kinky boots

Review: Kinky Boots at the Kravis Center

 

kinky boots

The closing bows for this show were unlike any I’ve ever experienced.

The show ended at the plot’s climax. The characters were still singing and dancing, and I found myself suddenly standing and clapping, not in applause, but to the beat of the music.

That’s what makes “Kinky Boots” such a wonderful show. It lifts you up—literally and figuratively.

The Broadway show, based on the British movie “Kinky Boots,” follows the hilarious and unlikely intersection of the lives of Charlie Price, who unwillingly inherited his father’s failing shoe company, and the drag queen Lola, who has been obsessed with sparkle, theatrics, the color red, and especially shoes, since childhood. Charlie meets Lola at a precarious time in his life, and Lola, a man who dresses like a woman for a living, teaches Charlie big lessons on what it means to truly be “a man.” You likely won’t be too surprised by this story as it follows a typical story arc. Nevertheless the acting and plot are brilliant.

Charlie and Lola attempt to save Price & Sons by changing the product, which was a line of well-made men’s shoes, into well-made shoes for men—who dress like women. The story is about acceptance, transformation, empathy, tolerance, passion and self expression. It’s fitting that the high heeled-boot is a metaphor for “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.”

What made “Kinky Boots” so compelling to me and my co-worker who joined me was the dancing and choreography (by Jerry Mitchell), almost entirely performed in really high heels. We’re talking 5-6 inches, and the female characters and male characters wearing those heels equally pulled off the stunts (splits, jumps, twirls) flawlessly. This was exhibited perfectly in the final song in Act 1, “Everybody Say Yeah,” which included technical choreography on treadmills.

You can’t talk about this show without talking about the music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper. The pop beats kept the show upbeat and zany, and the slowing of pace changed things up and piqued my interest. Lola’s solo “Hold Me in Your Heart” was beautiful, and actor Timothy Ware conveyed deep emotion—the kind that brings a lump to your throat. My favorite song was “Sex is in the Heel.” It was just so fun and such a celebration of human sensuality and self expression. It’s important to note that after the show, I desperately regretted not wearing heels that night.

Since its first show in 2012 “Kinky Boots” has only become more relevant. In February, President Donald Trump rescinded Obama-era protections for transgender students in schools that allowed them to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. The messages of love and acceptance in “Kinky Boots,” delivered via comedy, lyrics, fashion and of course drag queens, should be listened to with open ears. What’s great about “Kinky Boots” is that it teaches us that whether you’re a “trans veteran” or just a burly dude, you are what you say you are, and no one else has a right to define you.

Can you tell I loved it?


Kinky Boots plays at the Kravis Center through April 23. For tickets go to kravis.org.

Shayna is the Web Editor of Boca Magazine. She is a 20-something sorta-recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism. Most of her time is spent fawning over cats and kittens; cooking food at home for her family; and observing Florida’s greatest asset: nature.
phantom of the opera

Review: Phantom of the Opera at the Kravis Center

 

phantom of the opera

“Phantom of the Opera,” Broadway’s longest-running musical, is showing at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach until Friday, April 1. With a reboot from producer Cameron Mackintosh and under the direction of Laurence Connor, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit production is back and better than ever. Mackintosh is no stranger to breathing new life into classic shows—he’s already redone “Les Miserables” and “Miss Saigon.”

But “Phantom” is special. Its literary beginnings date back to 1909, when Gaston Leroux first published the story. This gothic French novel draws on themes of tragedy, darkness, alienation, unrequited love, and of course, the supernatural.

In its original American stage production (starting in 1988), Lloyd Webber touches on these themes, especially the unrequited love and the supernatural. However, his version fails to marry the humanity of the phantom with the rest of the characters, which is something that Mackintosh does well, among other details.

Here’s an overview of noteworthy changes in Mackintosh’s overhaul of “Phantom of the Opera”:

The chandelier

“Lot 666, then, a chandelier in pieces …” This opening line, which originally introduced the chandelier, hasn’t changed, but its animation and famous release are timed later in the performance. The placement now makes more sense and adds a more dramatic flair. Additionally, the chandelier itself shines and sparkles more brightly than before.

