Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Your Week Ahead: April 25 to May 1, 2023

Wildlife photography gets its close-up, The Symphonia turns liquid in its season finale, and Lynn University celebrates its performing-arts students. Plus, Natalie Merchant and more in your week ahead.


What: Opening day of 2022 Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards

Where: Society of the Four Arts, 102 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach

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

Cost: $10

Contact: 561/655-7226,

A white-bellied pangolin nestling in the hands of its keeper in a Nigerian shelter. A herd of ostriches gathering in front of a pink-hued landscape of Namibian mountains. A staggering overhead image of flamingoes converging around Kenya’s Lake Solai. Portraits of Tanzanian lions and Rwandan mountain gorillas in extreme, humanistic close-ups. These are just a few of the winning selections in the second-annual Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards, a competition, conceived in Nairobi, for photographers who advocate for wildlife conservation. Image-makers from around the world traveled throughout the continent to capture wildlife in its natural habitat and amid its relationship with humans and the infrastructure that often infringes on its lives. Categories such as “Coexistence & Conflict,” “African Wildlife at Risk” and “Fragile Wilderness” speak to this competition’s urgent and noble intentions. As for the name, H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, who died in 2020, was one of Africa’s most devout champions of conservation. The exhibition runs through June 3.


What: Celebration of the Arts

Where: Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University, 3601 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $35-$50

Contact: 561/237-9000,

It’s that time of the year, just a week ahead of the university’s graduation ceremony, when Lynn’s talented performing-arts students and faculty showcase their abilities to a capacity audience at the glittering Wold Performing Arts Center. (Indeed, this year’s two-day event is sold out on Friday, and only a few tickets remain for Thursday at the time of this writing.) Structured as a Broadway-style variety show, the 11th annual event features renditions from hit musicals, contemporary and/or classical music, and solo and/or group dance performances; we don’t know exactly what to expect, which makes this annual treat such an intriguing community event. It’s also a great way to see tomorrow’s stars today.

What: Natalie Merchant with the South Florida Symphony Orchestra

Where: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $45-$65

Contact: 954/462-0222,

Natalie Merchant has been making alternative rock for grown-ups since the inception of her career, when she joined the band that would become 10,000 Maniacs in 1981. Her immediately recognizable contralto helped the group chart infectious singles like “What’s the Matter Here?” and “Like the Weather,” and her success only continued after she went solo in 1993. Her lyrical sensibility has long been literary and worldly, from basing her second album Ophelia on the “Hamlet” character, to putting Shakespeare’s sonnets to music nine years later. Her 2023 release Keep Your Courage is no exception: Collaborations with jazz, classical and Celtic musicians enliven an album whose songs reach for mythic grandeur (“Narcissus,” “Come On, Aphrodite,” “The Feast of Saint Valentine”). It’s material ideally suited for a symphonic soundtrack, which the South Florida Symphony Orchestra will be honored to provide.


What: LOTOS concert

Where: Delray Beach Tennis Center, 201 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach

When: 4 p.m.

Cost: $12-$200


As any clued-in Gen-Xer worth their salt knows, LOTOS stands for Legends of the Old School, an annual concert that amasses some of the ‘80s and ‘90s signature names in rap, hip-hop and R&B for a throwback party that knows it’s a throwback party. Headliner Ice Cube, the pioneering gangsta rapper and member of N.W.A.—and one of the few luminaries from his genre to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—his released 10 albums since that group disbanded, all full of inspired bangers. The enduring Midwest rappers Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, R&B vocalist Lisa Lisa, Miami bad boys 2 Live Crew, New Jack Swing standard bearers Color Me Badd, and the all-female rap group J.J. Fad will join DJ Johnny Quest and DJ Immortal in the stellar lineup, all of whom are sure to “make a racket” in the Tennis Center.


What: “The Symphonia: Water”

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

When: 3 p.m.

Cost: $55-$90

Contact: 561/376-3848,

“Inspired Naturally,” the theme of this season’s Symphonia Connoisseur Series, has drawn from the elements whipping and churning and spinning around us. So far, the Symphonia has performed works evoking “Fire,” “Earth” and “Wind” (sounds like there’s a funk band in there somewhere), and the season closes with our most life-sustaining compound, “Water.” Principal Conductor Alastair Willis will lead the orchestra through three uncommonly performed pieces with an aquatic feel: The overture from Ethel Smyth’s 1906 opera “The Wreckers,” a tribute to shipwrecks and piracy on the roiling seas; contemporary composer Anthony DiLorenzo’s “Jabberwocky,” a tingly and whimsical retelling of Alice’s journey through the looking glass and back to Wonderland; and Beethoven’s beautifully transportive “Pastoral Symphony,” with its musical suggestions of a thunderstorm and flowing streams.

For more of Boca magazine’s arts and entertainment coverage, click here.

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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