The arts never stop, but entertainment reporters occasionally need a week or two off—a small escape from the otherwise welcome onslaught of culture. Thus, we’re taking a short hiatus for holiday travel, returning with the next “Week Ahead” in January. In the meantime, feast on any of these events through Dec. 31, and continue to visit bocamag.com during the break, as we spotlight our annual Top 10 lists in music, film and theatre.
FRIDAY, DEC. 20
What: Opening night of “Villainous Company”
Where: Sol Theatre, 3333 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 866/811-4111, primalforces.com
Furthering one of its missions to provide complex roles for women actors, Primal Forces’ latest production is a twisty thriller for three co-leading ladies. In playwright Victor L. Cahn’s “Villainous Company,” Claire, a retired bookkeeper, arrives home from a day of shopping, only to find one of her packages missing. That mystery is solved quickly, with the arrival of a “good Samaritan” who arrives at the doorstep of her well-appointed suburban home with the package in question. Claire lets the stranger in, which is her first mistake, as her unexpected guest isn’t whom she says she is—and will not be the first secret-harboring woman to grace her door, with all three competing in a cat-and-mouse game rife with shocking revelations and sexual tension. Director Genie Croft calls the three roles “bold, challenging and fierce.” Anna Lise Jensen, Elizabeth Price and Rita Cole star in the production, which runs through Jan. 12.
What: The Isley Brothers
Where: Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/832-7469, kravis.org
As their surprising headlining set at the hipper-than-thou Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago this past summer indicates, soul legends the Isley Brothers continue to earn new fans for their fertile, genre-fluid blend of hip-shaking, baby-making music. This gig is part of the family band’s 60th anniversary (!) tour, promising hits from “Twist and Shout”—first charted by the Isley Brothers before the Beatles basically co-opted it for the broader masses—to “Who’s That Lady,” “It’s Your Thing” and, hopefully, the group’s newer material, on its 2017 Santana collaboration, Power of Peace.
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 25
What: Opening day of “Uncut Gems”
Where: Living Room Theaters at FAU, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton
When: Show times pending
Contact: 561/549-2600, fau.livingroomtheaters.com
Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a great Adam Sandler movie. In “Uncut Gems,” the directors Josh and Benny Safdie, who specialize in a brand of frenzied gestalt cinema, subvert the actor’s reputation for volcanic but inherently likeable man-children. Here, his character, a corrupt, unfaithful, gambling-addicted New York City jeweler named Howard Ratner, is the actor’s most morally bankrupt creation to date, and the film is a gripping cautionary tale of avarice run amok. The story involves an ultra-rare gem, numerous bookies, NBA legend Kevin Garnett, and the Jewish faith—and like the rest of the Safdies’ work, its pulse is perpetually haywire. I normally take extensive notes when reviewing movies, but I abandoned the prospect early in “Uncut Gems;” it’s a movie that doesn’t let you look away from the screen for a second.
SATURDAY, DEC. 28
What: Classic Albums Live: “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
Where: Pavilion at Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach
When: 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/243-7922, oldschoolsquare.org
Last December, Classic Albums Live’s note-for-note performance of Abbey Road was so convincing to the sold-out ticketholders that they might as well as have been moseying down that crosswalk with the Fab Four themselves. So expectations are high for this winter’s Beatles encore, this time with one of the most influential LPs in pop music history. A cultural and musical touchstone for a generation, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band ran a galumphing gamut from twinkling psychedelia (“Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”) to surreal circus music (“Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”) to Indian experimentalism (“Within You Without You”) to pub-ready sing-alongs (“With a Little Help From My Friends”). The closing orchestral track, “A Day in the Life,” frequently ranks No. 1 in the annual poll of the 100 best Beatles songs selected by SiriusXM listeners. The Beatles had stopped touring by the time Sgt. Pepper’s dropped, and re-creating its textures on the road would have been nigh impossible. More than 50 years later, aided by advances in technology as well as raw talent, the expert musicians of Classic Albums Live will be more than up to the task. Stick around after the album for a second set of Beatles favorites.
What: Jim Gaffigan
Where: Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
When: 7 and 9:30 p.m.
Contact: 305/949-6722, arshtcenter.org
Jim Gaffigan’s clean material, political agnosticism and everyman persona have garnered him a near-universal fan base of American comedy-goers. While his industry peers risk alienating half the country with pointed barbs at the party in power, Gaffigan reserves his most trenchant observations for mini muffins and that well-trod topic du jour, air travel. Yet few comics since Seinfeld have deconstructed the quotidian with as much wit or personality. Discover his convivial style during his current tour, accurately titled “The Pale Tourist,” which features all new material.
SUNDAY, DEC. 29-TUESDAY, DEC. 31
What: Brothers & Sisters Annual Holiday Jam
Where: Funky Biscuit, 303 S.E. Mizner Blvd., Suite 59
When: 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday, 8 p.m. Tuesday
Cost: $40-$65 per show
Contact: 561/395-2929, funkybiscuit.com
For fans of southern rock legends the Allman Brothers, there is no happier New Year than this three-night tribute at Funky Biscuit, where a crack band of former Allman Brothers members and associates will perform three of the group’s foundational albums straight through. The eight-piece group includes Scott Sharrard, Gregg Allman’s guitarist and bandleader; drummer Jaimoe, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band; Marc Quinones, member of both the Allman Brothers and Gregg Allman’s bands; and so forth. On Dec. 29, they’ll tackle the family’s self-titled debut, followed in succession by Idlewild South and Eat a Peach, albums that will go down all the smoother when enjoyed alongside the venue’s signature guitar-shaped biscuits.
TUESDAY, DEC. 31
What: The Capitol Steps
Where: Maltz Jupiter Theatre, 1001 E. Indiantown Road, Jupiter
When: 5 and 8 p.m.
Contact: 561/575-2223, jupitertheatre.org
A holdover from a more innocent time in political discourse—a time when reds and blues simply disagreed, as opposed to viewing the other side as evil incarnate—the political satirists in the Capitol Steps now have to rise to the challenge of making a room full of polarized people laugh at the same impeachment jokes together. If anyone is up to the task, it’s these wry and talented entertainers, whose shows combine song parodies and skits involving the newsmakers of the day. On the Capitol Steps’ latest album, 2019’s The Lyin’ Kings, topics include the president’s relationship with the truth “It’s Trump’s Party (And He’ll Lie If He Wants To)” and the parade of telegenic also-rans that have vied for the Democratic presidential nomination (“76 Unknowns”). But, as is customary for the sketch artists’ traditional New Year’s Eve gig in Jupiter, they’ve promised a first look at all-new material that they’ll be touring around the country in 2020.