Masquerade ball

This is the scene that has changed the most. Spoiler alert: there’s no longer a grand staircase. Instead, the stage is full of mirrors (including a circular one hanging above the cast) to create an illusion of more dancers than are actually present. It redefines the haunting, mysterious undertones of the show and toes the fine line of reality and fantasy. The choreography by Scott Ambler is beautifully done. It’s longer than Lloyd Webber’s production, so take time to soak in the music and the original 19th-century costumes by Maria Bjornson.

Set design

Unlike past designs, the new set by Paul Brown takes audiences deeper into the world of the opera and its mad genius. The set rotates 360 degrees, and there’s a staircase down into the phantom’s lair that is steep and dangerous, just as one would imagine. And the lair itself is darker and dingier, despite a few candelabras scattered on and around the organ.

The changing room for the corps de ballet is relatively the same, as is the opening at the auction and the manager’s office. However, the numerous backdrops for each opera house rehearsal and performance (“Hannibal,” “Il Muto,” and “Don Juan Triumphant”) are more detailed and colorful than in the past, along with extra props and furniture. It helps bridge the gap between imagination and reality of the stage to form a more complete understanding of each scene.

Phantom’s human interactions

Previously, the phantom felt somewhat detached from the rest of the cast, with the exception of Christine Daaé. He hid in the shadows and watched people from high above or down below. But Mackintosh’s phantom, played by Derrick Davis, is different. His presence is more palpable throughout the play. He reads letters to the new opera owners, speaks directly to masquerade attendees and cast when he drops off his score for “Don Juan Triumphant.” Such inclusion makes the phantom seem relatable, rather than an unknown being to be feared.

Special effects

Gunshots, fire and shadows projected on stage are only a few of the numerous special effects that bring “Phantom” to life. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. Keep an eye out.


Overall, Cameron Mackintosh’s changes are definitely beneficial for “Phantom.” They add depth, not distraction, to a timeless classic, without being too much or too over-the-top. And the most important aspect, the music, hasn’t changed at all.

Allison Lewis is the associate editor at Boca Raton Magazine and a native St. Louisan. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. In her spare time, Allison enjoys cooking, playing Ultimate frisbee, reading, traveling and watching sports.
week ahead

Your Week Ahead March 28 – April 3

Mizner Park hosts spirited mix-masters, the Carbonell Awards honor South Florida theatre, and local politicos search for civility at Lynn. Plus, Chris Rock, Dinosaur Jr., Bravo Amici and more in your week ahead.

WEDNESDAY

What: Dinosaur Jr.

dinosaur

 

Where: Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $25

Contact: 954/564-1074, cultureroom.net

Dissonance has always been embedded into the fabric of Dinosaur Jr., the Amherst, Mass., trio whose 1980s emergence laid foundational stones for alternative and college rock. It was there in the music, which married crank-it- to-11 arena-rock volume with lo-fi punk distortion and singer J. Mascis’ incongruous vocal drawl, with its country-slacker disaffection. And it was certainly there in the mercurial musicians themselves, whose personalities and creative visions clashed enough to warrant a 10-year hiatus between albums. Since 2007, Dinosaur Jr. seems to have mended its fences without losing the healthy juxtapositions of its influential music. Its 2016 release “Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not,” represents the band’s best work in nearly a decade.

WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY

What: Chris Rock

Chris Rock

Where: Hard Rock Live, 5747 Seminole Way, Hollywood

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $65-$180

Contact: 800/745-3000, myhrl.com

It’s been more than 20 years since Chris Rock’s breakthrough HBO special, “Bring the Pain,” established him as a megastar. That standup show—and its follow-up, “Bigger and Blacker”—created the perception of Rock that still holds: as a brash, un-P.C., black-leather- jacketed truth-teller, the anti-Cosby. But in the nine years since his last standup tour, he’s become less of a provocative outsider and more of a multihyphenate mogul—executive-producing documentaries, acting on Broadway, hosting awards shows, and writing and directing feature films. How this time in showbiz and off the comedy-club stage will affect Rock’s “Total Blackout Tour” remains to be seen, but there’s only one way to find out.

