Your Week Ahead: Feb. 20 to 26

Palm Beach Opera stages Bernstein’s operatic masterpiece, and a one-man show mourns “The End of Journalism”—while visiting pundits from the New York Times and Washington Post help keep it alive. Plus, Jerry Seinfeld, Colin Quinn, the Florida Ren-Fest and more in your week ahead.


WEDNESDAY

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What: Thomas Friedman

Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $50.85

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

Though a frequent piñata of the right and left alike, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman has survived criticisms from both wings in his ongoing advocacy of “radical centrism.” A journalist who thinks in manuscripts rather than headlines, Friedman’s writing has earned three Pulitzers, and in 2011, he reportedly had the ear of then-President Obama on Middle East policy. The author of the influential The Lexus and the Olive Tree will address South Floridians on “The Big Trends Shaping the World Today: Economics, Technology and Geopolitics.”

THURSDAY

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What: Eugene Robinson

Where: Kaye Auditorium at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton

When: 3:30 p.m.

Cost: $35

Contact: 561/297-6124, fauevents.com

If you know the name Eugene Robinson, it’s most likely on account of his frequent appearances on NBC and MSNBC, where he analyzes the day’s political news in digestible sound bites. He’s one of the elder statesmen of the Beltway punditocracy—a growing field in the Trump era, where cable news ratings have peaked and viewers are insatiable for opinion and invective. But while anybody with a telegenic tie and a nice coif can toss a potshot at a pol, few do it with the insight, wit and forthrightness of Robinson. His distinguished career includes a Harvard fellowship, a Pulitzer Prize and three books. As keynote speaker of FAU’s Larkin Symposium on the American Presidency, Robinson will discuss “Covering the Presidency in the Modern Media Age,” and will sign books following his presentation.

FRIDAY

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What: Paul Goldberg book signing

Where: Murder on the Beach, 273 Pineapple Grove Way, Delray Beach

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/279-7790, murderonthebeach.com

A Russian-born investigative journalist whose expert reportage has appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and other esteemed publications, Goldberg broke into the fiction world with his acclaimed historical novel of 2017, The Yid. The Chateau, his newly released follow-up, brings his carefully observed fiction closer to home: It’s set in contemporary Miami Beach, where a plastic surgeon known as the “Butt God of Miami,” has been found dead under mysterious, salacious circumstances. Bill Katzenelenbogen, a newly laid-off Washington Post reporter, flies to South Florida to investigate the case and revitalize his career, only to find himself in the crosshairs of a contentious condo board election spearheaded by his estranged father, a crooked political dissident. Goldberg will sign books and discuss the book’s modern insights at this special appearance.

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY

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What: Mike Daisey: “The End of Journalism”

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

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $32

Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org

Mike Daisey’s monologues are epic affairs about often-monumental topics. The imaginative storyteller has explored Nikola Tesla and Disney World, L. Ron Hubbard and Ayn Rand, the New York City subway system and the working conditions of Apple’s overseas workers. His latest, “The End of Journalism,” is a timely, pungent lament on the decline of the Fourth Estate, from the shrinking influence of newspapers to the Facebook propaganda that proliferated during the 2016 election.

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What: Jerry Seinfeld

Where: Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $80-$180

Contact: 800/745-3000, myhrl.com

Jerry Seinfeld has forged a career on making the banal interesting: Expiration dates on milk cartons, errant hairs clinging to shower walls and, most recently, the process of calling an Uber all have inspired comedy gold when filtered through Seinfeld’s idiosyncratic personality. The last I saw him perform, he did about 15 minutes on chairs, and another five on truffle oil. In essence, his standup act follows in the tradition of his eponymous ‘90s sitcom, which was famously a “show about nothing.” Even his award-winning streaming series, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” is a collection of dialogues predicated on the inherently unexciting process of driving to a diner and ordering a cup o ‘joe. Catch Seinfeld’s latest musings about the minutiae of existence, fresh off his first-ever Netflix special.

FRIDAY TO SUNDAY

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What: Palm Beach Opera’s “Candide”

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

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $20-$165

Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org

In honor of what would be Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday this year, Palm Beach Opera will present one of the composer’s wittiest and most sophisticated works, the Tony-nominated operetta “Candide.” The globetrotting opera begins in Westphalia, following the naïve title character’s travails to Lisbon, Paris, Cadiz, Montevideo and Surinam. He winds up captured by the Bulgar Army, witnessing a deadly volcanic explosion, fleeing a country with stolen jewels and, if that’s not enough, discovering Eldorado, all while trying to forge a life with his forbidden paramour, Cunegonde. This rapturous picaresque is perhaps most famous for Bernstein’s music. Its overture has become Bernstein’s most-performed piece of concert music, heard everywhere from “The Dick Cavett Show” to the New York Philharmonic’s historic 2008 performance in North Korea.

SATURDAY

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What: Colin Quinn: “One in Every Crowd”

Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $31.50-$75

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

Since at least his three-year stint as the “Weekend Update” anchor for “Saturday Night Live,” Colin Quinn has been on the front lines of satirical news, drawings yuks from headlines. Though his television work has been intermittent since, he’s reinvented himself as a dynamic stage performer of one-man shows that address relevant issues and play to his blunt brand of Irish-American comedy. His sixth solo show, “One in Every Crowd,” riffs on the universal truth that there is at least one “asshole” in every group, an insight he ties into our current politics. We’re hoping that Quinn’s show remains on schedule: Last week, he suffered a minor heart attack and canceled a concert in Clearwater. As he tweeted to his followers, “My heart broke on Valentine’s Day. Literally.” He’s still got it!

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

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What: Florida Renaissance Festival

Where: Quiet Waters Park, 401 S. Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach

When: 10 a.m. to sunset

Cost: $25 adults, $12 children

Contact: 954/776-1642, ren-fest.com

The bawdy, colorful time warp known as the Florida Renaissance Festival celebrates its 26th anniversary, this time with extra eye patches and peg legs. A piracy theme will be woven through the festivities this year, in the form of an improv comedy show (“The Greatest Pirate Story Never Told”), “Captain Jack’s Pirate Initiation” and the Off-Broadway cabaret act The Crimson Pirates. They join a stellar lineup of more than 100 entertainers roaming the park grounds and performing on 12 stages, including an old-fashioned flea circus, cirque acrobatics, Celtic foot-stomping, a mermaid show, a “bearded lady” sideshow, comedy magic and much more. Leave the park with a throwback souvenir from any of the 100-plus vendors.