A New Wave legend tours the Hard Rock, an LGBT icon speaks in Fort Lauderdale, and the Wick Theatre hits the craps tables. Plus, The English Beat, “Rigoletto,” ventriloquist Paul Zerdin and more in your week ahead.
What: Bryan Ferry
Where: Hard Rock Live, 5747 Seminole Way, Hollywood
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 866/502-7529, myhrl.com
One of the New Wave movement’s preeminent crooners and a glam-rock sex symbol second only to David Bowie, the eternally young Bryan Ferry is now an unfathomable 71 years old, making him one of the hippest septuagenarians roaming this or any fruited plain. The voice behind Roxy Music and its trio of No. 1 albums, Ferry has also released more than a dozen eclectic solo albums, from brooding cabaret pop to a Bob Dylan covers album. Those enduring Roxy Music songs, like “Love is the Drug” and “More Than This,” still blessedly dominate his set lists, but who knows what he’ll play in his South Florida show: We’re treated to his very first concert of 2017.
What: The English Beat & the Skatalites
Where: Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 954/564-1074, cultureroom.net
For a band with only three albums to its credit—the last one released in 1982—the English Beat has enjoyed a remarkable, if fraught, longevity. Fractures within the British ska-pop hitmakers have splintered the English Beat into two confusing projects that continue to tour, but this group, which visits Fort Lauderdale frequently, is the only English Beat featuring original vocalist/guitarist Dave Wakeling performing classics like “Mirror in the Bathroom” and “Save it for Later,” along with a smattering of skankable covers. This English Beat gig is particularly special because of its equally impressive opening act: Jamaica’s the Skatalites are true pioneers of the brassy, rhythmic ska sound, originating in 1963 with defining cuts like “The Guns of Navarone.”
THURSDAY TO SUNDAY
What: Paul Zerdin
Where: Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach
When: Various show times
Contact: 561/833-1812, palmbeachimprov.com
If you think, as I usually do, that ventriloquism is a dead and cheesy art, a relic of children’s theater and “The Twilight Zone,” then you’ve never seen Paul Zerdin’s act. The U.K. comedian and ventriloquist began staging puppet shows at age 10 and mastering speaking without moving his lips in his teen years. By the time he debuted on “America’s Got Talent” in 2015, he had cultivated a brilliant repertoire with his puppet friends that both celebrated and deconstructed his crusty medium of choice. His lighting-fast transitions between voices and his protracted setups and witty payoffs are second to none, earning him the top prize in that “AGT” season.
What: Opening night of “Guys & Dolls”
Where: The Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 561/995-2333, thewick.org
The Wick’s most requested show of the season, this indelible Frank Loesser musical originally ran for 1,200 Broadway performances and won the 1950 Tony for Best Musical. Inspired by the mythical New York underworld of journalist Damon Runyon, the musical’s outsized characters and songs have become synonymous with big-city glamour and romance, from the title song and “Luck Be a Lady” to “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and “I’ve Never Been in Love Before.”
What: Opening day of “Roar”
Where: Lake Worth Playhouse’s Stonzek Theater, 713 Lake Ave., Lake Worth
When: 2:30 p.m.
Contact: 561/296-9382, lakeworthplayhouse.org
If you’re unfamiliar with this 1981 feature film, you’re not alone. “Roar” has been called “the most dangerous movie ever made,” a selling point that’s hard to argue: More than 70 cast and crewmembers, including its main stars, were injured during the 11-year-long shoot, sustaining injuries from bone fractures and scalpings to gangrene. As the legend goes, none of the culprits—the two elephants and 110 lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, cougars and jaguars—were hurt during the making of the film. Director Noel Marshall starred alongside Tippi Hedren (The “Birds” star, who never had much luck with animal-centric movies) and Melanie Griffith, in a story about a wildlife preservationist who lives among a menagerie of untamed beasts. A cinematic curio unseen by most audiences for more than 30 years, “Roar” finally saw its first American audience in 2015, and is only now receiving a belated theatrical run. That blood onscreen is real: Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
What: “An Evening With Larry Kramer”
Where: Sunshine Cathedral, 1480 S.W. Ninth Ave., Fort Lauderdale
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 954/390-0550, worldaidsmuseum.org
One of the most outspoken and inspirational civil-rights icons of his time, Larry Kramer has spent decades in the nexus of art and activism—and he’s still fighting at 81. The founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York City and the direct-action AIDS awareness organization ACT UP, Kramer most famously penned “The Normal Heart,” a shattering play about the impact of HIV on the gay community. He finds much fear and outrage in the current presidential administration, which makes this Fort Lauderdale appearance as timely as it is reflective. Kevin Sessums, a New York Times best-selling author, will interview Kramer about the current political landscape, along with his 35-year battle over gay men’s health and the evolution of LGBTQ rights.
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
What: WLRN Radio Theater: “Strangers on a Train”
Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org
Alfred Hitchcock loved trains: The chugging movement, the cloistered interiors and the punctuating sounds all made for an atmospheric milieu for the Master of Suspense to play us like one of composer Bernard Herrmann’s fraught strings. Trains play predominant roles in “The Lady Vanishes,” “North by Northwest” and especially “Strangers on a Train,” Hitch’s 1951 suspenser about a pair of avaricious psychopaths who agree to “swap murders” aboard a locomotive, in a perfectly imperfect plan to dispose of problematic relatives. WLRN Radio Theater returns to the Broward Center to revive “Strangers on a Train” the way pre-television audiences experienced it way back in the ‘50s—in a visual theater of the mind, supplemented by vintage sound effects, old-timey mikes, and professional actors generating thrills from a veritable vacuum.
FRIDAY TO SUNDAY
Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Contact: 561/832-5469, kravis.org
It’s been reported that the morning after its sold-out premiere in Venice in 1851, audiences were singing “La donna e mobile,” one of the great arias of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” in the streets (Imagine that!). The three-act opera, which lifts its tragic narrative from a controversial Victor Hugo tome, may not have that sort of mass appeal in 2017, but it remains an indelible standard in the operatic canon. Lust and vengeance share the bold canvas of “Rigoletto,” with its hunchbacked title character, licentious duke and supernaturally endowed courtier spearheading the emotional tempest. In this Palm Beach Opera production, 11 singers will make their regional debuts.