Central Florida Culture

by Josh Garrick / May 06, 2009 / 0 comments

Central Florida Culture by Josh Garrick     

‘Jersey Boys’ for 3 Weeks at the Bob Carr

The fact that the songs “Sherry,” “Rag Doll,” and “Walk Like a Man” have worked themselves deep into the American psyche is proven by the fact that the oh-so-popular Broadway musical JERSEY BOYS won the 2006 Best Musical Tony Award and then went on to win the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.

The story of the 60’s pop-group Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, this musical follows the ups and downs of a group of blue-collar boys who went from street corner singers to become one of the biggest pop music sensations of all time.  Writing their own songs and selling their unique high-pitched ‘sound,’ the Four Seasons went on to sell 175 million records worldwide – all before they were thirty.

JERSEY BOYS has some Orlando connections adding spice to the cast. Graham Fenton (a Frankie Valli alternate) lived and worked in Orlando singing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and with the Orlando Opera.  Michelle Knight, a ‘swing’ dancer was born and raised in Orlando, and Josh Franklin, who plays a member of the group, has spent time with the Disney family on their cruise lines.

JERSEY BOYS will at the Bob Carr through May 24th.  To charge-by-phone call 1-800-982-2787. 


pARTicipation at Maitland Art Center

Once a year, the Maitland Art Center holds the most “fun” fundraiser of the season, and it happens to be the greatest (and least expensive) way I know to build up your art collection. The May 8th event is called ‘pARTicipation,’ and the concept behind the event is both simple and brilliant. 

During the reception on May 8th, we (the public who get to come to this event for FREE) bid on a time slot with any of the announced artists for an original piece of their work.  Bidding begins at $100 per artist, and many works of art may be acquired for as low as that original $100! The artists we bid on then return on May 16th to work with us to produce an original work.  The work that is created – an ORIGINAL PIECE OF ART – then becomes ours!  

For a serious collector, it’s almost too good to be true. The eventis free and open to the Public, you get to bid on an original work of art for as low as $100, and then you get to pick it up and hang it on your wall. I know this, because several works on my walls came from this event – all for a contribution to the Maitland Art Center.  Please remember, the support of this event is good for the artists AND the Maitland Art Center – a very special home for art in our community.

For specific information, call 407.539.2181 or visit maitlandartcenter.org.


Award-Winning Children’s Illustrator Jerry Pinkney at the Orlando Museum of Art

Each summer the Orlando Museum of Art features an artist/illustrator who has become famous through the work they do for children's picture books. The obvious tie to the season is that the work appeals to children (and their parents) looking for things to do as school lets out.  The work of Jerry Pinkney – opening at the Museum on May 9 – ranks among the finest illustrations ever.  Favorites include Aesop's Fables, Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling,Valerie Flournoy's The Patchwork Quilt, and Julius Lester's John Henry.

Pinkney’s talent was recognized from childhood.  Due to dyslexia, Pinkney says, "...one of the things that drawing did for me was help my self-esteem. Because I lagged far behind my fellow students – I could make pictures."   He began illustrating children's books in 1964 and by 2000 had illustrated more than 75 books, his realistic work in watercolor and colored pencil enhancing each story.  In addition, he has also designed a dozen postage stamps for the U.S. Postal Service ‘Black Heritage’ series.

You can bring the entire family to meet this award-winning artist at the Orlando Museum of Art on Saturday, May 9 at 1 pm.  There will be ‘story-time’ with the artist, kid-friendly refreshments and a book signing. The exhibit runs through August 16 with “Art Adventures” and “Storybook Tours” scheduled throughout the summer.  For the full schedule, visit www.omart.org, or call 407 896 4231.

Fringe Fest 2009 at Loch Haven Park

Just what IS Fringe Fest?  It’s a great time to be had at over 500 affordable theatre and dance performances, visual arts events, poetry ‘smack-downs,’ free children’s activities, (and it’s a ‘green’ festival too).  And those 500 performances -- held over a 12-day period – take place throughout 9 venues at the Orlando Repertory Theatre and the Shakespeare Center in Loch Haven Park.

Fringe kicks off at 5 pm on May 14 on the lawn at Loch Haven Park with a ribbon cutting, VIP gala, and a performance by Fringe favorite Amy Steinberg.  The Festival goes into full-swing that evening, with shows opening in every venue. “This year’s Fringe features an incredible mix of new and veteran Fringe artists,” says Director Beth Marshall.  “And, if the economy has got you down, Fringe has the answer! With productions priced at just $10 or less a ticket, there is a Fringe show for every budget.”

Fringe continues daily through May 25. Weekends feature Kids Fringe - free arts and theatre activities for the whole family. Visual Fringe, curated by local artist Anna McCambridge, will be on display throughout the 12-day period with many art-works available for purchase. 

The lawn area will feature food and craft vendors, and an outdoor stage. One added distinction is that the Orlando Fringe Festival is the longest running ‘Fringe’ in the United States, and it still follows the original Fringe philosophy (100% unjuried, 100% uncensored, 100% accessible for artists and audiences alike, 100% of ticket sales given back to the artists).  Visit www.orlandofringe.org or call 407-648-007.

Maitland Symphony Performs May 17th

There is something “downright neighborly” about a group of musicians who come together to perform for no other reason than the “joy of performing.”  That will be the case when the Maitland Symphony, composed of musicians who happen to be our friends and neighbors, performs at Maitland’s First Presbyterian Church on Sunday May 17th at 7:30 pm. The event is FREE.
Rehearsed and conducted by our own Margaret Patten, approximately 100 musicians will perform in a program they are calling Piccolos, Pirates and Popcorn, The Music of the Movies.  So not only is it FREE, this concert is guaranteed to be fun.  Including selections from the greatest movie music ever written, we will be treated to selections from The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and theme music from 007 (James Bond), E.T. and Pirates of the Caribbean.  Ms. Patten will include selections from the classics that were used in movies as well.  They include The Planets by Gustav Holst, Eine Kleine Nachmusik by Mozart, and the Carmen Suite by Bizet, among others.
Ms. Patten says, “We would like our neighbors to experience players who simply share what they do, not for money, but for the joy of playing.”  All of the orchestra players are volunteers, and Ms. Patten adds that she is always looking for additional ‘volunteers.’  Should you be so inclined, you may contact her at 407.290.2204.  For ticket information, call 321.303.1404


Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators