“The Ultimate Ponzi” book signing at Cinema Paradiso, 503 S.E. Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale; 6 p.m.; $5 or free for members; 954/525-3456 or www.fliff.com
South Florida’s own ultimate Ponzi schemer is not Bernard Madoff – though he certainly plundered the bank accounts of many Palm Beachers. I prefer the meteoric rise and karmic collapse of Scott Rothstein, the extravagant lawyer currently serving a 50-year sentence for a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme that helped fund a $6 million Fort Lauderdale home (one of three residences across the country), a $5 million yacht and a fleet of exotic cars. He was almost a parody of a wealthy, egomaniacal sociopath – “I joke around that there are 43 people living in my head and you never know what you’re going to get,” he once told an interviewer – and his journey is chronicled in an exhaustively researched new book by Chuck Malkus. Malkus will present clips from Rothstein’s career and sign copies of his book at this event; light refreshments will be served.
Mike Tyson: “Undisputed Truth” at Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 8 p.m.; $35-$500; 305/949-6722 or www.arshtcenter.org
It seems like eons ago that Mike Tyson bit into Evander Holyfield’s ear, and epochs since his notorious rape conviction in the early 1990s. Redemption, apparently, is possible for boxing’s baddest boy, who has reclaimed his image and possibly his mental health thanks to show business. Tyson 2.0 started with an intimate, thoughtful 2008 documentary of his life and was followed by acting roles in “The Hangover” and “Law & Order: SVU.” But perhaps more than anything else, it’s Tyson’s surprising turn as the star of a one-man Broadway show directed by Spike Lee that has raised his credibility to new heights. The funny and grotesque show, which features an unfiltered Tyson dishing on his career highs and lows, has received critical raves to justify its high ticket price. He’s proven to be witty offstage, too, telling reporter Rick Reilly that the pressure of acting onstage is “the same as a fight, but I don’t have to worry about going to the hospital afterwards.”
Wednesday to Sunday
South Beach Comedy Festival at various South Beach venues; various ticket prices; southbeachcomedyfestival.com
Wisely pushed back from its usual March engagement, this year’s South Beach Comedy Festival will run in the (relatively) slower month of April, where a handful of top comedians will headline this festival’s most exciting lineup in years. The festival begins on Wednesday with a quality workshop production of Mad Cat Theatre Company’s “Charming Acts of Misery” – a comedy about the tragic life of fashion muse Isabella Blow. The fun continues with rising actor Bill Burr, also on Wednesday, “Weekend Update” host Seth Meyers on Thursday, “30 Rock” alum Tracy Morgan on Friday and the wickedly funny Sarah Silverman on Saturday, all at the Fillmore Miami Beach. And you can catch more comics at “Backstage @ the Fillmore,” the Colony Theatre and the Lincoln Road Free Stage throughout the weekend.
Esperanza Spalding at Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 8:30 p.m.; $55-$95; 305/949-6722 or www.arshtcenter.org
In February 2011, jazz singer Esperanza Spalding stunned the music world when she won the Best New Artist Grammy, upsetting Justin Bieber and Mumford & Sons to become the first jazz performer to win the award. Not bad for a high school dropout from Portland who trained her voice primarily by singing in the shower. A lovely, big-haired melting pot of music and culture, Spalding sings in English, Spanish and Portuguese, and plays intimate jazz on her instrument of choice, the upright bass.
Friday and Saturday
“An Evening with Groucho” at Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach; 7:30 p.m. Friday and 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; $35; 561/832-7169 or www.kravis.org
The thick moustache, striking eyebrows, phallic cigar and safari hat are only the finishing touches on actor Frank Ferrante’s spot-on impersonation of Groucho Marx, which he’ll bring to the Kravis Center for these three performances. Discovered in 1985 by Groucho’s son, Arthur, for a play he was working on about his father, Ferrante soon became the go-to Groucho in the theater world. He’s played the Marx brother at age 15 on through to age 85 and has won awards for his work in the Arthur Marx/Robert Fisher play “Groucho: A Life in Revue.” For this new solo show, he’ll play Groucho during the artistic peak of the comedian’s career, and it will include songs, one-liners, anecdotes and inspired audience improvisation.
Second Anniversary Celebration at Arts Garage, 180 N.E. First St., Delray Beach; 7:30 p.m.; $100; 561/450-6357 or www.artsgarage.org
Simply surviving two years as a nonprofit arts startup is a laudable accomplishment in this economy. Pineapple Grove’s Arts Garage has managed to do so while battling its potential banishment from its current, choice location – a battle with a prestigious law firm which the city is still deciding. Now something of an institution in Delray Beach, this beloved organization can use your support more than ever, and this fundraiser will go a long way in helping to ensure its survival, while directly benefiting educational initiatives. Little Jake Mitchell and the Soul Searchers, a nine-piece soul and blues act from Detroit, will highlight the festivities, and attendees can enjoy cocktails and delicacies from some of the city’s finest restaurants.
The Smithereens at Meyer Amphitheater, 104 Datura St., West Palm Beach; 4:30 p.m.; free; 561/822-1515
If talent and fame had any correlation whatsoever, the Smithereens would be one of the most popular bands on the planet. Instead, the New Jersey power-popsters have had just one album peak on the Billboard charts – at No. 41, in 1990. But this hardworking band has been recording albums and touring for the past 33 years, occasionally accruing the misguided accusation that they steal from the Beatles and other British Invasion acts. To my ears, Elvis Costello is a far more obvious influence, but the Smithereens have eked out a cult niche all their own, by playing music that should be for the masses. At this special free concert, expect to hear hits like “A Girl Like You” and “Blood and Roses” along with cuts from the band’s powerful 2011 release, matter-of-factly titled “2011.”
“Finding Mona Lisa” play reading at Lynn University’s Wold Performing Arts Center, 3601 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton; 7:30 p.m.; $10; 561/237-9000 or www.lynn.edu
Local theater maven Jan McArt’s New Play Reading Series at Lynn University has grown in leaps and bounds this past season, growing from audience figures that just barely cracked double digits last season to more than 400 for last month’s reading of Jay Stuart’s “Champagne and Bosom Buddies.” The series concludes tonight with perhaps its most anticipated entry, “Finding Mona Lisa,” a new play from South Florida’s most recognizable playwright, Michael McKeever. It’s about the rich history of the Mona Lisa painting, intertwining six storylines from 1503 Florence to 2013 New York, and it features a dynamite cast: Alex Alvarez, Lindsey Forgey, Maribeth Graham, Peter Haig, Matthew Korinko and Scott Douglas Wilson. See it in its inception before a major regional theater snatches it up.