Central Florida Culture - May and Summer 2009 Events

by Josh Garrick / May 19, 2009 / 0 comments

Central Florida Culture by Josh Garrick      
We were recently treated to the excellent touring production of Jersey Boys, which put us in the mood for more tuneful memories.  Fortunately, The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards is coming to Orlando.  
For more than 30 years, Dennis Edwards, one of the last surviving members of the legendary “Temptations," has been making music.  The ‘son of a preacher-man’ in Alabama, Edwards began singing at the age of two in his fathers' church.  By 1961 he had his own group, and his ‘Temptations career’ began in 1968 when he was selected as the replacement for lead singer David Ruffin.  
With Edwards joining the group, The Temptations went on to enjoy some of their most legendary achievements.  Beginning with a string of #1 hits ... Papa Was a Rollin' Stone ...Memories...Can't Get Next to You...and many more, their success was followed by their first Grammy award (also the first for MOTOWN Records) -- won with Dennis Edwards as lead singer.  Fourteen Gold Albums and five Grammy Awards followed utilizing Edward’s unique style and smooth delivery.  Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 confirmed his place in music history.   
The sale of an amazing 100 million records continues to move audiences across generations while The Temptations Review “stirs the memories of loyal fans as they create new ones, both young and old.”  The Review will play Thursday, May 28 and Friday May 29 at 8 pm at The Plaza Theatre. Call 407.228.1220 or visit www.theplazatheatre.com.
Forbidden Broadway at the Mad Cow Theatre
If musical satire is more to your liking, the Mad Cow Theatre is bringing us a theatrical show that hysterically ‘sends-up’ Broadway musicals past and present. A cabaret fixture off-Broadway in New York City for the past 25 years, Forbidden Broadway is constantly updated to reflect its latest victims.  
First seen in a New York supper-club in 1982, the show is the brainchild of a then-unemployed actor named Gerard Alessandrini who showcased his talent by presenting parodies of Broadway musicals.  With that first showcase, he launched New York City's longest running comedy revue with the show going on to win the Drama Desk, Obie, and Outer Critics Circle awards. Updated to keep it current, it's a clever mish-mash of the best and worst of Broadway. Famous actors Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Liza Minnelli and Kristin Chenoweth come under fire, and I hear they stop by the show in New York to laugh at themselves.
Only recently available to regional companies, MAD COW THEATRE is one of the first to produce Forbidden Broadway. Four versatile performers transform the stage into the streets of New York, the sewers of Paris, or the Austrian Alps, with every show skewed (or skewered) in the process.  Running from May 29th to July 5th, the Mad Cow Theatre is located in downtown Orlando at 105 South Magnolia Avenue.  Call 407.297.8788.
RS 21 at the Maitland Art Center
A true sign that the Central Florida fine art scene is becoming more sophisticated may be witnessed on Friday, May 29th at 6 pm when a group of artists calling themselves “The Research Studio in the 21st Century” will transform the Maitland Art Center into their ‘laboratory.’  The Artists invite us to view their creations of cutting-edge art installations in the spirit of the Studio originally founded by André Smith in the 1930’s.  That studio, founded by Smith’s adventurous spirit, is today called the Maitland Art Center.  
Interestingly, the Research Studio project (RS21) started as a one-night exhibition at the Orlando Museum of Art.  Patterned after Smith’s ideas from 70 years ago, experimentation will be the order of the day – providing us with new ways to look at – and become involved with – the art we see. As Smith observed (in 1937), “The true creative artist is usually ahead of his time …. He sees ever so far ahead of his contemporaries and usually annoys them by his visions and predictions, which in the end they accept, perhaps without realizing that their ultimate acceptance was as inevitable as their compliance with adventurous innovations, inventions and discoveries in lines other than art.”
Certainly Andre Smith was correct.  Today Central Florida has the Maitland Art Center -- thanks to his vision.  Opening night is May 29 at 6 pm.  The exhibit will run through July 12.  Call 407.539.2181 or visit www.maitlandartcenter.org
United Way Gala to Support Our Neighbors in Need
Considering that there has never – during our lifetimes – been a more important time to help our neighbors in need, the United Way’s 17th Annual Chef’s Gala is unquestionably the most ‘delicious’ way to provide that help.  Scheduled for Saturday, May 30 at Epcot® World Showplace at Disney World from 6:45 to 10 pm, this is Central Florida’s premiere fine dining, charity event.  As the organizers say, “the Chef’s Gala is a tasteful way to make a difference.”  
            Heart of Florida United Way impacts more people annually than any other charity in the tri-county area, constantly working to create awareness of local health and human service issues.  In short, it inspires hope and creates possibilities for the people in our community who need it most.
The ticket price of this unique fund-raiser serves to provide that help while featuring cuisine from more than 20 of Central Florida’s favorite chefs and establishments.  The extraordinary food is paired with fine wine, live music and a silent auction.  Including restaurants as varied as The Capital Grille, Norman’s (Ritz-Carlton), The Ravenous Pig, and Todd English’s BlueZoo, the fundraiser offers an unparalleled dining experience while providing critical assistance to more than 376,000 Central Floridians in need.  Last year’s event raised $208,000 to support those local programs.  Corporate packages of 10 tickets are $1,850; individual tickets are $200. Call 407.429.2129, or e-mail chefsgala [at] hfuw.org.
Andy Warhol “Personalities” at Rollins College opens June 5
In many ways Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987) is still celebrating his extended 15 minutes of fame.  And while he was certainly among the most influential artists of the 20th century, the latter part of his life as a painter, printmaker, and film-maker was often overshadowed by his ‘celebrity’ lifestyle.
Now the Cornell Museum at Rollins College is building on that very lifestyle in its new exhibit Andy Warhol Personalities.  The exhibit features Polaroid photographs from the Museum’s permanent collection taken during the 1980’s by this leader of the Pop Art movement.  The photos document his diverse ‘social circle’ with his socialite/celebrity friends serving as his favorite subjects. (Consider his silkscreen prints of Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Onassis). For Warhol, the photos served as ‘source material’ for future use.
The photos were selected from among 150 Warhol images that constituted a gift from the Warhol Foundation given to the Cornell Museum in 2007.  Twenty years after his death, the Warhol Foundation offered more than 28,000 of Warhol’s photographs to college museums across the country, and the Cornell at Rollins is among the 183 institutions to have received one of these gifts. On view through January 3, 2010, the Cornell Museum is on the campus of Rollins College.  Call 407.646.2526 or visit www.rollins.edu/cfam.



Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators