Florida Culture for the Week of February 3, 2014 by Josh Garrick

by Josh Garrick / Feb 04, 2014 / 0 comments

Florida Culture for the Week of February 3, 2014 by Josh Garrick


Feb 5 and 6 – Robin De Jesus in Cabaret at The MEZZ

Robin De Jesus is best known for his Tony-nominated roles in In the Heights and La Cage aux Folles on Broadway. De Jesus will present Crush to Crushed, a cabaret evening of pop, rock, Spanish soul and Broadway music on February 5 at 8 pm and February 6 at 10 pm at The MEZZ in Downtown Orlando. De Jesus will discuss “crushes, loves, break-ups, hook-ups, sex and his Mother’s best kept secrets.” (Be prepared for laughs). Visit ticketweb.com or AbbeyOrlando.com


Robin de Jesus


Feb. 6, 7, 8 – Tables Extra Extraordinaire

Decorators, brides, interior designers, and anyone who enjoys elegant entertaining will want to visit the Holy Trinity Conference Center in Maitland for Tables Extraordinaire. This unique fundraiser showcases 30 lavishly decorated tables while offering luncheons or dinners reminiscent of a trip to Greece. The 3-day event ends on Saturday evening (Feb 8) with a Gala Banquet. During the day, visit the Center for Greek pastries and delicacies (they even offer ‘take-out’ for lunch and dinners). Visit htgocorlando.org or Tables Extraordinaire on Facebook, or call 407-333-3895.


Tables Extraordinaire


Feb 6, 13, 20, and 27 – Winter With the Writers at Rollins College

Five award-winning writers will take part in the FREE Winter With the Writers at Rollins College this month. The 2014 season will present: former poet laureate Charles Simic on February 6 at 7:30 pm (master class at 4 pm); Hemingway Award-winner Justin Cronin on February 13 at 7:30 pm (master class at 4 p.m.); Authors Alan Michael Parker and Laura van den Berg on February 20 at 7:30 pm; and Madison Smartt Bell on February 27 at 7:30 pm (master class at 4 pm). Discussions and readings are free and open to the public. Visit rollins.edu/winterwiththewriters 


Dr Simic, Rollins College


Feb 7 to March 10 – This Lady Gives Her Heart and Soul

For an 11th year, Fine Art ‘Heart Artist,’ and Ambassador of Love Donna Dowless will usher in the Valentine Season with her exhibit Heart and Soul 2014. Donna, whose talent and generosity of spirit unites the Fine Art world of Central Florida, will open February 7 at 5:30 pm in the Art Gallery of the Grand Bohemian Hotel and run through March 10. Ms. Dowless will be joined by Canadian jewelry artist Amber Higgins. Call 407.581.4801 or visit grandbohemianhotel.com


Heart Artist Donna Dowlss


Feb 8 and 9 – 18-Year-Old Sarina Zhang Performs with Orlando Philharmonic

On February 8 at 8 pm and February 9 at 2 pm, the Orlando Philharmonic will present a unique program called Russian Romance featuring 18-year-old cellist and pianist Sarina Zhang. At just 18 years of age, Juilliard student and rising star Sarina Zhang has accumulated an impressive array of awards and solo appearances for her dual talent. She’s been featured on PBS four times, performing on both cello and piano. Most recently Zhang was a 2013 Young Arts National Finalist after winning first place in the Juilliard Pre-College Piano concerto competition (2012). Call 407-770-0071or visit OrlandoPhil.org


Sarina Zhang


And looking ahead … to VALENTINE’S DAY


Wink – I’m trying to help you out here – Your Lady does not want that box of chocolates – she’s on a diet; and the roses are over-priced and last for 3 days (at best).  Let THIS be the year you surprise her with an evening that celebrates the creativity of Central Florida while also having her take another look at her ‘educated and sophisticated significant other’ when you hand her a pair of tickets to a LIVE PERFORMANCE … Here are a few suggestions:


Now through March 9 – The Life & Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Parts I and II

There is no higher recommendation than – the Florida theater event of the season – A cast of 27 actors play over 150 characters in this unique, two-part, dramatic and comic masterpiece that captures the genius of Charles Dickens. Combining Dickens’ outrageous characters with theatrical spectacle, The Life & Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Parts I and II leads the way to a must-see theatrical event at the Orlando Shakespeare Festival. Visit Orlandoshakes.org or call 407.447.1700


The Life & Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Parts I and II


Feb 13, 14, 15 – The Candy Bar by DRIP

Thanks to the performance/entertainment group DRIP, you may treat your Valentine to a night of sweets in an evening that combines ‘sweet’ art installations, a live art show, a live band, dancers, flying paint, water and sand. Local artists create ‘Art’ with sweet and/or intoxicating edibles for you and your Valentine. View (and taste) the lollipop tree, marshmallow art, gummy bear cocktails; a martini glass arch and life-sized candy board games. On February 13, 14, and 15, each ticket includes a white DRIP T-shirt for you to wear (and take home) as a splattered and ‘custom-cut’ souvenir. Located at 8747 International Drive in Orlando, tickets are available at ILoveDRIP.com.


Candy Bar, by DRIP


Feb 14 to 16 – Romeo & Juliet by the Orlando Ballet

It’s official – Romeo and Juliet is the world’s ‘favorite’ love story, and the drama of this quintessential story will be brought to life as Robert Hill, Director of the Orlando Ballet, choreographs a new ballet for the “star-crossed lovers.” Set to Prokofiev’s evocative score, this beloved story could serve as the perfect romantic Valentine’s ‘gift’ for your love. Call 407.426.1739 or visit orlandoballet.org


Romeo and Juliet


Feb 15 – Warner Bros. Valentine's Date Night

A different – and admittedly quirky – Valentine’s Date Night is offered by the Orange County History Center for an adults’ evening of cartoons offered up from the Warner Bros. cartoon chest. Over time, the Warner Bros. gag-writers, working with gifted animators and designers, won six Academy Awards. The ‘Valentine Show’ will include Stupid Cupid, Porky's Romance, Carrotblanca, and Bug's Valentine, among others. With popcorn, wine, champagne, and chocolate available, this date night is one for the ‘history books.’ Call 407.836.8500 or visit thehistorycenter.org


Warner Bros. Valentine's Date Night


Feb 25 to March 2 – War Horse on the Broadway Series

She’ll have to wait two weeks to use the tickets, but she’ll adore you for sharing this World War One drama of courage, loyalty and friendship in the next offering from the Orlando Broadway Series. Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and caught up in an extraordinary journey as Albert, too young to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to bring him home. This powerful drama, filled with music and song, packed theaters in London and New York. With the theatricality of life-sized puppets that ‘bring to life’ galloping horses, call 800.448.6322 for your tickets.


War Horse





Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators