Friday, July 7, 2017

Fun out from the sun at the Florida Theatre for July 2017


So many people say that there’s nothing to do in Jacksonville, Florida.  Well, we’re here to let you know that there are movies, musical groups, comedy stars, dancers, concerts, tribute shows and much more in a cool exciting environment for you and many for your children too.  The Florida Theatre is the downtown spot that you would want to check out in the next few months.  Look below, make notes in your calendar and get your tickets today.

July 2017 Schedule:
July 7 & 8
Katt Williams – Great America Tour
July 9   Classic Movie:
Casino Royale 50th Anniversary
July 13  
Ted Nugent
July 14 
Pure Prairie League, Firefall and Orleans
July 16  Classic Movie:
A League of Their Own – 25th Anniversary
July 21  
Sinbad
July 23  Classic Movie:
Scent of A Woman -  25th Anniversary
July 29  
Elvis Anniversary Bash Starring Mike Albert, Scot Bruce and the Big E Band
July 30  Classic Movie:
Cool Hand Luke 50th Anniversary


July 7 & 8 – 8 p.m. Katt Williams – Great America Tour — Stand- up comedian Katt Williams will be recording both of his Florida Theatre shows as part of his Great American Tour DVD.  As an actor, Williams has appeared in the comedic box office hits; Money Mike, Friday After Next, Rebound and Epic Movie.  Pre-party package at LIVE Bar available with a ticket purchase.

July 9- 2 p.m. Regions Summer Movie Classics: Casino Royale 50th Anniversary — Ridiculous circumstances get iconic spy James Bond (David Niven) involved with a colorful cast of characters, including the villainous Le Chiffre (Orson Welles), seasoned gambler Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers) and Bond’s bumbling nephew, Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen).  Sponsored by Regions Bank. Media Sponsor The Florida Times Union. Digital Projector Sponsored by AVL.

July 13- 8 p.m. Ted Nugent — The ultimate guitar-shredding showman, Ted Nugent, is known for his groundbreaking Amboy Dukes’ hit: “Journey to the Center of the Mind,” and classic hits “Stranglehold,” “Cat Scratch Fever,” and “Fred Bear.”

July 14- 8 p.m. Pure Prairie League, Firefall and Orleans — It’s an evening of Southern 70’s rock hits with Pure Prairie League: (“Amie,” “That’ll Be The Day,” and “Let Me Love You Tonight) Firefall (You Are The Woman,” “Strange Way” and “Just Remember I Love You”) and Orleans (“Still the One” and “Dance With Me”).

July 16 -2 p.m. Region Summer Movie Classics A League of Their Own – 25th Anniversary  Funded by publicity hungry candy maker Walter Harvey (Gary Marshall), a professional all-female baseball league springs up in the Midwest. On their way to fame, sisters Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty), wild girl Mae Mordibeto (Madonna), scout Ernie Capadino (Jon Lovitz) and grumpy has-been coach Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) find themselves surrounded by drama and troubles.  Come early to meet the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Mascot Scampi.  All children wearing their little league or team uniforms receive free movie entry.  Sponsored by Regions Bank.  Media Sponsor The Florida Times Union. Digital Projector Sponsored by AVL.

July 21- 8 p.m. Sinbad Ranked by Comedy Central as one of the 100 Greatest Standups of All Time, actor and comedian Sinbad has starred in two Comedy Central specials, four HBO comedy specials and appeared in: the Jingle All The Way and Good Burger, and on the FX super series, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

July 23- 2 p.m. Regions Summer Movie Classics Scent of A Woman -25th Anniversary — Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell) is a scholarship student at an exclusive prep school. To pay for a flight home at Christmas, Charlie accepts a temporary job over the Thanksgiving weekend looking after retired Army Ranger Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino).  Pacino won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.  Sponsored by Regions Bank. Media Sponsor The Florida Times Union. Digital Projector Sponsored by AVL.

July 29- 7 p.m. Elvis Anniversary Bash Starring Mike Albert, Scot Bruce and the Big E Band — This annual summer concert stars world-class Elvis impersonators Mike Albert and Scot Bruce along with the Big E Band to celebrate Elvis Presley’s historic 1956 Florida Theatre concert.

July 30- 2 p.m. Cool Hand Luke 50th Anniversary — When Luke Jackson (Paul Newman)  is arrested for vandalizing parking meters, he is sentenced to serve time on a prison chain gang. Although the warden, guards and prisoners all try to break Luke’s spirit, he eventually earns their respect and the respect of his fellow inmates by refusing to back down in a fight and figuring out a way for them to get their hard labor done in half the time.  Sponsored by Regions Bank. Media Sponsor The Florida Times Union. Digital Projector Sponsored by AVL.  Enjoy gourmet ice pops from Hyppo.

