Thursday to Saturday
“My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m Home for the Holidays” at Crest Theatre, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach; $30; show times vary; 561/243-7922 or www.oldschool.org
Sometimes, comedians have to wrack their brains, working long, hard hours to come up with imaginative comic material. For others, the material is their very lifeblood, their heritage, their kin – the humor is less written than remembered, less comedy act than personal memoir. Steve Solomon is this kind of humorist and stage performer, a man who rose to prominence with his off-Broadway hit “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy.” The ethnic and cultural clashes that divide and somehow unite his family have been fodder for years, and his all-new show hones in, specifically, on the nightmarishly entertaining holiday protocols of the Solomon household.
Opening night of “Million Dollar Quartet” at Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 8 p.m.; $25 to $72; 305/949-6722 or www.arshtcenter.org
I’m trying to imagine a correlative today for the explosion of musical talent, all gathered in one room, that comprises the back story for the Broadway musical “Million Dollar Quartet.” But even today’s best-selling pop-music talents – say, the Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West, Rihanna and Eminem – collaborating on a daylong jam session have nothing on the Dream Team that descended on Sun Records in Memphis in December of 1956: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins performed classic songs aside, and with, one another, under the direction of famed rock executive Sam Phillips. The collaboration is captured in this true-life spin on the jukebox musical, featuring performances of “Blue Suede Shoes,” “I Walk the Line,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Great Balls of Fire” and more. It runs through Jan. 1, including a 7 p.m. New Year’s Eve performance.
Opening night of “Ringling Brothers Holiday Spectacular” at Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach; 7 p.m.; $15 to $50; 561/366-3000 or www.ringling.com
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus return to West Palm Beach for their usual Holiday Spectacular, and this year’s program features a lineup befitting that name. Characters new to the extravaganza include the Ringlettes, the circus party’s stylish hosts, and Anton, a “goofy hipster clown” who has not been invited to the party. Other entertainers include the Kung Fu Kings, musicians Trio Caveagna, lion tamer Brian McMillan, high wire performer Francielb Rodrigues, trapeze artists the Medeiros Troupe, the balancing act Barons of Balance, illusionist David DaVinci and his wife Jamie Leigh, clown host Dean Kelley and of course all the elephants and tigers you’d expect. It runs through Jan. 1.
Opening night of “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 8 p.m.; $29.25 to $69.25; 954/462-0222 or www.browardcenter.org
Its praises having been sung to the heavens by The Washington Post and New York Daily News, this holiday stage spectacular arrives in Fort Lauderdale through Jan. 1, thanks to Broadway Across and Florida Theatrical Association. In front of a landscape of giant gifts, candy canes and 30-foot toy soldiers, more than 30 internationally talented artists re-imagine the holidays. Created by Neil Goldberg, the director who brought us the hit show Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, this family-friendly production is rife with extravagant costumes, stunning illusions and feats of strength and disbelief not limited to wire-walking, balancing acts, ice sculpting, puppetry and reindeer flights.
Matisyahu at Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach; 8 p.m.; starting at $25; 561/832-7569 or www.kravis.org
Since 2004, reggae artist Matisyahu has been a phenomenon unlike any other. He’s not only a white man playing music popularized by black-skinned forefathers – he was also, until very recently, a Hasidic Jew, complete with yarmulke and tzitzits, with which he would perform onstage (though not on Friday nights, in observance of the Sabbath). For Jewish believers looking for a celebrity spokesperson in the secular music world, Matisyahu was an inspiration and a crossover sensation who scored a top 40 hit with “King Without a Crown,” from his debut record. As of Dec. 13, he has shaved his customary beard, writing on his website “No more Chassidic reggae superstar. Sorry folks, all you get is me…no alias.” This move will force journalists like myself to focus less on the novelty of his act and more on his actual music. For his Kravis debut tonight, he will perform a special acoustic set including a rare Q&A session with the audience.
Dec. 30 to Jan. 1
Orange Drive Miami Beach Music Festival on Miami Beach between Seventh and Ninth streets on Ocean Drive; show times vary per day; $64.20 to $85.60; www.orangedr.com
A few days before the Discover Orange Bowl game, get the party started early with this star-studded music festival, now in its second year. Taking place on a giant beachside amphitheater, the three-day concert is expected to lure some 30,000 partygoers to attend. For enthusiasts of hip-hop and R&B, the lineup is mouthwateringly good while representing numerous time periods and subgenres. Dec. 30 will feature Gym Class Heroes, Boyz II Men and Paul Wentz & Black Cards; New Year’s Eve will welcome Jermaine Dupri, Ne-Yo, Jason Derulo and DJ Irie; and Jan. 1 will feature performances by Cee Lo Green, Cobra Starship and Samantha Ronson.