Monday, September 25, 2023

Your Week Ahead: Nov. 6-12

The Kravis opens a rock-hard Broadway tour, an ensemble drama explores Alzheimer’s with wrenching clarity, and FAU Galleries opens new work from a Haitian-American master. Plus, Simple Minds, The Mercury Program, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and more in your week ahead.


What: Opening night of “Rock of Ages”

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

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $28-$79

Contact: 561/832-7469,

In the annals of Broadway musicals for people who don’t like Broadway musicals, this cheeky, nostalgic jukebox of ‘80s glam-metal classics must be somewhere near the top. Its plot is deliberately wafer-thin: A small-town girl arrives, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, on the Sunset Strip, hoping to break into Hollywood. She meets an earnest, aspiring rock ‘n’ roller in the legendary club that hires her as a waitress; he falls for her, but her heart has been captured by Stacee Jaxx, a vain rock star with washboard abs. There’s also a subplot about a pair of moralistic German developers eager to shut down the club and clean up the Strip. Everybody will need two acts and 24 songs to work everything out. With its frequent fourth-wall-breaking humor, the show never pretends to be anything but what it is: a testosterone-drenched, libidinous tribute to the rock world’s most excessive period. The songs, from Journey to Bon Jovi to Pat Benatar to Twisted Sister, are irresistible. This touring production runs through Sunday.


“Cotton, Gunboats and Petticoats”

What: Opening night of “Decolonizing Refinement: Contemporary Pursuits in the Art of Edouard Duval-Carrié”

Where: Schmidt Center Gallery at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/297-2661,

Edouard Duval-Carrié has long been one of the artistic treasures of Miami. A multimedia artist born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, who escaped the repressive François Duvalier regime as a child, Duval-Carrié has developed a rich artistic practice that explores the West’s complicated relationship with Haiti, and his birth country’s troubles, through a style associated with magic realism. FAU’s showcase of his latest work, “Decolonizing Refinement,” departs from his earlier portraiture and paintings, featuring mixed-media works, often on aluminum and Plexiglass, formed and informed by Haitian artifacts, spiritual beliefs and folklore. The exhibition raises broader questions still about colonialization in the 21st century. Duval-Carrié will speak about his work at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, prior to the exhibit’s opening. If you can’t catch it then, the show will run through Feb. 2.

Photo by Patrick Fitzwater

What: Opening night of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”

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

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $50-$60

Contact: 954/462-0222,

This rock musical from Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell is one of off-Broadway’s legendary success stories. It enjoyed a two-year run and copious awards following its 1998 premiere, a film adaptation that has become a midnight-movie classic and, finally, a Tony-winning Broadway premiere in 2014. Why such a long gap between on- and off-Broadway? Perhaps it took 16 years for the culture to catch up to the play’s progressive (and transgressive) ideas. “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” bent genders before many people knew they were malleable. With a cast of two, and fusing bawdy humor with affecting social commentary, “Hedwig” plays like a stylized musical memoir from a dynamic diva, born Hansel on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall, who undergoes a mangled sex-change operation, winds up in America and fronts a glam-rock band. The details are more complicated than this Readers Digestsummary, but for adventurous theatergoers, that should be all you need to know. It runs through Nov. 25.

What: Simple Minds

Where: Fillmore, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $42.50-$60

Contact: 305/673-7300,

For casual American music fans, their knowledge of Simple Minds begins and ends with Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez and high school detention. Though it only played during the closing credits of “The Breakfast Club,” Simple Minds’ hit “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” became as culturally iconic as the movie. The top-charting single, a brooding, earnest dispatch from the Me Decade, is a definitional New Wave time capsule: That Pavlovian “Hey, hey, hey, hey!” of its opening bars instantly conjures big hair and parachute pants. But as the band’s hardcore fan base knows, Simple Minds has released 19 albums and has sold 70 million copies of them—in the group’s native U.K., it is hardly a one-hit wonder. The keyboard- and guitar-driven neo-romantics are back playing the theaters they toured in their peak, continuing to earn laudatory comparisons to U2, David Bowie and Roxy Music.