THURSDAY

What: “Mixology: The Craft Spirits Event”

mixology

Where: Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton

When: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Cost: $45

Contact: mixologyboca.com

It has taken the craft cocktail movement a little longer to catch fire than its now-ubiquitous craft beer colleagues. But for the second year in a row, Boca Raton magazine is helping to stoke the flames of this exciting movement with “Mixology,” one of our signature annual events. The $45 cover grants unlimited tastings from 25 of Florida’s finest purveyors of craft spirits—brands with punchy names like Slaughter House, Death’s Door and Wicked Dolphin. You can expand your culinary horizons, too; the ticket charge also includes offerings from Tanzy, Café Med, Villagio, Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar, M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom and more. Live music rounds out the spirited evening.

FRIDAY

What: “Dialogues in Civility: In Conversation With Congress”

dialogues in civility

Where: Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University, 3601 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton

When: Noon

Cost: Free, but registration required

Contact: 561/237-7000, lynn.edu/events

Civility in politics sounds like a quaint relic of the 20th century: principled congressional leaders air passionate but respectful disagreements, then perhaps share a beer after the session and work constructively on a compromise. These days, fueled by a balkanized media and constituents who, understandably, would rather see the system burn to the ground than to see their side commune with the sworn enemy, the very concept of civil behavior is under serious endangerment. This free lecture at Lynn will hope to change that perception and forge a new reality, with a bipartisan panel of well-behaved Florida political all-stars. Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel (pictured), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Tom Rooney will discuss the causes and solutions to political incivility in a panel discussion led by Lynn’s own Robert Watson.

What: “Grounded”

Grounded

Where: Thinking Cap Theatre at the Vanguard, 1501 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 3 p.m.

Cost: $35

Contact: 954/610-7263, thinkingcaptheatre.org

Drone warfare has become something a topic du jour in contemporary storytelling, from the play “Leveling Up” to the film “Eye in the Sky.” But George Brant’s“Grounded,” which opened last weekend at Thinking Cap Theatre, offers an innovative stylistic choice to accompany its timely subject matter: It’s a solo show, planting us entirely in the headspace of an Air Force pilot forced into drone duty when she becomes pregnant. Actress Niki Fridh, in her first one-person production, takes the controls for 80 nonstop minutes, in a show that she says explores the “struggles of motherhood, marriage and a career in the military.” “Grounded” also provides a deep dive into the morality of today’s remote-war technology, in which a bad guy—or an entire village of civilians—could be decimated at the punch of a button. Friday’s unique matinee will be followed by a happy hour; traditional 8 p.m. evening performances and 5 p.m. Sunday matinees will continue through April 15.

What: Opening night of “Frantz”

frantz_03-h_2016

Where: Regal Shadowood 16, 9889 Glades Road, Boca Raton

When: Show times pending

Cost: $10-$13

This period drama from celebrated French director Francois Ozon (lately of the gender-bending “New Girlfriend”) is full of secrets and lies in black and white. In the immediate aftermath of the First World War, French soldier Adrien appears in the German mountain town of Quedlinburg, ostensibly to pay his respects to a fallen German warrior named Frantz, and encountering the fresh rancor of a divided continent. Few are willing to accept Adrien’s genuine presence in the country, but among them is Anna, Frantz’s widowed fiancée. Ozon’s narrative, based on Ernest Lubitsch’s lesser-known 1932 drama “Broken Lullaby,” throws a couple of effective curveballs, holding our interest even when the director’s approach grows unnecessarily maudlin. As a study in shared melancholy, “Frantz” has much to say about the fictions we spin to comfort ourselves and loved ones in times of grief, and its monochrome photography—transitioning occasionally into pointed color—is luminous. “Frantz” also opens at Living Room Theaters in Boca Raton, Movies of Delray and Movies of Lake Worth.

SATURDAY

What: Bravo Amici

bravo amici

Where: Old School Square Pavilion, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $30

Contact: 561/243-7922, oldschoolsquare.org

Shattering the misconception that the best opera singers boast wide-girthed proportions, these dashing young turks have the goal of introducing classical musical forms to pop audiences. Bravo Amici’s compelling ensemble of tenors and divas croons classics in Italian and English, crafting a crossover cultural stew of polished musicality. It’s no wonder they’ve sold more than 3 million albums, counting Sir Elton John and Queen Elizabeth among their rapidly growing fan base. Expect to hear classic and contemporary arias that move fluidly between genres and styles. The outdoor concert will be presented under a tent with provided seating; popcorn, ice cream, candy and alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.

