Saturday, September 22, 2018

‘The Color Purple’ sold out two nights in a row


“Players by the Sea” opened its 53rd continual season of programming with the inspirational and uplifting musical, The Color Purple.  The show will be on the main stage for four consecutive weekends.  The first two shows (September 21 & 22) have been “sold out”.  Around Town With Ms. “V” would like to welcome Players to her venue of things happening in Jacksonville, Florida and the surrounding area.

About the Show:

If you think that you’ve already seen adaptations of this play/musical, or you’ve seen it in the movies, then you haven’t seen this presentation.  Some of the lines are the same and so is the music, nonetheless, the choreography and singing cannot be compared.  Talk about harmonizing, all of these individuals can S-I-N-G!  Pay special attention to the “Church Ladies” and the “Ensemble”.  The cast is comprised of more than 20 diverse local volunteer actors, singers and dancers and reading their bios in the program is a real treat.

The Set is moved around with ease and precision.  Lighting is ‘spot-on’, and the costumes are colorful and well made.  Kudos go out to the six-member Band, who played behind stage during the entire performance and sometimes without the assistance of a track.

Even if you’ve never seen the show before, you will be thoroughly entertained with this production.  There are a few colorful-metaphors, yet there are not a lot and it’s not vulgar.  It is a show that the entire family can watch together.  Besides a little hiccup in timing a couple times, the entire show rates five stars.  Bravo and Brava to all!

The Color Purple is directed by Jereme Raickett (also seen on stage in other presentations around town), with music direction by Meachum Clarke and choreography by Sherrod Brown.

More about Players By The Sea: The theater is quaint, comfortable and seats 150 people.  The restrooms are very clean and modern.  Entrance to the theatre is well-lite and parking is sufficient and close to the building.  The reception area has tall tables and is decorated with local art work.  On Gala night (the opening night for each show) Players offers their patrons some finger foods (
927 Catering & Events) and a complimentary taste of champagne.  For your pleasure there is a bar that offers beer, wine, soda and water for purchase.  All the volunteer staff members are very friendly and courteous.

Stay tuned for more events from Players By The Sea and get your tickets early, so you are not standing out in the heat.

The Color Purple
DATES:     TIMES:

Fri., Sept. 21, 2018  8 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 22     8 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 28     8 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 29     8 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 30    2 p.m.
Thurs., Oct. 4    8 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 5     8 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 6     8 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 7     2 p.m.
Thurs., Oct.11    8 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 12     8 p.m.
Sat., Oct 13     8 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 14     2 p.m.

TICKETS: Regular tickets are $28, with a discounted price of $25 for Senior/Student/Military.  The theatre offers half price tickets to students on Thursday nights.  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

Friday, September 21, 2018

Alhambra Theatre and Dining reveals their 2019 season

In August of 2009, the then-named Alhambra Dinner Theatre was all but shuttered and on the edge of extinction.  In came Jacksonville native Craig Smith and his business partners to purchase the nation’s longest-running dinner theater and return the community’s cultural gem to glory.  Now called the Alhambra Theatre & Dining, with an equal nod to its critically acclaimed culinary experience, Smith and his Theatre Partners LLC are celebrating their 10th season at the helm. Smith and partners are proud to introduce the Alhambra’s slate of shows for the 2019 theatrical season:

Godspell          January 9  February 10
Mid-Life! Crisis The Musical February 20 March 24
Big The Musical       March 27  May 5
Ain’t Misbehavin’      May 8    June 9
Disney’s The Little Mermaid June 12   July 28
Mamma Mia!        August 7   September 15
Brighton Beach Memoirs   September 18 October 13
Jekyll & Hyde       October 23  November 24
It’s a Wonderful Life    November 27 December 24

Said Smith, “We’ve got something for everyone in 2019 and everything for many.  It’s really a fun mix of classic shows like Ain’t Misbehavin’ and some titles that we haven’t done before like Big The Musical.” Smith noted that the theme of this season was picked to really tie in the Alhambra’s culinary success. Six years ago, he changed the food service from a buffet to table service, creating a more fluid and relaxed experience.  “People come here for a mini vacation.  They don’t want to get their own food at a buffet.  Our job is to make memories, and that speaks to the dining portion of the Alhambra as well as the shows.  We committed 10 years ago to an enhanced guest experience from the moment one arrives until they depart, and now food and show are equal stars.”

Sales numbers would indicate Smith and his partners – Bill Barnett, Karl Frisch and Fraser Burns – have delivered on their promise.  In 2009 the theater seated less than 50,000 guests and had fewer than 1200 subscribers.  In 2017, the iconic theater welcomed more than 110,000 guests and now has nearly 5,000 subscribers, now referred to as Season Partners.  The Alhambra celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017, complete with a Mayoral Proclamation on its official birthday, December 15.  The Alhambra employees more than 70 people.  In addition to its Broadway-quality shows, under Smith’s watch, the Alhambra has added a sub-brand called Alhambra After Dark, which features a live music series as well as comedy and magic shows.  The Alhambra is often rented during the day for business meetings and conferences and has hosted weddings and birthday parties.  The Alhambra is reputed in the industry as one of the best small theaters to play for actors, having recently hosted the likes of Mike Farrell, Morgan Fairchild, Michael Learned, Barry Williams and Loretta Swit.

“Time really does fly when you’re having fun.  This was the fastest decade of my life,” added Smith.  “I have met so many wonderful people.  It is amazing how this theater has touched the hearts of its guests and been a memorable part of their lives for three generations.  The future is bright for this old girl, and we are all as enthusiastic today as we were 10 years ago.”

The Alhambra Theatre & Dining is located at 12000 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville, FL. Alhambra tickets start at just $38 and include a three-course meal that changes for each show, a Broadway-style performance and complimentary parking.  Tickets can be purchases on line or by calling (904) 641-1212.

‘Lit Af Tour’ starring host Martin Lawrence coming to JAX


The Fall/Winter leg of the “LIT AF Tour” has kicked off and hits 19 cities across the continent including an engagement at the Jacksonville Veterans Memoria Arena on Friday, October 5, 2018.  JAX tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com, or at the Tom Bush Family of Dealerships Box Office at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

Back by popular demand, comedian, actor, director and producer Martin Lawrence* has added 19 more dates to the LIT AF Tour. Lawrence stars as the high-powered host of 2018's hottest comedy event, presenting a fire lineup of comedians including: DeRay Davis, Rickey Smiley*, Michael Blackson*, Jay Pharoah, Deon Cole, Bruce Bruce, Adele Givens*, Clayton Thomas* and Benji Brown. Coming off the 20th anniversary of Def Comedy Jam, where he is known for his legendary hosting, Lawrence has made a triumphant return to the stand-up stage wowing audiences with his signature style of hilarious stories, social commentary, and more.  The 18 date Spring leg of the LIT AF Tour played to sold out crowds in major cities across the country including Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Washington, DC, Chicago, Miami and Las Vegas.  (Comedians slated to come to Jacksonville, FL *)

“Being on the road with this group of funny AF comedians is a blast,” says Lawrence. “No two shows are the same and we all bring something different to the party.”

Martin Lawrence started in stand-up comedy at the legendary The Improv, where he honed his talents until he was asked by Russell Simmons to host his groundbreaking comedy series Def Comedy Jam on HBO.  From there, Lawrence became a household name after his hugely popular self-titled TV show, Martin, was an instant hit with TV viewers.  He starred for five years as not only the title character, but other support characters like the sassy Sheneneh and Mama Payne, who became comedy classics.  Lawrence would later go on to star in comedy blockbusters like Bad Boys 1&2, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, which he also directed, and Big Momma’s House 1, 2 & 3 where he once again proved his talent for creating and acting as multiple characters in one storyline.

Martin Lawrence Lit Af Tour

TICKETS: The full tour itinerary is listed on the tour’s website.  For ticket information and lineup by city, please visit HERE.

