A Chazz-y Broadway musical visits Fort Lauderdale, a monologue artist breaks down our cultural idiocracy, and Bob Dylan’s most legendary tour comes to the big screen. Plus, Twenty One Pilots, Emo Philips and more in your week ahead.
What: Opening night of “A Bronx Tale: The Musical”
Where: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org
When Hollywood character actor and tough-guy par excellance Chazz Palminteri wrote his one-man autobiographical play “A Bronx Tale,” in 1989, he couldn’t have foreseen the project’s rich multimedia afterlife. First, Robert De Niro saw the play, optioned the film rights, and directed and starred in a critically acclaimed 1993 film adaptation. In the late 2000s, Palminteri himself revived his one-man show, touring it at mid-size theaters around the country. Now, his memory play is back, only this time with original songs, raucous choreography, maybe even a jazz hand or two. This latest iteration, “A Bronx Tale: The Musical,” retains the coming-of-age plot from Palminteri’s original concept—A boy is torn between the values and ideals of his hardworking New York father and the appeals and temptations of a local Mafioso—with behind-the-scenes talent that is unimpeachable. Veteran composer Alan Menken wrote the music, Palminteri penned his own adaptation, and De Niro co-directed this national tour, which plays the Broward Center through June 23.
What: Special screening of “Rolling Thunder Revue”
Where: O Cinema, 500 71stSt., Miami Beach
When: 8 p.m.
Legendary director Martin Scorsese’s second documentary about Bob Dylan—after 2005’s excellent “No Direction Home”—“Rolling Thunder Revue” revisits one of the most storied tours in rock history. Hatched in 1975 and inspired by gypsy caravans and loosely structured vaudeville shows, the concert tour found the enigmatic singer-songwriter at his most passionate peak as a live performer, balancing exhilarating renditions of new and deep cuts with a peculiar getup of masks and pancake makeup. Then there were the friends with whom he surrounded himself on this intimate jaunt—Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, playwright Sam Shepard, Joni Mitchell, Allen Ginsburg, Patti Smith. There would never be another tour like it, and Scorsese captures it all through deft editing of archival footage on- and backstage, and, most significantly, new interviews, including Bob Dylan’s first on-camera interview in a decade. “Rolling Thunder Revue” premieres on Netflix on Wednesday, but this sneak peak offers a rare opportunity to see this two-hour and 22-minute epic ride on the big screen, where it deserves to be experienced.
What: Emo Philips
Where: Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., Suite 250, West Palm Beach
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/833-1812, palmbeachimprov.com
In the comedy renaissance of the 1980s, Emo Philips was a singular cult figure who ran counter to the macho, profanity-laced provocations of marquee headliners like Andrew Dice Clay and Eddie Murphy. Philips’ persona was more alien: A fey, childlike savant with a gender-bending bob haircut, Philips delivered brilliant one-liners to cerebral audiences in a meandering falsetto voice that must be heard to be believed. Playing off cultural perceptions, his specialty was, and still is, the paraprosdokian—a ten-dollar word that essentially means a joke that begins heading in one direction, and winds up somewhere totally different. So, though Philips is an inimitable voice in comedy, it’s hard to imagine 21st century comics like Demetri Martin and Anthony Jeselnik existing without him. Thursday’s show marks an uber-rare tour appearance for the 63-year-old “comedian’s comedian,” so don’t pass up the bargain. Look for a review of the show on Friday here on bocamag.com.
What: Davina and the Vagabonds
Where: Arts Garage, 94 N.E. Second Ave.
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/450-6357, artsgarage.org
You can tell a lot about a musician by perusing her Spotify playlist. Davina Sowers’ playlist, which she posted online last year, spans from Fats Domino to John Hiatt to Muddy Waters, Toots & the Maytals to Melanie to Tom Waits. In other words, it’s full of the contradictions that define her own set lists: Sweet and saucy, simmering and explosive, sacred and irreverent. Reinventing the Great American Songbook with a healthy dose of her own original compositions, Sowers and her band, the Vagabonds, may be the best New Orleans band not to hail from Louisiana (they’re actually from Minnesota, which we believe has gotten microscopically warmer with their very presence). The Vagabonds’ trumpeter, trombonist, drummer and upright bassist bring their own flair to the band’s live mix of soul, blues, gospel and standards, but it’s Davina herself, leading from her perch at the keyboard, that has helped this project stand apart. With her midnight-black, ‘50s-pinup-model haircut, expressive vocal delivery and room-shuddering voice, Sowers has earned comparisons to Etta James, Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin—a lineup of talent almost as eclectic as her playlist.
FRIDAY TO SUNDAY
What: Robert Dubac’s “The Book of Moron”
Where: Delray Beach Playhouse, 950 N.W. Ninth St., Delray Beach
When: 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Contact: 561/272-1281 ext. 5, delraybeachplayhouse.com
A monologist whose craft has been compared to Mark Twain and Lily Tomlin, Robert Dubac looks askance at American culture and politics, with an eye that is both jaundiced and probing. Prone to asking big-picture questions about a society awash in distracting minutia, Dubac acts as philosopher and social critic in his latest stage comedy “The Book of Moron,” which showcases his deft combination of standup and live theatre. In this touring production, which enjoyed a run off-Broadway, Dubac inhabits multiple guises in his deconstruction of our so-called “idiocracy,” shooting at easy targets like the Kardashians and selfies but often reaching profound conclusions that encapsulate our damaged state of things. It’s no wonder that “The Book of Moron” has been described as “a head trip on a banana peel.”
What: Twenty One Pilots
Where: AmericanAirlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
When: 7 p.m.
Contact: 786/777-1000, aaarena.com
Blurryface, the 2015 breakthrough album from Columbus, Ohio duo Twenty One Pilots, is one of those LPs, like Nirvana’s Nevermindor the Beastie Boys’ License to Ill, in which every track sounds like it came from a greatest-hits collection. In fact, Blurryfacewould go on to make history: It became the first album in which every song received at least a Gold certification from the RIAA, while establishing the group’s slippery sound—a kitchen-sink catch-all of rap, alt-rock, pop and electronic—for a generation of listeners. It’s a tough act for any band to follow, but Trench, released last fall after being recorded during a secret yearlong media blackout, more than meets the hype. Like its predecessor, it sounds utterly novel but familiarly infectious, with just the sort of deep, conceptual lyricism we’ve come to expect from a band that named itself after a line from Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons.” Expect the group’s fan base, known as the Skeleton Clique, to sing along to every word in Twenty One Pilots’ “Bandito” world tour, in which they play every track from Trenchand a handful of riveting older cuts.