Your Week Ahead: Dec. 2 to 9

delray christmas tree

Delray lights up the best tree in Florida, a disco-themed Carols by Candlelight twinkles at Old School Square, and Dramaworks premieres an engrossing McCarthy-era play. Plus, “Hansel and Gretel,” David Sedaris and more in your week ahead.


TUESDAY

david sedaris

What: David Sedaris

Where: Parker Playhouse, 707 N.E. Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $76.49-$85.69

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

Humor essayist David Sedaris eclipsed middle age a decade ago, with the literal and emotional scars to show for it—and a recently released story collection, Calypso, to document the scar tissue. Met with the usual hosannas from critics and audiences, Calypso finds the droll writer in repose (supposedly) at his new beach house on the Carolina Coast, which he would love to enjoy were it not for family troubles and his own bodily malfunctions—serious fodder for some writers but comic catnip for Sedaris. On his latest world tour, he’ll read passages from Calypso, field audience questions and sign books.

THURSDAY

delray tree

What: 100-Foot Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

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

When: 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/243-7277, downtowndelraybeach.com/holidays

It’s time once again for the city of Delray Beach to flip the switch on its towering faux-conifer—complete with its 31 miles worth of garland, 18,000 ornaments, and more than 200,000 LED lights. Voted the best tree in the state of Florida by Travel + Leisure, the tree is more than just an external Instagram marvel: Its immersive, traversable interior features scenes like a reindeer barn, Santa’s workshop, a “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” house and a train house. While the tree is open until January 1, there’s no better time to join in the revelry than on Thursday’s festivities, which include a cameo from Santa Claus (arrival time 6:45 p.m.)

FRIDAY

What: Opening day of “Waves”

Where: Cinemark Palace, 3200 Airport Road, Boca Raton

When: Show times pending

Cost: $8-$13

Contact: 561/395-4695, cinemark.com

Writer-director Trey Edward Shults’ stirring follow-up to his post-apocalyptic horror film “It Comes at Night” is a combustible family drama of unusual enormity, and one that hits literally close to home: It was filmed in Broward and Dade counties. High school senior Tyler Williams (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) has the world in front of him—he has a girlfriend, he’s a successful wrestler on track for college, and he lives in a spacious home with parents who love him, even if Dad (Sterling K. Brown) may be a hypercritical disciplinarian. But when a shoulder injury threatens to derail his plans for the future, it sets off a chain of tragic consequences presented with almost unbearable tension. A diptych of a movie, its second half, which follows Tyler’s sister Emily (Taylor Russell) through her first budding romance, is more contemplative, but no less profound. Set against the backdrop of the brutal Darwinism of the college admissions process and the double standards society places on black Americans to excel, “Waves” is a guidebook for coping in the 21st century. It’s emotionally draining, and worth every minute.

FRIDAY TO SUNDAY

hansel and gretel

What: Palm Beach Opera’s “Hansel and Gretel”

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

When: 7 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $25-$75

Contact: 561/833-7888, pbopera.org

Nothing says “happy holidays” quite like cannibalistic witches! Normally in residence at the Kravis Center, Palm Beach Opera will migrate southward for its first production of the 2019/2020 season, composer Engelbert Humperdinck’s family-friendly take on the Brothers Grimm fairytale. The enchanting work, sung in English and starring students from the company’s stable of young and apprentice artists, will feature an innovative “candy house” set constructed entirely from paper. Additionally, the children’s chorus will feature talented members of the Young Singers of the Palm Beaches.

SATURDAY

rembrandt

What: Opening day of “Rembrandt: The Sign and the Light”

Where: Society of the Four Arts, 2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach

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

Cost: $10

Contact: 561/655-7226, fourarts.org

For an artist who is much a household name as Rembrandt van Rijn, this greatest of all the Dutch masters is rarely given an entire gallery, let alone a full exhibition, in today’s museums. That’s why the Society of the Four Arts’ high-season exhibit, honoring the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death, is so enticing. With 68 prints on view, it offers the rare opportunity to view his etchings literally up close—magnifying glasses will be provided—and to appreciate anew his eclectic contributions to portraiture, landscapes, Biblical re-creations and genre scenes. The exhibition runs through Feb. 2.

ordinary americans

What: Opening weekend of “Ordinary Americans”

Where: Palm Beach Dramaworks, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach

When: 2 and 8 p.m.

Cost: $77

Contact: 561/514-4042, palmbeachdramaworks.org

The Hollywood blacklist, which tarnished the careers of dozens of film industry professionals believed to have sympathized or aligned with the Communist Party, is a well-known relic from the bad old days of McCarthyism. But political persecution in the entertainment industry wasn’t limited to the Silver Screen. In the 1950s, the pioneering sitcom “The Goldbergs,” run by comic actors Gertrude Berg and Philip Loeb, was also targeted by pernicious forces at the height of its success. A wholesome radio and television comedy about a New York family led by a Jewish matriarch, the series spent a decade on the air, and is most remembered today for the simple catchphrase “yoo-hoo!” popularized by Berg’s character, Molly Goldberg, as she called out to her neighbors from her apartment window. Little has been written about the backstage machinations that eventually turned her innocent series into a political lightning rod—until now. Joseph McDonagh’s world-premiere play “Ordinary Americans,” commissioned by Palm Beach Dramaworks, revisits this backstory from a humanist perspective, deftly balancing comedy and tragedy. It runs through Jan. 5.

gloria gaynor

What: Carols by Candlelight

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

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $10-$100

Contact: 561/243-7922, oldschoolsquare.org

The Pavilion is decorated with snowflakes, the 100-foot Christmas Tree’s lights twinkle in all their majesty, and 2,000 candles create an amber halo over the crowd while holiday classics waft over the audience. There’s nothing quite like this beloved tradition at Old School Square—all that’s missing is the mistletoe and eggnog for a romantic December night out, which doubles as a blissful escape from the pressures of the holiday season. This year, disco royalty Gloria Gaynor (“I Will Survive”) headlines, performing seasonal favorites and dancehall gems from her 50 years in the business. Arrive early for performances by Mary Gaines Bernard (sister of Donna Summer) and Holiday Voices (a choir that performs at Disney, Sea World and Universal theme parks).