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Canada: Choir Boy “Sings” in Montreal Before It Hits Broadway

A half century ago, a creative actor/director and immigrant (from South Africa via England), Maurice Podbrey, together with his equal half, Elsa Bolam (and Herb Auerbach and Peter Duffield) managed to knit together a theater company, Centaur, which was and is no easy feat. If that wasn’t nerve wracking enough for a person, Bolam then went on to start another successful one, Geordie Productions.

In an unintentional but perfect nod to the past, Eda Holmes, Centaur’s new artistic director, brings us Choir Boy set in a boys’ prep school while Podbrey’s first production, The Prime of Miss Jean Brody, took place in a girl’s school. The play is written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, who comes with a pretty flashy CV: he’s the Chair of Yale’s School of Drama, where he is also the Playwright in Residence at the Repertory Theatre. and he was also Playwright in Residence for Stratford-Upon-Avon’s Royal Shakespeare Company – and happens to be a member of the renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble. And let’s just throw in here that he wrote the story of Moonlight which won Oscars for best picture and for the writing.

The story is mostly about Pharus (played by Steven Charles), a gay student making his way through a very traditional private school. Charles commands the stage throughout, and we can’t wait to see where his star takes him (to the Broadway production?). His fellow students talk, yell, fight and sing a cappella as they share intimacies and rivalries when the old school values conflict with our modern world in rules, nepotism, faith, sexuality and school board traditions.  Tight direction by Mike Payette keeps you riveted throughout, while Lighting Designer Andrea Lundy’s magic creatively moves you around the set (loved the purple).

Floydd Ricketts, the musical director and arranger, was the right man in the right place to be able to create new arrangements of spirituals, gospel and jazz songs for a cappella harmonies.  Ricketts notes, “Even though this music comes from pain, there is also joy in it”. Dayane Ntibarikure, assistant director and choir movement facilitator, did a brilliant job of  having the actors move “slave slowly” around the scenes, adding foot stomping  to song and subtly evoking a chain gang in the shower scene.

Holmes has tweaked the play runs slightly this year by adding (less expensive) preview shows to get the performance just that more perfect for opening night. You know how much I like a deal, and Centaur offers much for FREE with behind-the-scenes info to enrich your  theater experience: Talk Back after the shows , Sunday Chat Up, Thursday Pre-Show Convo and the Saturday Salon.

How perfect that this golden Centaur season started by lifting our spirits with the power of music blended with this timely story. See Choir Boy in Montreal before you can’t get tickets on Broadway (Dec 2018)!

Location 453 St-Francois-Xavier
corner: Notre-Dame
Tel: 514-288-3161
Dates: til Oct 28
www.centaurtheatre.com
Metro: Place d’Armes

US: Mount Vernon, VA – Walk in Washington’s Boots and Make Tough Decisions

Do you have what it takes to lead like Washington? Visitors to his Mount Vernon Estate now have a chance to put themselves in Washington’s boots and experience first-hand the leadership challenges that he faced on the battlefield and in the presidency.

“Be Washington: It’s Your Turn to Lead” is a new first-person interactive experience that allows visitors to  come face to face with a leadership challenge that George Washington also confronted as commander in chief or president. Listen to advice from his most trusted sources and make your decision.

Inside the immersive 1,200-square-foot Be Washington theater, participants take the role of George Washington as they seek to solve one of four crises that Washington faced. Events of the Revolutionary War and presidency come alive on a massive 30-foot 6K-resolution screen. Chris Jackson, the actor who played George Washington in the Broadway hit “Hamilton,” will introduce each of the plots onscreen and will later describe the course of action that General or President Washington took. Each scene takes about 18 minutes to complete.

Featured scenarios include the Battle of Second Trenton, the Whiskey Rebellion, the Genet Affair and the Newburgh Conspiracy. As you learn about the situation, participants hear insights and opinions from some of the same historical advisers that Washington would have had access to, such as Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and Henry Knox. As they sift through differing recommendations, they are asked to rate each adviser’s persuasiveness.

At the end of each segment as Washington, the participants have seconds to vote for which course of action they would take to solve the crisis.  All votes are then tabulated and shared on the main screen. Washington’s decisive actions at key moments helped to shape our history. Discover if you would have made the same tough choices.