MONDAY, APRIL 3

What: Carbonell Awards

carbonell

 

Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $25 advance, $30 day of show

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

It’s time once again for “theatre prom,” the night South Florida’s theatre community dresses to the nines to celebrate the best work produced on tri-county stages the previous year. Maltz Jupiter Theatre, the north county powerhouse, leads regional companies with 18 nominations, many of them for its sensational production of the classic musical “Me and My Girl.” Among plays, Michael McKeever’s shattering ensemble drama “After,” from Miami’s Zoetic Stage, received the most nominations.Regional companies such as GableStage, Slow Burn Theatre and Thinking Cap Theatre also received a number of nominations in important categories. See the winners accept their statues at this local version of the Tonys, which includes performances from the five Carbonell-nominated musicals. Then hobnob with nominees at the onsite after-party.

week ahead

The Week Ahead March 14-20

Jazz in the Gardens returns with a star-studded lineup, Florida Grand Opera puts poetry in motion, and Slow Burn Theatre ventures down the Mississippi. Plus, Carol Burnett, City and Colour, George Packer and more in your week ahead.

TUESDAY

What: George Packer

george_packer

Where: Society of the Four Arts, 2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach

When: 3 p.m.

Cost: $35

Contact: 561/655-7226, fourarts.org

Investigative reporter George Packer is bestowed with a distinct gift for digging beneath the headlines and discovering observations that help us make sense of the world. This is evident every week he publishes an opinion piece or in-depth feature for The New Yorker, and even more so in his award-winning, nonfiction page-turner The Unwinding: The Inner History of the New America, a novelistic 2013 book whose threads of division and economic unease grow more relevant by the day. His blunt, left-leaning opinions may irk some in the Four Arts membership, but I can think of few more sober voices to help us understand our radically shifting political landscape.

THURSDAY

What: Opening night of “Big River”

bigriver_MT26717_011017-351376cbc5

Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $47-$60

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

“Big River” has been one of the “bucket list” musicals for Slow Burn Theatre Artistic Director Patrick Fitzwater, and he’ll finally get to fulfill the wish on the stage of the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theatre. An adaptation of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the sweeping adventure narrative was a different animal from its contemporaries when it debuted on Broadway in 1985: Eschewing the symphonic bombast of so many of the hit, U.K.-conceived musicals, it boasted a country and bluegrass score by honky-tonk royalty Roger Miller. A moving injection of rich, literary Americana, “Big River” won three major Tony Awards. Watch the Mississippi flow to life with a South Florida cast and under Fitzwater’s direction, in a production that runs through April 2.

SATURDAY

What: “Brigadoon”

Brigadoon_web_3360x1848

Where: Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University, 3601 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton

When: 2 p.m.

Cost: $50-$70

Contact: 561/237-7000, lynn.edu/events

Forecast to be Lynn University’s premier musical event of the season, this single-afternoon staging of Lerner and Loewe’s time-traveling classic will be mounted with a full, professional cast, new and original choreography, and live music under the baton of Terence Kirchgessner. You likely know the story—a pair of New York tourists stumble upon the titular village in the Scottish Highlands, which materializes only once in a century, and begin to fall under its romantic spell—but familiarity hardly lessens the impact of this magical musical, whose standards include “Almost Like Being In Love.” There’s a reason it’s produced so often.

What: City and Colour

City A

Where: Revolution Live, 100 S.W. Third Ave.

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $36.80-$38

Contact: 954/449-1025, jointherevolution.net

Singer-songwriter Dallas Green’s five albums recorded under the alias City and Colour have always ebbed and flowed based on their creator’s fragile and mercurial emotional state—or at least that’s how they come across. This is also the best way to explain “The Hurry and the Harm,” Green’s wrist-slitting 2013 release, a comedown that made his tours from that period something of a slog. This surely won’t be the case in 2017, with this tireless road warrior still supporting 2015’s exceptional If I Should Go Before You, with its slow-building rock barnburners, folk earnestness and jazzy detours, each track a self-contained work of art. Green’s lyrics remain complex, poetic and soul-searching, but the sonic result is arguably more engaging than ever.

