“Mystery of the Tango” at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 8:15 p.m.; $60 to $80; 954/462-0222 or www.browardcenter.org
Hispanic Heritage Month has been in effect since Sept. 15, and it concludes tonight with Symphony of the Americas’ celebration of the tango, the sensual partner dance birthed in the Argentine-Uruguay border in the 1890s. The Symphony will welcome acclaimed violinist Alejandro Drago, who will world-premiere his three-movement piece “Mysteries of Buenos Aires,” a musical journey that combines his own biography as a youth in the titular city with the dance style it helped create. Arrive early, at 7:30, for a special multimedia presentation of tango music and dance, at no additional cost, at the Broward Center’s Abdo New River Room.
Hank Phillippi Ryan at Murder on the Beach, 273 Pineapple Grove Way, Delray Beach; 7 p.m.; free; 561/279-7790 or www.murderonthebeach.com
With a masculine name like Hank Ryan, I was surprised to learn that this mystery author is in fact a woman – a pugnacious novelist who has enjoyed a dual career as a crusading television reporter in Massachusetts. Ryan has won 30 Emmys and a few distinguished Edward R. Murrow Awards for her investigative work on NBC’s Boston affiliate; other career turns have seen her covering politics for Rolling Stone and working as a press secretary to a U.S. congressman. In between chasing criminals and uncovering political corruption, the indefatigable journalist has just released her sixth mystery, “The Wrong Girl.” At Murder on the Beach tonight, she’ll speak and sign copies of the book, in which her reporter protagonist becomes ensnared in a corruption plot involving a crooked adoption agency.
Opening night of “The Who’s Tommy” at Delray Beach Center for the Arts, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach; 8 p.m.; $10 to $20; 561/243-7922 or entractetheatrix.org
There’s no mistaking what Entr’acte Theatrix’s current project is: the homepage of its website is dominated by a massive marquee screaming ‘TOMMY’ in bold black type – appropriate for a show, character and concept album that has become larger than life. From a story originally conceived as a double-album by the Who in 1969, Pete Townshend helped elevate “Tommy” into a stage musical in the early ‘90s, which dramatizes, and occasionally deviates from, his band’s iconic story about a deaf, dumb and mute child who becomes a pinball wizard to deal with a traumatic childhood. Featuring 20 scenes and more than 30 Who songs, including “I’m a Boy,” “The Acid Queen” and “I’m Free,” it’s an ambitious work for the emerging young cast and behind-the-scenes theater professionals at Entr’acte. Its production runs through Oct. 27.
Susan Joy Share’s “Animated Library” at FAU’s University Theatre, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton; 7 p.m.; $18 suggested donation; 561/297-0226 or www.fau.edu
It’s hard not to love a person with the words “joy” and “share” in their name, and once you see Susan Joy Share’s work, that affinity will only grow. An eclectic visual artist from Alaska who will be making her first South Florida appearance this weekend, Share’s primary medium is books, creating feather dusters, pillars, zippered rulers, fences and keepsakes imbued with wit, ingenuity and plenty of dead trees. But she really comes alive during live performances like tonight’s one-night only event. In “Animated Library,” her book-inspired sculptures will “awaken, flow, flip and expand” across the stage, integrating visual art, movement and sound in a manner that must be seen to be believed. If you can’t make it tonight, Share’s work will be viewable in FAU’s Wimberly Library from Oct. 18 to Jan. 19.
Opening night of “Next to Normal” at Slow Burn Theatre Company, 12811 W. Glades Road, Boca Raton; 8 p.m.; $25 to $40; 866/811-4111 or slowburntheatre.org
The story of a woman’s battle with bipolar disorder and the effect it has on her family of four is not standard fare for American musical theater. But that’s exactly why this alternately funny, dark and above all humane musical has been a favorite booking at regional theaters across the country – including a celebrated production at Coral Gables’ Actors Playhouse in 2012. The musical, which is presented in the fully-sung style of pop opera, has long been on the bucket list of Slow Burn Theatre Co-artistic Director Patrick Fitzwater, telling Boca Magazine earlier this year that “It spoke to me because I’m not a fan of fluffy musical theater. I’m not a big Rodgers and Hammerstein kind of guy. I remember seeing ‘Next to Normal’ and leaving the theater and walking back to the hotel and just feeling that punch in the gut, where you’re like, ‘What just happened? What journey did we just go on?’” You can go on Slow Burn’s “Next to Normal” journey through Nov. 2.
Opening night of Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival at Cinema Paradiso, 503 S.E. Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale; 7 p.m.; $10 to $100; 954/525-3456 or www.fliff.com
Now in its 28th year, the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) continues to spread its cinematic tentacles far and wide across Broward County, with world and regional premieres of indie films, foreign titles, shorts and documentaries inside theaters in Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Sunrise and, for the first time, Hollywood for the next four-plus weeks. The festival opens in grand – and local – style with the drama “Free Ride” (pictured), set among the South Florida drug trade of the 1970s. Anna Paquin stars as a struggling single mother, and she will be in attendance to receive a Career Achievement Award. Then, festival passholders can gravitate over to Villa de Palma, the 18,000-square-foot mansion of local philanthropist Steve Savor, for the opening night party, a “Great Gatsby”-themed shindig. Visit bocamag.com later this week for reviews of some other FLIFF titles.
Friday and Saturday
David Spade at Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach; 8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday; $42.50; 561/833-1812 or www.palmbeachimprov.com
Just as John Edwards once said there were two Americas, comedy lovers may acknowledge that there are David Spades: the TV David Spade and the film David Spade. The prior was one of the beacons of the early ‘90s “SNL,” helping to resuscitate the sketch series into a new Golden Age with his recurring characters; he then scored with successful televisions runs on “Just Shoot Me” and “Rules of Engagement,” which played to his personality. His film career, on the other hand, with the exception of 1995’s “Tommy Boy,” has been critically dismal, pandering and unchallenging. Which Spade will show up for this weekend’s standup sets? Possibly neither, but we’re hoping for the biting sarcasm of his early “Saturday Night Live” material.
Improvised Shakespeare Company at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 7:30 p.m.; $25 to $35; 954/462-0222 or www.browardcenter.org
Many of us have seen Shakespeare reduced, revised or reimagined; now it’s time for the Bard to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous improv comedy. The Improvised Shakespeare Company has quickly built up an untarnished reputation in alternative comedy circles for its ability to mesh Shakespearean plots and diction into brand-new narratives created off-the-cuff from audience suggestions. At a recent show, the troupe of eight men (who can play Shakespearean damsels without any makeup or props) worked a hilarious new story from the unpromising audience title “Rubber Crazy,” turning it into a star-crossed love affair divided by contraception.