“Florida Theatre July 2017 events”
LOCATION: Florida Theatre
      128 E. Forsyth St.
      Jacksonville, FL 32202

TICKETS: Vary with each show and seat preference.  Order online or call the box office (904) 355-2787, Monday — Friday from 9 a.m. –5 p.m.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

'Annie' and the Alhambra are a perfect Summer mix


It’s been said time and time again that children and animals will steal and upstage a show; well, the musical “Annie” at the Alhambra Theatre & Dining is no exception.  Filled with familiar music and dance numbers from the original production, Tod Booth* has created fun loving entertainment with the assistance of set designer Ian Black and the choreography from Shain Stoff* and Brian Beach*.  The show times have been adapted for the many younger and mature audience attendees who come to see Annie, and the show is so entertaining that everyone is thoroughly captivated.

Annie is a delightful Summer family show for the entire family.  Young Jena Simmons was in the character of (Annie), on Gala Night.  The ingénue actress belted out each and every song with zeal and gusto.  You would be able to hear her clearly without the assistance of microphones.

Lisa Valdini with Sandy
She just appeared as (M’Lynn) in “Steel Magnolias”, the last show at the Alhambra, and gave a stellar performance; yet Lisa Valdini*, the mean cantankerous (Miss Hannigan) in Annie, sang, danced and had the crowd in stitches all night long.  Take a look at the photo and see her and the well-behaved dog (Sandy).  You’ll love the way Lisa twists her posterior to the tune of “Easy Street”.

Another little actress who will steal your heart is seven-year-old novice artist Lucy Feagins (Molly - Orphan).  This little lady will be headed for great things if she chooses to go further in her acting career.  She blossoms during the Orphan songs “Maybe,” “Hard Knock Life” and “Fully Dressed”.

You may remember him in “9 to 5 the Musical” and “The Addams Family”, nonetheless, Mark Poppleton portrays a wonderful (Daddy Warbucks) in “Annie”; and Jennifer Medure is a compliment to him starring as (Grace Farrell).  Her daughter Grace Medure is one of the Orphans (Tessie) who grace the stage for the first time with her mom.


Chef DeJuan Roy was on target with his scrumptious meal.  The Strawberry Bisque is cool and refreshing and the Summer Fruit Salad is very tasty with Roy’s house made Honey Yogurt Vinaigrette.  This writer chose the Chicken Veronique which was breaded and pan fried to perfection.  The sides complimented the second course with a delectable sauce.

You are invited to revisit memories of Annie from 1988 and 2009 with  your purchase of the Alhambra’s 50th Anniversary Commemorative Book that you can obtain online or when you visit the theater.

Annie
DATES: June 28 — Aug. 13, 2017

SPECIAL SHOW TIMES: Please note the summer family show, “Annie”, begins twenty minutes earlier than normal show times.  Evening shows Tuesday through Sunday start at 7:30 p.m.  Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and dinner begins shortly afterwards.  Saturday Matinees begin at 1:15 p.m.  Doors open at 10:50 a.m. and the brunch begins at 11 a.m.  Sunday Matinees are at 1:50 p.m.  Doors open at 11:50 a.m. and the meal is server starting 12 p.m.

DRESS: “Gala Night” (Friday June 30, 2017) attire is “Dressy/Formal/Black Tie”.  All other shows could be “Business Casual” or “Sunday Best”.

TICKETS: Prices range from $35 – $62.  Ticket prices include: a plated dinner served to your table, an incredible show and prime parking.  Group sales of 20 + are available upon request.
  **Price does NOT include gratuity or orders from the bar**

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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

$10,000 awarded to the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens


National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $10,000 to the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens to support the creation and implementation of the exhibition Augusta Savage: Artist-Community-Activist, to be on view in 2018.  The grant also funds the publication and programming associated with the exhibition.  The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and will make 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as the Cummer Museum, in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”


Augusta Savage: Artist-Community-Activist, organized by the Cummer Museum, will focus on Augusta Savage’s lasting legacy as a Harlem Renaissance leader, her art, and her influence on her students.  A gifted sculptor, Savage (1892-1962) became an important teacher, leader, and catalyst for change.  Through this exhibition, the Museum seeks to highlight the artistic, social, and historic impact of Savage who, despite her influential career, is largely under-recognized today. Once the exhibition closes at the Museum, it will travel to four other museums.

