Monday, April 22, 2024

Your Week Ahead: March 26 to April 1

CityPlace’s Art Affair goes woo-woo, the most anticipated Broadway show since “Hamilton” opens in Broward, and Frida Kahlo’s life is painted through opera. Plus, “Fences,” the Symphonia’s final program of the season, and more in your week ahead.


Photo by Matthew Murphy

What: Opening night of “Dear Evan Hansen”

Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $65 and up

Contact: 954/462-0222,

On the heels of such Broadway sensations as “Next to Normal” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” “Dear Evan Hansen” is the latest Tony-winning hit to explore social disorders that would have been verboten a generation earlier. The title character is a teenage boy with a broken arm and severe social anxiety who, after the death of a classmate, tells a lie that brings him unusually close to the victim’s family. Bring a handkerchief for this one; it’s been praised as a landmark musical for its exploration of such mature themes as mental illness and youth suicide. This Broadway Across America production runs through April 7.


What: Florida Grand Opera’s “Frida”

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

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $25-$99

Contact: 800/741-1010,

If anyone had a life tailor-made for the baroque melodrama of opera, it’s Frida Kahlo. The most revered painter in Mexico’s history led a fractured, complicated existence almost from birth: She suffered from polio as child; survived a debilitating traffic accident at 18; married fellow Communist artist Diego Rivera, forming a tempestuous union which she escaped through bisexual philandering, including with Leon Trotsky; and endured more than 30 operations for medical problems that would end her life at 47. The flame of her art and legacy has only brightened since her passing, thanks to works like composer Robert Xavier Rodriguez’s “Frida.” The 1991 opera traverses the milestones and tragedies of the artist’s life and career. The music draws on Mexican and Spanish folk styles as well as Broadway show tunes, while the cast of characters includes Rivera, Trotsky, a Ford and a Rockefeller, and Edward G. Robinson.



What: Art After Dark: Women Artists and Activism

Where: Norton Museum of Art, 1450 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

When: 5 to 10 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/832-5196,

This week’s Art After Dark centers on women in the arts, a topic broad enough to encompass such disparate events as a radical ‘zine-making workshop (Miami-based artist collective (F)empower will lead it), a garden party with DJ music spun by Loka and Yazmine, and a locally produced documentary called “Women Painting,” exploring the experiences of 11 women artists working today. The filmmakers Sarah Michelle Rupert and Michelle Weinberg, who directed the movie for the influential Fort Lauderdale organization Girls Club, will discuss the movie following the screening. These themes carry over on Saturday, March 30, with a Feminist Art History Forum, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., featuring professors from the University of New Mexico, Vassar College, and gallerists/curators from the Brooklyn Museum and The Showroom in London. This, too, is free!

What: Opening night of “Fences”

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

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $90, includes reception ($75 for remainder of run)

Contact: 561/514-4042,

You may have seen Denzel Washington’s faithful, slow-burning film adaptation of August Wilson’s “Fences,” with its Oscar-winning performance from Viola Davis. But that’s no reason to pass up the opportunity to see the original 1987 masterpiece onstage, in its purest and most electric form. The sixth and arguably most admired installment in Wilson’s 10-part “Pittsburgh Cycle” of plays about the 20th century African-American experience, “Fences” centers on Troy, a 53-year-old sanitation worker and struggling breadwinner for his wife, Rose, and child, Cory. Troy, a promising baseball player whose career in the Negro Leagues was cut short after an accidental murder and a subsequent prison sentence, is a receptacle of broken dreams and percolating resentments. Anything can set him off—as Cory will find out over the course of the play. Racial discrimination, infidelity, and the ties that bind even the most fractured families are a few of Wilson’s themes, but the production’s success will hinge on its casting of a complex Troy. As NPR put it, “We must see him as a man who bleeds, heavily, and often from self-inflicted wounds.” The show runs through April 21.


What: “Rooming House”

Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $35

Contact: 561/832-7469,

Even in a city as saturated with dance as Chicago, Lucky Plush Productions stands out. Founded in 2000 by choreographer Julia Rhoads, the company has already created more than 30 idiosyncratic dance-theatre hybrids that combine the self-referential rigor of Pina Bausch with the inexhaustible chattiness of Annie Baker. Her thespian hoofers engage in philosophical debates and contemporary sociopolitical inquiries, all while moving in casually mesmerizing formations and balancing each other in dramatic lifts. “Rooming House,” Lucky Plush’s newest work, finds its dancers riffing on everyday people who accomplish extraordinary things, from defecting to Cuba to saving someone’s life in a rescue operation.


Lidia Kaminska

What: Connoisseur Concert 4

Where: Roberts Theatre, 3900 Jog Road, Boca Raton

When: 3 p.m.

Cost: $50-$84

Contact: 866/687-4201,

The disparate genres of classical and jazz find common ground in the Symphonia Boca Raton’s final program of its new season. Titled “A Jazz Symphony,” the program’s most anticipated offering is Shostakovich’s “Suite for Jazz Orchestra No. 1,” which features a waltz, polka and foxtrot performed with three saxophones, two trumpets, glockenspiel, wood block, xylophone, Hawaiian guitar and other unusual colors. Weill’s “Threepenny Opera Suite” and rarely performed works by Golijov, Piazzolla and Marquez round out the afternoon, with guest bandoneon soloist Lidia Kaminska joining the symphony.


What: Opening night of Art Affair

Where: CityPlace in Downtown West Palm Beach

When: Various event times

Cost: Varies per event


The ninth-annual Downtown West Palm Beach Arts Festival will return April 6-7 along Rosemary Avenue, but the festivities surrounding it begin next Monday with the second-annual Art Affair—a comprehensive and immersive celebration of the visual arts that will feature live demonstrations and performances, in-store activations, art classes, 90-minute downtown walking tours of public sculptures, and more festivities. If you attended the inaugural event last year, you know it’s a blast, and event organizers are already integrating a new, woo-woo element. As featured recently on a Netflix documentary, “Whisperlodge: Day Dream,” a live meditation experience running April 4-6 in downtown’s Culture Lab, uses Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR, to deliver its participants “pleasurable tingles” through a “narrative symphony of everyday sounds.” 

John Thomason
John Thomason
As the A&E editor of, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

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