Hops ‘n’ suds take over Old School Square, a dance company brings African-American culture and history to the Kravis, and a new movie unravels the Manson mystique. Plus, G. Love, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Werther” and more in your week ahead.
What: Dance Theatre of Harlem
Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org
The sudden passing of pioneering African-American dancer Arthur Mitchell, last September, had a cosmic sort of timing: It fell just shy of the 50th anniversary of the formation of his company, Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH). Founded in 1969, in part as a response to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., DTH quickly garnered a reputation of the nation’s first black ballet company. Actually, DTS celebrated diversity broadly, which meant the early inclusion of Hispanic and Asian-American dancers as well. Bringing his experience as a protégé to George Balanchine to the organization, Mitchell launched his company in church basements and converted garages with doors left open, choreographing for curious passersby. DTS would enjoy its professional debut at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, and would become the first American ballet company to perform in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. With dozens of important and confrontational works in its repertory, DTS will bring a handful of them to its 2019 tour, aiming to satisfy its tagline of “dancing through barriers.”
THURSDAY AND SATURDAY
What: Florida Grand Opera’s “Werther”
Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 954/462-0222, fgo.org
The four-act Jules Massenet opera “Werther” begins and ends with Christmas carols, but don’t be fooled: This 1892-vintage work is a tragedy through and through. Adapted from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s pseudo-biographical novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, it’s a classic case of young lovers torn apart by tradition and circumstance. Charlotte, the daughter of a prominent bailiff, meets Werther, a young poet, on a warm summer evening. They’re entranced by each other, and enjoy a romantic escapade, even though Charlotte is scheduled to marry another man, the often-absent Albert, and will not be breaking off the marriage. The opera charts Werther’s longing and depression over the following two seasons, which leads inexorably toward tragedy. This heartbreaking conclusion to Florida Grand Opera’s season includes two Fort Lauderdale performances featuring the FGO debut of tenor Dimitri Pittas in the title role.
What: G. Love
Where: Funky Biscuit, 303 S.E. Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/395-2929, funkybiscuit.com
Sans his “Special Sauce”—aka his backing band of drummer Jeffrey Clemens and bassist Jim Prescott—Philadelphia native G. Love will nonetheless keep his music spicy and flavorful on this solo appearance, part of a seven-city Florida sojourn known as G. Love’s Beachside Blues Tour. Love’s music is a slacker’s gumbo of Delta blues, rap, rock, funk, jazz and soul, and at this intimate performance, his lyrics will take center stage through the spartan accompaniment of acoustic guitar and harmonica. Tampa Bay outfit the Ries Brothers, also known for their genre-bending approach to rock, blues, funk and reggae vibes, will open the show. (The Brothers will also headline the Delray Beach Craft Beerfest on Friday; see our next entry!)
What: Delray Beach Craft Beerfest
Where: Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach
When: 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. (VIP admin at 6:30 p.m.)
Contact: 561/243-7922, oldschoolsquare.org
A fundraiser soaked in suds, Old School Square’s eighth-annual Delray Beach Craft Beer Fest is your annual chance to try something blonde or brown, pale or pilsner, light or limey, or whatever a hefeweizen is. If there’s any time to experiment with new styles and flavor combinations, it’s here: The flat ticket price allows for unlimited sampling of more than 100 craft brews and ciders, so let your taste buds run wild (responsibly, of course). I attended my first Delray Beach Beer Fest last year, and found an eclectic and festive atmosphere: Attendees hop from tent to tent in an art fair-like ambience, chatting up brewers about their processes before, while a DJ and a live band spawn impromptu dance spaces. Wash down the malty flavors with pub bites available for purchase, and compete against your friends at jumbo versions of Jenga, cornhole and beer pong.
What: Opening night of “Charlie Says”
Where: Savor Cinema, 503 S.E. Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale
When: Show times TBA
Contact: 954/525-3456, fliff.com
Were the women who killed for Charles Manson monsters themselves—or were they just under the sway of one? The question of redemption for Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkle and Susan Atkins is at the heart of this fact-based feature from director Mary Harron, which is set in an isolated cellblock in a California prison, where a graduate student sympathetic to the girls’ humanity attempts to untether the murderesses from their cultish obedience to Charlie. This inspires memories and flashbacks to the heady days of the Manson Family, with Matt Smith embodying the charismatic psychopath. It’s cast with character actors, not stars, but the movie’s grisly and provocative subject matter should be enough to attract an audience. With the director of “American Psycho” and “The Notorious Bettie Page” behind the camera, the story appears to be in qualified hands.
What: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Where: Pompano Beach Cultural Center, 50 W. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach
When: 7 p.m.
Contact: 954/545-7800, ccpompano.org
So we’re not quite in midsummer yet, although the weather certainly feels like it. Besides, the season is always right for a production of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedy, a delightful exercise in mischief. Forest fairies manage to turn friends against one another, force two boys to fall in love with the same girl, and transform an ensemble of theatre artists into mechanical creatures that bend to their wills. Arguably Shakespeare’s most self-reflexive piece, the final act of “Midsummer” is a famous play within a play, which resolves conflict through the magic of live theatre. The Shakespeare Troupe of South Florida, a three-year-old company dedicating to spreading the Bard’s work to audiences of all ages, will mount this timeless show for one night only, bringing along imaginative props, costumes, sets and sound effects.
What: Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues
Where: Arts Garage, 94 N.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach
When: 7 p.m.
Contact: 561/450-6357, artsgarage.org
Mac Arnold, born in 1942 as one of 13 children on a South Carolina sharecropper’s farm, is a hardcore bluesman. Case in point: At 15, and lacking the funds to purchase a guitar, Mac and his brother Leroy made their own, out of objects they found around the homestead—a steel gas can, broomsticks, nails and screen wire. This MacGyverish transformation was no lark; Arnold mastered his makeshift instrument and would go on to join James Brown’s early band, J. Floyd the Shamrocks and, later, to tour and record with a who’s-who of R&B royalty, from B.B. King and the Temptations to Otis Spann and John Lee Hooker. His bass line can be heard in the theme of “Sanford and Son,” and he played on the set of “Soul Train” for four years. After a lengthy retirement, Arnold formed his own group, Plate Full o’ Blues, in 2006, serving up soul and funk in addition to traditional blues. At 76, Arnold now has a professional axeman, drummer and keyboardist backing him up—but he’s still known to break out his “slide gas can guitar” for certain numbers.