Entry to the Be Washington theater is free when you purchase a general admission ticket to Mount Vernon. You can try the web-version of “Be Washington” at: play.bewashington.org

Location: George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22121
Date: until – Dec 31, 2018
Time: 9am – 4pm
Tel: 703-780-2000
mountvernon.org/site/bewashington
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitalexandriava.com

US: Richmond, VA – International Film Festival With Emphasis on Music

Richmond International Film Festival (RIFF) brings more than 150 international cutting edge films to RVA, plus industry panels, Q&As, live musical performances, red carpet awards, and entertainment mixers that usher the spirit of Hollywood into Virginia’s  Bowtie Cinemas, various music venues, and the historic Byrd Theater, a venue touted by USA Today as “one of the top 10 places to still see a movie in splendor in the United States.”Byrd_Theatre_marquee_preview

With more than 20 countries represented, the RIFF Official Selection consists of a diverse range of films (features and shorts), music videos, and screenplays across all genres.

RIFF_photo_4_previewRIFF is known for placing a heavy focus on music each year. The 2018 Festival will again include more than 50 music performances, industry networking events, panels, music business roundtable discussions, industry mixers, and more. On top of providing great entertainment from some of the music industry’s hottest talent, RIFF utilizes this area as a platform for filmmakers and musicians to forge new working relationships. Top awards will be given out across a variety of music categories during the annual red carpet awards.

2018 Special guests include: Kate Bosworth, Michael Polish, Danny Glover, Lee Aronsohn, Rene Balcer & Carolyn Hsu-Balcer.RIFF_photo_7_preview

It’s a one-of-a-kind festival honoring some of the most singularly entertaining projects on the international film scene.

Location: Various
Date: Mon, Apr 23, 2018 – Sun, Apr 29, 2018
Tel: 804-219-0675
rvafilmfestival.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitrichmondva.com

US: Miami Beach, FL- Florida Grand Opera: Free Family Day and Performance

Do you have a New Year’s resolution for 2018, perhaps that includes exposing your family to more culture, well here’s your chance. On January 6th, Florida Grand Opera is holding a fun-filled Family Day for those new to the genre or seasoned opera aficionados.

Explore the world of opera through hands-on activities, performances, interactive experiences, and the thrill of live theater. Enjoy a special presentation of Hansel & Gretel by the FGO Children’s Opera.

Florida Opera Piano2017-12-12_14-48-09Activities (while supplies last) –

10am-12pm: Black Box: Voice experience with an interactive voice lesson

Lab Theater: Instrument Petting Zoo

Classroom: Costume Demonstration and crafts

Dance Rehearsal Studio: Makeup/lighting color effects demo

12-12:45pm Hansel & Gretel Main Stage performance Floridsa Opera Hansel & Gretel FB_IMG_1510853432253

12:45 Post-show autographs and pictures in Main Stage Lobby

Appropriate for all ages. Free admission;  All patrons entering the theater require a ticket regardless of age. This includes children and infants.

Florida Opera Face Painting2017-12-12_14-50-12Location: South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211 Street, Cutler Bay, FL 33189
Date: Sat, Jan. 6th, 2018
Time: 10am – 2pm
Tel: 786-573-5316
Tel Box office: 786-573-5300
smdcac.org/events/fgo-family-day-2017
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & attractions: miamiandbeaches.com

 

US: Tybee Island, GA – New Year’s Day Plunge into the Atlantic Ocean on Tybee Island

Running into the chilly Atlantic might not be the typical way to celebrate New Year’s Day, but for the last 18 years, the Tybee Polar Plunge has done just that.Polar_Poster2018_e2

The annual Tybee Polar Plunge, is a tradition held every New Year’s Day at the Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion. Join thousands of hearty and brave souls as they take a group  plunge into the into the icy Atlantic Ocean at noon or just come out and see who’s crazy enough to take the plunge and cheer them on.ElvesIMG_0270

The fun kicks off with the legendary Gang of Goofs costume contest and parade on the Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion at 11 am before the plunge. So gather up your gang of goofy friends and family, dream up your wackiest costumes and compete for great cash prizes before a panel of celebrity judges.Getting In

So don’t hesitate, take the leap…Funds raised support the renovation of the historic Tybee Post Theater.

