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Canada, Montreal: Pulitzer Prize Winning Play Glengarry Glen Ross

It’s special when we can get to view a play which was honored with a Tony nomination and garnered a Pulitzer Prize.  Glengarry Glen Ross, now playing at the Mainline Theatre (produced by Acts to Grind Theatre), shows off David Mamet’s ability to write profound dialogue.

This story highlights the cynical, difficult, pushy life of real estate salesmen in NYC. I was not surprised to learn that the play is also often referred to as “Death of a Fuckin’ Salesman”, because it is notorious for its use of profanity. That hardly resonates in today’s foul language world – on the other hand, today’s politically correct society would flinch at the prejudice shown against East Indians and Polish people.

Mamet’s characters are drawn down and dirty as lying, backstabbing, double-dealing tricksters willing to toss out ethical principles to justify their work. Yet they really are passionate about selling, and especially enjoy the nitty gritty details of closing a deal.  One of Mamet’s goal in writing this play was to highlight the plight of so many people who go about their lives performing regular jobs yet often having to endure indignities while doing so.

Actor Zag Dorison (Shelly Levene) does an amazing job of making you feel his nervousness and despair; we twitch and pull on our lapels right along with him. Dorison, commenting on his character, “This play will always be relevant. There will always be those who exploit others and are out
for a buck at the expense of someone’s savings and dignity. Although the character of Shelly Levene is down on his luck, he believes that
it’s just a streak that will break; he had been a shark and wants to be one again. It is interesting that in spite of this, the audience still
sympathizes with him when his whole world comes crashing down upon him.”

Michael Aronovitch (George Aaronow),  Izak Benrobi (Ricky Roma) and Jake Caceres (Dave Moss) have all been cast well for their parts, and they make their distinctive personalities apparent. Bryan Libero (John Williamson) really makes you dislike him while the company man, Olivier Ross-Parent (Blake/Baylen) is properly detestable.  Davyn Ryall (James Lingk) does well as the meek patsy trying to get his money back.

Be prepared for Mamet’s long soliliquys for each of them – with the other salesmen there mostly as an audience for their rants.  Since this is a small theatre, you too feel as though you are right next to them in the room. Be careful though because as Levene says, these guys are so manipulative, they know how to sell you something you didn’t even want.

Location: MainLine Theatre, 3997 St-Laurent, 2nd floor
Dates: Presented in English: Wed-Sat Nov 7-10, 14, 15, 16, 17, at 8pm. Sun matinees Nov 11, 18, at 2 pm
Tickets: (Prices include taxes and service charge) $22 general admission; $20 Seniors; $18 Students
Tel: 514 849-3378
e-mail: boxoffice@montrealfringe.ca
www.mainlinetheatre.ca/en/spectacles/glengarry-glen-ross
youtu.be/kQOG32GINho
NOTE: mature language. Recommended ages 14+

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: Providence, RI – Over 5,000 Intricately Carved Pumpkins and Spooky Nights at the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

A fall tradition at the Roger Williams Park Zoo, is the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, attracting more than 100,000 visitors for this truly “spectacular” event.

Don’t miss this year’s show that includes more than 5,000 intricately carved pumpkins featuring scenes of wizards, fairytales, and the luminaries of great myths and legends, alongside superheroes, and historical figures who changed the world. Revel in the sights and sounds of the season, and celebrate this otherworldly experience. This seasonal art show aims to delight and amaze the whole family, and not to scare anyone. – Tickets on-sale now

You can also experience the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride during the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. From 115 feet above riders enjoy an aerial view of the park and admire the plethora of jack-o-lanterns from above. Get an eagles-eye view over Providence and into Narragansett Bay in comfortable side-by-side seats.

There are also a number of Special Events taking place which are included in the price of admission (with the exception of Spooky Zoo and Boo at the Zoo Family Overnight). Kids and adults are encouraged to wear costumes; masks are not permitted for teens/adults over age 12.

Children’s Fairy Tale Nights – Wed and Thurs, Oct 10th & 11th @ 5:30pm-8pm: Meet beloved children’s fairy tale characters.  Take pictures with Peter Pan, Cinderella, Snow White, Robin Hood and favorite Dr. Seuss characters such as the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch.  As the sun sets, find your favorite fairy tales characters intricately carved on the pumpkins.

