Thursday, December 7, 2023

Your Weeks Ahead: Dec. 19 to Jan. 8

The arts never stop, but entertainment reporters occasionally need a week or two off—a small escape from the otherwise welcome onslaught of culture. Thus, we’re taking a short hiatus for holiday travel, returning with the next “Week Ahead” on Jan. 8. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday season, and feast on any of these 10 events. One caveat: We didn’t include New Year’s Eve events here. Look for a roundup of Dec. 31 events later this week on

DEC. 24-25


What: Melissa Manchester

Where: The Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton

When: 5:30 p.m. Sunday and 2 p.m. Monday

Cost: $85

Contact: 561/995-2333,

Not all of us get Christmas off. On the heels of her 21st album The Fellas—in which she pays tribute to the male crooners of the American Songbook—this Grammy-winning cabaret star brings an intimate set to the Wick, performing a mix of yuletide favorites and her own adult-contemporary hits.

DEC. 28-30

DOLLS - NUT CRACKER (00000002)

What: Miami City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

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

When: Various show times

Cost: $30-$125

Contact: 305/929-7010,

For 27 years, the prevailing wisdom among Miami City Ballet toward its enchanting production of “The Nutcracker” has been, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This year, MCB has finally decided to retire its longtime holiday linchpin, enlisting Cuban-American fashion designers Isabel and Ruben Toledo to conceive brand-new sets and costumes. While the Sugar Plum Fairy will be decked out with new wings, the choreography by George Balanchine and the score by Tchaikovsky remain, the latter performed every night by the company’s Opus One Orchestra.

DEC. 29


What: Jim Gaffigan

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

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $31.50-$65.50

Contact: 954/835-8000,

Jim Gaffigan’s clean material, political agnosticism and everyman persona have garnered him a near-universal fan base of American comedy-goers. While his industry peers risk alienating half the country with pointed barbs at the party in power, Gaffigan reserves his most trenchant observations for mini muffins and that well-trod topic du jour, air travel. Yet few comics since Seinfeld have deconstructed the quotidian with as much wit or personality. Discover his convivial style during his epic “Noble Ape” tour.

JAN. 3


What: Henry Rollins

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

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $34.50-$49.50

Contact: 954/462-0222,

Henry Rollins has come a long way since fronting the pioneering L.A. hardcore band Black Flag. For one, he doesn’t scream for a living anymore; he talks. A lot. In the ‘90s, the heavily tatted rock star reinvented himself as a spoken-word artist, crafting intricate monologues that conjured Spalding Gray and other masters of the form. He creates 90 minutes of material every year or so, often centering on his unorthodox life, music, culture, politics and travel, delivered with a raconteur’s magnetism. This tour will focus on the latter, particularly the vast trove of photographs he’s taken over his decades of globetrotting, and will be supplemented by projected images.

JAN. 5-7


What: “Hamlet”

Where: Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton

When: 8 p.m. Jan. 5-6, 6 p.m. Jan. 7

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/544-8600,

For this season’s annual Shakespeare in the Park production, the Miami Shakespeare Festival has decided to go big or go home. And it doesn’t get much bigger than “Hamlet,” arguably the top kahuna in the entire Shakespeare canon, earning the title of the world’s second-most-filmed story after “Cinderella.” The Bard’s iconic tale of the titular Danish prince forced into an existential crisis after learning of his uncle’s murderous ascent to power will feature professional actors, period costumes and original music. Attendees to the Boca tour will have the opportunity to sample menu items (for a fee) from the Loch Bar, a seafood tavern coming to Mizner Park in the summer of 2018. Bring a blanket or lawn chair.

JAN. 6


What: Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio

Where: Arts Garage, 94 N.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $35-$50

Contact: 561/450-6357,

Jazz organist Dr. Lonnie Smith has no medical degree. Instead, he reportedly earned his honorary title on account of his ability to “doctor” tunes with improvisational flourishes. An undisputed virtuoso and guru of the Hammond B3 organ, Smith was discovered by jazz great George Benson in Smith’s native Buffalo in the 1960s. After tinkling the keys for Benson on several albums, Smith released his Columbia Records debut Finger-Lookin’ Good in 1966. He’s been full of surprises ever since, mastering his version of blues and R&B and helping hatch the genre of acid jazz. A venerated sideman, solo performer and bandleader alike, Smith’s sonic evolution has included tributes to artists as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane and Beck. In 2016 alone, he jammed with the Roots on “Jimmy Fallon,” released his first album for Blue Note Records in 45 years, and left Tavis Smiley in stitches during a revealing PBS interview. He’ll perform at Arts Garage complete with his trademark pointy beard and turban.

JAN. 6-7


What: Jason Bishop

Where: Crest Theatre at Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach

When: 2 p.m.

Cost: $35-$45

Contact: 561/243-7922,

Grand illusionist Bishop is a case study in overcoming hardship. Orphaned as a child, the Newark native spent his first 18 years shuffling between foster homes, escaping his transient childhood through the transformative power of magic. He’s since become one of the most eclectic and sought-after magicians on the circuit, as known for his comedic asides and rock-powered soundtrack as his spectacular tricks and sleights of hand. Bishop’s repertoire includes double levitations and plasma illusions aided by cutting-edge technical gadgetry.

JAN. 7


What: The Boca Symphonia’s Connoisseur Concert 2

Where: The Roberts Theatre at Saint Andrew’s School, 3900 Jog Road, Boca Raton

When: 3 p.m.

Cost: $50-$84

Contact: 866/687-4201,

Virtuoso violinist David Kim (pictured), whose day job is concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, serves as guest conductor for this highlight of the Boca Symphonia’s season. Kim will also perform on a program of five string-centric “Symphonia Serenades” playing to his strengths: Grieg’s “Holberg Suite,” Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto in E Minor,” Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” Piazzolla’s “Oblivion for Violin and String Orchestra” and Dvorak’s “Serenade for Strings.”

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What: Oshogatsu Festival

Where: Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens, 4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: $10 children, $15 adults

Contact: 561/495-0233,

In Japan, New Year’s celebrations are like our Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve rolled into one: Think 48-to-72-hour holidays at the beginning of January where revelers attend bonenkai, or “year forgetting parties,” to bid good riddance to the last calendar cycle. The Morikami’s annual Oshogatsu, or New Year, Festival allows visitors to experience a bustling bonenkai just a few days after their own New Year’s Eve hangovers have worn off. Entering its 40th year, the Oshogatsu Festival features a daylong slate of activities including taiko drumming, rice pounding, the making of mochi rice cakes and a sado tea ceremony. A Japanese fortune teller will be on hand to predict the coming year, and a lion dancer will provide a roaring good time. Enjoy a high-end sake selection, and leave with a plant or craft from a local vendor, hopefully feeling renewed and unshackled from last year’s worries.

JAN. 8


What: Cameron Carpenter

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

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $25-$70

Contact: 561/832-5469,

Carpenter describes himself as “the world’s most visible organist,” and one thing’s for sure: In a roomful of classical musicians, he certainly stands out. With his pompadour haircut, flamboyant stage attire and theatrical persona, he conjures up ‘70s punks and Chippendale dancers alike, and he delights in shaking up his industry’s status quo. This extends to his instrument of choice, a self-designed digital touring organ that allows for greater flexibility and interpretation than a traditional pipe organ. On this tour, the Grammy nominee’s dexterous fingers and diamond-studded boots will explore fugues and fantasias by J.S. Bach, his favorite composer, along with his own improvisations and riffs and Gershwin, Fats Waller and others.

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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