LOCATION: JAX Veterans Memorial Arena
      
300 A Philip Randolph Blvd., Downtown
      Jacksonville, FL 32202
      
(904) 630-3900

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons tickets now on sale

Frankie Valli
A true music icon – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons will perform at the historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre on January 13, 2019 at 7 p.m.  Tickets for this once- in- a- lifetime concert event go on sale Friday, September 21 at 10 a.m.  Tickets can be purchased at the Florida Theatre Box Office, located inside the Theatre at 128 E. Forsyth Street; or ordered over the phone by calling the box office at (904) 355-ARTS; or purchased online

Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons have sold more than 175 million records worldwide and defined the sound of an era with classic hits like: “Walk Like A Man,” “Sherry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Rag Doll,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and many more.

Thanks to the volcanic success of the Tony-winning musical Jersey Boys, which chronicles the life and times of Frankie and his legendary group, Valli, who came to fame in 1962 as the lead singer of The Four Seasons, is hotter than ever.

Valli’s latest album, Romancing The ‘60s, was produced by Bob Gaudio, an original member of The Four Seasons and Frankie’s long-time partner. The album includes new versions of such gems as “Spanish Harlem,” “Call Me” and “Take Good Care of My Baby.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Possible fraudulent ticket sales alert advice from Florida Theatre

Here is a great reminder about fraudulent tickets are being sold through scalper sites.  As you might already know, recently a customer lost money on fraudulent JAGS tickets.  With the fall arts and entertainment season beginning, the historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre reminds its customers and the general public to be on the alert for fake and fraudulent concert and show tickets.

“In addition to protecting consumer wallets from the resale of tickets at ludicrously inflated prices, we are also concerned with protecting consumers from outright fraudulent tickets,”
said Florida Theatre President Numa Saisselin.  “Almost every night we see customers who have spent good money on completely fake tickets.”

The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre’s official web site is
floridatheatre.com, this web site is the only official web site and online ticket seller for the theatre.  Tickets can be purchased in person at the theatre’s box office, located inside the theatre.  The theatre's official phone number is 904-355-ARTS (2787), this is the only official number for telephone sales.

Kathleen Petrillo-Bair, Box Office Manager of the Florida Theatre, says,
“All customers have to remember is two things: our phone number, 904-355-ARTS, and our website, floridatheatre.com. If you transact your business directly with the theatre, you can’t go wrong.”

If you purchase tickets from anyone other than floridatheatre.com or 355-ARTS, you are buying from a ticket broker, and are paying more than you need to.  Ticket brokers make it appear that they have “special access” to the best seats, but all they’re doing is purchasing tickets from the theatre and reselling them to you at inflated prices.

Even when a ticket broker is operating within the law, you still pay more than you need to, and not one cent of the markup goes to the artist or the theatre, who invested the time and money to make the show possible.

If you purchase from a ticket broker and there is anything wrong with your order, the theatre cannot help you, because you did not purchase your tickets from the theatre. If a show is cancelled or rescheduled, the theatre will always stand behind the tickets it sold, but you may have trouble collecting a refund from a ticket scalper or broker.

Sadly, there are also unscrupulous vendors who will sell you outright fraudulent tickets, and when this happens, the theatre cannot help you.

“Protect yourself from scams and scalpers, do not be fooled by imitators, and do not pay more than you have to,” said Saisselin.  “Ticket scalpers will use commercially available software to digitally copy a ticket, and sell the same seat two or three times.  The first ticket holder to arrive is going to be scanned in the door, and the subsequent arrivals will be rejected.  Or, con artists will electronically create a brand new and outright fraudulent ticket, which will be rejected by the scanners at our front door.  In either case, the theatre is unable to issue the customer a refund, because the theatre did not receive the customer’s money.”

Even when you think a show is sold out, it’s always worth a phone call to the Florida Theatre ticket office at 904-355-ARTS (2787) to see if tickets are available.  The historic, nonprofit Florida Theatre is sponsored by Community First Credit Union.

Celebrity Basketball game to be held this Saturday

I'm A Star Foundation’s teen servant leaders will host their annual Jacksonville HELPS (Homeless Students Empowered through Leadership, Partnership & Service) Celebrity Basketball Game this Saturday, September 22, 2018.