“For the past decade, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens has passionately championed the legacy of Augusta Savage throughout the state of Florida,” states Cummer Museum Chief Operating Officer & Chief Curator Holly Keris. “Even though her career led her north, Savage was born in relative proximity to our Museum and her passion for sculpture developed in our region.  The Cummer Museum feels this connection deeply, and we are delighted have received this grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Support of this level adds to the credibility of our institution and the legitimacy to this project.”

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring17.  For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to arts.gov

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
   829 Riverside Avenue
   Jacksonville, Florida 32204
   (904) 356-6857
   Hours of Operation & Admission

‘Annie’ opens at the Alhambra with local child star in lead role


Jacksonville, Florida resident 10-year old Carly Juliana Barnes is cast as the lead in the Alhambra Theatre & Dining’s upcoming production of “Annie”.  Selected from an open casting call of more than 110 girls, Carly is one of two talented young leading ladies that perform as Annie.  She is joined by Jena Simmons of Jupiter, Florida.  A much-celebrated Broadway musical, Annie continues the Alhambra’s 50th Anniversary Season.  For the fourth consecutive season, the Alhambra’s summer family show is sponsored by Snyder Heating & Air Conditioning of JAX, FL.


This is an Alhambra debut for both actresses.  Ms. Barnes will split the role 50-50 with Jena Simmons.  Ms. Simmons credits include: Les Misérables and The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley Jr. at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre.  She also appears on “Investigation Discovery” and various TV commercials for companies including: hhgregg, Chrysler, and Universal Studios.  Other than acting camp at Players by the Sea in Jacksonville Beach, Ms. Barnes is new to live theater.  She does have two short film credits, including: “Innocent Pact,” playing both twins who lost their parents at a young age, and “Starling” in which she played Lucy, a sick child living in the wilderness with her brother and friends.  Barnes attends the Discovery School in Jacksonville Beach, FL.


About the show: The girls (Jena Simmons & Carly Juliana Barnes) play an orphan in a facility run by the mean Miss Hannigan and believes her parents left her there by mistake.  When a rich man named Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks decides to let an orphan live at his home to promote his image, Annie is selected.  While Annie gets accustomed to living in Warbucks’ mansion, she still longs to meet her parents.  So Warbucks announces a search for them and a reward, which brings out many frauds – and a touching musical.  “Annie” is based upon the popular Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie, and the musical's songs "Tomorrow" and "It's the Hard Knock Life" are among its most popular musical numbers.

About the menu (which also features a children’s menu): For every show, Alhambra Executive Chef DeJuan Roy creates a new menu borrowing from the show’s themes.  The menu for Annie includes: First course (choice of one) strawberry bisque with cilantro crème fraiche; or a summer fruit salad with peaches, grapes, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, sunflower seeds, honey yogurt vinaigrette.  Second course (choice of one) rigatoni and house-made giant meatball with Romano cheese; or charred Romanesco chicken Veronique with jasmine rice, broccolini, tear drop tomatoes; or pan-seared snapper with a pink grapefruit buerre blanc, risotto, sautéed spinach; or New York-style vegetable flatbread pizza with pasta salad.  the Dessert course includes: a choice of Pink Lemonade Cake or Snickers Tart with caramel, chocolate, peanuts, whipped cream.
The children’s menu includes: chicken fingers, French fries, sausage flatbread, and mixed vegetables, dessert same as the adults above.

Annie
DATES: June 28 — Aug. 13, 2017

SPECIAL SHOW TIMES: Please note the summer family show, “Annie”, begins twenty minutes earlier than normal show times.  Evening shows Tuesday through Sunday start at 7:30 p.m.  Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and dinner begins shortly afterwards.  Saturday Matinees begin at 1:15 p.m.  Doors open at 10:50 a.m. and the brunch begins at 11 a.m.  Sunday Matinees are at 1:50 p.m.  Doors open at 11:50 a.m. and the meal is server starting 12 p.m.

DRESS: “Gala Night” (Friday June 30, 2017) attire is “Dressy/Formal/Black Tie”.  All other shows could be “Business Casual” or “Sunday Best”.

TICKETS: Prices range from $35 – $62.  Ticket prices include: a plated dinner served to your table, an incredible show and prime parking.  Group sales of 20 + are available upon request.
  **Price does NOT include gratuity or orders from the bar**


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

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

'River and Post' hires executive chef Elizabeth Arana for newest JAX restaurant



Having trained under Wolfgang Puck, Eric Ripert, David Burke and Alain Ducasse and educated at the Culinary Institute of America and University of Florida, Elizabeth Arana’s resume impressed the owners of River & Post.  Once they tasted her cooking they were convinced she was the right fit.  Arana will start in July 2017 as the Executive Chef of the soon-to-open Riverside restaurant, which will open in the Fall.

Arana will lead the culinary process for River & Post, initially managing the kitchen design and service processes.  In addition to being responsible for the menu and its preparation, Arana will oversee the entire kitchen staff.  No stranger to executive culinary management, Arana has lead teams at the Alexandria, Provence and Alphabet Kitchen restaurants in New York City as well as working directly under Executive Chef Alain Ducasse at Louis XV in Monaco, France.  Arana has extensive experience in various cooking styles cuisines.  She was featured on the Food Network’s Door Knock Dinners with Gordon Elliot as well as Latina Magazine, The New York Daily News, New York Magazine, Time Out New York and listed in Zagats.

Said General Manager and owner Jeff McCusker of Arana, “Her qualifications spoke for themselves, but what sold us was simply her ability to cook.”  To make a final decision on their Executive Chef selection, McCusker and co-owner Robert Fleckenstein, along with their advisory board, hosted several candidates for a menu tasting.  McCusker stated, “The words that kept repeating themselves among our panel of tasters were ‘captivating,’ ‘thoughtful’ and “inspiring,’ not words typically assigned to food.  When we think of the brand we are trying to create at River & Post, with an incredible rooftop view and a modern vibe, there wasn’t even a second pick.  Elizabeth wowed us all.”

Hiring an Executive Chef was the next big step for River & Post, which began construction in April and plans to open in the fall of 2017. “The vision for River & Post is incredible,” said Arana.  “I cannot wait to come to work and have the view of Jacksonville’s colorful skyline as my office.  We will create something special in Riverside, a true destination restaurant that I am confident will draw from other parts of town as well as other parts of the southeast.  Jacksonville is a growing culinary city, and I want to be on that must-visit list for foodies and people just looking to relax and enjoy a great meal with a great view.”

River & Post will soon be hosting interviews for servers, managers, kitchen and bar staff and interested parties can contact the restaurant HERE.

About River & Post: River & Post is a restaurant and rooftop lounge opening in the fall of 2017.  This upscale casual restaurant will bring a trendy environment, great food and breathtaking river city views to Riverside.  It will be located in the newly renovated Summit building, located at 1000 Riverside, on the corner of Post St.  Jeff McCusker is the managing partner and Bob Fleckenstein is the investing partner.  The menu will be seafood- and steak-focused Southern American cuisine.  The floor plan calls for pet-friendly patio dining space downstairs, as well as being a premier location for meetings and private events.  River and Post will also feature ample parking, a rare commodity in Riverside.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Thrasher-Horne Family Series 2017 - 2018 tickets are available


The Thrasher-Horne Center has put together a series of exciting family-friendly shows that appeal to audiences of all ages for the 2017-2018 season.  From thrilling martial artists and piano virtuosos to a cappella showstoppers and a holiday visit from everyone’s favorite lasagna-loving fat cat, the upcoming Family Series provides the perfect opportunity for parents to introduce their families to quality live entertainment at an amazing price.


Coming to the Thrasher-Horne Center on December 2, 2017 are The Martial Artists and Acrobats of China.  This troupe of performers from Tianjin, People’s Republic of China was established in 1957 as a combination of the former China Circus & Acrobats that was founded in 1948.  It is one of the best acrobatic troupes in China with over one hundred acrobatic, magical and martial arts performers.  With novelty and superior techniques, the acrobatic troupe is favored by the audiences all over the world.  Tickets for The Martial Artists and Acrobats of China range from $29.00 to $69.00.

Following closely on December 8, 2017 is A Garfield Christmas: Live on Stage.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year – especially if you’re the world’s best-loved fat cat movie star, Garfield.  Coming to you with arms wide open in anticipation of all the Christmas presents he’s expecting, Garfield will light up your holiday this year with his wit, wise cracks and wisdom.  Everyone’s favorite feline is a few gifts short of true Christmas spirit. But with the help of Jon, Odie, the Audience, and his new holiday friends, Garfield gets an “enlightening” lesson.  This lively holiday musical features timeless Christmas favorites such as “Jingle Bells", “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, “Deck the Halls", and many more.  Sing along as Garfield’s new friends all work together to bring light to Garfield’s Christmas.  Join the fun as the coffee-guzzling, nap-taking, lasagna-loving fat cat Garfield decks the halls with boughs of folly!  Tickets for A Garfield Christmas: Live on Stage range from $19.00 to $39.00. A special school time matinee performance will be held at 10:30 a.m. on December 8, 2017.

