Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Week Ahead: Dec. 1 to 7


What: “Metropolitan” screening and Q&A

Where: Coral Gables Art Cinema, 260 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: $7-$11.50

Contact: 786/385-9689,

Film director Whit Stillman writes witty, sophisticated, effortlessly brilliant fantasies about upper-class WASPs facing romantic peril and changing times. Though his infrequent work has enlarged its scope over the past 25 years, his first feature, 1990’s sensational “Metropolitan,” is arguably his finest film. This “Gatsby”-like narrative about a middle-class Princeton student who falls in with a clutch of urbane debutantes during holiday ball season, presented Old World New York in all its sparkling incandescence, both honoring and implicitly critiquing its endangered characters and rarefied milieu. Stillman, a part-time South Florida resident who want on to direct movies such as “The Last Days of Disco” and “Damsels in Distress,” will appear at this screening to answer questions about “Metropolitan” on the eve of its quarter-century anniversary.


What: Opening night of “Billy Elliot: The Musical”

Where: Maltz Jupiter Theatre, 1001 E. Indiantown Road, Jupiter

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $55 and up

Contact: 561/575-2223,

If you’re among the minority of audiences who missed the inspiring 2000 British film “Billy Elliot,” you have a chance to experience its long-running stage adaptation, which secured 10 Tony Awards in 2009. The story follows a motherless child who eschews boxing for ballet, breaking with tradition while coal miners in Northeastern England likewise challenge the status quo by striking in County Durham. A heartwarming story and a socially conscious pulse will hopefully carry the South Florida regional theater premiere of this much-anticipated musical, with music composed by none other than Elton John. A cast of more than 30 will perform in Maltz’s lavish take, which runs through Dec. 20.

What: “The Barber of Seville”

Where: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $21-$200

Contact: 954/462-0222,

Florida Grand Opera opens its landmark 75th anniversary season with a bona fide classic of the operatic repertoire—only this wasn’t always the case. When Gioachino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” premiered in Rome in 1816, he was the fourth composer to adapt an opera from the same source material: the 1775 French comedic play “Le Barbier de Seville,” one of a trilogy of adventures revolving around the iconic trickster Figaro. It bombed on opening night. Audiences hissed, booed and disrupted the production, thanks to an effective protest mounted by a previous adapter of the source material, Giovanni Paisello—the Salieri to Rossini’s Mozart. Needless to say, Rossini has enjoyed the last laugh, as his opera has emerged as the definitive interpretation of “The Barber of Seville,” which NPR lauded as “maybe the perfect comic opera.” Rossini’s sprightly score, full of earworms that burrow as infectiously as today’s pop songs, propels a farcical story about a count, his beloved, her grumpy keeper and the clever barber who orchestrates their madcap rendezvous. The performance also runs Saturday, Dec. 5.

What: Opening night of Art Basel Miami Beach

Where: Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Drive

When: 3 to 8 p.m.

Cost: $30-$47 for one-day tickets


If you place your cheek on the tarmacs of Miami-Dade County’s airports, you can already hear the rumble of private jets descending on our fair metropolis, in preparation for what Tom Wolfe famously coined the “running of the billionaires.” Yes, Art Basel Miami Beach is far more than an art fair. It’s a cultural bonanza and an incalculable tourism boon, where celebrities and the businesspeople that fund them rub shoulders with the hoi polloi—at least those of us willing to brave the traffic. But it’s also, still, an art fair, and this year’s installment features 267 galleries in its main Convention Center sector, with satellite fairs like Positions, Nova, ArtSpot, NADA and Kabinett offering cutting-edge new work. But you can pretty much walk any street in Miami over the next five days and find creative people making, selling and/or showcasing art; there’s a reason the designator “Miami Art Week” is used just as often as “Basel Week” these days. Let the party begin!

What: Craig Ferguson

Where: Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave.

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $35-$59.50

Contact: 305/673-7300,

Late-night television is a bit like the Supreme Court: Once you’re in, you’re in for good. Lifetime commitments are standard in the industry, which is why Craig Ferguson’s early retirement from CBS’s “Late Late Show” came as such a surprise in 2014. But as Ferguson later revealed in interviews, he was never fully comfortable in the constricting format of late night—despite expressing the kind of honesty and humility in his direct monologues that earned him awards and a pioneer’s cachet. He was relieved to abandon his post for the freedom to engage in large-scale comedy tours like this one, which bears the politically charged and resurrectionist title “The New Deal.” Frequently profane and offensive but delivered with the Scottish humorist’s trademark congeniality, Ferguson’s idiosyncratic act is not to be missed (but if you go, give yourself extra time to accommodate Basel traffic).


What: Mad Cat Live: “The Point!”

Where: Mad Cat Main Stage at Miami Theater Center, 9806 N.E. Second Ave., Miami Shores

When: 8 p.m. Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday

Cost: $20


Harry Nilsson didn’t mince words when describing his inspiration for “The Point!,” his colorful concept album from 1971: “I was on acid, and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to point. I thought, ‘Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn’t, then there’s a point to it.’” Nilsson’s psychedelic rumination spawned this potent parable about xenophobia, which he manifested into an iconic 14-track LP, an animated film and a stage musical—all about Oblio, a round-headed boy in a community of pointy-headed peers, whose condition sees him banished to the Pointless Forest with his beloved dog Arrow. The singer-songwriter’s rich fantasy, communicated in a baroque-pop style that has influenced indie bands for decades, will be performed for three shows only in this concert staging by Mad Cat Theatre Company. Mad Cat Artistic Director Paul Tei will perform the music and narration alongside his dedicated company of actor-musicians: Erik Fabregat, Darren Bruck, Steph Taylor, Matt Corey and Jessica Farr.


What: “The Hip-Hop Nutcracker”

Where: Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $45

Contact: 305/949-6722,

In a holiday season where productions of “The Nutcracker” are produced by regional dance companies every weekend, audiences usually have their pick between traditional-opulent and traditional-budget productions. This is something else entirely—Tchaikovsky with two turntables, a microphone and a backbeat—so purists beware. Reportedly conceived by hip-hop impresario Mike Fitelson at his parents’ kitchen alongside a bottle of scotch, “The Hip-Hop Nutcracker” reimagines the pine forest, the Land of Sweets and the iconic pas de deux with rap choreography, 12 professional dancers, an onstage DJ and a electric violinist performing “hip-hop hoedowns,” per the New York Times. Fitelson and choreographer Jennifer Weber take liberties with the source material—their Drosselmeyer is a telekinetic magician, and “Myron the Nutcracker” sells nuts from a grocery cart in present-day New York City—but its magical holiday spirit remains intact. The evening-length hip-hop ballet includes a live performance by pioneering rapper Kurtis Blow, who is credited with creating the first successful hip-hop single with 1980’s “The Breaks.”

John Thomason
John Thomason
As the A&E editor of, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

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