Local celebrity players
High school all stars will play celebrities in this match-up, to raise money for homeless students. Celebrity players include City Councilman Bill Gulliford, City Councilman Sam Newby, City Councilman Garrett Dennis, City Councilman Reggie Gaffney, WJXT's Vic Micolucci, WJXT's Brian Jackson, 100 Black Men of Jacksonville's Charles Griggs, JSO's Lakesha Burton, Power 106.1's DJ Byrd Sanchez, New Town Pharmacy's Albert Chester, Paxon School for Advanced Studies Royce Turner, Florida Blue's Pat Gareghty, and more.

Since 2012, the Foundation has raised a total of $96,500 via live telethons, a 5K and three celebrity basketball games — donating ALL FUNDS to the Duval County Homeless Education Program.  Out of the total amount raised, I’m A Star Foundation has awarded 20+ scholarships to homeless students entering college.  Get your tickets below, and I’ll see you there.

“I'm A Star Foundation”
HELPS Celebrity Basketball Game

DATE: Sat., Sept. 22, 2018  TIME: 6 p.m.

LOCATION:
Paxon School for Advanced Studies
3239 Norman E. Thagard Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32254

TICKETS:
ONLY $5 and can be purchased HERE

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

‘Do Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?’ - well, do they?

Photos: Alhambra FB page
You may not have attended twelve years of Catholic School like my husband and I did, nonetheless, if you are a Baby Boomer or older (children today don’t know of such a thing as discipline in some schools), you might remember some of the funny and not-so-funny antics seen in the Alhambra’s stage presentation of Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?

Even if you don’t know of what went on in a
parochial school, you will soon find out the structured relationships that children has with the peers and the respect that was commanded by their teachers.  As a fellow student, I could identify and laugh with the actors (situations might not have been funny then, but looking back today - they are hilarious).  We could name those people who went to school with us and did some of the same things.

The storyline might go over the heads of little ones, but they will not be bored.  Set design and props are interesting, especially how the desks grow with the children through adolescence.  Uniforms change with the times and so have the gym apparel.  There is wonderful singing and dancing that is accompanied by a live pianist.  Sister Mary Upright (Anthony Felton) gives continued musical score to different tracks throughout the show.



You will go through Elementary School in the first act, and evolve with the students and staff (nuns and priests) in the High School years for the second act.

Review about the Menu: This writer thoroughly enjoyed her meal and a tiny sample of her hubby’s.  First Course: Acorn Squash Bisque; OR Spinach Salad with red onion, cherry tomato, warm bacon dressing.  The soup reminded me of another favorite by Executive Chef DeJuan Roy - ‘pumpkin soup’, a little sweet, warm and very flavorful.  He tops it off with sunflower seeds and a dollop of sour cream.  Excellent choice even if fall has not shown its face yet in Florida.  The salad has a delectable vinaigrette dressing that may make you want to sop-it-up with a tasty house-made dinner roll.
Second Course: Fried Pork Chops with yellow rice pilaf, black eyed peas. Husband did not want to share, but told me that everything was vary tasty.  My Cracker Meal-Crusted Mahi with pineapple relish, coconut jasmine rice, asparagus, was thick, yet very flaky and moist. The relish was a great topping; asparagus was small and tender and the rice went well with the meal.  You may want to request more of the pineapple relish to go along with the big portion of fish.
Third Course: Peach Cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream.  I don’t usually eat a lot of sweets, yet this dessert was gone before the show started.  As always, the coffee or hot tea are wonderful compliments.

Do Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?
DATES: September 12 — October 7, 2018

LOCATION: Alhambra Theater & Dining
       12000 Beach Blvd.
       Jacksonville, Florida 32246
       (904) 641-1212

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Homeless students get help from ‘I'm A Star'

I'm A Star Foundation teen servant leaders will kick off Jacksonville HELPS (Homeless Students Empowered through Leadership, Partnership & Service) Week with multiple events aimed at helping their peers.  Starting Saturday, September 15, 2018, “I'm A Star” teens will host its 3000 for 3000 Moment of Hope, a gathering of youth at Hemming Park, to honor the 3000+ homeless students currently in Duval County Public Schools.  A student is identified as homeless if he/she lives in a shelter, hotel, with relatives or on the streets.

