Limelight — Open Season

Keep an eye out for these best bets on the 2010-11 arts-and-entertainment agenda.

Listen closely.

What you’re hearing are the sounds of musicians tuning up, stage scenery sliding into place and artwork being carefully uncrated.
Yes, it’s the start of the 2010-11 arts-and-entertainment season. And even in this era of belt-tightening at many local arts organizations, there looks to be a lot going on in the next several months.

There’s not enough space here for me to mention everything—or even most things—on the upcoming cultural agenda. But I’ve cherry-picked a few of the more intriguing events. (For some strange reason, February looks to be a pretty big month!) As the season progresses, watch our Top Picks and On the Town departments for additional information.


A Green Theme

They’re going green this season at Fairwinds Broadway Across America. But it has nothing to do with energy-efficient light bulbs or electric cars.
Half of the new season’s shows feature major characters with green complexions: the tap-dancing monster from Young Frankenstein (Nov. 30-Dec. 5), which was inspired by Mel Brooks’ 1974 film spoof; the Wicked Witch of the West in Wicked (Feb. 23-March 27), which takes off on themes from The Wizard of Oz; and the title character (a good-hearted ogre) in Shrek the Musical (May 17-22), based on, well, Shrek.
Rounding out the season are Rock of Ages (Jan. 11-16), a love story set in the world of 1980s rock; West Side Story (Feb. 1-6), the Romeo and Juliet-inspired tale of New York street gangs; and Hair (June 21-26), the 1960s “tribal love-rock musical.” And unless I’m very much mistaken, the characters in these three shows will have normal human skin tones.

Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre
401 W. Livingston St., Orlando


Richard Rodgers Roundup

What would The Great American Songbook be without composer Richard Rodgers? Well, for one thing, it would be a whole lot shorter.
Rodgers’ body of work is so rich and varied, in fact, that the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra is basing an entire Pops program on it. Called My Favorite Things—The Music of Richard Rodgers, the program will be offered twice on Feb. 19 and will feature songs that Rodgers wrote with lyricists Lorenz Hart (including “Manhattan,” “Bewitched, “Bothered and Bewildered” and, my personal favorite, “My Funny Valentine”) and Oscar Hammerstein II (including “Oklahoma!,” “Some Enchanted Evening” and that MDA-telethon staple “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”)
    The Phil, conducted by Christopher Wilkins, will be joined by about a dozen featured singers and an ensemble. The first part of the program’s title, by the way, refers to the famous song from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The Sound of Music. And, yes, Wilkins assures me that “My Favorite Things” will also be on the program.

Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre
401 W. Livingston St.

[ ART ]

At the Morse, Bigger is Better

Anyone who cares about the see-through art of Louis Comfort Tiffany knows that the Morse Museum is already a pretty big deal. And in February, it’ll become an even bigger deal when its new $5 million wing opens to the public.
The new wing will increase the museum’s exhibition space by 6,000 square feet, or about 50 percent, making room for such impressive pieces as the hanging globe lamp, at left. A focal point of the expansion will be its Daffodil Terrace, featuring eight marble columns, each topped with bundles of yellow glass daffodils.

The Charles Hosmer Morse
Museum of American Art
445 N. Park Ave., Winter Park


From War to War

At first I thought it was a reality show or an old episode of The Honeymooners. But it turns out that Battle of the Sexes is a dance program that was staged last year by Orlando Ballet. In fact, the program was so popular that it has inspired a sequel called, unsurprisingly, Battle of the Sexes II.
A piece for approximately 30 dancers of both genders, it’ll be performed Feb. 11-13, with the onstage action ranging from a competition to an out-and-out brawl. Last year’s battle ended in a truce, but the truce evidently hasn’t held.
“That’s human nature, isn’t it?” reflects Robert Hill, the company’s artistic director and the choreographer of both I & II. “We go from war to war.”

Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre
401 W. Livingston St.


Bathing Beauties

Just when I start to think I’ve got the Polasek Museum all figured out, it’ll throw me a curve. Last season, the curve was a show featuring some truly zany illustrations from vintage sci-fi and fantasy publications. This season, the curves (plural) are visible in Silver Springs: The Underwater Photography of Bruce Mozert.
From the late 1930s through the ’50s, Mozert took photos of bathing beauties to promote Silver Springs, the Ocala-area location that bills itself as “Florida’s Original Tourist Attraction.”
Some of Mozert’s photos feature swimsuit-clad lovelies going about ordinary activities—cooking, playing golf, talking on the phone, taking a bath—but incongruously posed below the surface of the attraction’s “99.8 percent pure” water.
Other shots are even flakier: One underwater model sits on a giant fishhook, luring a finny friend to its doom; another model wears a witch’s hat while “flying” on a broomstick.
All of these Mozert photos have a retro, Beach Blanket Bingo sort of charm. From Feb. 1 through April 17, about 40 of them will be charming visitors to the unpredictable Polasek.

Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens
633 Osceola Ave., Winter Park

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