What: Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal

Where: Arts Garage, 94 N.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $35-$45

Contact: 561/450-6357,

Tennessee-born funk-soul brother Josh Hoyer surely isn’t the reincarnation of James Brown—if only because the dates of death and birth don’t come close to aligning—but at his most impassioned, Hoyer’s vocal cords seem possessed by the Godfather of Soul’s. In other tracks, he conjures George Clinton, Otis Redding, Bo Diddley and other performers that don’t look like Hoyer, if you catch my meaning. Remarkably, when supplemented by rollicking keyboards, slippery bass, staccato drums and velvety saxophone, Hoyer’s adoption of African-American styles doesn’t feel like appropriation or, worse, theft—it seems the natural place for this seemingly effortless talent, whose work rejuvenates the ideal of post-racial harmony, one gravelly vocal run at a time. Appearing on “The Voice” in 2017, he turned two chairs, making it to the second round under Blake Shelton’s tutelage. Hoyer’s four-piece, Soul Colossal, had already released three albums before his NBC debut, but the exposure lifted his national profile, leading to a 150-date tour in 32 states and an anticipated new album, Do it Now, which will be released globally in January.

What: Opening day of “What They Had”

Where: Living Room Theaters at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton


Cost: $6.50-$9.50

Contact: 561/549-2600,

Fitting into the tragic Alzheimer’s etymology that includes “Away From Her” and “Still Alice,” this directorial debut from playwright Elizabeth Chomko is smartly written and flawlessly acted, if a bit soft on the landing. Blythe Danner is Ruth, the increasingly demented matriarch of Chicago’s Ertz family. When she wanders into a blizzard on Christmas Eve, her husband Burt (Robert Forster) phones his children (Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon) who rush to their parents’ apartment to handle the situation. Chomko charts Ruth’s decline as one marked by consistent confusion with deviations of heartbreaking lucidity, and she’s equally adept at building three-dimensional characters from the rest of her first-rate ensemble. From existential malaise to toxic avoidance to suffocating domesticity, this is a broken family whose various pieces are uncomfortably familiar. Chomko is overly generous with her denouement, but the raw emotions, marvelous grace notes and quiet devastations linger. The film also opens Friday at Movies of Delray and Movies of Lake Worth.

What: The Mercury Program

Where: Voltaire, 526 Clematis St., West Palm Beach

When: 10 p.m.

Cost: $12-$15

Contact: 561/408-5603,

Gainesville’s The Mercury Program have been making ethereal, instrumental post-rock music for the past 20 years on and off—with an emphasis on the “off.” The group has released just four LPs and three EPs, with the longest break spanning from 2009’s Chez Viking to 2016’s New Myths. Tours have been as rare, lately, as new recordings, so this appearance should be an intoxicating treat for longtime fans and new discoverers alike. The Mercury Program’s groove-laden music is twinkly and pretty, but its surface beauty hides its angular complexities—a dichotomy that is best explored on the group’s finest hour, the 2002 release A Data Learn the Language. To celebrate a new vinyl reissue of the album, the band will play it in its entirety, following a set of more recent material, in a two-hour show of blissful rhythms. Arrive by 7 for the early show featuring Remember the Ocean and One Dog’s Opinion.


What: The WannaBeatles

Where: Mizner Park Cultural Center, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $35

Contact: 844/672-2849,

It’s a challenge to stand out among the thousands of Beatles tribute bands around the world. But Nashville’s WannaBeatles have a few distinguishing hooks, from integrating original, Beatles-related material into their set lists—they do a terrific parody of “Yesterday,” transforming the song into a ballad about crème brûlée—to performing the difficult material the Beatles themselves never played live, to re-creating the Fab Four’s iconic “Ed Sullivan” appearance, complete with video synchronization. The best part: They jettison the silly wigs, costumes and period instruments of other Beatles sound-alikes, placing the focus squarely where it should be: on the music. At this appearance, the WannaBeatles will pay tribute to two albums celebrating their 50th anniversary: The “White Album” and Yellow Submarine.

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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