Students are channeling the power of focusing 3000 seconds (50 minutes) on the 3000+ homeless students, to make a change.  Therefore, the event will begin promptly at 10 a.m. and end at 10:50 a.m.  The event is free and open to the public.

The agenda will include an introduction by DCPS Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene; choral, creative dance and spoken word performances; speakers (two formerly homeless students); a yoga session; Dance Like No One Is Watching; a ribbon tying ceremony for trees; and a writing/hand printing on the "Wall of Hope."

In addition to other volunteer service events, Jacksonville HELPS Week will culminate with the annual Celebrity Basketball Game on Saturday, September 22, 2018, 6 p.m. at Paxon School for Advanced Studies.  Tickets are $5 and may be purchased HERE.  High school all stars will play celebrities in this match-up, to raise money for homeless students.  Celebrity player names will be released later this week.  Recently, NBA Hall of Famer and Los Angeles Lakers' President Magic Johnson shows his support for the Celebrity Basketball Game.

Since 2012, the Foundation has raised a total of $96,500 via live telethons, a 5K and three celebrity basketball games — donating all funds to the Duval County Homeless Education Program.  Out of the total amount raised, I’m A Star Foundation has awarded 20+ scholarships to homeless students entering college.  To hear the stories of scholarship recipients, please watch How Does It Feel To Be A Homeless Student?

2018-19 season tickets still available at Times Union Center JAX

Curtis Dvorak / Ms. "V"
Where were you on Wednesday evening at 5 p.m.?  If you missed this Artist Series event, you missed a perfect evening for families and theater lovers.  The Broadway in Jacksonville Season Kickoff Event, sponsored by Vystar Credit Union, featured: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King & I (November 13-18), Les Miserables (January 22-27), Waitress (March 12-17) and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School Of Rock (April 16-20).  By subscribing to the 2018-19 Season, subscribers also had the opportunity to renew their seats for the 2019-20 season next year, featuring Hamilton.

First Coast Living star, Curtis Dvorak, was the master of ceremony for the afternoon and you can catch a glimpse of the festivities along with Ms. “V” HERE.  The Chris Thomas Band offered great entertainment throughout the evening.  In addition, attendees were able to get a television video sneak peek at the upcoming season, a gift photo from PRI Green Screen, gift bags for the first 100 patrons, raffles, packet ticket pickup, wine tasting, seat selection in the Moran Theatre, and a special vocal performance from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King & I.  Outside the beautiful theater were delicious goodies from: Latin Fusion, Nitrogen Creamery and Twisted Okie BBQ.

New subscribers can order a subscription at fscjartistseries.org, by calling (904) 632-5000 or toll-free at 1-888-860-BWAY (Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.).  Besides the Broadway hits that are mentioned above, there are many more great shows coming to the Times Union Center for the Performing Arts.  Now is the time to think about theatre tickets for Christmas Stocking Stuffers.

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

‘UF ABA Alumni' host scholarship fundraiser for JAX students


The University of Florida's new Association of Black Alumni (ABA) Jacksonville chapter will host its first fundraiser to benefit local students wanting to attend the top-10 ranked university.  The public is invited to the Inaugural Black Alumni Breakfast, which takes place Saturday, September 22, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  Ticket proceeds will go to fund scholarships for high school students in Jacksonville looking to attend UF in 2019.

This year's Keynote Speaker is Jacksonville native, UF Levin College of Law alumnus and the President of Wiley College (TX), Dr. Herman Felton, Jr.  The topic is: “Rocking The Boat: How Disruption Effects Change Without Making Trouble”.  For inquiries about the event, please
email UF ABA Jax President-Elect Marques J. Wilkes.

The University of Florida ranks number one on The Florida Board of Governors' list, which ranks public universities each year based on how well they meet goals related to student success and improvement.

UF ABA Benefit Fundraiser Breakfast

DATE:       
Saturday, September 22, 2018

TIME: 9 - 11 a.m. promply

TICKETS: are $35

LOCATION:
Sheraton Hotel Jacksonville
10605 Deerwood Park Boulevard
Jacksonville, FL