Saturday, September 28, 2019

PBTS’s ‘The Wiz’ as good as Broadway’s

No, it’s not in Kansas, nor is it in NYC; but this rendition of The Wiz is in good-ole Jacksonville, Florida at the Players By The Sea.  It has been over 44 years since this writer had the opportunity to catch an Amtrak from Philly to NYC, in order to see the original production of The Wiz; featuring Stephanie Mills, Mabel King & Phylicia Rashad.  Today the privilege comes once again through the dynamic stage performance from PBTS.  If you’ve seen this representation before, you will not be disappointed, and if you’ve never had the experience, you will be thoroughly entertained.

There is an abundance of talented actors/actresses who grace the stage for this show.  Most are still in school (having to do homework, chores and get some sleep); some work every day (taking care of themselves and family members); yet they sing, remember lines and dance impeccably.  Even though there are no large movable props, the actors’ makeup, the background and other visuals (trees, poppy fields, monkeys etc.).  This writer had a smile on her face for the entire evening.

Please allow me to give a shout-out to a few of the phenomenal cast members of “The Wiz”.  Samantha Nelson (Dorothy) can sing, gyrate down the road, and act with the best of any older actor.  This young lady is a mere freshman at a local high school.  Samantha also speaks volumes with her beautiful expressive eyes.  Sherrod Brown (The Wiz) is a very animated on stage with all of his lines.  J’Quan Jarrell (Scarecrow), Juquan Vickers (Tinman), and Tyvin Mcswain (Lion) fill some gigantic shoes in portraying their characters - well done gentlemen!  Zoe Bell (Addaperle) kept a smile on my face.  You’ve got to read the program and not just judge a book by it’s cover, especially with Michael Clifton whose makeup is perfectly done for his character and accolades for his wonderful singing.

There are 6 background Wiz singers (Jade Higgs, Chantel Hatton, Kanesha Frederick, James Webb, & John White) who compliment the actors on stage.  Their harmony is phenomenal!  The music for the entire show is provided by a young talented ten-piece band (Carson Smisek, Adrienne Bell, Ihlanm Martinez, Marissa Alvarez, Alexander Hernandez, Luis Ocasio LaChelle Bruno, Meghan Ramsey, Mackenzie Jackson & Gena Fitzpatrick).

Special shout-out to DeWitt Cooper and assistant choreographer Arielle Bryant in creating the wonderful footwork for the main cast, ensemble and the children.  The amount of sweat that some of the dance number produced will probably accounts for some weight loss over the weeks of this presentation.

This whole production is the dreamchild of director Jereme Raickett who is an integral member of Players By The Sea.  You may have seen his work over the years from Boleros Dance Studio and also the Alhambra Theatre & Dining.  Don’t forget to take a look at the artwork of Erin Kendrick in the PBTS lobby and get your tickets for “The Wiz” before they run completely out.


Sat., Sept. 28, 20198 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 29    2 p.m.
Thurs., Oct. 3    8 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 4      8 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 5     8 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 6     2 p.m.
Thurs., Oct. 10    8 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 11     8 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 12     8 p.m.

TICKETS: General Admission tickets are $28.  Students, seniors and military can get theirs for $25.  Thursday nights are Student Nights!  Bring a valid student ID to the theatre and get a half-price ticket for $14.

LOCATION: Players By The Sea Theatre

      106 6th Street North
      Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
      (904) 249-0289

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Cummer Museum happenings for October 2019

Upcoming Free Events, Lectures, and Affinity Groups

October 1 |
Florida Blue Free Tuesday
October 5 | Weaver First Saturday Free For All
October 5 | 5th Annual Envirofest
October 6 | Bank of America and Merrill Lynch Museums On Us
October 8 | Florida Blue Free Tuesday
October 15 | Florida Blue Free Tuesday
October 20 | Pop-Up Art Building
October 20 | Family Open Studio: 'Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art'
October 22 | Florida Blue Free Tuesday
October 22 | Educator Social and Open House
October 22 | Family Tour - 'Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection'
October 24 | Cummer Beaches 2019 Kick-off
October 29 | Florida Blue Free Tuesday
October 30 | Gallery Talks - Stein Gallery

Cummer Beaches Lecture Series Part II: “The Cummer Parable Of The Marriage Feast”
Fri., Oct. 4 | 6 to 7:30 p.m.; Free | No registration required; Hosted at the Beaches Museum Chapel; 381 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

My First Art Class | Sat., Oct. 12 through Nov. 16
| Ages 3 through 5 with an adult | Six-week class 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. | Members $120 per pair, Non-Members $150 per pair | Registration required.

Think Like An Artist | Sat., Oct. 12 through Nov. 16 | Ages 6 through 8 | Six-week class 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. | Members $135, Non-Members $180 | Registration required.

Coding Art: Modern Art With Modern Tech | Oct. 12 through Nov. 16 | Ages 9 through 12 | Six-week class on Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | Members $180, Non-Members $240 | Registration required.