Wizarding Nights – Wed and Thurs, Oct 17th & 18th @6pm-8pm:
Wizards and witches get your wands, mount your brooms and fly on over to meet some of the characters from J.K. Rowling’s beloved series.  Before you embark on the pumpkin trail, try a butter beer or a chocolate frog.  Then travel the pumpkin trail, and identify characters and scenes from the wizarding world.

Super Hero Nights – Wed and Thurs, Oct 24th & 25th @6pm-8pm:
Comic book fans might meet Black Panther, Captain America, Iron Man, Spider Man, and the gang, take a photo, and find out how they all save the world.  As the heroes go back out to fight evil, find your hero’s pumpkin on the pumpkin trail.

Spooky Zoo – Sat and Sun, Oct 27th & 28th:
Spooky Zoo is back, offering daytime outdoor autumn activities for the whole family.  Come trick-or-treat (while supplies last)  beginning at 10:30 am on the Treat Trail by the red wolf exhibit. Kids and adults will enjoy a packed schedule of seasonal activities. Activities are free with Zoo admission and all children 12 and under dressed in costume get in for half price.

Boo at the Zoo Family Overnight – Sat, Oct 20th and Sat, Oct 27th, 2018:
Snooze at the Zoo for the wildest family overnight adventure in town. The night begins with pizza and ice cream before educators engage you and your children in an owl pellet dissection, program animal encounters, and give you VIP access to the world famous Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. Set up your sleeping bags in the Meller-Danforth Education Center with popcorn and a movie to snooze to. You’ll need your zzzzs before waking up with the animals. A light breakfast will be provided before a morning Zoo tour.

The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular takes place 7 days a week. Take advantage of Value Nights, Mon-Thurs, which will save you a bit of money and are usually less crowded.

 

 

 

 

 

Location: Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Ave, Providence, RI 02903
Dates: Oct 4 – Nov 4, 2018
Times: 6 – 11 p.m. (last admission at 10pm)
Tel: 401-785-3510
rwpzoo.org/plan-your-visit/events/jack-o-lantern-spectacular
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: goprovidence.com

US: Ormond Beach, FL – Ormond/Daytona Beach Tricksters and Hot Rods

The Ormond Beach Community Day is a fun filled event for the whole family. All the fun takes place on Saturday, September 29th from 11am to 4pm at Destination Daytona.

This free community non-profit charity event features outstanding food, live music, vendors and entertainment including a professional  BMX Trickstars shows, classic car show, RV exhibit with Giant Recreation World, Motorcycle Police Demos,  drum line performance, a visit from the National Guard, top 40 hand picked Hot Rod show, kids play area with face painting, balloons, bounce house, and all full day of live music.

Location: Destination Daytona, 253 Destination Daytona, Ormond Beach, FL 32174
Date: Sat, Sept 29, 2018
Time: 11am – 4pm
Tel: 386-868-8484
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: daytonabeach.com

US: Alexandria, VA – DC’s Area Big Fall Latin Dance Party

Experience four days and nights of Latin dance lessons, meeting new people, enjoying dance performances and social dancing with world renown instructors at DC’s 3rd Annual Fall Salsa and Bachata Dance Festival.

Four Days of Non-Stop Dancing with 5 Nights of Theme Parties, Over 50 Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, and Zouk Workshops, amazing talent from around the world and dance performances and social dancing with world renown instructors.

Experience this Latin Dance Fest and hangout with new people, learn to dance and even ask one of the artists to dance with you.

Event Schedule:                                                

Workshops:
Thursday – 8pm until 10pm
Friday – 2pm until 9pm
Saturday – 10am – 9pm
Sunday – 11am – 9pm

Performances:
Friday – Sunday – Starting at 9pm

Social Dancing:
Thursday -starting at 10pm
Friday – 10:30pm – 6am
Saturday – 10:30pm – 6am
Sunday – 10:30pm – 6am

Location: Westin Alexandria Hotel, 400 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA 22314
Dates: Sept 27 – 30, 2018
Time: Various- See Schedule Above
Tel: 703-409-0443
dcsalsabachatafest.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitalexandriava.com

US: Kennett Square, PA – Jaw-Dropping Fountains Dance with Colors and Music

Located only 12 miles from Wilmington, Delaware, Longwood Gardens attracts visitors from around the globe to its 11,000 varieties of plants spread out across more than 1,000+ acres of gardens, meadows, woodlands and elaborate horticultural displays.

Longwood’s celebration of the Main Fountain Garden, which returned in 2017 after a $90 million, more than two-year revitalization. Renowned for its spectacular Festival of Fountains, the astonishing shows gather attention from far and wide, and are a favorite among visitors of all ages.

