Two legendary R&B groups share a stage, a Netflix magician brings his stunning illusions to Fort Lauderdale, and 160 artists fill Sanborn Square. Plus, Todd Snider, a play adaptation of “The Graduate” and more in your week ahead.
What: Todd Snider
Where: Funky Biscuit, 303 S.E. Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/395-2929, funkybiscuit.com
A protest singer for an age of renewed protest, folksinger Todd Snider has been highlighting society’s ills with a double musical helix of rage and humor for upwards of 25 years, accruing a dedicated underground following in the process. His influences range from Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan to Johnny Cash, all of which can be heard on his 18th release, 2019’s Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3, recorded in the Man in Black’s titular studio. It’s an album that is both urgently receptive to 21st century political realities and elegiac toward the golden age of country and roots music. “Violins bow into fiddles / two iconic cymbals crash / when Loretta Lynn goes dancing / with the ghost of Johnny Cash,” Snider sings, on the LP’s catchiest number. Here’s hoping he plays several of its tunes and a smattering from his enormous archive. Arrive at 8 p.m. for opening act Chicago Farmer, and a look for a review of the concert on Friday here at bocamag.com.
What: The Temptations & the Four Tops
Where: Seminole Casino, 5555 N.W. 40th St., Coconut Creek
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 800/653-8000, casinococo.com
Having this much R&B royalty in a single room is the very definition of an embarrassment of riches, and fans of its splinter genres—like funk and psychedelic soul—owe it to themselves to experience these legendary vocal groups perform songs that have transcended generations. Though most of these groups’ original members have been replaced by younger sound-alikes, each is still fronted by a powerful vestige of its 1960s origins: Founding member Otis Williams still leads the Temptations, and original Four Top Abdul “Duke” Fakir still croons the band’s classics. Expect to hear “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Baby I Need Your Loving” and “I Can’t Help Myself,” songs as indelible to the American experience as the National Anthem.
What: Opening day of “Clemency”
Where: Living Room Theaters at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton
When: Show times pending
Contact: 561/549-2600, fau.livingroomtheaters.com
“Clemency” is the grim flipside to “Just Mercy,” the earnest biopic about the Innocence Project’s Bryan Stevenson, released a couple of weeks ago. The former film showed how persistent lawyering could reverse injustice and free the innocent from death row; “Clemency” is what happens when state-sanctioned killing proceeds without a hitch. Prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) is on the verge of overseeing her 12th execution, of an inmate (Aldis Hodge) who still maintains his innocence. While Bernadine performs her duties leading up to the event with the required clinical dispassion, she’s a wreck inside, where her job has taken a toll on her marriage and her health. “Clemency” explores the micro absurdities of this barbaric institution—“Can I get you anything?,” she asks the prison’s 11th victim, seconds before administering the drug that will stop his heart—as well as its macro implications. Agonizing and unsentimental, it’s anchored by bravura acting all-round, not least from Woodard, whose fraying combination of vulnerability and authority carries the picture.
What: Opening night of “The Graduate”
Where: Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Drive, Fort Lauderdale
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 954/678-1496, empirestage.com
Remember any of these nuggets? “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me, aren’t you?” “I think you’re the most attractive of all of my parents’ friends.” And of course, “Plastics.” “The Graduate” is the one most iconic and quotable films of the ‘60s, a movie that, perhaps better than any other, captured the ennui of postgraduate malaise in turns that were alternately humorous, dramatic and romantic. It’s news to me that the story was adapted as a play, by Terry Johnson, which opened on Broadway in 2000. Retaining the lead characters and California upper-crust setting from Mike Nichols’ film, the drama also features an ensemble of actors portraying “Stripper,” “Hotel Clerk,” “Psychiatrist” and other figures circling Benjamin Braddock’s orbit. This professional regional production from Empire Stage runs through Feb. 16.
What: Justin Willman: “Magic in Real Life”
Where: Parker Playhouse, 707 N.E. Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, parkerplayhouse.com
One of my favorite Netflix discoveries of late has been “Magic for Humans,” which showcases comedian and magician Justin Willman’s extraordinary gifts of sleight of hand, “mind reading,” levitation, disappearing/reappearing objects and other first-rate tracks in half-hour themed episodes. One centers on technology, another on communication, another on the pliability of time. Willman claims his show deploys no camera or editing tricks—which makes his illusions all the more stunning—and the ideas behind his routines resonate: I can say with certainty that it’s the only magic series that has made me laugh and cry in the same episode. Expect a great deal of audience participation, quick-witted humor and tricks you’ve never seen on television at his touring performance in Fort Lauderdale this weekend.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
What: Boca Raton Fine Art Show
Where: Sanborn Square Park, 72 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Contact: 941/755-3088, hotworks.org
Art fair season is now in full swing, so if you missed last week’s Delray Beach Festival of the Arts, downtown Boca has you covered. Hot Works’ annual Boca Raton Fine Art Show welcomes 160 professional artists working in paint, fiber, photography, clay, wood and more. The artists hail from around the country and as far afield as Quebec and Jerusalem, and highlights include Kimber Fiebiger’s whimsical egg sculptures; Gail Markiewicz’ colorful, functional clay teapots; and Caitlin Vitale’s vivid automobile photography. Classical pianist Sergei Novikov will provide live entertainment both days, and proceeds from the show will benefit the 501(c)(3) Institute for the Arts and Education.