Top Picks

Femme fact: Britney has 11 million-plus Facebook fans.


Pop Goes the Amway

Britney, classic boy bands and Idols invade O-town the same week. By Barry Glenn

If you have a crush on Britney Spears, New Kids on the Block, the Backstreet Boys or the American Idol finalists, watch out: You might get crushed.

That’s because all these singing stars will be steamrolling into the Amway Center during the third week of July, providing a dose of pop that’s sure to leave fans fizzing.

First up is Spears, who (can you believe it?) turns 30 in five months. Orlando is the 17th stop on a 28-concert tour promoting her newest album, Femme Fatale, and she promises the show will be “outrageously spectacular.’’ Rapper Nicki Minaj also will perform.

Britney will barely be gone before a resurrection tour of New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys takes over. The combo is known as NKOTBSB (Nikotbizbuh?) and features nine members of the boy bands—Joey McIntyre, AJ McLean, Jordan Knight, Howie Dorough, Jonathan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, Brian Littrell, Danny Wood and Nick Carter—performing signature hits from their 1990s
heyday. Matthew Morrison of the hit TV show Glee also is on the bill.

Finally, the future will take the Amway stage, as the top 11 contestants from the recently concluded American Idol perform, with their fans as the only judges. They’ll include the competition winner, 17-year-old Scotty McCreery, and all those faves like Casey Abrams and Pia Toscano who were—shockingly —voted out early.

So much pop, so little time. Spears, 7 p.m. July 20, $27-$350; NKOTBSB, 7 p.m. July 22, $32-$92; Idols, 7 p.m. July 24, $43-$63. Prices don’t include handling fees. Amway Center, 400 W. Church St. 407-440-7900, 800-745-3000.,


Smooth Operator

July 17 Sade, she of the silky, slinky vocals, and her band of the same name come to town on the heels of the release of The Ultimate Collection, a compendium of their best work. R&B Grammy-winner John Legend will open the show. 8 p.m. $50-$150 plus handling fees. Amway Center, 400 W. Church St. 407-440-7900, 800-745-3000.,


Game On

July 2-September 10 These days you can blast away endlessly at aliens on the Xbox in the comfort of your living room. But there was time before “Halo” and “Call of Duty’’ that video games with names like “Pong” and “Asteroids” were the rage. “Games People Play: The Evolution of Video Games’’ explores how the genre went from simple to sophisticated with dramatic advances in game and console technology. The exhibit at the Orange County Regional History Center also will give visitors the chance to play on old consoles, tackle favorites like “Donkey Kong” and “Space Invaders,” and challenge the granddaddy of gaming, the pinball machine. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Included in regular admission of $7-12. Orange County Regional History Center, 65 E. Central Blvd. 407-836-8500.


Family Time

July 22-31 An Orlando Rep Youth Academy production of the campy classic Hairspray? That alone should be enough to draw you to the 5th Annual Target Family Theatre Festival. But there’s tons more to enjoy during this 10-day extravaganza of family entertainment—including the talents of Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Justin Roberts, magician Tony Brent and the indie band Lunch Money, plus performances of Camp Kappawanna, a musical by songwriter Lisa Loeb. Another highlight: Party in the Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 30. Free except $13 admission for Hairspray. Check for full schedule. Orlando Repertory Theatre,  Loch Haven Park, 1001 E. Princeton St. 407-896-7365.


Quick Hits

The veteran Mexican band Maná brings its Latin rock sound to the Amway Center.

Comedian Jim Gaffigan, who riffs on everything from bacon to bowling, makes a stop at Hard Rock Live.

Personal and intellectual worlds collide in the comedy Legacy of Light at Mad Cow Theatre.

“Storytellers XIV: The New Face of Rural Communities in Central Florida,” at Crealde School of Art, features images from young photographers exploring the area’s diversity.

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