Arts Season Preview

A look at what’s to come in Central Florida, from museum exhibits and musical theater to dance performances and outdoor festivals.

Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s eclectic season includes classics, new works and family favorites.






The Orlando arts season begins with several fascinating museum exhibits. The Mysterious Content of Softness, which opens this month at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, explores the transformative power of fibers and their connection to the human body.
The Orlando Museum of Art features the whimsical glass works of Dale Chihuly and others, with Contemporary Glass Sculpture, opening in December.
The Mennello Museum of American Art presents The Big Dog Show opening in November with works by sculptor Dale Rogers, and African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era and Beyond beginning in February and featuring paintings, sculpture and photographs by 43 black artists including Gordon Parks, Roland Freeman and Marilyn Nance.


The five-story Orange County Regional History Center offers special events throughout the year, but the star exhibition of its season is Peanuts… Naturally, a show that marries Charles Schultz’s beloved comic strip with an environmental extravaganza. Opening this month.
Tapping into the Star Wars craze, the Orlando Science Center presents Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination, coming in October. This 10,000-square-foot exhibit explores the fantastical technologies depicted in the Star Wars films, and the science behind them.
Art & History Museums—Maitland offers a series of concerts, art critiques and exhibits, such as  Anna Tomczak: Animalia, which opens in February. Culture & Cocktails starts in November.


FAIRWINDS Broadway Across America Orlando presents familiar favorites as well as something new from the Great White Way. The 2012-2013 season includes Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins, Million Dollar Quartet featuring music by Elvis and Johnny Cash, and Bette Midler’s Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Mad Cow Theatre moves to Church Street this season and goes from Sunday in the Park with George, to some Laughter on the 23rd Floor, while meeting a few Dreamgirls and ends with the Death of a Salesman. Contemporary, classic and thoughtful works can be seen on two new stages.
Orlando Repertory Theatre presents Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat in its southeastern premiere, beginning in February, followed by The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in April.
Orlando Shakespeare Theater will be busy with an expanded season. “Playfest! The Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays” premieres in November, and the “Signature Series” kicks off the new year with  Othello and Sense & Sensibility.
Winter Park Playhouse pays tribute to  Irving Berlin and Frank Sinatra in two separate shows.
Seminole State College Don’t miss the theatrical production of King Hedley II or its monthly “Tuesday Voices” open-mic poetry series.
Theatre UCF is one of the few collegiate theaters that doesn’t take a hiatus in the summer. Keep that in mind when Ethan Coen’s Almost an Evening premieres next June.  Until then, don’t miss Zombie Town this November and Les Liaisons Dangereuses in January. “With a Twist” is the 7th annual dance concert in April, featuring dance performances to the music of Frank Sinatra, choreographed by UCF students.
The Fred Stone Theatre offers free productions on the Rollins College campus including The Great American Trailer Park Musical next April.
Valencia College peppers its schedule with a free student-directed short play showcase, a playwright competition in April and Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig in June. valencia


Every seat at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre is a good one when the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra is in the house. The diverse 2012-13 season will entertain audiences with live operas; the music of Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Strauss and Beethoven; soloists such as renowned violinist Sarah Chang; performances by Cirque du Soleil and more.
Amway Center isn’t solely the home of the Orlando Magic. This season, spectators can also take in national tours and shows: Disney on Ice this month, Carrie Underwood in December, Zac Brown Band in October and Justin Bieber in January to name a few. Of course, Orlando’s own Solar Bears hockey team launches its games in October and plays through the spring.
The Plaza Live consistently packs a one-two punch with musical performances and comedy: jazz keyboardist Keiko Matsui in October; funk rock band Bonerama and actor/comedian Jeff Garlin in November; and comedian Mike Birbiglia in January.
Enzian Theater is always expanding its schedule, and the staff strives to screen important indie films and seasonal classics, such as The Shining in October and It’s a Wonderful Life in December. Ballet and opera on the big screen will take its curtain call this month.


Orlando Ballet, under Robert Hill’s direction, will leap into its 39th season with something for the family, The Little Mermaid; an ambitious work, Vampire’s Ball; a traditional favorite, The Nutcracker; and a premiere, Hollywood en Pointe—all culminating in Carmina Burana, which will feature original choreography, a live orchestra and the Bach Festival Society chorus.
ME Dance Inc. is the newest dance company in town—the brainchild of William Marshall Ellis. The group’s premiere performance takes place this month at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, followed by a performance titled Bella in November at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater.



The DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts takes place in November, with more than  180 artists coming together in downtown DeLand.
House of Blues Folk Art Festival, “Where the Art Meets the Soul,” showcases the talent and creativity of 40 local and nationally known folk artists, and coincides with Disney’s Festival of the Masters, both taking place this November at Downtown Disney’s West Side., disney
The 11th Annual Orlando Folk Festival presented by the Mennello Museum of American Art, features three days of folk and Americana music, storytelling, art exhibits, craft demonstrations and more in February.
The 4th Annual Hannibal Square Heritage Center Folk Art and Craft Festival, which is presented by Crealdé School of Art, takes place in April.
The Maitland Rotary Arts Festival, “Art Under the Stars,” returns in October with more than 150 artists vying for $26,000 in awards, as well as live performances in a boutique festival atmosphere.
Three Winter Park festivals to mark on your calendar are the Winter Park Autumn Art Festival in October in Central Park, The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival in March and the Winter Park Paint Out in April.,
The ZORA! Festival celebrates the life of novelist/folklorist Zora Neale Hurston in January, with concerts, seminars, visual arts and a street fair.
Snap! Orlando is the pinnacle of the photography genre, with a week of events taking place in May.


Enzian Theater in Maitland proves to be a cinematic powerhouse with a full roster of film festivals including the South Asian Film Festival in October, the Brouhaha Film & Video Showcase in November and the Central Florida Jewish Film Festival in December, followed by The Florida Film Festival next spring.
The StarLite Film Festival, produced by the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, returns in January, showcasing indie films with budgets of less than $100,000.
The 18th Annual Film Celebration is back in February at Valencia College’s Performing Arts Center and includes screenings of shorts and feature films made by students in Valencia’s acclaimed film program.
The Global Peace Film Festival this month combines cinema and global awareness and takes place at multiple venues throughout the city.


The annual Bach Festival, one of the oldest in the country, returns with a series of events celebrating all that is Johann Sebastian, beginning in February.
The Winter Garden MusicFest is a free three-day indoor/outdoor music celebration showcasing a diverse mix of Central Florida musicians and music styles,  in October.


The Orlando Improv Festival, set for February, gives audiences a chance to see and support this unique comedic art form.
The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival offers an escape from the ordinary by way of music, theater and dance, in May.
The 11th Annual Orlando Cabaret Festival returns in April and features a series of intimate cabaret performances, each a theatrical experience in itself. orlando


A free festival of the literary persuasion? That would be Winter With the Writers at Rollins College beginning in February. Three-time National Book Award-winning novelist Peter Matthiessen kicks off the monthlong event. Other speakers include Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia, and Azar Nafisi, best known for her memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran.


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