AVOID LONG LINES AND REGISTER IN ADVANCE!  Click Here

 

 

Location: Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion – Tybee Island, GA 31328
Date: Sunday,  January 1, 2018
Time: 10am
Tel: 912-472-4790, 912-786-5444
tybeepolarplunge.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visittybee.com, visitsavannah.com

US: Daytona Beach, FL – Praise the Lord and Pass the Suntan Lotion

The Daytona Beach Drive–In Church – Back in 1953 when this was still the Neptune Drive-In Theater, The First Christian Church organized the first drive-in service. Daytona Drive In Church

Buying the property in 1957, they now welcome everyone – tourists, the physically challenged, families with kids or those looking for a unique way to worship (honking your horn = clapping).

Services typically last for about 55 minutes and they offer hot coffee and Krispy Kreme donuts before and after each service in Friendship Hall.

Perfect for those going to swim on Sunday (don’t need to wear your Sunday best!) – just stay in the car, tune in on your radio, and at the end Rev. Robert Kemp-Baird will shake your hand through the window – then you can zip across the street to the beach.

Location: Daytona Beach Drive In Christian Church, 3140 South Atlantic Avenue
Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118
Hours: Sun 8:30 & 10
Tel: 386-767-8761
driveinchurch.net
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: DaytonaBeach.com

US: Miami, FL – Arts and Culture Festival in Little Havana every Friday

Little Havana Viernes Culturales Abril-15-9Miami, FL Exit 1B: Little Havana is a true reflection of Hispanic culture. As you approach the heart of the neighborhood at SW 8th Street—known as Calle Ocho by the locals; the geographical, historical and emotional heart of the Miami Cuban exile community,  you may feel you’ve been transported to another time and place. Go there for authentic Cuban fare, a strong cafecito, a good Cuban cigar, Latin festivals or a fierce game of dominoes. From salsa-dancing and art exhibits, to a historic movie theater, concerts, Little Havana uncovers a thriving arts and culture scene with a distinctly Cuban flair.Little Havana CraftsVC JAN 2015 (20)

Experience Little Havana by partaking in the Cuban culture at Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays), Little Havana’s popular vibrant art and culture festival, taking place on the last Friday of every month, from 7 to 11 pm on SW 8th Street (Calle Ocho) between 13th and 17th Avenues. It promises to be a fun-filled event for the whole family.

Enjoy live music, dancing under the stars, discover works by local artists and artisans in and around iconic Domino Plaza on SW 8th Street and SW 15th Avenue, contemporary and historic artworks at the many fine art galleries, domino games, cigar rollers, local arts and crafts, all while taking in the flavor and ethnic diversity that Little Havana has to offer.Little Havana FoodVC JAN 2015 (26)

Get the sense of this tight knit community by taking advantage of the Free Little Havana Walking Tour.  Dr. Paul George has developed 12 different tours of the surrounding neighborhoods and this historic walking tour experience brings a unique and different audience from all parts of South Florida. Meet in front of the Tower Theater (1508 SW 8th St.) @ 7 PM, Free, no reservations required.Little Havana Face Painting Viernes Culturales Abril-15-60

Free Trolley Service : The City of Miami takes you for free on the Miami Trolley leaving from the Mary Brickell Village and the Brickell Metrorail/Metromover Station to the heart of the Viernes Culturales festival every 15 minutes, starting at 6:30 pm.

Location: Along Southwest 8th Street from 13th to 17th avenues, Miami, FL 33135
Date: Fri, June 30 2017 (Later 2017 Dates: 7/28, 8/25, 9/29, 10/27, 11/24, 12/29)
Hours: 7 – 11 pm
Tel: 305-643-5500
viernesculturales.org/mainvc/
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: miamiandbeaches.com

US: New Haven, CT – International Festival of Arts & Ideas

What do you get when you assemble authors, scientists, and leading innovators alongside outstanding artists? The International Festival of Arts & Ideas – a 15-day festival of performing arts, lectures; dynamic public programs to captivate, entertain, and motivate a diversity of communities.Arts & Ideas2017-05-05_16-12-09

Each June, the Festival takes over the theaters, open spaces, and courtyards of New Haven, Connecticut with performances and dialogues that tickle the senses, engage the mind, and inspire the soul. More than 80% of festival programs are completely free to the public, including events that feature some of the most influential jazz, classical, dance, and theater artists of our time.

