Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weekend arts picks: July 29-Aug. 2

Michael McKeever and Nickolas Richberg in Stuff.

Editor’s note: This story, was was to be posted Friday, was delayed by technical difficulties. It has been posted since Friday on

Theater:‭ ‬OK,‭ ‬you’ve procrastinated long enough.‭ ‬This is the final weekend for the world premiere production of‭ ‬Stuff at Boca Raton’s Caldwell Theatre.‭ ‬This cautionary tale of two eccentrically wasted lives,‭ ‬wealthy Harlem hermits Homer and Langley Collyer,‭ ‬is not only Davie playwright Michael McKeever’s best script in quite a while,‭ ‬but he gives a remarkably accomplished performance as figuratively and literally blind brother Homer.‭ ‬Despite the story’s tragic underpinnings,‭ ‬McKeever is able to mine it for darkly comic potential.‭ ‬Also worth the ticket price is the wily performance of Angie Radosh as the Collyer matriarch,‭ ‬wielding a genteel,‭ ‬but iron fist in raising her boys.‭ ‬Through Sunday.‭ ‬Call:‭ ‬(561‭) ‬241-7432‭ ‬or‭ ‬(877‭) ‬245-7432‭ ‬for tickets.

Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling in Crazy,‭ ‬Stupid Love.

Film:‭ ‬We know how romantic comedies go these days.‭ ‬They are painfully predictable and fueled by bodily fluid jokes.‭ ‬So when a movie like‭ ‬Crazy,‭ ‬Stupid Love comes along with some genuine plot surprises and an adult outlook on the world,‭ ‬it feel like a summer oasis.‭ ‬Steve Carell,‭ ‬Hollywood’s current schlemiel of choice,‭ ‬plays a long-married suburban dad whose wife dumps him and,‭ ‬out of sheer pity,‭ ‬ladies‭’ ‬man Ryan Gosling coaches him in how to pick up women in bars and start his life over.‭ ‬Yes,‭ ‬emotional mayhem ensues,‭ ‬but Dan Fogelman’s screenplay takes that theme to unexpected places.‭ ‬And the captivating Emma Stone‭ (‬Easy A,‭ ‬next month’s‭ ‬The Help‭) ‬again shows why she is an emerging star to be reckoned with.

Igor Stravinsky.

Music:‭ ‬Somewhere in the middle of World War I,‭ ‬Igor Stravinsky discovered jazz,‭ ‬and America’s hot new music left its mark on Stravinsky’s style,‭ ‬giving him the impetus to leave the Rimsky-Korsakov tradition behind for good.‭ ‬Tonight and through Sunday,‭ ‬the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival closes its‭ ‬20th anniversary season with a reprise of‭ ‬L’Histoire du Soldat,‭ ‬14‭ ‬seasons after it performed it the first time.‭ ‬The same cast is on hand‭ – ‬actors Barbara Bradshaw,‭ ‬Joe Gillie and Randolph Dellago‭ – ‬all performing Stravinsky and C.F.‭ ‬Ramuz’s story of a soldier who encounters the Devil while on two weeks‭’ ‬leave.‭ ‬Also on the program is the big E-flat Piano Quintet‭ (‬Op.‭ ‬44‭) ‬of Robert Schumann,‭ ‬featuring Lynn University-based pianist Yang Shen.‭ ‬Tickets for the concert are‭ ‬$25.‭ ‬Call‭ ‬800-330-6874‭ ‬or visit‭ ‬


The Vans Warped Tour,‭ ‬now in its‭ ‬16th year,‭ ‬rolls into the Cruzan Amphitheatre this weekend with a host of hot bands including Paramore and Florida favorites Less Than Jake.‭ ‬What began as a way to sell more skateboards and the extreme sporting life has turned into a major venue for folks who like their rock with a hard,‭ ‬aggressive edge,‭ ‬and some of the newer bands on view this time are sure to make a wider mark in years to come.‭ ‬Tickets are‭ ‬$43‭ ‬through Ticketmaster‭; ‬doors open at‭ ‬11:30‭ ‬a.m.

Lil Wayne.

