Tuesday, December 18, 2018

‘Les Misérables’ returns to JAX - don’t miss it!

Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon, Les Misérables will be at the Times Union Center, for only 8 performances.  As recalled, the last time
Les Misérables showcased in JAX was during May of 2012; well you’ll have the opportunity to experience this magnificent show because it’s returning to Jacksonville. Florida once again. 
To date, Les Misérables remains the 5th longest-running Broadway production of all time.

The new production was conceived in 2009 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary, with record-breaking productions in the U.K., Australia, Korea, Japan, Spain, France, Manila, Singapore, São Paulo and Dubai. The North American Tour traveled across the U.S. for two years then played a five-month engagement in Toronto before returning to the Imperial Theatre on Broadway in March 2014 for over 1,000 performances. The new production is currently playing to sold out houses across North America and in Mexico City with a new U.K. Tour beginning November 2018.

With glorious new staging and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, this breathtaking production of
Les Misérables, which broke box office records during its pre-Broadway tour, has left both audiences and critics awestruck, cheering “Les Miz is born again!” (NY1).

Les Misérables originally opened in London at the Barbican Theatre on October 8, 1985, transferred to the Palace Theatre on December 4, 1985 and moved to its current home at the Queen’s Theatre on April 3, 2004 where it continues to play to packed houses and is the only version of the original production left in the world.  The original Broadway production of Les Misérables opened at the Broadway Theatre on March 12, 1987 and transferred to the Imperial Theatre on October 17, 1990 running for 6,680 performances.  The original US National Tour began in November 1987 and visited over 150 cities before closing in St. Louis, MO in 2006.  Broadway audiences welcomed Les Miz back to New York on November 9, 2006 where the show played the Broadhurst Theatre until its final performance on January 6, 2008.

About the Show: Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France,
Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit.  Featuring one of the greatest scores of all time, with thrilling and beloved songs including: “I Dreamed A Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars," “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More,” “Do You Hear the People Sing” and many more, this epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history.  Along with the Oscar-winning movie version, it has now been seen by more than 130 million people in 44 countries and in 22 languages around the globe.  Les Misérables
is still the world’s most popular musical, breaking box office records everywhere in its 33rd year.

Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Boublil and Schönbergs Les Misérables has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer from the original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, additional material by James Fenton and original adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird.  The original Les Misérables orchestrations are by John Cameron with new orchestrations by Christopher Jahnke, Stephen Metcalfe and Stephen Brooker.  The production is directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, designed by Matt Kinley inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo with costumes by Andreane Neofitou and Christine Rowland, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter, musical staging by Michael Ashcroft and Geoffrey Garratt and projections by Fifty-Nine Productions. Music Supervision is by Stephen Brooker and James Moore, with casting by Kaitlin Shaw for Tara Rubin

Les Misérables
Tues. Jan. 22, 2018  7:30 p.m.
Wed. Jan. 23     7:30 p.m.
Thurs. Jan. 24    7:30 p.m.
Fri. Jan 25      8 p.m.
Sat. Jan. 26    2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Sun. Jan. 27   1:30 p.m. & 7 p.m.

LOCATION: Times Union Center Performing Arts
       Moran Theater
300 West Water St.
Jacksonville, FL 32202

TICKETS: (Vary) and start at $42.  They may be purchased at the box office from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, by calling (904) 632-5000, or online 24/7.  Discounts for groups of 10+ may be available by calling (904) 632-5050.  Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice.

Friday, December 14, 2018

‘Something Rotten’ is coming to Thrasher Horne - What is it?

The completely new musical Something Rotten!”, originally directed and choreographed on Broadway by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw (Mean Girls, The Book of Mormon, Aladdin), with music and lyrics by Grammy Award-winner and Tony Award nominee Wayne Kirkpatrick and Golden Globe Award and Tony Award nominee Karey Kirkpatrick and a book by Tony Award nominees Karey Kirkpatrick and best-selling author John O’Farrell, opens at Thrasher-Horne Center in Orange Park, FL.

About the Show: This hilarious new musical comedy tells the story of brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom, two playwrights stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rockstar Will Shakespeare.  When a soothsayer foretells the next big thing in theatre involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, the Bottom brothers set out to write the world's very first MUSICAL!  With the most singing, the most dancing and the most gut-busting laughs on Broadway, it's something wonderful... something for everyone...  Something Rotten! is, "the funniest musical comedy in at least 400 years" (Time Out New York)!  Nominated for 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Something Rotten! is a deliriously entertaining new musical comedy that brings down the house!” (New York Post).

With its heart on its ruffled sleeve and sequins in its soul, Something Rotten!” is an uproarious dose of pure Broadway fun and an irresistible ode to musicals — those dazzling creations that entertain us, inspire us, and remind us that everything’s better with an exclamation point!

The award-winning design team of Broadway veterans includes: Scott Pask (scenic design), Gregg Barnes (costume design), Jeff Croiter (lighting design), Peter Hylenski (sound design), Josh Marquette (hair design), Phil Reno (music supervision), Glen Kelly (arrangements), Larry Hochman (orchestrations), Steve Bebout (associate director), Brian P. Kennedy (associate music supervision) and (casting) by
Wojcik | Seay Casting.

Something Rotten! was originally produced on Broadway by Kevin McCollum, Broadway Global Ventures, CMC, Mastro/Goodman, Jerry & Ronald Frankel, Morris Berchard, Kyodo Tokyo Inc., Wendy Federman, Barbara Freitag, Lams Productions, Winkler/DeSimone, Timothy Laczynski, Dan Markley, Harris/Karmazin, JAM Theatricals, Robert Greenblatt, Jujamcyn Theaters.  Follow them on Twitter: @RottenBroadway, Facebook, and Instagram.

 ‟Something Rotten
DATE: Sunday, January 6, 2019
TIME: 6 p.m.

LOCATION: The Thasher-Horne Ctr.
      St. Johns River State College
      283 College Drive
      Orange Park, FL 32065

TICKETS: range from $49 - $79 with all fees included.  They may be purchased in person, online at THcenter, or by calling (904) 276-6815 between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday – Friday.  Something Rotten!” is presented as part Thrasher-Horne Center’s 2018-2019 Broadway Orange Park season sponsored by Garber Automall.  The Thrasher-Horne Center is a performing arts venue and conference center owned and operated by St. Johns River State College.

The Players Championship and the Florida Theatre unite

“The Florida Theatre” and “The Players Championship” has announced that the organization will become the historic, nonprofit Theatre's newest corporate partner.  As a result of the agreement, patrons now visiting the theatre will enter “The Players Promenade Lobby.”

"Supporting local organizations that enhance the arts and cultural environment of Northeast Florida is important to The Players," said Adam Campbell, The Players 2019 Tournament Chairman.  "The Florida Theatre is a historic venue that enriches our downtown as well as the lives of those within our community."

"Florida Theatre is honored to welcome The Players as the newest member of our corporate partnership program.  We look forward to strengthening the connections between downtown and the beaches communities," said Florida Theatre President Numa Saisselin.  "One of the things that THE PLAYERS and the Florida Theatre have in common is service to the Northeast Florida community.  Through our own activities, and through the organizations we both support, we are working to make Jacksonville and the Northeast Florida community a better place to live and work."

The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre is sponsored by Community First Credit Union.  For a complete list of upcoming events or to buy tickets visit the Theatre's official
web site or “Around Town With Ms. “V”.

About The Players Championship: They annually combine the best field in golf with the world-class venue that is The Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.  Optum®, Morgan Stanley and Grant Thornton LLP are the exclusive Proud Partners of The Players.  Proceeds from The Players benefit Northeast Florida charities and have totaled $100 million since the event moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977, including a record $9 million generated in 2018. For more on The Players and the surrounding area.

Florida Theatre: From ballet and opera to contemporary pop, jazz, rock, country and blues the nonprofit Florida Theatre offers 200 cultural and entertainment events annually for every taste and age.  More than just an entertainment center, The Florida Theatre is also home to graduations, awards ceremonies, lectures, business meetings and charity events that support the community's schools, churches, hospitals and civic groups.  As an anchor to downtown development along the beautiful St. Johns River, The Florida Theatre draws 250,000 people to Jacksonville's center each year.  The magnificently restored Florida Theatre is recognized as one of the finest concert venues in the Southeast. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Florida Theatre holds special memories for four generations.  From the Vaudeville acts and silent films of its earliest days to today's blend of performances of all kinds, The Florida Theatre has served as Jacksonville's premier entertainment center since 1927.

‘ELF’ meets the ‘Jaguars’ before game

Exciting news for the Alhambra: Some of the "Elf...the Musical" cast will be performing the National Anthem at this Sunday's Jaguars Game.  They are excited about this honor!  The Alhambra’s Dinner Theatre cast singing at an NFL game...WOW!!!  You might still get your tickets for the game HERE, but sorry to say that Elf tickets are gone.

DATE: Sunday, December 16, 2018
TIME: approximately 12:55 p.m.

     1 TIAA Bank Field Dr.
      Jacksonville, FL 32202

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

‘Michael W. Smith’ rocked the house in JAX

Courtesy pics: Ms. "V"
Courtesy pics: Michael W. Smith & Ms. "V"
He was only in town for one night, yet Michael W. Smith gave a wonderful array of music, not just Christmas and Christian genres, but all types of music were enjoyed by all.  The iconic Florida Theatre presented Michael W. Smith’s Christmas with his special guest Melinda Doolittle.  The theater was packed with people of all nationalities who wanted to come out for a good time, in an anointed atmosphere.

