Miami City Ballet presents its most spectacular program of the season, country music’s longhaired outlaw smokes out the Broward Center, and the Norton opens a 50-year retrospective of the preeminent Pop artist. Plus, the Beach Boys, Kurt Elling and more in your week ahead.
What: Willie Nelson & Family
Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org
For nearly 60 years, Willie Nelson has functioned both as a country-music standard-bearer and one of the style’s most outspoken subversives. He has come a long way from his humble origins in 1962—when he recorded traditional country songs, and wore a neat, cropped haircut on the cover of his debut LP—to his modern incarnation as the genre’s hippie troubadour, advocating on behalf of issues such as marijuana legalization, biofuel and the ethical treatment of horses, while dabbling in blues, reggae and folk music. He still records at an ungodly clip, receiving a Grammy Award this year for his 69th album, 2019’s Ride Me Back Home. His set lists are always an eclectic smorgasbord of beloved originals and covers he’s transformed into his own; recent set lists have him playing Hank Williams, Toby Keith and a French swing track popularized by Django Reinhardt.
What: Opening day of “Robert Rauschenberg: Five Decades from the Whitney’s Collection”
Where: Norton Museum of Art, 1450 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach
When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Contact: 561/832-5196, norton.org
The godfather of Pop Art, Robert Rauschenberg refused to be pigeonholed. For years, beginning in the early ‘50s, he was the preeminent reductionist, challenging the art world with monochromatic, is-this-really-art “White Paintings” and “Black Paintings.” By the next decade, he was favoring a kitchen-sink approach to artistic maximalism, creating what he called “combines”—crazy abstract collages of paint, graphite, wood, newspaper, found objects and trash recovered from the streets of New York. He went on to design sets and costumes for major dance companies, create an iconic album cover for Talking Heads, and paint a car for BMW, actively challenging himself and his patronage until his death, in 2000, on Captiva Island. W magazine called him “the most influential artist of the last 50 years.” This concise and accessible retrospective organized by the Whitney Museum traces his voluminous career, decade by decade, from the ‘50s to the ‘90s. It runs through June 28.
What: Opening day of “And Then We Danced”
Where: Living Room Theaters at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton
When: Show times pending
Contact: 561/549-2600, fau.livingroomtheaters.com
Movies about dance often double as movies about sensuality and sexuality. (“Black Swan,” anyone?) “And Then We Danced,” a recent Cannes Film Festival favorite submitted as Sweden’s Academy Awards entry for 2020, is no exception. Set in the former Soviet nation of Georgia, it’s about a young male dancer who trains, with a female partner, with the elite National Georgian Ensemble. But he soon develops a desire for a new male trainee, who is, inconveniently, his chief rival for a position with the company. “And Then We Danced” faced protests from ultra-conservative religious groups in Georgia, which is a testament to its cultural gravitas. Check it out at least through Feb. 27.
What: The Beach Boys
Where: Coral Springs Center for the Arts, 2855 Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 954/344-5990, thecentercs.com
An American institution for six decades, the Beach Boys have sold more than 100 million records—1988’s “Kokomo” would become the highest-selling single of all time—while remaining doggedly on brand. While original frontman Brian Wilson has gone in his own, artier directions since departing the group he co-founded, his cousin Mike Love continues to carry the torch of endless summer to multiple generations. Supported by vocalist Bruce Johnston, a Beach Boy since 1965, and seven younger musicians, Love plays upwards of 150 shows a year, with a set list that reaches nearly 40 songs. And he’s not just a nostalgia act: The band will be playing tunes from Love’s latest album, 12 Sides of Summer, which features original compositions inspired by his favorite season, as well as unorthodox covers by the Beatles, Ramones and more.
What: Jazz Roots: “A Century of Jazz Giants”
Where: Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 305/949-6722, arshtcenter.org
Vocalist Kurt Elling’s rich baritone and four-octave range has made him one of the nation’s premier jazz singers since the mid-‘90s. A Blue Note Records signee capable of tackling just about any timbre and rhythm, Elling will perform tunes popularized by his idols at this performance, specifically Louis Armstrong, Billy Eckstine, Nat “King” Cole and John Hendricks. Arrive early for opening act Rene Marie, a Grammy nominee whose mission is no less lofty than exploring the human psyche through music. She’ll be joined by her band, Experiment in Truth.
FRIDAY TO SUNDAY
What: Miami City Ballet Program III
Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday
Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org
The ballet “Firebird” is so rich in fantasy archetypes that it seems sprung from the mind of a Grimm, or a Disney, or a Hans Christian Andersen. But the fantastical narrative was hatched in Russia circa 1910, and the overnight success of the work put its neophyte composer—one Igor Stravinsky—on the map. Centering on a hunting trip, with an emphasis on a trip, it follows heroic prince Ivan, who stumbles upon a magical forest realm ruled by a villain whose magic egg grants him immortality, and who has mesmerized 13 princesses to do his bidding. To thwart him, Ivan will need to summon the mythical Firebird for a grandiose intervention. Working from George Balanchine’s 1949 choreography, Miami City Ballet’s company premiere of “Firebird” promises much excitement and spectacular effects. It will be preceded by Twyla Tharp’s beloved “Nine Sinatra Songs” and Justin Peck’s jaunty “Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes.”