January 19 & 20, 2017 welcomes two opportunities to experience the incredible talent of pianist Jason Farnham as he brings his solo show to our intimate Studio Theatre.  Take Jerry Lee Lewis, add some Victor Borge, Beethoven on steroids, garnish with Schroeder from Peanuts, throw it all in a blender, and what comes out is an unmistakable Jason Farnham show!  Piano with Jason Farnham delights audiences around the U.S. again and again.  Fans love his toy piano, his witty Victor Borge-style comedy antics, and the clever way he interacts with the audience.  The variety includes contemporary romantic piano, jazz, bossa-nova, blues, stride piano, and classical with a modern twist!  Tickets for Piano with Jason Farnham range from $29.00 to $39.00.  A special school time matinee performance will be held at 10:30 a.m. on January 19, 2018.

Finally, the Family Series is rounded out by a performance by GOBSMACKED! on January 28, 2018.  Direct from sell out seasons in London, Hong Kong and Edinburgh comes this mind-blowing vocal show from the UK.  This next-generation a cappella show redefines the limits of the human voice.  Featuring the reigning world champion beatboxer Ball-Zee and an international cast of world-class vocalists, GOBSMACKED! weaves stories through all forms of a cappella from traditional street corner harmonies to cutting edge, multi-track live looping.  Heart-stopping singing and jaw-dropping beatboxing guarantees the audience will leave with a song in their heart and a smile on their face. GOBSMACKED! is the latest break-out show that everyone is talking about – it’s funny, joyful and uplifts the spirits of all ages!  Tickets for GOBSMACKED! range from $29.00 to $69.00.

Thrasher-Horne Family Series
DATES: See individual shows above
TIMES: Go to individual links above

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

TICKETS: vary according to the show with all fees included, and may be purchased in person, online at THcenter, or by calling (904) 276-6815 between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday – Friday.  Select your seats for each performance individually, or purchase a Series Package and receive 25% off tickets when you purchase three or more of these shows at the same time.  The Thrasher-Horne Center is a not-for-profit performing arts venue and conference center owned and operated by St. Johns River State College.  The Thrasher-Horne Center is located on the Orange Park campus.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Local talent in ‘Steel Magnolias’ are the best


Cast of Steel Magnolias
Usually when a major actor or actress comes out on stage at the beginning of a show, the crowd gives them a rousing round of applause; yet this was not the case for Gilligan’s Island’s star Dawn Wells.  Maybe no one recognized her in costume when she came out because she wasn’t the familiar Mary Ann that we knew and loved, nonetheless, the Alhambra Theater & Dining selected a great show when they chose Robert Harling’s “Steel Magnolias”.

All in all, the show is fantastically funny and nostalgic in comparison to the 1989 movie classic.  You may recall the cast of characters back then, with the talented actresses in the 2017 show: Truvy (Dolly Parton) - Patti Eyler*, Annelle (Daryl Hannah) - Lexi Langs*, Clairee (Olympia Dukakis) - Cheryl Horne*, Shelby (Julia Roberts) - Rebecca Lea Chisholm, M’lynn (Sally Field) - Lisa Valdini*, and Ouiser (Shirley MacLaine) - Dawn Wells*.  * denotes Actors’ Equity Association.  You may note that some of the performers are regulars to the Alhambra (Lisa Valdini, Patti Eyler and Lexi Langs), and out-of-towners Cheryl Horne and Rebecca Lea Chisholm bring loads of humor and well-rehearsed acting to the Jacksonville Dinner-Theatre stage.

First Course (top) & one Dessert
The actresses recreated the movie with creative lines under the tutelage of Producer/Director Tod Booth* and wig designer Patty Pitts did a fantastic job of selecting appropriate hair styles for the show.  Stage Designer Ian Black did a wonderful job with creating the southern Louisiana beauty salon.  You will laugh and almost cry as you engage with the ladies in “Steel Magnolias”.

Steel Magnolias
DATES: May 24 — June 25, 2017

SHOW TIMES: Evening shows Tuesday through Sunday start at 7:50 p.m.  Doors open at 5:50 p.m., and dinner begins at 6 p.m.  Saturday Matinees begin at 1:15 p.m.  Doors open at 10:50 a.m. and the brunch begins at 11 a.m.  Sunday Matinees are at 1:50 p.m.  Doors open at 11:50 a.m. and the meal is server starting 12 p.m.

DRESS: “Business Casual” or “Sunday Best”.  To see the menu, Click HERE.

TICKETS: Prices range from $38 – $62.  Ticket prices include: a plated dinner served to your table, an incredible show and prime parking.  Group sales of 20 + are available upon request.
**Price does NOT include gratuity or orders from the bar**

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