Delray Beach lights a brand-new Christmas tree, Winston Churchill displays his painterly side, and Val Kilmer transforms into Mark Twain. Plus, the Riptide Music Festival, “Newsies,” Carols by Candlelight and more in your week ahead.
What: Christmas Tree Lighting
Where: Old School Square Park, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach
When: 5 to 9 p.m.
Contact: 561/279-1380, 100ftchristmastree.com
This holiday season, the city’s iconic, award-winning 100-foot Christmas tree is getting a much-needed makeover. After more than 20 years of service to the community, the rusting tower of tinsel was put out to pasture this year to make way for a brand-new aluminum version. Moved to the east lawn of Old School Square Park from its former location on the front lawn, version 2.0 of the 100-foot tree will feature all new decorations while maintaining its statistical grandeur—15,000 LED bulbs, 12,000 ornaments, 3,000 branches. And visitors will still be able to walk through the base and marvel at the four replica houses within. Be the first to see it illuminate the sky at Thursday’s annual lighting ceremony, which includes a Santa cameo, performances from local schools, arts and crafts activities, carousel rides and faux ice-skating.
What: Opening night of “Most Wanted”
Where: Theatre Lab at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 800/564-9539, fauevents.com
Peter Sagal’s new play, “Most Wanted,” is also an old play. The radio host and dramatist penned it two decades ago, when he was a bushy-tailed writer of 30, and it’s only now receiving its world premiere, courtesy of Lou Tyrrell’s Theatre Lab at FAU. Sagal, whose day job is host of NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” had yet to father a child at the time he wrote the play, but “Most Wanted” is rich with insights about the challenges and regrets of parenthood. These themes surface from underneath a madcap caper about a pair of overzealous grandparents, Doris and Frank, who steal away to Florida with their daughter’s baby. Sagal (pictured above) told me, “I just started the play with them arriving at a motel in Florida and not having any idea where they would go.” Find out for yourself in this production, which runs through Dec. 17.
What: Opening night of “Newsies”
Where: Maltz Jupiter Theatre, 1001 E. Indiantown Road, Jupiter
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 561/575-2223, jupitertheatre.org
Despite its inauspicious source material—a critically lambasted early-‘90s movie—the Broadway musical “Newsies” proved to be a vibrant property onstage, winning two Tony Awards out of eight nominations on the strength of its acrobatic, prop-filled choreography. Echoing themes about women’s empowerment and media consolidation that resonate with today’s headlines, the story is set in New York City in 1899, when an industrious band of orphan newsboys decides to unionize and strike against its jack-booted overlord, Joseph Pulitzer. They’re aided by a spunky female reporter with a secret, who fights to make herself heard in a man’s world. Alan Menken wrote the tuneful music; Harvey Fierstein the impactful book. Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s regional premiere, perfect for the holidays, runs through Dec. 17.
What: Opening day of “A Man for All Seasons: The Art of Winston Churchill”
Where: Society of the Four Arts, 2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Contact: 561/655-7226, fourarts.org
To put it mildly, Winston Churchill had a demanding day job. But the military leader, prime minister and Nobel Prize-winning writer managed to forge a parallel career as a painter, humbly exhibiting his work under pseudonyms. He picked up his first brush at age 40 while tinkering with one of his children’s paint-boxes, and proceeded to create more than 500 canvases over the next 45 years. Inspired by Cezanne and by influential journeys to Avignon, the French Riviera and Marrakesh, Churchill’s impressionist landscapes captured light and nature with the majesty of a plein air master. But he never would call himself one, asserting, “When I get to heaven, I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years in painting, and so get to the bottom of the subject.” This exhibition features 28 of his finest paintings, along with vintage photos, film clips and historic memorabilia.
What: “Sharkwrecked” at the Riptide Music Festival
Where: Fort Lauderdale Beach
When: Alternative pop acts that rattle the airwaves of South Florida’s 104.3-FM “The Shark” will take the stage during the station’s annual bonanza. Weezer, last seen at this year’s SunFest, will perform another surf-side set of hits, co-headlining with Cage the Elephant (pictured), the Bowling Green six-piece as comfortable performing ear-splitting rockers as it is plaintive acoustic folksongs. Arrive early for Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, the “Fire Escape” hit-makers supporting the acclaimed new album Zombies on Broadway; Portugal. The Man, playing from its eighth album Woodstock; plus Iration, Joywave, Saint Motel, New Politics and 10 more. It’s all part of the two-day Riptide Musical Festival. Return Sunday for a more nostalgic day of music with Boyz II Men, KC & the Sunshine Band, Salt-N-Pepa, Morris Day & the Time, Loverboy and more.
Cost: $70 one day; $110 for weekend pass
What: Carols By Candlelight
Where: Pavilion at Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach
When: 7 p.m.
Cost: $15 general admission, $50-$100 for premium or VIP
Contact: 561/243-7922, oldschoolsquare.org
This second-annual holiday concert is fast becoming one of Delray’s most anticipated events of the season. Little River Band—whose lead singer, Wayne Nelson, is a Delray Beach resident—will headline an evening of hits and Christmas carols, supported by national acts John Ford Coley and Andy Childs, with local performers kicking off the festivities. But it’s the concert’s culmination that makes it most unique: There will be a sing-along and a lighting of candles throughout the audience, which gives this cherished event its name. Bring your own chair, as the Pavilion does not provide seating. The tickets will benefit Old School Square’s educational programming.
What: Christmas Tree Lighting
Where: Flagler Museum, 1 Whitehall Way, Palm Beach
When: 3 p.m.
Cost: $18 adults, $10 youth
Contact: 561/655-2833, flaglermuseum.us
The Flagler Museum is a year-round time warp to America’s Gilded Age as typified by its industrialist founder, Henry Flagler. The Flagler’s Christmas festivities are no exception: At the annual tree lighting, the 16-foot conifer will be festooned with classic Gilded Age-style ornaments, and will be lit for the season by Flagler’s own descendants and relatives. A 1902-vintage pipe organ, which served as entertainment during Flagler’s era, will provide a soundtrack to the fun at 3:30, 3:50 and 4:10. The afternoon also includes a visit from Santa, piano performances in the drawing room and holiday caroling in the courtyard.
What: “Citizen Twain” screening and Q&A with Val Kilmer
Where: Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach
When: 7 p.m.
Contact: 561/833-1812, palmbeachimprov.com
No stranger to embodying real people from Jim Morrison to Doc Holliday on film, Val Kilmer’s most recent venture is “Citizen Twain,” a one-man show about Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, whom Kilmer considers one of America’s first standup comedians. Clad in a curly white wig and makeup that ages him 20 years, Kilmer disappears into the great writer, in a production that explores Clemens’ biography as well his words. At this rare tour appearance, Kilmer will introduce a filmed version of his “Citizen Twain,” then field questions after the screening. It’s a great opportunity to rediscover your favorite Twain bon mot; one of mine is “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”