Comedians “Stand Up” for the U.S. military, Romeo and Juliet meet in Boca, and a Verdi tragedy opens Palm Beach Opera’s season. Plus, Pete Yorn, Joe Biden, “Flash Gordon” and more in your week ahead.
What: United We Stand-Up
Where: Mizner Park Comedy Club, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton
When: 8 p.m.
On, say, 364 days a year, the concept of supporting the troops by laughing at them would seem, at the very least, insensitive. This is the one night that such a notion is not only appropriate but encouraged. United We Stand-Up gathers five comedians who happen to be active or retired members of the United States Armed Services. Cuban-American entertainer Jose Sarduy, who has been in the U.S. Air Force for 19 years, is also an accomplished standup, showcasing his talents on CNN and “Last Call With Carson Daly.” He’ll headline the show alongside Brendan Jay of the U.S. Navy, Al Callus and Steven Engel of the U.S. Army, and Bob Vaughn of the U.S. Air Force. A portion of ticket sales will support local veterans’ nonprofits.
What: Pete Yorn
Where: Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 954/564-1064, cultureroom.net
Singer-songwriter Pete Yorn’s latest album is an EP with Scarlett Johansson, his second collaboration with the actress/chanteuse, and watching their videos together, I must admit: It was difficult to keep my eyes on Yorn. It’s not his fault, it’s just the way it is. But on his latest tour, Yorn won’t have the distraction of one of the most beautiful starlets in Hollywood. It’s an acoustic show, so Yorn, his guitar and his confessional lyrics will connect with fans on a scale that is likely to seem both intimate, in its unadorned vulnerability, and kind of epic, too. In Yorn’s first Florida appearance in eight years, expect to hear plenty of stripped-down material from his early, unofficial trilogy—2001’s musicforthemorningafter, 2003’s Day I Forgot and 2006’s Nightcrawler—and, if some of last year’s set lists are to be repeated, some pretty cool covers.
What: Screening of “Flash Gordon”
Where: Savor Cinema, 503 S.E. Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale
When: 10 p.m. (festivities begin at 8 p.m.)
Contact: 954/525-3456, fliff.com
Before there were trillion-dollar Marvel and DC movie franchises, there was “Flash Gordon,” a 1980 adaptation of the classic comic strip, whose special effects were cheesier than a Velveeta factory. The movie’s lo-fi, zonked-out presentation was part of its charm, and I’d like to think the filmmakers knew they were winking at us the whole time. At any rate, this silly diversion—about an ex-football star, a doctor played by the “Fiddler on the Roof” guy, and the football star’s legion of groupies, as they make an interstellar stop on planet Mongo to save the earth from a hilariously over-the-top supervillain played by Max Von Sydow—has become a cult classic. Enjoy the campy fun on the big screen at this one-time screening courtesy of The Film Junkies. Arrive early for drink specials, a costume contest, a food truck and episodes of the “Flash Gordon” animated series beginning at 8 p.m.
FRIDAY TO SUNDAY
What: Shakespeare in the Park: “Romeo and Juliet”
Where: Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday
There’s no better feeling than to be enjoying a pint at the Dubliner, or a taco at Kapow!, and to hear iambic pentameter waft from the speakers of nearby Mizner Park Amphitheater. I’m not joking: For any midsize city, the addition of a Shakespeare in the Park event, even if it’s only one weekend a year, instantly elevates your little hamlet (sorry) into a metropolis of culture. In fact, skip the restaurants next weekend and bring a bottle of wine to this free touring production from Shakespeare Miami. This year, it’s one of the Bard’s most accessible and quotable plays, his tale of doomed lovers and teenage angst that has inspired musicals, operas, ballets, even a production composed of nothing but tweets! Best to see “Romeo and Juliet” the old-fashioned way, with a cast of area professionals including Jordon Armstrong, Susannah Eig and Jessica Schulte.
What: “La traviata”
Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Contact: 561/832-7469, pbopera.org
In what has become his most famous letter, Giuseppe Verdi wrote to a friend after the opening night of his opera “La traviata” in 1853 that, “’La traviata’ last night was a failure. Was the fault mine or the singers’? Time will tell.” First of all, considering the ever-inflating 21st century ego, an artist showing such vulnerability and self-questioning these days is rare. But secondly, the notion that “La traviata” is a failure borders on blasphemy; time has indeed shown that the fault was definitely not Verdi’s. The story, about a damaged young courtesan suffering from “consumption” who falls in love with a passionate young suitor in decadent 19th century Paris has become one of the world’s most-beloved operatic dramas. This production, which opens Palm Beach Opera’s 2019 season, will feature lavish costumes and sets, dancers from Ballet Palm Beach, and the American debut of celebrated young director Fabio Ceresa.
What: Opening night of “Fake”
Where: Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
When: 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $100 ($35-$65 for remainder of run)
Contact: 305/674-1040, colonymb.org
There may be no word more representative of our time and our president than “fake,” and this world-premiere play by Carmen Pelaez is well-timed to capture a zeitgeist of slippery truths and the manipulation of reality. Most directly, the show addresses potential art forgery: When a painting of mysterious origin suddenly appears at a prestigious art auction as a last-minute inclusion, it sets off a quest to uncover its provenance. The painting connects six complex characters and wades into the murky waters of Cuba’s political bureaucracy. It also concerns real-life avant-garde painter Amelia Peleaz, of whom the author is certainly acquainted: She is Amelia’s grandniece. Miami New Drama always finds new and engaging ways to tell stories; see its production of “Fake” through Feb. 3.
MONDAY, JAN. 28
What: An Evening With Joe Biden
Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org
At the time of this writing, according to BallotPedia, at least six politicians have announced their candidacy to run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. Conspicuously absent is the name most polls place at the top of an increasing heap of aspirants: Former Vice President Joe Biden. He’ll surely be asked the question at this appearance on his “American Promise” speaking tour, the timing of which suggests something of a stump-speech trial run. More than likely he’ll demur, but he’ll surely have enough insights to rivet a liberal audience for a couple of hours while discussing his latest best-selling memoir, Promise Me, Dad.