Watch in awe when the fountains dance to stirring music and water jets shoot up to 175 feet high. You don’t want to miss Longwood’s Illuminated Fountain Performances where you’ll see an infinite mix of color, sound and music. The fountains perform daily at 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 5:15 and extended hours for illuminated fountain performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7:15.

In addition, the wildly popular Fireworks & Fountains return with  new shows: September 29 at 8:15 pm: Solid Gold ’70s – Take a bell-bottomed step back in time to the disco decade featuring iconic music from The Bee Gees, Kool and the Gang, Donna Summer, and more cool cats you’ll really dig. For Tickets:  Fireworks & Fountains 2018 

Festival of Fountains also features the Gardens in their summer splendor. The refreshed garden design invites guests to wander and discover new garden gems, including the Grotto, Pumphouse Plaza, and Historic Pumphouse display. Flowering annuals and perennials abound plus a breathtaking Waterlily Display that showcases aquatic plants from all over the world.

Take a hike in the expansive Meadow Garden or enjoy a shady stroll among Longwood’s historic trees. The outdoor Children’s Corner offers younger guests a garden designed just for them, while the Idea Garden is a showcase of plant combinations, innovative vegetable gardens, and unusual plant varieties to inspire guests to try at home.

Longwood Gardens allows a limited number of visitors per day, so purchase Tickets in advance to guarantee admission.

Illuminated Fountain Performances continue through October 27 and Daytime Fountain Performances continue through October 28 during Autumn’s Colors.

Photo Credit: Daniel Traub

Location: Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348
Dates: until – September 30, 2018 (check website for later schedule)
Time: Sun–Wed  9am–6pm, Thurs–Sat 9am–10pm
Tel: 610-388-1000
longwoodgardens.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitwilmingtonde.com

US: Miami Beach, FL – Dance the Night Away in Miami

The Miami Beach Kizomba Festival (MBKF) marks its 5th year of bringing people together from across the globe to celebrate African culture, music and dance.

Kizomba is a slow, sensual dance and musical genre originating in Angola in 1984, a more modern music genre mixed with African rhythm and usually sung in Portuguese.  Kizomba means “party” in Kimbundu, and that is just what you are going to get at this festival.

Not to mention outstanding workshops, world-class dance instruction and lessons, unforgettable music concerts, live musicians and performing artists, superstar DJ’s  and sunrise beach parties, night parties, and pool parties.

MBKF takes place at the iconic Eden Roc Hotel, August 22-27, with live performances by Yola Semedo and Jennifer Dias. You can choose between a Party Pass, Weekend Pass or Full pass. If you like dancing, join the celebration at the Miami Beach Kizomba Festival, a great atmosphere of people from all over the world partying all night under one roof.

For Tickets:  Buy Now

Location: Eden Roc Miami, 4525 Collins Ave, Miami, FL 33140
Dates: Wed, Aug 22 – Mon, Aug 27.  2018
Time: various – see schedule
Tel: 914-226-9554
thembkf.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: miamiandbeaches.com

US: Daytona Beach, FL – Pan American Masters Championships – Open Water Events

Love ocean sports? Why not soak up the beach vibe as Daytona Beach hosts the Pan American Masters Championship – the largest ocean swim competition to be held in Daytona Beach to date. Pan-Am-Championships-Open-Water-Challenge-1_8a8bde9b-97e6-67db-10c308eb7b1a5a2a

Swimmers from all over the world – from youth to adult and novice to Olympian – will descend upon the white sand beaches and the inviting waters of Daytona Beach to compete in the Open Water (1.5K and 5K).

Daytona-Beach_DSC_5744_ed9e0590-dde5-1a24-64c733d78b8f286eStarting and finishing at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, check out the map and schedule for the best vantage points along the coast to watch the event. Admission FREE.

Discover Daytona Beach, where you have a 500-foot sandy backdrop to unplug, unwind and reconnect with one another.Daytona-Beach_DSC_5749_ed9e2371-c31c-69de-213487206811633b

Location: Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, 100 North Atlantic Avenue Daytona Beach, FL 32118
Date: Sun, Aug 5, 2018
Time: Starting at 7am
2018panammasters.com
For Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: daytonabeach.com

Canada: Hudson Village Theatre – Savannah Sipping Society is Light Summer Fun

Many of us enjoy a light read to while away a lazy summer afternoon. At the Hudson Village Theatre, you don’t even have to read to have fun – you can just listen and watch as four women meet, mingle and moan – and become a family of friends.

