The cultiest of all cult musicals returns to its stage roots, New Orleans’ most venerable jazz band blares its way to Boca, and Brad Meltzer shares more stories of extraordinary Americans. Plus, Jenny Lewis, “Man of La Mancha” and more in your week ahead.
What: Jenny Lewis
Where: Revolution Live, 100 S.W. Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale
When: 7 p.m.
Contact: 954/449-1025, jointherevolution.net
At 43, singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis has had enough careers for two or three lifetimes—first as a child star, appearing on projects such as “Troop Beverly Hills” and “The Wizard,” then as the charismatic frontwoman of Rilo Kiley, a successful and tuneful indie rock band from the genre’s mainstream heyday of the early 2000s, then her transition into a solo artist. But only lately, with the release of her fourth solo album, 2019’s On the Line, has she arguably enjoyed her renaissance. An LP that leaves any notion of genre fealty to the cutting-room floor, it’s musically beautiful and lyrically raw, with all the confessional vulnerability of her best work surrounded with extraordinary musicianship that has rightly earned comparisons to Fleetwood Mac. It’s not indie, or country, or folk, though it’s all of these—essentially a perfect pop record that future generations will still be listening to, if they have even an iota of taste. You don’t want to miss this one.
What: Opening night of “The Rocky Horror Show”
Where: Fieldhouse at Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach
When: 7 p.m.
Contact: 561/243-7922, oldschoolsquare.org
Dammit, Janet, I know a cult musical when I see one. Every American moviegoer worth his weight in weird has seen “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” the longest-running theatrical release of all-time and a movie that practically has its own religious congregation (if you don’t know what I mean, just attend a midnight screening). But like many great movie musicals, the story actually began under the proscenium floodlights. Titled “The Rocky Horror Show,” this groundbreaking work by Richard O’Brien follows much the same narrative and song catalog as the film. Amazingly, in retrospect, the show only lasted 45 shows on Broadway, but I think it’s enjoyed the last laugh. This production by Entre’Acte Theatrix aims for a more freewheeling atmosphere than most hushed stage productions: Patrons are encouraged to arrive in costume, and the production will have myriad opportunities for audience interaction and call-backs. It will run through Sept. 22 only.
What: Opening night of “Man of La Mancha”
Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
When: 7:30 p.m.
Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org
Liberally inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’ 17th century masterpiece Don Quixote, “Man of La Mancha” has been a Broadway and regional-staple staple for more than 50 years, and its original production netted five Tony Awards. In the show’s clever conceit, Cervantes is presented initially as a woebegone tax collector jailed in a dungeon for the crime of foreclosing on a monastery. Much of the rest of “Man of La Mancha” is presented as a play-within-a-play, with Cervantes adopting the persona of a mad knight-errant, tilting at windmills and falling in love, his sidekick Sancho Panza lending moral support. The musical is most famous for “The Impossible Dream,” which is sang one complete time and reprised three more. But it’s full of lively tunes supporting a story that is humorous and heartbreaking in equal measure. In this production from MNM Theatre Company, Bruce Linser directs a stellar Florida-based cast. It runs through Sept. 29.
What: Opening night of “Official Secrets”
Where: Cobb Downtown at the Gardens 16, 11701 Lake Victoria Gardens Ave.
When: Show times pending
Director Gavin Hood’s follow-up to his riveting drone-war psychodrama “Eye in the Sky,” “Official Secrets” is another penetrating, if straightforward, look at an ethical crisis amid an atmosphere of government extralegality. The fact-based drama follows a tumultuous year in the life of Katherine Gun (Keira Knightley), the British intelligence officer who leaked information about illegal activities committed by the United States during the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, putting her own future, and her migrant husband’s immigration status, at risk. Though it can’t help but indulge in some of the theatrics of whistleblower suspensers of yore—there’s even a clandestine exchange in a shadowy parking garage—“Official Secrets” is at its best when it dives deep into the pro-bono law offices and crusading newsrooms fighting the good fight, while helping to build a revolutionary defense for Gun’s law-breaking. Rhys Ifans is especially memorable as a rogue reporter for the Observer, the U.K. newspaper that broke Gun’s story.
What: Brad Meltzer
Where: Barnes & Noble, 1400 Glades Road, Boca Raton
When: 6 p.m.
There really are two Brad Meltzers living under the same shaved head: There’s the author of many a crackling political thriller for adults, which dabble in fact-based conspiracy theories dating back to the presidency of George Washington. Then there’s the writer of nearly 20 children’s books in five short years, all of them under his series “Ordinary People Change the World.” The series started with the inspirational stories of Abraham Lincoln and Amelia Earhart, and has continued to include everyone from Lucille Ball to Gandhi to Sonia Sotomayor. At this event, Meltzer will sign and share his two latest entries in the series, “I Am Marie Curie” and “I Am Walt Disney,” so do bring the kids!
What: Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Where: Funky Biscuit, 303 S.E. Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/395-2929, funkybiscuit.com
Despite its name, there are not 12 players in the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. It’s a seven-member group whose moniker derives instead from the venue that gave it its start: New Orleans’ Dirty Dozen Social & Pleasure Club, which sought a traditional Crescent City brass band to perform at funeral processions for black southerners. But as legend has it, when the family of the deceased was out of earshot, the players would launch into dance music that blared far and wide in the Big Easy. Forty years later, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band is a veritable institution, still shaking the hips of listeners of almost every genre. Cooking up what the band calls a “musical gumbo,” its raucous set lists span from bebop jazz to funk to soul; it’s no surprise that acts as varied as Dave Matthews, Modest Mouse and Widespread Panic have collaborated with the DDBB to spice up their own sounds.