Return to (Almost) Normal? 10 Live, In-Person A&E Events To Check Out

Photo by Rob Simmons on Unsplash

Like a timid chick easing its way out of its egg, live arts and entertainment have gradually, methodically, carefully returned to South Florida. Granted, virtual events still far outweigh the in-person kind, but for spectators interested in safely venturing out for a modified reminder of the Old Normal, opportunities exist if you seek them out. Here are 10 highlights we discovered from now through the end of March.

Lourdes Lopez: “A Lifetime in Ballet,” Jan. 21 at Society of the Four Arts, 100 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach

Aside from a special outdoor production of “The Nutcracker” last month, Miami City Ballet has been dark since last spring, and will not have another season performance until this fall at the earliest. Classical dance lovers can get their partial fix at this free lecture from MCB’s artistic director, who will discuss her 40 years in the dance world, including her stint as principal dancer for New York City Ballet.

“Jeans, Jewels, Jokes at the J,” Jan. 30 at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, 11200 Park Access Road, Boca Raton

The Adolph and Rose Levis JCC has gotten creative with its annual fundraiser, hosting it as a drive-in event, with spaces for hundreds of attendees to enjoy the comedy of Emmy winner Judy Gold, a standup legend, podcast host, free-speech champion and uproarious Tweeter. (Gold will also perform Feb. 20 at Boca Black Box.)

“Compensation,” Feb. 5-14 at Island City Stage, 2304 N. Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors

Examples of live, professional regional theatre in South Florida since the pandemic can probably be tallied on one hand. The intrepid Island City Stage will add to these ranks in February with a production of this world-premiere drama by Hannah Manikowski, about a college dropout who becomes a surrogate mother to a long-established gay couple, only to uncover secrets that threaten to upend the partnership.

Allman Betts Band, Feb. 9-10 at Funky Biscuit, 303 S.E. Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton

Southern rock royalty bring vintage Americana grit to the intimate Boca venue, with Devon Allman and Duane Betts, sons of the original Allman Brothers kin, playing their own tunes and those popularized by their fathers.

Craig Robinson, Feb. 12-14 at Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach

Limited seating restrictions haven’t stopped this comedy institution of the Palm Beaches from booking some of the most prominent names in standup in the New Year. Our favorite is Robinson, the brilliant Second City alum who rose to stardom on “The Office,” “Hot Tub Time Machine” and, most recently, “Dolemite is My Name.” You also can’t go wrong with Jeremy Piven (Jan. 21-23) and Tom Segura (Feb. 17-19).

Artigras, Feb. 13-14 at North County District Park, 5101 117th Court N., Palm Beach Gardens

Free in years past, this walkable al fresco art fair will now be a ticketed affair ($11 per person) as part of the festival’s efforts to curb large crowds; a reduced capacity will be enforced, masks will be required and no cash will be accepted. Expect to stroll a wide variety of juried art from nearly 300 artists, supplemented by live and children’s entertainment.

Palm Beach Opera Outdoor Festival, Feb. 19-27 at iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach

Typically, Palm Beach Opera hosts a three-show season throughout the winter and spring from the confines of the Kravis Center, but these are anything but typical times. Instead, the company will produce three outdoor operas in February alone, for two performances each. They include “La Boheme,” about bohemian artists in Paris’ Latin Quarter (Feb. 19 and 24); “The Magic Flute,” Mozart’s beastly fantasy (Feb. 21 and 26); and “Pagliacci,” a meditation on the connection between life and art that is set around the traveling theatre troupe in Italy (Feb. 23 and 27).

“Art Heist,” March 16-April 4 at Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

In this interactive, socially distanced theatrical experience, small audience groups play the “detectives” traversing five locations that are walking distance from the Broward Center. At each spot, participants will encounter local actors portraying con men, psychopaths, art recovery specialists and more, while hoping to piece together enough information to solve the mystery of a stolen cache of art. The actors freely improv with attendees, so new two performances are alike.

Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary, March 18-21 at Pavilion, 825 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

Judiciously postponed from its typical January slot on the cultural calendar, this premier art fair for cutting-edge contemporary work promises a return in full force, with dozens of esteemed galleries from Miami to Los Angeles to Jerusalem to The Hague offering their latest and greatest.

Al Di Meola, March 30 at Old School Square Pavilion, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach

Known for his complex rhythm syncopation and lyrical, seemingly effortless precision, jazz-fusion guitar god Di Meola has joined legends from Pavarotti to Paul Simon, and has lately returned to his formative musical love, the Beatles, on 2020’s Across the Universe, whose exhilarating covers further explore the possibilities of the Lennon/McCartney corpus. Gather a few friends for the best price point on the Pavilion’s Pod seating.

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