Boca hosts its biggest foodie weekend of the year, knights and minstrels gather one last time in Deerfield, and LBJ and MLK talk civil rights in Coral Gables. Plus, The Pretenders, “Phantom of the Opera,” “Personal Shopper” and more in your week ahead.
What: The Pretenders
Where: The Fillmore, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
When: 9 p.m.
Contact: 305/673-7300, livenation.com
The Pretenders must be considered among the more humble band names in rock history. With its impassioned, socially conscious, and spiky yet accessible songs, Chrissie Hynde’s durable group of English and American rockers are anything but phonies or imitators; if anything, Hynde has spawned her own pretenders. In what remains a male-dominated industry, she has inspired legions of female rockers that can match any male vocalist in bravado, charisma and chutzpah, and she’s been doing it on and off for nearly 40 years. Time has hardly mellowed this onetime member of The Clash and The Damned; even in her mid-60s, according to Rolling Stone’s review of the Pretenders’ 10th and latest album “Alone,” Hynde “flex[es] command and carnality with no apology.” The group’s 2017 tour is heavier on hits than new material; expect to hear “Brass in Pocket” and “Back on the Chain Gang,” among others.
What: Opening night of “The Phantom of the Opera”
Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org
The trailer for the current Broadway tour of “The Phantom of the Opera” looks less like a theater piece than a sumptuous Hollywood blockbuster: pyrotechnic flares, gold-bedecked sets, smoke and gondola excursions and precariously plunging chandeliers. Yes, the chandelier remains a scene-stealing co-star in this new production by Cameron Mackintosh, the billionaire British impresario. Weighing between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds, the colossal battery-powered light fixture contains 6,000 beads and 48 bulbs. If your only experience with “Phantom” is the meretriciously empty 2004 film adaptation, you owe it to yourself to experience Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ghostly melodramatic love triangle the way it is meant to be seen—which in this case means the original costume design, a new lighting design by a Tony winner, and a cast and orchestra of no less than 52. It runs through April 1.
What: Opening night of “Personal Shopper”
Where: Living Room Theaters at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton
When: Show times pending
Contact: 561/659-2600, fau.livingroomtheaters.com
Fresh off the success of their sensational 2015 film “Clouds of Sils Maria,” French auteur Olivier Assayas and recent muse Kristen Stewart return with this cerebral thriller. Stewart’s protagonist is at first whiff strikingly similar to her “Sils Maria” character—the personal assistant to a celebrity. But “Personal Shopper” turns out to be less about fame and the artifice of performance than it is an old-fashioned ghost story shot through an art-house lens, as Stewart’s title heroine believes she may be encountering cryptic signs from her recently departed twin brother. Earning comparisons to Hitchcock, this Cannes award-winner is certainly the buzziest film of early spring and should be an antidote to what has been a tepid post-Oscar lull.
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
What: The Boca Bacchanal
Where: Various locations
Where: Various event times
Cost: Varies per event
Contact: 561/395-6766 ext. 301, bocabacchanal.com
Now in its 15th year, Boca Ratonians’ favorite annual foodie event doubles, as always, as the premier fundraiser for one of the city’s most invaluable institutions, the Boca Raton Historical Society. If you’re an annual Bacchanalian, you know the drill: Festivities begin Friday with the priceless (and pricey, but well worth it) vintner dinners at select private estates and historical institutions, including the Addison, where top toques from the around the country will serve exclusive five-course meals for $325. On Saturday, foodies can enjoy the more-affordable Bacchanalia for $125 at the Mizner Park Amphitheater, where they’ll enjoy live music, vintner offerings, and culinary delights from 30 area restaurants. But we’re most excited about the additions this year: Friday’s vintner dinners will now include mixologist-curated spirits and liquor cocktails, and Saturday’s Bacchanalia will feature extended hours (until 11 p.m.), selfie spots scattered throughout the grounds and more.
What: Mike Birbiglia
Where: Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach
When: Various show times
Contact: 561/833-1812, palmbeachimprov.com
The term “comedian’s comedian” has long applied to Mike Birbiglia, an improv veteran and alt-comedy urbanite. What does that moniker mean, exactly? It’s one way of indicating his cult appeal within the industry: His sly, wry material plays better with his devoted throng and his professional compatriots than with the public at large. But who needs mass appeal? Birbiglia’s highly personal routines—”Sleepwalk With Me” is about his unusual sleep disorder, and “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” is a spot-on relationship self-analysis—have been dextrous and impactful enough to run off-Broadway. He’s not promising that level of polish for this rare club tour, tellingly titled “Working it Out,” which features the rawest Birbiglia material you’re ever likely to hear. The tour will also feature improv bits and highlights from his last world tour, “Thank God for Jokes.”
What: Opening night of “Dry Powder”
Where: GableStage, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 305/445-1119, gablestage.org
Despite its vaguely drug-suggesting name, Sarah Burgess’ play “Dry Powder” is not about cocaine—though its chief characters have probably done their share. It’s set in a private equity firm, where attractive, expensively dressed, rapacious high-finance bigwigs sacrifice morality at the altar of capitalism. Riding a wave of pitchfork populism that began during the financial crisis of 2008, crested during Occupy Wall Street and reformed during the 2016 presidential election, “Dry Powder” features a smart script full of insider jargon—GableStage Artistic Director Joseph Adler told me he might need to include a thesaurus in the playbill—and amoral people doing plenty of amoral things. It feels timelier every passing day. GableStage’s regional premiere, starring Alex Alvarez, Steven G. Anthony, Katherine C. McDonald and Robert Strain, runs through April 23.
What: Opening night of “All the Way”
Where: Actors’ Playhouse, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 305/444-9293, actorsplayhouse.org
You’ve seen the HBO movie adaptation; now immerse yourself in the award-winning source material by playwright Robert Schenkkan. Lyndon Baines Johnson, fresh off the assassination of President Kennedy, attempts to wangle passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 from a divided and intransigent Congress. Supporting characters include Martin Luther King Jr., J. Edgar Hoover and Lady Bird Johnson, in this wonkiest of recent American plays. It runs through April 9.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
What: Closing weekend of Florida Renaissance Festival
Where: Quiet Waters Park, 401 S. Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach
When: 10 a.m. to sunset
If you haven’t partaken in the medieval revelry of this most popular Renaissance festival in the southeast, now is your last chance. No less than 14 entertainment stations are chockablock with live bands, theatre, jousting, magic and more, some family-friendly and others rated R. Don’t miss the Splatter-time Players at the Mud Pit (dress appropriately) and Blackshear Comedy Magic at Showcase Pavilion. Wandering minstrels, gypsies and comedians rove the grounds as usual, and the theme for the final weekend is “Viking Barbarian,” so bring your proverbial—and not so proverbial—battleaxe.