Dancers Arts & Ideas 2017-05-05_16-16-33This year will feature an array of world-premiere theater performances, internationally renowned musicians, modern dance, circus theater, weighty discussions on contemporary issues, food and bicycle tours. Be empowered through the rhythms of BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, healed through the communal music of (Be)longing, and surprised by international premieres from China, cutting-edge, retro-tech experiences of Manual Cinema, and LEO’s gravity defying theatrics.  In addition, more than a dozen new performances and experiences in ALTAR’d Spaces surrounding the New Haven Green, the Big Read, The Wailers and Rusted Root… the line up is bounteous!

Photo Credits:New Haven Green – Judy Sirota, Pop Up Fair – Haven Anderson

Location: Town Green and various venues throughout the city
Downtown New Haven, CT 06510
Dates: June 3- 24, 2017
Hours: Various
Tel: 203-498-1212
artidea.org/festival
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitnewhaven.com

US: Newburyport, MA – Reptiles, Comedy Juggler, Flash Mob, Drumming and Art at Newburyport’s 2-Day Fest

Celebrate the season at historic Newburyport Spring Festival, a tradition upheld for over 30 years on Memorial Day Weekend.  Enjoy great live music, art, fine crafts, activities for kids, and food from Newburyport’s outstanding restaurants at this 2-day FREE festival featuring entertainment for the whole family -rain or shine. Springfest Group SittingDSC_0022

Sunday -Entertainment
10:30am-11:15am in Market Square -Bryson Lang – Comedy Juggler – audiences will see a family-friendly show and an energetic personality performing inventive and clever routines that mix comedy, audience participation, ball spinning, flying sombreros, ball bouncing, fire-juggling, well-crafted timing, huge spinning bouncing rings, giant Beach Balls, improv, and a few surprises.Springfest Crafters 71

10am, 12pm, and 2pm -Theater in the Open – Flash Mob on Inn Street

Live Music
1pm – 4pm  Live Music in Market Square 617 Band – Covering your favorite party and dance hits!

11pm, 1pm, 3pm – 30 min sets on Inn Street – Zach Field Drum Studio

Art
“Emerging at Any Age” – A group of Newburyport’s finest senior artists from just starting out to artists that have had long careers in art. Gallery will be on Pleasant Street.

Monday Entertainment
Kids Entertainment from 10:30-11:30am in Market Square – Reptile Show
Come and meet some of the friendliest reptiles in New England. Brought to you by Zoo Creatures/New England Reptile, they will teach you about some most impressive animals. From giant snakes to prehistoric lizards, you can learn, touch, hold and hug.

Live Music in Market Square
Eagle in the Attic – Newburyport band performing Springfest Bridge Band 14

Location: Downtown Newburyport, Market Square, Newburyport, MA 01950
Date: Sun  May 28 – Mon May 29, 2017
Hours: 10am – 5pm
Tel: 978-462-6680
newburyport.com/events-in-newburyport/
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: newburyportchamber.org

US: Lumberton, NC – This Show is Going to the Dogs…and Cats

If you are an animal lover, this show is for you. Popovich Comedy Pet Theater is a family-oriented blend of the unique comedy and juggling skills of Gregory Popovich, and the talents of his furry costars.popovichlyingdown

Featuring European-style circus extravaganza including physical comedy, juggling, acrobats from the Moscow Circus, along with mimes, contortionists and jaw dropping juggling by internationally acclaimed award winner Gregory Popovich. There are more than 30 pets in the show, including highly intelligent dogs, house cats, a variety of birds and a miniature horse, each one has been rescued from animal shelter. The animals show off their dexterity in a variety of unbelievable stunts and skits, including “The Dog Classroom,” “The Amazing House-Cats,” and “The Animal Train Station.”  cat-piggy-back

Popovich, a fifth generation circus performer who learned early on how to develop strong bonds with animals, has rescued a majority of his performers from shelters all over the country, and has transformed them into Las Vegas stars. He is a gold medal winner in Paris, France and a special award winner in Monte Carlo. Gregory and his pets were finalists on “America’s Got Talent”, were guests on TV shows with Jay Leno, David Letterman, Craig Ferguson and was a feature on Animal Planet. Do not miss this opportunity to see this unique family-friendly show featuring this legendary circus entertainer and his furry friends.popovich-carolina-civic-center

Location: Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater, 315 North Chestnut St., Lumberton, NC 28358
Date: Thurs., Feb 2. 2017
Time: 7 pm – 9 pm
Tel: 910-738-4339
carolinaciviccenter.com/event/popovich-comedy-pet-theater/#.WEg1Rn2rHfc
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: lumberton-nc.com