Florida Culture for the Week of November 26, 2017 By Josh Garrick

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Florida Culture for the Week of November 26, 2017 By Josh Garrick 

TODAY -- Nov 26 at 3 pm
Handel’s MESSIAH in its 45th Annual FREE Concert 

One of the ‘wonders’ of Central Florida’s Holiday season is the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah by the Messiah Choral Society. Universally recognized as one of the finest and most popular classical music works ever written, this presentation is truly priceless – it’s FREE. Over 40 years ago, Bill Jarvis, a prominent Orlando music director, formed the society with the philosophy that the Messiah was worthy of a group dedicated solely to its performance. His vision continues to inspire the ‘Society’ to perform this magnificent oratorio annually as a gift to the Orlando community. No tickets are required at the Bob Carr Theater at 401 W. Livingston St. in Orlando. NOTE: the Ensemble asks that you help feed the hungry by bringing non-perishable food items to the performance. Visit messiahchoralsociety.org Handel’s MESSIAH in its 45th Annual FREE Concert
Handel’s MESSIAH in its 45th Annual FREE Concert

TODAY – Nov 26 at 4 pm
Orlando Philharmonic Brings Holiday Pops to Winter Park 

The City of Winter Park and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra invite young, “mature,” and everyone in between to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season at the annual Winter Park Holiday Pops concert in charming Central Park. “Sounds of the Season” is a FREE public concert made possible by the Hollander Trust. Bring a blanket and a picnic for a concert program that has become a family tradition in central Florida. Singing Duo Gloria Rice and Shawn Kilgore will perform with the Philharmonic in this program of holiday favorites for all ages. Highlights will include instrumentals including selections from the “Nutcracker,” “Festive Sounds of Hanukah” and “Sleigh Ride,” along with vocal selections including “White Christmas, “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” and a joyful Christmas sing-a-long. No tickets necessary. Visit orlandophil.org Orlando Philharmonic Brings Holiday Pops to Winter Park

Winter Park Playhouse presents “Daddy Long Legs” (a Musical)
NOW to Dec 17
From the Tony Award winning director of Les Miserables, this Cinderella-story-musical is based on the novel that inspired the 1955 movie starring Fred Astaire. The musical takes place in an orphanage, where Jerusha is the “oldest orphan in the home.” Impressed by her writing, a Trustee of the orphanage offers to pay for her to go to college. The only condition is that he remains anonymous, but Jerusha is to write to him reporting her progress. As she begins her first letter, she decides to call him "Daddy Long Legs,” because of a shadow she has seen (having decided the shadow belongs to her benefactor). Including the song "Something's Gotta Give,” the story of this clever young lady and her benefactor has charmed audiences from Los Angeles to London, and it is the kind of story at which the Playhouse excels. Please call 407.645.0145 or visit winterparkplayhouse.org Winter Park Playhouse presents “Daddy Long Legs” (a Musical)

‘Born Yesterday’ at the Mad Cow Theatre 
NOW to Dec 17
While we know the plays to be produced in any given season by our major producing companies are decided (at least) a year in advance, “Born Yesterday,” at the Mad Cow Theatre, is so PERFECT for TODAY, that its choice is brilliant in its timeliness. This hilarious/serious comedy, written in 1946 (!!!), offers biting commentary on politics and ‘persuasion’ in Washington DC. A Broadway favorite in revivals since its premiere, this comedy-with-a-message pokes fun at ‘back-room’ politics, sex, political ‘contributions,’ and billionaires (with a B) who think they know what’s best for the country just because they can “buy their way in.” In the play, show-girl Billie Dawn is the girl-friend of billionaire Harry Brock. While Brock is off in “none-of-your- business” meetings, Billie educates herself with the help of journalist Paul Verrall, leading the pair to unintentionally shed light on the crooked nature of Brock’s business and a political scandal. You WILL love this show, and (wink wink) what could be more timely than politics and Billionaires?!? Call 407-297-8788 or visit madcowtheatre.com ‘Born Yesterday’ at the Mad Cow Theatre

‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever -- The Musical’ 
NOW to Dec 30 
One of the gems of our community is the professional children’s theater at the Orlando Repertory Theatre. Every performance has a not-too-subtle message for our young ones, and for Christmas the Rep is taking on “bullying.” So BEWARE the Herdmans – a family of kids who lie, steal, swear, fight, and light things on fire! When they crash into Sunday School and demand parts in the Christmas pageant, the town panics. In this musical adaptation of the holiday classic, there is no chance for a silent night, but sometimes a little joyful noise can be just the ticket. Special note: Three examples of the Rep’s nurturing nature are an American Sign Language show on 11.27; a Sensory-Friendly performance on 11.26; and a Scout Workshop on 12.2. The Orlando Rep is in Loch Haven Park with plenty of FREE parking. Call 407.896.7365 or visit OrlandoRep.com.  ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever -- The Musical’