On Tuesday,‭ ‬the Cruzan plays host to Lil Wayne,‭ ‬the New Orleans rapper‭ (‬Lollipop,‭ ‬I Am Not a Human Being‭) ‬whose next,‭ ‬and possibly last,‭ ‬album,‭ ‬The Carter IV,‭ ‬is due out next month.‭ ‬Wayne will be joined by Rick Ross,‭ ‬Keri Hilson,‭ ‬Far East Movement,‭ ‬and Lloyd in this stop on a tour that’s been one of the biggest of the summer,‭ ‬and may continue for additional dates.‭ ‬Tickets are‭ ‬$29.75‭ ‬and available through Ticketmaster.

A scene from the original Dayton Ballet version of Play Ball‭!

Dance:‭ ‬Touring dance master Christopher Fleming created a baseball-based ballet in 1999‭ ‬featuring various diamond moves set to familiar classical selections,‭ ‬and tomorrow night and Sunday,‭ ‬the Boca Ballet Theatre offers Fleming’s tribute to the‭ ‬1940s boys of summer.‭ ‬Play Ball is the chief work on the Boca Ballet’s‭ ‬All-American Summer program,‭ ‬set for‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬Saturday and‭ ‬2‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬Sunday at FAU’s University Theatre.‭ ‬Checking it out might be a good way to avoid the heat and celebrate the company’s‭ ‬20th anniversary.‭ ‬Tickets are‭ ‬$35.‭ ‬Call‭ ‬995-0709‭ ‬or visit‭ ‬

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Theater feature: Kravis' 2011-12 season features fare for low, high brows

Larry King.

By Hap Erstein

You’ve heard of the three Bs‭ ‬--‭ ‬Bach,‭ ‬Brahms and Beethoven‭? ‬Well,‭ ‬the Kravis Center has announced that next season it will present the three Ls‭ ‬--‭ ‬Larry the Cable Guy,‭ ‬Larry King and a tribute show called Elvis Lives.‭ ‬Uh,‭ ‬didn’t the Kravis used to be a center for the performing arts‭?

The West Palm Beach complex will be celebrating its‭ ‬20th anniversary season beginning this fall with its usual eclectic array of acts from highbrow to low,‭ ‬though perhaps tilting more to the low than in the past.‭ ‬In case you were wondering what King would do after his CNN interview show,‭ ‬you can see him on the Kravis stage in what the season announcement calls‭ “‬a brand-new,‭ ‬hilarious stage show that gives his fans a humorous and insightful look at his life.‭” (‬Jan.‭ ‬24‭)

What,‭ ‬too weighty for you‭? ‬Then how about the pairing of daytime TV’s Regis Philbin with Emmy-winning soap star Susan Lucci‭ (‬Dec.‭ ‬30‭)? ‬What exactly they will do that evening is a stumper,‭ ‬but the Kravis offers a hint by describing Philbin as a‭ “‬crooner supreme.‭” ‬Larry the Cable Guy is a veteran of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour,‭ ‬so his fans know what to expect on Nov.‭ ‬19,‭ ‬and the Kravis further justifies the booking by noting that this year marks the‭ ‬20th anniversary of Larry’s career.

Those convinced that Elvis Presley died‭ ‬34‭ ‬years ago may have their confidence all shook up by Elvis Lives‭ (‬Jan.‭ ‬23‭)‬,‭ ‬billed as‭ “‬the ultimate Elvis tribute artist event,‭” ‬featuring finalists from‭ ‬--‭ ‬get this‭ ‬--‭ ‬the worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.‭ ‬Also in the faux-concert tribute vein will be The Official Blues Brothers Revue‭ (‬Feb.‭ ‬9‭)‬,‭ ‬licensed at least by Dan Aykroyd and the John Belushi estate,‭ ‬and the return of The Pink Floyd Experience‭ (‬March‭ ‬4‭)‬,‭ ‬in a set that will include the former rock band’s entire‭ ‬1975‭ ‬Wish You Were Here album performed live.

k.d.‭ ‬lang.

Actual headliners slated to appear at the Kravis next season include singers k.d.‭ ‬lang‭ (‬Oct.‭ ‬8‭)‬,‭ ‬Linda Eder and Steve Tyrell‭ (‬Jan.‭ ‬3‭)‬,‭ ‬Patti LaBelle‭ (‬Feb.‭ ‬4‭)‬,‭ ‬Bernadette Peters‭ (‬Feb.‭ ‬10‭)‬,‭ ‬Johnny Mathis‭ (‬March‭ ‬2‭)‬,‭ ‬Neil Sedaka‭ (‬March‭ ‬30‭) ‬and Patti LuPone‭ (‬April‭ ‬4‭)‬.‭ ‬Among the celebrated musicians in the season will be Pinchas Zukerman‭ (‬Jan.‭ ‬4-5‭)‬,‭ ‬Joshua Bell‭ (‬Jan.‭ ‬31‭)‬,‭ ‬Michael Feinstein‭ (‬Feb.‭ ‬3‭)‬,‭ ‬Diana Krall‭ (‬Feb.‭ ‬11‭)‬,‭ ‬Chris Botti‭ (‬March‭ ‬3‭)‬,‭ ‬Itzhak Perlman‭ (‬March‭ ‬6‭) ‬and,‭ ‬yes,‭ ‬Yanni‭ (‬April‭ ‬17-18‭)‬.‭

Vying against Larry the Cable Guy for the season’s comedy honors will be Wanda Sykes‭ (‬Dec.‭ ‬11‭)‬,‭ ‬Second City Improv All-Stars‭ (‬Dec.‭ ‬30-Jan.‭ ‬1‭)‬,‭ ‬Dennis Miller‭ (‬Jan.‭ ‬5‭)‬,‭ ‬Jackie Mason‭ (‬Jan.‭ ‬31‭) ‬and Martin Short‭ (‬March‭ ‬28‭)‬.‭ ‬And,‭ ‬OK,‭ ‬classical music has hardly been shortchanged,‭ ‬since the Kravis has also booked the Munich Symphony‭ (‬Nov.‭ ‬15-16‭)‬,‭ ‬Emerson String Quartet‭ (‬Dec.‭ ‬6‭)‬,‭ ‬Royal Philharmonic Orchestra‭ (‬Jan.‭ ‬4-5‭)‬,‭ ‬Tchaikovsky St.‭ ‬Petersburg State Orchestra‭ (‬Jan.‭ ‬24‭)‬,‭ ‬Cleveland Orchestra‭ (‬Jan.‭ ‬25‭)‬,‭ ‬Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra‭ (‬Feb.‭ ‬8-9‭) ‬and the Minnesota Orchestra‭ (‬March‭ ‬11‭)‬.

For the previously announced Kravis on Broadway series,‭ ‬the center confirms that Palm Beach favorite son George Hamilton will headline the production of‭ ‬La Cage aux Folles‭ (‬Feb.‭ ‬14-19‭)‬.‭ ‬Leading off the series will be‭ ‬The Addams Family‭ (‬Nov.‭ ‬8-13‭)‬,‭ ‬whose plot happens to be identical to‭ ‬La Cage’s,‭ ‬followed by the popular revival of‭ ‬Hair‭ (‬Jan.‭ ‬10-15‭)‬,‭ ‬the Twyla Tharp-meets-Frank-Sinatra dance concert‭ ‬Come Fly Away‭ (‬March‭ ‬13-18‭) ‬and the re-conceived‭ ‬25th anniversary production of‭ ‬Les Miserables‭ (‬May‭ ‬16-26‭)‬.

For the complete Kravis Center schedule,‭ ‬go to its website at‭‭ ‬Tickets to the season’s events go on sale to the public Sept.‭ ‬24.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Music review: Mozart quintet makes graceful memorial at chamber fest

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in an unfinished portrait
by his brother-in-law, Joseph Lange.

By Greg Stepanich

A sweetly radiant reading of the Mozart‭ ‬Clarinet Quintet added a poignant touch to the closing half of the third concert in the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival‭’‬s current summer season.

The quintet‭ (‬in A,‭ ‬K.‭ ‬581‭) ‬was dedicated to the memory of the Rev.‭ ‬Perry Fuller,‭ ‬father of festival co-founder Karen Dixon.‭ ‬Fuller died earlier this month of liver cancer,‭ ‬and Dixon has bowed out of the series this summer to tend to family matters.‭ ‬Dedicating the quintet to him was a gracious gesture,‭ ‬and‭ ‬it was matched by a graceful performance.

On Sunday afternoon at Delray Beach‭’‬s Crest Theatre,‭ ‬clarinetist Michael Forte was joined by violinists Dina Kostic and Mei-Mei Luo,‭ ‬violist Rene Reder and cellist Susan Bergeron.‭ ‬There were some warm-up difficulties at first,‭ ‬with Forte sounding a little thin and Kostic under pitch,‭ ‬but those‭ ‬blemishes evaporated a couple minutes into the first movement,‭ ‬which was played overall with a gentle kind of serenity.