What: Florida Grand Opera’s “Before Night Falls”

beforenight_300x500_images

Florida Grand Opera’s “Before Night Falls”

Where: Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: $25-$229

Contact: 305/949-6722, arshtcenter.org

Cuban composer Jorge Martin’s fiery adaptation of exile poet and dissident Reinaldo Arenas’ memoir of the same name premiered in 2010 to wide acclaim. The story, which was also adapted for film in 2000, follows Arenas’ evolution from poverty-stricken child in the Cuban countryside to his emigration to the States in the 1980 Mariel boatlift to his final years in New York City. It’s fast-paced, politically potent and imbued with Latin dance rhythms, and it runs through March 25.

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

What: Jazz in the Gardens

Jill Scott

Jill Scott

Where: Hard Rock Stadium, 347 Shula Drive, Miami Gardens

When: Starts at 4 p.m.

Cost: $69-$244

Contact: 800/745-3000, jazzinthegardens.com

Returning for its 12th year, this celebration of all things jazz, hip-hop and R&B has once again corralled an impressive docket of headliners. More than 70,000 attendees are expected to line up for Jill Scott, the triple-hyphenate singer-songwriter, actress and poet; Robin Thicke, the soulful “Blurred Lines” auteur; Herbie Hancock, the inimitable and chameleonic jazz pianist; and Morris Day & the Time, the vintage funkmasters. And that’s just Saturday alone: On Sunday, turn out for LL Cool J, Common, The Roots, Esperanza Spalding and more, and be sure to check out the vendor booths and local art on display.

SUNDAY

What: Opening day of Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival

BocaJFF-WoundedLand

From “Wounded Land”

Where: Cinemark Palace 20, 3200 Airport Road, Boca Raton

When: Begins at 11 a.m.

Cost: $10 per screening

Contact: 561/852-3237, bocajff.org

Just a month and a half after the venerable Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival wrapped up its annual event, this newcomer hopes to harness its energy for an equally eclectic showcase of 27 films from around the world that illuminate aspects of the Jewish experience. The Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival opens Sunday morning with “Children of Chance,” a fact-based historical drama from France about a tubercular child sheltered from the Nazi occupation; and at 1:15 p.m., the award-winning Israeli drama “Wounded Land” follows a night in the lives of two police officers put at odds when they’re forced to safeguard an alleged terrorist over the course of a fraught night. For the entire schedule of films, which runs through March 26, visit the website.

What: Carol Burnett

carol-burnett-ear-tug-w724

Where: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 4 p.m.

Cost: $31-$170

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

Back in the golden age of the comedy-variety genre, “The Carol Burnett Show” averaged 30 million viewers a night. To put that into perspective, today’s top-rated comedy, “The Big Bang Theory,” attracts just 20 million—no inflation adjustment necessary. Burnett’s proto-gender-bending humor, which satirized everything from fairy tales and soap operas to Hollywood and the royal family, holds up just as well as its indefatigable creator, who at 83 remains a sharp, gregarious and productive road warrior. On this spontaneity-filled tour, titled “An Afternoon of Laughter and Reflection,” Burnett will share video clips from her storied career and will field questions from the audience.


For more of the latest A&E news, visit our Arts & Entertainment page, and subscribe to the magazine for a comprehensive calendar of the best events in Boca and beyond. 

week ahead

A&E Week Ahead March 7-13

A New Wave legend tours the Hard Rock, an LGBT icon speaks in Fort Lauderdale, and the Wick Theatre hits the craps tables. Plus, The English Beat, “Rigoletto,” ventriloquist Paul Zerdin and more in your week ahead.

THURSDAY

What: Bryan Ferry

Bryan-Ferry

Where: Hard Rock Live, 5747 Seminole Way, Hollywood

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $40-$85

Contact: 866/502-7529, myhrl.com

One of the New Wave movement’s preeminent crooners and a glam-rock sex symbol second only to David Bowie, the eternally young Bryan Ferry is now an unfathomable 71 years old, making him one of the hippest septuagenarians roaming this or any fruited plain. The voice behind Roxy Music and its trio of No. 1 albums, Ferry has also released more than a dozen eclectic solo albums, from brooding cabaret pop to a Bob Dylan covers album. Those enduring Roxy Music songs, like “Love is the Drug” and “More Than This,” still blessedly dominate his set lists, but who knows what he’ll play in his South Florida show: We’re treated to his very first concert of 2017.