“Shamu Christmas Miracles”
NOW to Dec 31 
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is determined to be “where holiday memories are made,” especially as we remember Seaworld’s live shows are all inspired by Nature. And while it has become controversial for some, the LIVE experience of the power and beauty of the Shamu family of whales is totally unequalled – made more so as Seaworld has announced the end of the Orca ‘shows’ at some time in the near future. At this Holiday season it’s hard to feel the controversy as “Shamu’s Christmas Miracles” sends killer whales soaring into the air, Holiday music rings out over the loudspeakers, and a voice-over tells a story of friendship and understanding. This magnificently trained family of whales is here to remind us of the miracles that surround us all year long. From the heart-pounding excitement we've come to expect from Shamu’s ‘family,’ this performance can move the hardest heart to acknowledge the magnificence of Nature. Inspired by Shamu’s family, every one of our humblest thoughts or wishes is enhanced during this Holiday Season. Visit seaworld.com/Orlando/events
“Shamu Christmas Miracles”

“Gingerbread Lane” at the Orlando Science Center 
NOW to Jan 7 
“It takes a Village to be this sweet,” but it is a feast for the eyes-only in the new exhibit “Gingerbread Lane” at the Orlando Science Center. Your family will gaze in wonder at dozens of gingerbread structures created entirely from edible (cookie) materials. The creator of “Gingerbread Lane” is New York chef Jon Lovitch, who spends his entire year designing, baking, and decorating to bring his vision of a wintry wonderland to life. Hundreds of pounds of frosting, candy and gingerbread are sculpted into houses, office buildings and countless other structures. Gingerbread ‘workshops’ will be offered through the run of the exhibit, and your family may enjoy this addition to the holiday season through January 7. The Science Center is at 777 East Princeton Street in Orlando. Call 407.514.2000 or visit osc.org  “Gingerbread Lane” at the Orlando Science Center
“Gingerbread Lane” at the Orlando Science Center

Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens 
NOW to Jan 7 
The Holiday Season is one of the best times of the year to visit the breath-taking beauty of the Bok Tower Gardens. The ever-popular Holiday Home Tour at the Pinewood Estate mansion is a highlight of their holiday events, but along the way, guests enjoy poinsettia, bromeliad and amaryllis displays; live music from the 205-foot Singing Tower carillon; walking tours; and educational programs. This season the Holiday Tour at Pinewood celebrates the Buck family’s passion for music of the 1930’s. Caught up in the fever of the ‘Jazz Age,’ the Buck family is showing off their home decorated with a musical theme. Experience the sounds of the era in the 20-room, 1932 Mediterranean-style estate while the children are busy with themed activities. The ‘event of the day’ takes place at 1 pm and 3 pm every Thursday through Sunday as Geert D’hollander performs Christmas music from around the world on the 60-bell Singing Tower carillon. Carillon concerts are included with general admission. Visit boktowergardens.org/Christmas
Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens
Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens

Dr. Phillips Center, Rollins College, and Full Sail U Offer FREE Holiday Concert 
Dec 2 at 6 pm 
This year, kick off the holidays in Central Florida's front yard – the Seneff Arts Plaza at Dr. Phillips Center. Here, the state-of-the-art music production capabilities of Full Sail University combine with the incredible instrumentalists, vocalists and dancers of Rollins College along with the Dr. Phillips Center’s very own “Docs & Dellas” performance group and other featured artists. Classic jingles mingle with styles from around the world – creating a diverse, high-energy evening of singing, dancing and visual entertainment. It's a celebration for everyone from two to 102, and it's completely FREE. The Dr. Phillips Center, Rollins College, and Full Sail have been looking forward to working together to create an event for the community, so join your friends and neighbors for what will soon become one of your family’s favorite holiday traditions. Visit drphillipscenter.org 

Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis presents “Big Band Holidays” 
December 3 at 8 pm 
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) celebrates this wonderful time of the year touring “Big Band Holidays,” performing seasonal classics. Led by Grammy-winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and comprised of 15 of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players today, every December, the JLCO, Marsalis and an all-star roster of guest vocalists explore the canon of Holiday standards, music of the great jazz composers, and original works that foster an appreciation for this American music genre. The JLCO spreads holiday cheer with soulful renditions of holiday classics that bring out the magic in Count Basie’s “Jingle Bells,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and Billie Holiday’s “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.” Special guests on the tour include ‘Jazz royalty’ Catherine Russell, who is joined by fellow vocalist Kenny Washington from New Orleans. These performances create memories that will keep you feeling ‘jazz-hot’ throughout the season. In performance at the Dr. Phillips Center, call 844.513.2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org 
Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis presents “Big Band Holidays”

Bethune-Cookman University Concert Chorale: A Holiday Concert
Dec 5 at 7 pm 
Join this acclaimed University Chorale for an intimate evening of traditional holiday music—including jazz, gospel, sacred and classical songs, and selections from Handel’s Messiah. On the heels of what has been a dynamic year for the Bethune-Cookman University Concert Chorale, these world-renowned performers were recently nominated for Best Choir by HBCU Digest, a national publication highlighting historically black colleges and universities. Finalists for the seventh annual event were selected from more than 175 nominations from across the country. In performance at the Dr. Phillips Center, call 844.513.2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org
Bethune-Cookman University Concert Chorale: A Holiday Concert

An Evening with Davis Gaines presented by Christian Service Center of Central Florida
Dec 6 
Prepare for an amazing evening when Los Angeles’ longest-running ‘Phantom’ from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” thrills the audience with his rich baritone and winning smile. Fresh from his brilliant portrayal of Don Quixote in “Man of La Mancha” at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, our own Broadway Star and Orlando native brings his evening of the ‘Best of Broadway’ for a special concert benefiting hunger relief and the homeless. In addition to performing the title role in “The Phantom of the Opera” over 2,000 times on Broadway, in Los Angeles and in San Francisco, Gaines’ believes in giving back to his hometown. We are honored to have his support. Please visit ChristianServiceCenter.org
An Evening with Davis Gaines presented by Christian Service Center of Central Florida

Annual (Winter Park) “Christmas in the Park”
Dec 7 at 6:15 pm 
For 39 years the Morse Museum of American Art and (joined later by) the City of Winter Park have officially “kicked off” the Holiday season by presenting “Christmas in the Park” in Winter Park. The joyfully FREE outdoor event begins at 6:15 pm when the lights are turned up on nine century-old Tiffany leaded-glass windows and Central Park is transformed into a concert hall for the 160-voice Bach Festival Choir. Hugh and Jeannette McKean, who built the Morse Museum’s collection, began “Christmas in the Park” to share a part of their collection with the public. Included this season is Tiffany Studios’ Christmas Eve window, c. 1902.  Please visit morsemuseum.org
Morse Museum of American Art. The Katharine Hamlin memorial window was created circa 1908 by Tiffany Studios for the chapel at the Association for the Relief of Respectable, Aged, and Indigent Females in New York City.
Photo from 2016 Christmas in the Park event. The Katharine Hamlin memorial window was created circa 1908 by Tiffany Studios for the chapel at the Association for the Relief of Respectable, Aged, and Indigent Females in New York City. 

“Amahl & the Night Visitors” presented by Opera Orlando
Dec 9 & 10 
Presented in English, Gian Carlo Menotti’s charming story, inspired by the journey of the Three Kings, is an Opera Orlando Holiday tradition. “Amahl and the Night Visitors” was commissioned for television by NBC and was broadcast live on December 24, 1951 as the debut production of the Hallmark Hall of Fame. The first opera composed for television in America, 2017 sees Opera Orlando offering a brand new, visually stunning production, designed and directed by Grant Preisser. Music Director Robin Jensen will conduct musicians from the Orlando Philharmonic. Call 844.513.2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org
“Amahl & the Night Visitors” presented by Opera Orlando

Fairwinds Broadway in Orlando presents “The BOOK of MORMON”
Dec 12 to 17 
The Tony-Award-Winning “Book of Mormon,” is back to satirize the Mormon religion with script, lyrics and music by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Those familiar sounding names are best known for creating ‘South Park,’ so be warned as to what Parker and Stone have done with a formalized religion. The zealous young missionaries attempt to share the ‘scripture’ with the inhabitants of a Ugandan village, but they are ‘challenged’ by locals more concerned with AIDS, famine, and oppression from the local warlord. There IS humor here, but it comes at its own pace to audience members getting over the shock of several of the songs in Act One. It’s a two-act show, so there must be a savior somewhere …. Call 844.513.2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org. 
Fairwinds Broadway in Orlando presents “The BOOK of MORMON”
Fairwinds Broadway in Orlando presents “The BOOK of MORMON”

Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators

 

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