The beautiful second movement fit this mood excellently,‭ ‬and Forte‭’‬s lovely tone and long-breathed lines were matched by playing of maximum tenderness from the string quartet.‭ ‬And the quartet‭’‬s sense of unity and quiet purpose were much in evidence in the first trio of the third movement,‭ ‬which is for the strings alone.‭

The finale,‭ ‬a remarkable set of variations,‭ ‬was capably and professionally played,‭ ‬but it could have used more color and contrast.‭ ‬The main theme would have benefited from some crisper rhythmic snap,‭ ‬and the moody minor-key variation from more‭ ‬mystery.‭ ‬The last movement has a wide variety of moods,‭ ‬and here the musicians didn‭’‬t take enough advantage of all those differences.

The Mozart closed the concert Sunday,‭ ‬and it was preceded by music of‭ ‬the Czech Bohuslav‭ ‬Martinu,‭ ‬a frequently programmed‭ ‬composer for this series over the years.‭ ‬Kostic,‭ ‬Luo and Reder joined for the Serenata No.‭ ‬2,‭ ‬a three-movement piece from‭ ‬1932.

While this piece has the harmonic and rhythmic Martinu fingerprint,‭ ‬it differs from much of his other work in its pronounced lyricism.‭ ‬The second movement,‭ ‬marked‭ ‬Poco andante,‭ ‬is a straightforwardly pretty‭ ‬piece,‭ ‬and the three women played it winningly.‭

The outer movements have that full-sun quality common to many of Martinu‭’‬s speedy movements,‭ ‬and in both instances the three played with vigor,‭ ‬but it was a vigor with a light touch,‭ ‬and the final impression of this brief work was of warmth and geniality more than athleticism.

Dixon had been scheduled to play Eric Ewazen‭’‬s‭ ‬Mosaics on the program,‭ ‬but in her absence it has been rescheduled for next summer.‭ ‬Replacing it was a most unusual choice,‭ ‬the‭ ‬Duo Concertante for bassoon and marimba of Leon Stein‭ (‬1910-2002‭)‬,‭ ‬who taught for almost‭ ‬50‭ ‬years at DePaul University in his native Chicago.‭

Marimbist Michael Launius and bassoonist Michael Ellert teamed for this three-movement work,‭ ‬which is written in a jazz-inflected tonal style.‭ ‬What‭’‬s perhaps most interesting about it is that the‭ ‬material is worked out in a serious,‭ ‬thorough manner,‭ ‬when what you might expect in this instrumental combination is brevity and a comic lightness.

But the final movement‭ ‬of this duo is a fugue,‭ ‬and the piece opens with a jazzy chordal motif in the marimba whose rhythm can be heard running throughout the movement.‭ ‬Both soloists have a‭ ‬lot of work to do,‭ ‬and‭ ‬the effect is of two strong-minded voices having a reasonable conversation‭; ‬rarely is the‭ ‬texture reduced to one accompanying the other.

Launius and Ellert demonstrated thorough commands of their instruments,‭ ‬and‭ ‬gave Stein everything he wanted,‭ ‬especially in the fugue,‭ ‬which has a bustling theme that had a nice way of hooking the ear into following where it was going.‭ ‬This was a fine performance of a worthy piece,‭ ‬a challenging work that offered listeners a fresh‭ ‬instrumental combination and a sober contemporary flavor,‭ ‬and one that was in keeping with the best traditions of this durable festival.

The‭ ‬Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival‭ wraps its‭ ‬20th anniversary season beginning at‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬Friday‭ ‬at Persson Hall on the campus of Palm Beach Atlantic University with a performance of the Piano Quintet‭ (‬in E-flat,‭ ‬Op.‭ ‬44‭) ‬of Robert Schumann,‭ ‬and Igor Stravinsky’s‭ ‬L’Histoire du Soldat,‭ ‬featuring actors Barbara Bradshaw,‭ ‬Joe Gillie and Randolph Dellago.‭ ‬The program is repeated at‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬Saturday at the Eissey Campus Theatre in Palm Beach Gardens,‭ ‬and at‭ ‬2‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬Sunday at the Crest Theatre in Delray Beach.‭ ‬Tickets are‭ ‬$25.‭ ‬Call‭ ‬330-6874,‭ ‬visit‭ ‬,‭ ‬or buy them at the door.