What: The English Beat & the Skatalites

81-og

 

Where: Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $20

Contact: 954/564-1074, cultureroom.net

For a band with only three albums to its credit—the last one released in 1982—the English Beat has enjoyed a remarkable, if fraught, longevity. Fractures within the British ska-pop hitmakers have splintered the English Beat into two confusing projects that continue to tour, but this group, which visits Fort Lauderdale frequently, is the only English Beat featuring original vocalist/guitarist Dave Wakeling performing classics like “Mirror in the Bathroom” and “Save it for Later,” along with a smattering of skankable covers. This English Beat gig is particularly special because of its equally impressive opening act: Jamaica’s the Skatalites are true pioneers of the brassy, rhythmic ska sound, originating in 1963 with defining cuts like “The Guns of Navarone.”

THURSDAY TO SUNDAY

What: Paul Zerdin

Paul-Zerdin-Life-Story-Interview

Where: Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach

When: Various show times

Cost: $25

Contact: 561/833-1812, palmbeachimprov.com

If you think, as I usually do, that ventriloquism is a dead and cheesy art, a relic of children’s theater and “The Twilight Zone,” then you’ve never seen Paul Zerdin’s act. The U.K. comedian and ventriloquist began staging puppet shows at age 10 and mastering speaking without moving his lips in his teen years. By the time he debuted on “America’s Got Talent” in 2015, he had cultivated a brilliant repertoire with his puppet friends that both celebrated and deconstructed his crusty medium of choice. His lighting-fast transitions between voices and his protracted setups and witty payoffs are second to none, earning him the top prize in that “AGT” season.

FRIDAY

What: Opening night of “Guys & Dolls”

guys and dolls

Where: The Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $75-$80

Contact: 561/995-2333, thewick.org

The Wick’s most requested show of the season, this indelible Frank Loesser musical originally ran for 1,200 Broadway performances and won the 1950 Tony for Best Musical. Inspired by the mythical New York underworld of journalist Damon Runyon, the musical’s outsized characters and songs have become synonymous with big-city glamour and romance, from the title song and “Luck Be a Lady” to “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and “I’ve Never Been in Love Before.”

What: Opening day of “Roar”

A still from the film "Roar."

A still from the film “Roar.”

Where: Lake Worth Playhouse’s Stonzek Theater, 713 Lake Ave., Lake Worth

When: 2:30 p.m.

Cost: $6-$9

Contact: 561/296-9382, lakeworthplayhouse.org

If you’re unfamiliar with this 1981 feature film, you’re not alone. “Roar” has been called “the most dangerous movie ever made,” a selling point that’s hard to argue: More than 70 cast and crewmembers, including its main stars, were injured during the 11-year-long shoot, sustaining injuries from bone fractures and scalpings to gangrene. As the legend goes, none of the culprits—the two elephants and 110 lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, cougars and jaguars—were hurt during the making of the film. Director Noel Marshall starred alongside Tippi Hedren (The “Birds” star, who never had much luck with animal-centric movies) and Melanie Griffith, in a story about a wildlife preservationist who lives among a menagerie of untamed beasts. A cinematic curio unseen by most audiences for more than 30 years, “Roar” finally saw its first American audience in 2015, and is only now receiving a belated theatrical run. That blood onscreen is real: Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

What: “An Evening With Larry Kramer”

larry-kramer-2-ftr

Where: Sunshine Cathedral, 1480 S.W. Ninth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $25

Contact: 954/390-0550, worldaidsmuseum.org

One of the most outspoken and inspirational civil-rights icons of his time, Larry Kramer has spent decades in the nexus of art and activism—and he’s still fighting at 81. The founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York City and the direct-action AIDS awareness organization ACT UP, Kramer most famously penned “The Normal Heart,” a shattering play about the impact of HIV on the gay community. He finds much fear and outrage in the current presidential administration, which makes this Fort Lauderdale appearance as timely as it is reflective. Kevin Sessums, a New York Times best-selling author, will interview Kramer about the current political landscape, along with his 35-year battle over gay men’s health and the evolution of LGBTQ rights.