Multi-Platinum artist, best-selling author and acclaimed actor Michael W. Smith continues to live out his dream; he releases new music regularly and performs around the world to sold-out crowds of loyal and inspired fans.  During Michael’s storied career, he’s been honored with three Grammy Awards, 45 Dove Awards, an American Music Award and has sold more than 15 million albums.

Melinda Doolittle is a powerhouse vocalist in her own right.  She
was tone-deaf as a child, and her choir teacher would plead with her not to sing, but just silently move her mouth.  Undaunted, her love of singing drove her to enter a talent show in the seventh grade where she stunned the audience with her miraculously spot on vocals and beautiful voice.  She never looked back!  Doolittle became a household name during season six of American Idol in 2007. She came in third in the voting, first with Simon Cowell calling her his “personal favorite.”  Melinda sings well on her own, with Michael and also harmonizing with their four backup singers.

With his six-piece band, Michael was great on the Baby Grand Piano as he sung numerous songs and medleys.  In his concert, there is a screen that will show videos of an organization that is near and dear to Michael’s heart.  If you go to the
Compassion website, you can see how your tax-deductible contribution will help children who desire to live a fulfilled life.  You will be able to choose the child that you’ll be helping, and you’ll establish a relationship with that child through correspondence.

Toward the end of the concert, Michael sang “Friends” which was the selection that he sung at the funeral of former President George H. W. Bush.  As Smith sang on the Florida Theatre stage, a group of photos pictured him in his relationship with the Bush family.  In an interview with CBN News, Smith said having the opportunity to perform at the 41st Presidents funeral is an “honor beyond words.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

‘Mutts Gone Nuts’ is coming back to JAX

It’s a treat for the entire family.  Mutts Gone Nuts is returning to Jacksonville’s Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts at FSCJ South Campus for two performances only!  The disorderly duo, Scott and Joan Houghton and their hilarious pack of pooches have created a comedy dog thrill show like no other.  Expect the unexpected in this top-notch presentation that includes: incredible high flying frisbee dogs, tight wire dogs, dancing dogs, magic dogs and of course, the one and only…Sammie the Talking Dog!

Since 1985, comedy duo Scott and Joan Houghton have brought their unique blend of physical comedy and circus arts to audiences from Las Vegas to Tokyo.  They spent three years with country star Lee Greenwood at his theater in Tennessee and seven years as the featured comedy act at Dolly Parton’s Theaters in Branson, Orlando and Myrtle Beach.

In 2005, the duo turned their attention to a creating a comedy dog act. Their nine amazing canine partners are all adopted from animal shelters and rescues. Mutts Gone Nuts is sure to unleash havoc and hilarity as the Houghton’s attempt to match wits with their mischievous mutts in a family-friendly performance that is leaving audiences howling for more!

Mutts Gone Nuts

Saturday, January 19, 2019
1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

LOCATION: Wilson Center for the Arts:
        Florida State College at JAX So. Campus

        11901 Beach Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32099

TICKETS: start at $31.25 for adults and $15.50 for children 12 and under.  Tickets may be purchased at fscjartistseries.org, by calling (904) 632-5000 or at the box office from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Group discounts for 10+ are also available. Please contact or. (904) 632-5050 or email Group Sales.

Russian humor comes to JAX through ‘Yakov’

Fans who loved the comedy of Russian born entertainer Yakov Smirnoff throughout his expansive career on television, the silver screen and Broadway can experience the hilarity once again in “Happily Ever Laughter: The Neuroscience of Romantic Relationships,” coming to Jacksonville’s Times-Union Center for two performances only!

In this new show, audience members are left in stitches as they enjoy Yakov’s insightful and laughter-filled philosophies on love, relationships and the differences between men and women.  Yakov takes his comedy to a new level to showcase laughter’s effects on relationships and envisions a world where sadness and tears are replaced with love and laughter.

Whether on stage or in a classroom, Yakov’s audiences love him. He is passionate about helping people extend the honeymoon stage of their relationships and “fall in love and laughter all over again.”