The director, Ellen David, takes this (Jessie) Jones (Nicholas) Hope (Jamie) Wooten delightful script and gently guides the dynamic quattro of actors as they learn “what is holding you back from one’s past and self-imposed limitations towards a compelling future”.  This could be any one of us.

The performers David chose are as well cast and strong as the four sides of a square. Randa Covington (Jane Wheeler) has defined herself by her work, and doesn’t know how to re-define herself beyond that. She tries to hold on to her safe proper business countenance, but is weighed down by feeling second best in her family. Marlafaye (Lisa Bronwyn Moore) gets the classic “dumped for a younger woman” part, so feelings of anger and rejection are keeping her from moving forward. “I swear the older you get the harder it is to jump start a new life”, she says.

Dot (Kathleen Fee), the oldest of the bunch, has just lost her husband, the only man she has known, and with whom she had planned to retire. She has no idea how to figure out what comes next. Her subtle acting is deliciously wonderful as she delivers many funny zinger lines. Paula Costain as Jinx moves and talks with the right zippy attitude to convince them, as their new “life coach”, to go (as David says)” beyond their comfort zone to a brave new world where they eventually find themselves”. Jinx reminds us that her older sister (now incapacitated with dementia) taught her that “it’s the happy in life that counts”.

The set by Jean-Claude Olivier is a comfortable porch, so the women have an informal place to gently and liquidly reveal their sagas. As this is a “Sipping Society”, drinking props (by Lea Robertson) were a fun challenge due to the many iterations of serving different kinds of alcohol. Marlafaye once toasted, “Girls, here’s to living single and drinking doubles”.

There were more costume changes than you would expect (by Elisabeth De Medeiros), creating a fashion show which helped define the scenes and the forward movement of their lives.

Jamie Wooten, one of the playwrights, was a writer for The Golden Girls, so the quality of their patter and the giggly one-liners is in the same genre of that hysterical show.  When Marlafaye sees Randa’s house for the first time she opines, “Yeah, sure is a pretty place. Everything’s so neat and clean. I’m not like that. Instead of cleaning my house, I just turn off the lights”.  When Randa comments on drinking mead, “This really isn’t so horrible”, Marlafaye responds, “The very words I said on my wedding night”.  Marlafaye also says,  “Sex is like a brownie – when it’s good it’s really good. And when it’s bad….it’s still pretty good!”.

Andrea Romaldi, the artistic director writes, “friendships are our lifelines and support structures. Good friends cheer us, challenge us, bewilder us and irritate us, but ultimately they support and help us grow into our best selves”. Head out to Hudson and lift a glass to friendship.

Location: 28 Rue Wharf, Hudson, QC J0P 1H0
Phone: 450- 458-5361
Dates: til July 22
https://villagetheatre.ca/

 

US: Connecticut – June 21- Connecticut is Joining Make Music Day Around the World

The first annual Make Music Connecticut, a free, wild and wonderful mix of over 250 free outdoor musical events, will make its debut on Thursday, June 21.# Women - Ukulele 26201732312_bf1e5567e3_b

Modeled after a Parisian tradition (Fête de la Musique) that began in 1982 as a tribute to the Summer Solstice.  Each June 21st Paris is filled with musicians of all kinds performing on sidewalks, lawns, balconies, in parks, etc. for anyone to enjoy at no cost.

Drums 13914042290_1e8733da4a_bMake Music Connecticut is part of Make Music Day, a global music celebration that takes place on the summer solstice each year and brings people of all ages and skill levels together to make music. This year, more than 70 U.S. cities and the entire state of Connecticut will host thousands of Make Music performances across the country as part of the world’s largest annual music event.Guitars 14100592595_92d013c9e4_b

Featuring musicians of all abilities and music from any genre.  Sidewalks, parks, front porches, and public spaces throughout the region will become stages for local musicians to perform and for all to enjoy. Each region will have its own ambiance. This will be a day packed with more than 250 free musical events happening with concerts on streets, sidewalks, and parks around the state.

Keyboards 13914058319_70760e6e56_bCommunity Jam Sessions, Dueling Drums, Battle of the Bands are some of the featured events. For a full schedule of events: MakeMusicCT.org

Location: Numerous locations throughout Southeastern CT
Date: June 21, 2018
Time: Various – see schedule
Tel: 860-460-5236
makemusicday.org/southeasternct