Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Week Ahead: Jan. 5 to 11


What: Jay Pharoah

Where: Fort Lauderdale Improv, 5700 Seminole Way, Hollywood

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, and 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday

Cost: $22, plus a two-drink minimum

Contact: 954/981-5653,

Comedian Jay Pharoah is in storied company: In 2010, at 24, he became the second-youngest black cast member to debut on “Saturday Night Live,” after Eddie Murphy. Two years later, he unveiled his Barack Obama impersonation, admirably replacing Fred Armisen. And in 2015, after just five years on “SNL,” he was ranked the 55th greatest cast member in the show’s history by the esteemed critics of Rolling Stone. Pharoah’s Obama has become his signature accomplishment, but it’s only one of countless celebrities lying dormant in his vocal arsenal. Close your eyes while listening to his Will Smith, Denzel Washington and Jay-Z, and you’ll think you’re hearing the Real McCoy. His deep vault of impressions even encompasses Christopher Walken and Gollum. Expect to hear plenty of these when the man of many voices tours the Fort Lauderdale Improv.


What: Opening night of “South Pacific”

Where: The Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $75-$80

Contact: 561/995-2333,

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s lavish musical, set on a South Pacific island during World War II, has been the Wick Theatre’s most-requested show pretty much since day one, and we expect the company’s production to be one of its most spectacular efforts to date. Bolstered by such transcendent numbers as “Some Enchanted Evening” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Guy Right Outta My Hair,” “South Pacific” manages to entertain while delivering a potent message about prejudice—a mix of brains and beauty that has led to its designation as one of the greatest musicals of the 20th century. Norm Joerder, who helmed such Wick masterpieces as “42nd Street” and “Oklahoma!,” will direct a first-rate cast, including Broadway veteran Nat Chandler and Adrianne Hick, who played Fantine in a national tour of “Les Miserables.” The show runs through Feb. 14.


What: Opening night of “Hitchcock/Truffaut”

Where: Lake Worth Playhouse’s Stonzek Theater, 709 Lake Ave., Lake Worth

When: Show times pending

Cost: $6-$9

Contact: 561/296-9382,

Alfred Hitchcock and Francois Truffaut were fundamentally different filmmakers: One crafted immaculate, star-studded pop thrillers with the backing of the Hollywood studio system; the other set proverbial fire to the established order and became an art-cinema darling in his native France. Yet both, in one way or another, displayed their neuroses onscreen and transformed their cameras into extensions of their personalities. The two filmmakers, divergent in style but simpatico in intellect, remained colleagues until their deaths: In fact, it was Truffaut’s championing of Hitchcock’s subtle artistry, through his seminal book of interviews titled Hitchcock/Truffaut, that helped to advance the notion that Hitchcock was more than a mere entertainer. In this documentary, respected film critic Kent Jones spelunks the book and revisits many of the insights of its two namesakes, especially Hitchcock. And he has help from plenty of his friends: Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader, Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson are among the Hitchcock acolytes who discuss the master’s legacy. I’m not sure how much cinematic nutrition mass audiences will glean from Jones’ doc, but for film lovers, “Hitchcock/Truffaut” is absolute nirvana. It also opens Friday at Cinema Paradiso in Fort Lauderdale.


What: Opening night of “#Unhappy Hour”

Where: Coral Springs Museum of Art black box theater, 2855 Coral Springs Drive

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $39.22

Contact: 954/344-5990,

The line “a guy walks into a bar” has probably launched as many jokes as “once upon a time” has hatched fairy tales, but it’s what follows the cliché that counts. Bars are more than just watering holes—they are places to philosophize, meet the love of your life, commune with friends, de-stress after a long day at work, drown your sorrows. The creative possibilities inherent in the setting are endless, and the writers behind “#Unhappy Hour” will explore at least four of them. Award-winning local playwrights David Sirois and Mark Della Ventura, along with South Florida writers Gabe Hammad, Meera Paul and Gladys Ramirez, have each penned a short play set over one evening in a neighborhood bar—and Della Ventura and Hammad have scripted ancillary material, centering on the bar staff, that will be woven around the plays. “Drinking, South Florida and loneliness were our three broad-stroke ideas,” says Hammad, of the inspiration for this world premiere. “We’re having a karaoke bar onstage; we’ll make it fun. Even when we approach serious topics, we’ll take them on through the veil of humor.” The show runs through Jan. 24.


What: “The Music and Times of Louis Armstrong and Kurt Weill”

Where: Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University, 3601 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton

When: 4 p.m.

Cost: $30-$50

Contact: 561/237-9000,

As part of Lynn’s American Songbook Series, Marshall Turkin and his Classic Jazz Ensemble will celebrate the music and influence of two 20th century greats, born oceans apart and thriving in different genres: Kurt Weill, the socially conscious German composer and future art-rock influencer; and Satchmo, the scat singer and innovative trumpeter who famously adapted Weill’s “Mack the Knife.”


What: “The Goldberg Variations” staged reading

Where: Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University, 3601 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $10

Contact: 561/237-9000,

Stuart Meltzer (pictured), artistic director of Zoetic Stage, is widely known for his acclaimed directing achievements in Miami and Key West. But he’s also a formidable playwright whose latest work, “The Goldberg Variations,” will bow next week as part of Jan McArt’s cherished New Play Reading Series at Lynn University. Meltzer has been long obsessed with Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” the composer’s delicate, lilting harpsichord aria, in which 30 variations spin off the main theme. Meltzer’s experimental play takes a similar approach to narrative, envisioning a family named the Goldbergs, adding a few personal touches, and shooting the story off into a multiplicity of “variations” which will encompass numerous theatrical styles. The whimsical work will feature professional actors Alex Alvarez, Katherine Amadeo, Patti Gardner, Silas Hoover, Bill Schwartz and Mike Westrich, under the direction of award-winning Margaret M. Ledford.


What: New World Symphony

Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $35 and up

Contact: 561/832-7469,

Boca Ratonians who want to see a world-class symphony don’t have to travel too far: The New World Symphony plays all year long in its glittering New World Center, accessible through a brisk (OK, not always so brisk) 45-minute drive to Miami Beach. Next Monday, however, the Symphony is making it even easier for Palm Beach County locals to hear its exquisite interpretations on the classics, thanks to a one-night-only engagement at the Kravis. Cristian Macelaru, the award-winning conductor-in-residence at the Philadelphia Orchestra, will bring his cerebral yet energetic style to the Kravis to conduct the New World Symphony through a pair of ambitious masterpieces: Tchaikovsky’s demanding Violin Concerto in D major and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F major, his pastoral follow-up to his fiery Fifth.

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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