About Yakov: A mainstay on the entertainment scene since the late 1970’s, Yakov co-starred in movies with Robin Williams in “Moscow on the Hudson
, Tom Hanks in “The Money Pit, Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson in “Heartburn” and Richard Pryor in “Brewster’s Millions.”  Yakov has also given command performances at the White House for several presidents and honored guests.  President Ronald Reagan called Yakov, “a national treasure.”  Smirnoff was a regular guest star on the award-winning NBC sitcom, Night Court.  He has been a popular guest of numerous national TV shows including the Tonight Show.  You’ve seen him on HBO and enjoyed his humor in his critically acclaimed Showtime special, “Yakov Smirnoff from Moscow…Idaho.”  From 1993 to 2015, Yakov performed at his own two-thousand-seat theater in Branson, Missouri where he entertained over four and a half-million people and produced several outstanding award-winning shows.  His comedic style is firmly grounded within his mission statement, “to experience happiness and teach it to the world with passion through comedy and sensitivity.  Yakov’s quest to understand the science of happiness took him to the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a master’s degree in psychology in 2006 under the supervision of Dr. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology.  Today, in addition to being a comedian, Yakov is also an adjunct professor at Missouri State University where he teaches a course on happiness and laughter and is currently earning his Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education & Psychology in Los Angeles, CA.

Yakov Smirnoff

DATE: Saturday Jan. 19, 2019
TIMES: 4:30 p.m. & 8 p.m.

LOCATION:Times Union Center Performing Arts
      Terry Theater
      300 West Water St.
      Jacksonville, FL 32202

TICKETS: $41.50 for adults, plus applicable fees, and may be purchased at their box office, by calling (904) 632-5000 between 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday, or online 24/7 at fscjartistseries.org.

Monday, December 10, 2018

‘Noises Off!’ may have you going back for more

Courtesy: Bradley Akers
With a couple of “F” bombs thrown out there, this is NOT a show for children, yet it is a revealing comedy.  The beginning of the play is a little disjointed, nonetheless, seeing what goes on backstage of any performance is eye-opening and interestingly funny.  The cast is fabulous and their presentation will have you wondering how much of the show is scripted, and how much dialogue is adlib.  They flowed into one another’s lines without any hiccups.  There is a lot of quick-whit in Noises Off! currently featured at “Players By The Sea” in JAX Beach, FL.
Courtesy: Bradley Akers

Many accolades to Tom Fallon, scenic designer, for creating a very attractive front view and an equally intriguing look at the plain view from behind. The structure was easily turned after intermission.  It had to be very well made to withstand all the doors slamming.  The props are wonderful even if some of the sardines might have been missing.  We had the opportunity to see and hear the dialogue from the pretty side, and then the not so attractive view.  As stated earlier, the quick thinking and timing of the actors cannot be duplicated, nonetheless, you might need to see this show more than once.

Holidays are joyous, but they can also be stressful if you allow them to be.  You still have time to spend a night or afternoon (during December) full of laughter with the Players by the Sea’s production of Noises Off!”
  What a great early Christmas gift - tickets to the theatre.  Don’t miss this opportunity!  You have a choice among eight more performances.

Noises Off

Thurs., Dec. 13   8 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 14    8 p.m.
Dec. 15    8 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 16   
2 p.m.
Thurs. Dec. 20    8 p.m.
Fri., Dec.21     8 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 22     8 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 23    2 p.m.

TICKETS: Regular tickets are $28, with a discounted price of $25 for Senior/Student/Military.  Thursday night performances are special Student Nights, wherein students can receive half price tickets with a valid student I.D.  Showtimes are 8 p.m. from Thursday - Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.  Advance ticket purchases are strongly encouraged.  Tickets are available at playersbythesea.org or by calling the Box Office at (904) 249-0289.

LOCATION: Players By The Sea Theatre
      106 6th Street North
      Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
      (904) 249-0289

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Opera ‘Tosca’ comes to JAX

For one performance only, The Teatro Lirico D’Europa comes to Jacksonville’s Times-Union Center. On January 18, 2019 at 8 p.m., come experience their production of Tosca, The Opera!”  Tosca is a melodramatic piece set in Rome in June of 1800, with the Kingdom of Naples control of Rome threatened by Napoleon's invasion of Italy.

A tragic drama of intense love, an assassination, murder and suicide! NOW THAT'S OPERA!!!  "Naples gave Teatro Lirico's its best compliment, standing through four finale bows after the company sailed through 'Tosca' at the Philharmonic Center.  The Teatro operas are becoming can't-wait-for-the-next-one quality." - Naples Daily News.

Tosca The Opera!

DATE: Friday. Jan. 18, 2019
TIME: 8 p.m.

LOCATION:Times Union Center Performing Arts
      Moran Theater
      300 West Water St.
      Jacksonville, FL 32202

TICKETS: $18.08 for children (12 and under) and $33.75 for adults, plus applicable fees, and may be purchased online at FSCJ Artist Series, sponsored by VyStar Credit Union (the official presenter of the Jacksonville show), at their box office, or by calling (904) 632-5000 between 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday, or online 24/7 at fscjartistseries.org.