up of songs,” it’s neither concert nor traditional musical; like Cash itself, it defies easy categorization. The production runs through July 13.
What: Opening night of “Avenue Q”
Where: Delray Beach Center for the Arts, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/243-7922, delraycenterforthearts.org
You’ve got to appreciate any show that warns its audience of “full frontal puppet nudity.” An R-rated alternative to the Muppets and “Sesame Street,” “Avenue Q” was something of a revelation when it premiered on Broadway in 2003, beating out “Wicked” for Best Musical the following year. This ensemble piece, in which black-clad actors handle and speak for a number of puppets dealing with issues like romantic relationships, sex, racism, homophobia and pornography on the titular “outer-outer borough” of New York, is always one of the most riotous evenings you’ll experience at the theater. The show has toured the large South Florida concert halls, but for the next couple of weeks you can imbibe this local take, courtesy of Entr’Acte Theatrix, which runs through June 29.
What: Opening day of “Wheels and Heels”
Where: Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach
When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Contact: 561/832-5196, norton.org
Throughout her 55-year history, Barbie and her friends have been princesses, brides, flight attendants, yoga teachers, tattooed scenesters, pregnant women, paraplegics and breast cancer survivors—the latter doll arriving without her signature golden locks. As such, the doll has represented a broader spectrum of American women than its detractors concede. But she remains one of the most controversial toys ever produced, with her unrealistic body dimensions setting an impossible ideal for her impressionable owners. For this reason alone, the Norton’s “Wheels and Heels: The Big Noise Around Little Toys” will surely generate a lot of attention. The exhibition pairs the rich history of Barbie with another Mattel cash cow, Matchbox, examining the impact of both powerhouse brands across the ages. Guest curator Matthew Bird has assembled numerous examples of the toys themselves as well as TV commercials, marketing campaigns and other promotional material related to the toys, while taking a probing look at their impact on society, culture and media. It runs through Oct. 26.
What: Classic Albums Live: “Abbey Road”
Where: Parker Playhouse, 707 N.E. Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, parkerplayhouse.com
The beauty of many of the Beatles tribute bands currently playing the music of the Fab Four is that they tend to focus on the music the Beatles themselves never performed live. This is certainly the case with “Abbey Road,” the iconic 1969 album that, recording-wise, constitutes some of the last songs the group laid down before dissolving a year later. Its integration of progressive rock and the blues suggests where the band might have gone had it continued into the 1970s, and the album is responsible for such hits as “Come Together,” “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun.” But Classic Albums Live, the Toronto-based concert series, prides itself on creating theatrical presentations of classic rock albums in their entirety—and the treat in this concert is not only hearing the hits but also such difficult and rarely heard deep cuts as “I Want You” and “Polythene Pam.”
What: Klezmer Company Orchestra's "On the Town"
Where: FAU's Kaye Auditorium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton
When: 3 p.m.
Contact: 800/564-9539, fauevents.com
For its annual summer concert, FAU's Klezmer Company Orchestra has attempted its most ambitious project yet: a concert version of Leonard Bernstein's beloved 1944 musical "On the Town," complete with six actor-singers and the entire 50-piece orchestra. For Aaron Kula, founder and maestro of the orchestra, an event of this scale has been a long time coming. He told me earlier this year that "I wanted to pick something that would knock people’s socks off, and I took nearly six months negotiating with the Leonard Bernstein Foundation and the publisher for the rights to perform a concert version of 'On the Town.' We’ll have all the music and some of the dialogue. I’m hiring six professional opera singers—top-of-the-line, top-shelf people, and a union orchestra." Described as a comedy told in symphonic turns, the experience offers a rare chance to hear a musical classic interpreted anew.
What: “The Voice” Tour
Where: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org
All summer long, the stars of NBC’s ratings powerhouse “The Voice” are like chicks that have left their coaches’ nests—free of all compliments and criticisms, and liberated from the nerve-wracking protocols of national television. Expect this freedom to lead to some joyous and personal performances from the finalists of the past two seasons of the show: scruffy soul sensation John Kaufman, authentic country crooner Jake Worthington, eclectic pop singer Christina Grimmie, hardworking country vocalist Kristen Merlin, the soaring Jamaican songstress Tessanne Chin (pictured), the insanely ranged vocalist Jacquie Lee, and three others. There won’t be any love-hate bickering between Adam and Blake that has helped make “The Voice” must-see television, but you can’t have everything.
What: “Nights at the Museum”
Where: South Florida Science Center, 4801 Dreher Trail N., West Palm Beach
When: 6 to 9 p.m.
Contact: 561/832-1988, sfsciencecenter.org
There are plenty of ways to experience life deep within our oceans, but most of them can be awfully expensive and time-consuming, involving divers’ licenses and boats and wet suits and suction and snorkels, and what if the weather is lousy or the jellyfish are breeding? No, we prefer to encounter underwater life from the comfort of an air-conditioned museum, which is exactly what the South Florida Science Center is offering families with this month’s “Night at the Museum.” The Friday night showcase, titled “Sea-Fari,” promises an underwater journey without all these accoutrements and worries, through activities such as “Ocean in a Bottle,” a squid dissection, sand art and beach bubble crafts, a “Happy as a Vanilla Clam” lab, and close encounters with sea life. There also will be music and dancing, face painting, gem panning and miniature golf for the price of museum admission.
What: Day one of Summer Daze Concert Series
Where: Propaganda, 6 South J Street, Lake Worth
When: beginning at 4 p.m.
Cost: $25-$30 (or $60 for three-concert pass)
Rather than host a traditional music festival, with bands packed like sardines across two or three consecutive days of music, Lake Worth’s Propaganda nightclub is launching its own version of a summer festival by spreading it over the next three months. On July 19, the alt-rock band Lit and The People Upstairs will headline, and on Aug. 23, look out for Tribal Seeds and The Expanders. But the fun starts June 28 with 13 bands performing on two stages. The Sublime tribute act Badfish will headline the festivities at 10 p.m. on the outdoor stage, joined by opening acts Whole Wheat Bread (a longtime Jacksonville punk act), The Hard Richards (a Palm Beach County ska-punk group) and many more. Visit Propaganda’s Facebook page for the full schedule.
What: Artie Lange
Where: Coral Springs Center for the Arts, 2855 Coral Springs Drive
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 954/344-5990, coralspringscenterforthearts.com
Like many comedians—particularly those with appetites as hedonistic as his—Artie Lange is a living paradox between his comic persona and a dark life fraught with addictions, arrests and much worse. The former “MADtv” cast member and, most famously, “Howard Stern Show” sidekick probably shouldn’t be alive right now: In 2010, the heroin-addicted radio personality drank bleach and stabbed himself in the stomach nine times in a failed suicide attempt, an ordeal he describes in detail in his 2013 book “Crash and Burn.” Lange is still young, at 46, and here’s hoping his demons are squarely in the past and that he’s able to focus on what he knows best: being very, very funny.