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY

What: WLRN Radio Theater: “Strangers on a Train”

Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $25

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

Alfred Hitchcock loved trains: The chugging movement, the cloistered interiors and the punctuating sounds all made for an atmospheric milieu for the Master of Suspense to play us like one of composer Bernard Herrmann’s fraught strings. Trains play predominant roles in “The Lady Vanishes,” “North by Northwest” and especially “Strangers on a Train,” Hitch’s 1951 suspenser about a pair of avaricious psychopaths who agree to “swap murders” aboard a locomotive, in a perfectly imperfect plan to dispose of problematic relatives. WLRN Radio Theater returns to the Broward Center to revive “Strangers on a Train” the way pre-television audiences experienced it way back in the ‘50s—in a visual theater of the mind, supplemented by vintage sound effects, old-timey mikes, and professional actors generating thrills from a veritable vacuum.

FRIDAY TO SUNDAY

What: “Rigoletto”

152J4441-min

 

Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $20-$150

Contact: 561/832-5469, kravis.org

It’s been reported that the morning after its sold-out premiere in Venice in 1851, audiences were singing “La donna e mobile,” one of the great arias of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” in the streets (Imagine that!). The three-act opera, which lifts its tragic narrative from a controversial Victor Hugo tome, may not have that sort of mass appeal in 2017, but it remains an indelible standard in the operatic canon. Lust and vengeance share the bold canvas of “Rigoletto,” with its hunchbacked title character, licentious duke and supernaturally endowed courtier spearheading the emotional tempest. In this Palm Beach Opera production, 11 singers will make their regional debuts.


For more of the latest A&E news, visit our Arts & Entertainment page, and subscribe to the magazines for a full calendar of upcoming events. 

week ahead

Week Ahead Feb. 21-27

Miami City Ballet premieres a post-Valentine’s “Kiss,” a presidential historian shares Oval Office insights in Boca, and a jazz icon tinkles the keys at the Arsht. Plus, Lucinda Williams, “Xanadu,” Save Ferris and more in your week ahead.

TUESDAY

What: “A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America”

FolkArt

Where: Society of the Four Arts, 2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach

When: Gallery hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: $5Contact: 561/655-7226, fourarts.org

These days, we call unschooled painters and sculptors “outsider artists.” But in the hollers and hollows of the American South, Midwest and New England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they were known as folk artists, and in their visual diaspora, they both re-created the world around them with stunning realism and injected it with primitive character and indelible whimsy. This touring exhibition organized by the American Folk Art Museum in New York collects more than 60 works by these untrained pioneers, whose allegorical tableaux, singular animal sculptures and functional household objects helped establish an innate style for a country still seeking its artistic distinction. See it through March 26.

WEDNESDAY

What: Michael Beschloss

MichaelBeschloss

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss is the author of nine books.

Where: University Theatre at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton

When: 3:30 p.m.

Cost: $35

Contact: 800/564-9539, fauevents.com

For its annual Symposium on the American Presidency, FAU couldn’t have selected a more informed voice on the subject than Beschloss. NBC News’ official presidential historian has influenced and inspired world leaders through nine books about presidents in turmoil, from Kennedy’s dealings with Khrushchev to Roosevelt and Truman’s tenures during World War II. He will address “Critical Moments in the American Presidency.”

THURSDAY

What: Save Ferris

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Where: Revolution Live, 100 S.W. Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: $18.50 advance, $20 at door

Contact: jointherevolution.net

Save Ferris inherently trades in nostalgia, which I guess is appropriate for a band that takes its name from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” The group’s nostalgia harkens primarily to the ska wave it rode in the mid-‘90s alongside No Doubt and tour-mates Goldfinger, most memorably on its brassy, mosh-able cover of the New Wave chestnut “Come On Eileen.” Sadly, this infectious and energetic band fell apart in the 2000s, roiled by key member departures and legal disputes, and there are currently far more ex-Save Ferris musicians than current ones. But Monique Powell’s vocals continue to carry the group’s ska-punk anthems, as present as ever on the forthcoming EP “Checkered Past,” Save Ferris’ first release in 15 years.

