Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Weeks Ahead: Dec. 16 to 30


What: Opening night of “The Book of Mormon”

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

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: Sold out, but “lottery” tickets available

Contact: 561/832-7469,

In a Kravis on Broadway season consisting largely of familiar warhorses, jukebox musicals and predictable stage-to-screen adaptations (“Flashdance the Musical?” Really?), “The Book of Mormon” is the obvious standout in its season. Its perpetually sold-out Broadway status and multiple Tony Awards don’t lie: Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez’s filthy musical about Mormon missionaries bringing their message to a war-torn African village is full of timelessly crafted Broadway songcraft, irrepressible comedy and surprisingly nuanced meditations on the purpose of faith. It’s still a must-see, even if you caught it at the Broward Center in 2013. While this Kravis engagement, which runs through Dec. 21, is sold out of advance tickets, the theater will be holding ticket lotteries prior to each performance, in which theatergoers who enter may win seats for just $25 each. Call the box office for details.


What: Ben Vereen

Where: Jazziz Nightlife, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $35-$65

Contact: 561/300-0730,

Ben Vereen is a certifiable Broadway legend and consummate entertainer whose Tony-winning turn as the narrator and “Leading Player” in “Pippin,” circa 1972, defined the character’s style for decades to come. Also heralded for his Broadway work in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Sweet Charity” and “Hair,” the Miami native continues to exude class and inspiration in his cabaret-style vocal performances, which draw heavily from musical theater and the American songbook. At 68, Vereen is not only still kicking, he’s still relevant: He assisted as an acting coach for Outkast’s Andre 3000 and Big Boi in their 2006 movie “Idlewild,” and he currently appears in Chris Rock’s cameo-laden Hollywood satire “Top Five.”


What: Borscht Film Festival

Where: Various venues in Miami

When: Various show times

Cost: Various prices, sometimes free


It’s doubtful that Robert Redford will turn up for this indiest of all indie film festivals, dubbed “Sundance on psychotropic mushrooms” in a Miami New Times laud. Commissioned by the Borscht Corp., which produces and showcases movies by emerging local artists, this quasi-annual fest will enter its ninth cycle of programming this month. The festival will include screenings of short films (Borscht shorts have later been selected for more than 50 international film festivals), “site-specific” film screenings of made-in-Miami work at special locations, and showings of Miami cult-classic titles. At the expense of burying the lede even further, the main draw here is “Scarface Redux,” a crowd-sourced remake of the Brian de Palma gangster saga. Organizers dissected the original movie into 15-second quadrants, after which each segment was re-shot by different artists in whatever manner they chose, from live action and animation to puppets and LEGO bricks. The result of this schizophrenic, reverent movie mash-up will make its world premiere, free of cost, at the Borscht.


What: Opening night of “Goodbye to Language 3D”

Where: Cinema Paradiso, 503 S.E. Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale

When: 9:15 p.m.

Cost: $8-$12

Contact: 954/760-9898,

From the beginning of his career in the late 1950s, virtuoso French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard has been expanding the formal and narrative possibilities of cinema through projects such as “Breathless,” “Week-End” and his historic “Histoire(s) du Cinema” series. So it should come as no surprise that at 83, Godard is still experimenting with the art form and blazing new trails. Hence the critical adulation he’s received for his latest work, “Goodbye to Language,” a short (70 minutes) but monumental feature that apparently employs 3D technology in ways it has never been utilized before—a magic trick that earned the movie an unprecedented mid-film round of applause at its premiere at Cannes earlier this year. Like much of Godard’s work in the Aughts, “Goodbye to Language” is a hodgepodge of poetic digital imagery, vintage film clips, and dense on-screen text. The story, if it matters at all, is about the emergence and dissolution of a relationship, though the main character, allegedly, is Godard’s dog Roxy. It’s hard to summarize; just see it!

What: Ramsey Lewis: “Celebration!”

Where: Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $25-$150

Contact: 305/949-6722,

It seems that as long as there was jazz, Ramsey Lewis was playing it. The three-time Grammy-winning composer/pianist released his first album, “Ramsey Lewis and his Gentle-men of Swing,” way back in 1956. Seven children, 14 grandchildren, and one-great-grandchild later, this elder statesman of the 88 keys is still active, releasing his 80th album, “Taking Another Look,” in 2011. For this special, one-off performance at the Arsht, Lewis will perform a selection of holiday compositions, a jazz tradition dating back to the yuletide brass of Louis Armstrong. He’ll be joined on this bill by fellow headliners in their own right: Lisa Fischer, the Rolling Stones’ backup singer par excellence, who was featured in the Oscar-winning documentary “20 Feet From Stardom;” and Gregory Porter, the vocalist whose 2014 release “Liquid Spirit” took home the Best Jazz Vocal Album Grammy. Bringing things full circle, the album included a cover of “The ‘In’ Crowd,” which Ramsey Lewis recorded in 1965.


What: Abraham in Motion: “Pavement”

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

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Cost: $28

Contact: 561/832-7469,

The “Abraham” in Abraham in Motion refers to Kyle Abraham, a dance phenom who became one of just 24 artists nationwide to receive a MacArthur Fellowship in 2013. Abraham choreographs dance that is rooted in 1990s hip-hop fashion, music and ethos, inspired by everything from civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois to John Singleton’s culture-defining film “Boyz n The Hood.” In his piece “Pavement,” which makes its South Florida premiere at the Kravis, he reimagines Singleton’s movie as a dance work set in the historically black neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, where the legacy of jazz titans and successful small businesses has degenerated into gang violence and crack houses. A history of discrimination, genocide and poverty colors this personal canvas of movement, a sure-to-be highlight of the venue’s “Provocative Entertainment at Kravis” series.


What: Y100 Jingle Ball

Where: BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $65-$280

Contact: 954/835-8000,

South Florida’s largest pop station has brought out plenty of big guns for its annual Jingle Ball holiday concert, starting with Ariana Grande, Boca’s most successful musical export (who has been raising eyebrows, for reasons negative as well as positive, for her tour couture, a skimpy feline getup complete with cat ears). The star-studded lineup continues with Calvin Harris, the Scottish DJ and songwriter who achieved worldwide success with Rihanna’s “We Found Love;” Pharrell Williams, the global phenomenon fresh off his coaching gig with “The Voice;” Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, who has topped the charts with “Fancy” and has performed with Grande on the latter’s “Problem;” Jason Derulo, a former songwriter for Diddy and Lil Wayne and has since struck out on his own with six Top Five singles; and many more. Visit for the full lineup.


What: “The Krampus”

When: 8 and 10 p.m.

Where: Infinite Abyss Productions, 2304 N. Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors

Cost: $20

Contact: 954/326-7767,

The Krampus, a beast of Alpine folklore that derives its name from the Old High German word for “claw,” is not a holiday myth that gets a lot of good press. The yin to Santa’s yang, this horned monster with a whip-like tongue is said to menace naughty children where St. Nicholas rewards the good little boys and girls. “The Krampus” is also the latest play from Infinite Abyss Productions, a South Florida theater company that re-emerged in October after a lengthy hibernation and has rebranded itself as a purveyor of horror-themed entertainment—even while the rest of us celebrate the holidays with good cheer. This contemporary-set, interactive exploration of the Krampus legend looks genuinely frightening. Whether or not you’ve been naughty or nice this season, you might just wind up in a post-Christmas Krampus ritual onstage. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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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