 

What: Opening night of “Xanadu”

Xanadu

Where: Broward Center’s New River Room, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $45

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

The source material for the stage musical “Xanadu” is more than dubious: The 1980 film of the same name, despite contributions from Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, is one of film history’s epic clunkers, a spectacularly bad movie that only in cultish circles has become a good-bad movie. But the theatrical version, mounted this time by Fort Lauderdale’s Slow Burn Theatre Company, is a cheekier, more effective spin on the gonzo story, one chockablock with inside-theater jokes, gender-bending casting and copious roller skating. The narrative is what it is: Thanks to interventionist Greek muses, a thick-headed aspiring artist in California realizes his dreams by opening a roller disco. But it’s the winking spirit—not to mention those infectious songs—that has helped the musical succeed where the film most certainly didn’t. It runs through March 5.

THURSDAY AND FRIDAY

What: “Blackbird, Fly”

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Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Daniel Bernard Roumain.

Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $32

Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org

“Blackbird, Fly” is the collaborative collage between two virtuosi at the pinnacle of their respective fields. Haitian-Americans Marc Bamuthi Joseph, a political activist and spoken-word artist, and Daniel Bernard Roumain, a composer and violinist, co-created this “Concert for Voice, Body and Strings.” Joseph’s staccato performance poetry, steeped in both Haitian folklore and hip-hop culture, provides the show’s introspective narrative, while Roumain’s violin prowess contributes the soundtrack, his notes running a gamut from plaintive to furious. As Joseph has said of his colleague’s music, “he uses one instrument in probably 50,000 ways.” Themes of identity and the search for role models radiate from this singular fusion of words, strings and body percussion.

FRIDAY

What: Lucinda Williams

LucindaWilliams

Where: Parker Playhouse, 707 N.E. Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $37.50-$47.50

Contact: 954/462-0222, parkerplayhouse.com

Alt-country siren Lucinda Williams has been writing and performing music professionally for nearly 40 years, forging a reputation as a durable critics’ darling despite a dearth of radio play. A musician’s musician, she has swum fluidly between genres, from folk to blues to rock, all the while communicating love and its loss, faith and rage, uplift and discontent with an unshakeable clarity. Her once-angelic vocals have now matured into a gritty vintage, adding rugged authenticity to her latest LP “The Ghosts of Highway 20,” a haunting album of story-songs inspired by her travels on the titular southern interstate.

What: Chick Corea and Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Where: Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $45-$125

Contact: 305/949-6722, arshtcenter.org

Across a career that stretches back to 1962, jazz keyboardist Corea has accumulated 61 Grammy nominations, the fourth-most in the awards’ history—and at 75, he shows no signs of slowing down. A member of Miles Davis’ band in the late ‘60s, he helped hatch the electric jazz fusion movement and has since mastered genres ranging from avant-garde to children’s music, bebop to symphonic works. He’ll be joined on this tour by another esteemed pianist, the Afro-Cuban phenom Rubalcaba, for a program of solos and duets.

FRIDAY TO SUNDAY

What: Miami City Ballet’s Program III

MiamiCityBallet

Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

When: 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $20-$99

Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org

Miami City Ballet is currently the envy of the classical dance world, thanks to its Program III unveiling of a new work by premier choreographer Alexei Ratmansky: “The Fairy’s Kiss,” a 45-minute narrative ballet for 25 dancers, adapted from Hans Christian Andersen’s dark fairy tale “The Ice-Maiden.” It will be preceded by two eclectic works: George Balanchine’s “Walpurgisnacht Ballet,” which marries music from “Faust” with kitschy movement; and Christopher Wheeldon’s turbulent “Polyphonia.”

 

phantom

‘Phantom’ Tickets on Sale

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Single tickets for Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” are on sale now at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.  With reinvented staging and scenic design, this new version is performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this one of the largest productions on tour in North America.

Don’t fret if you missed out on season tickets; single show tickets for 15 performances on March 23 through Saturday, April 1 start at $31 and may be purchased at the Kravis Center Box Office located at 701 Okeechobee Blvd. in West Palm Beach, on-line at the Official Kravis Center website www.kravis.org, or by calling the box office at 561/832-7469. For group sales, please call 561/651-4438 or 561-651-4304.

New editor of Boca and Delray magazines, Pamela served as storytelling coach and entertainment editor for USA Today network in Naples before moving to Lake Worth. A journalism professor with an M.A. in literary journalism, she’s a seasoned entertainment editor from San Francisco and Cincinnati.