Louis Comfort Tiffany: Wed., Oct. 16 | Treasures from The Driehaus Collection Ponce De Leon Opening | 6 to 8 p.m. | Doors open at 5:45 p.m. | Free for PdL members only | RSVP required.

Louis Comfort Tiffany: Thurs., Oct. 17 2019 | Treasures From The Driehaus Collection Member Preview | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Free for members only | No registration required.

Louis Comfort Tiffany:
Sun., Oct. 20 2019 | Treasures From The Driehaus Collection Member & Community Opening Party | 6 to 8 p.m. | Free for members, $40 for non-members | Registration required.

Family Open Studio: 'Kota Ezawa: The Crime Of Art' | Sun., Oct. 20 2019 | 1 to 3 p.m.| Free with admission | No registration required.

Pop-Up Art Building | Tues., Oct. 22 | 1 to 3 p.m. | Free with admission | No registration required.

Educator Social And Open House | Tues., Oct. 22 | 5 to 6:30 p.m. | Free | Registration required

Family Tour - 'Louis Comfort Tiffany: | Treasures from The Driehaus Collection' | Wed., Oct. 30 20196 to 7 p.m. | Free | No registration required.

Acrylic Painting | Oct 30 through Dec 11 | Ages 18+ | Six-week class on Wednesdays, 1 to 4:30 p.m. | Members $270, Non-Members $360 | Registration required.

Gallery Talks - Stein Gallery | Wed. Oct. 30 | 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. | Members $5, Non-Members $10 | Registration required.

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

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

Southern Rock Memorabilia at the Thrasher-Horne Center

Thrasher-Horne Center is pleased to announce a special gallery exhibit of “Southern Rock Memorabilia” featuring the history of the Van Zant brothers.  This limited time collection is available for viewing through November 9, 2019.

Jacksonville might be best known as the “Birthplace of Southern Rock” thanks in large part to the legendary Clay County natives who formed Lynyrd Skynyrd and 38 Special.  Ronnie, Donnie and Johnny Van Zant were “simple men” who paved the way, alongside their beloved bandmates, for many other Southern Rock Musicians.

Items from this exhibit are on loan from several private sources including: Donnie and Johnny Van Zant, Ellen Powell (widow of Billy Powell of Lynyrd Skynyrd), Ed “Tinker” Wingate, the Honorable Judge Don Lester and historical data originated by the Clay County Archives.

This gallery exhibit will be on display for a limited time from September 27 through November 9, 2019.  The gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  It will also be available for viewing during the concerts of “Clint Black” (October 25) and “The Help Somebody 3”, featuring 38 Special, a “St. Michaels Soldiers” benefit (November 9).  Donnie and Johnny Van Zant plan to make a special on-stage appearance for this benefit.

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

The Thrasher-Horne Center is a performing arts venue and conference center owned and operated by St. Johns River State College.  It is located on the Orange Park campus at 283 College Drive in Orange Park, Florida.  For more information on this exhibit or other Thrasher-Horne Center events visit or call (904) 276-6815.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Alhambra’s ‘Brighton Beach Memoirs’ is phenomenal

Neil Simon's Tony Award winning play, Brighton Beach Memoirs is a MUST-SEE play at the Alhambra Theatre & Dining.  The cast consists of only 7 people, yet the dialogue is immense and none of the actors missed a beat (at least they never appeared to miss a line, and that is a representation of true acting).  This reviewer has never seen this play before, and it kept me laughing and interested throughout the entire performance.

As said previously, there is a lot of dialogue and allow me to give some credit to whom credit is due.  I can’t brag enough on a young veteran actor who is only a sophomore at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and is also a member of the Actors Equity AssociationEvan Gray* portrays (Eugene Jerome and is also the Narrator for portions of the play).  Evan has been in four previous shows at the Alhambra and you don’t want to miss him in this one.  There has to be a love of the theater for this young man to do homework, go to school each day, accomplish his chores and be on stage Tuesday thru Sunday nights and matinees on the weekend.

You may have seen Hillary Hickam* (Kate Jerome) onscreen and yes, she plays a huge part along with Stacey Harris* (Blanche Morton) who has graced the stage of the Alhambra in “The Addams Family”.  Both ladies portray sisters who grow together in a blended household with the ups and downs associated with overcrowding in a one-family home.

Emma Decker (Laurie Morton) & Kelly Wolfe (Nora Morton) are newbies to the Alhambra, nonetheless, we may see these ladies in upcoming shows.  They both have an interest in acting and both are pursuing the acting bug.

Cameron Hale Elliott* (Stanley Jerome) was recently in Alhambra’s “Mamma Mia!” and he meshes well with younger brother Evan Gray, as the older brother who gives advice and has a surprise for the audience toward the end of the show.

Veteran actor Robert Herrle* (Jack Jerome) is the patriarch of the Jerome family as this marks his fourth show with the Alhambra. Herrle is more noted around his home in Orlando, Florida; yet you might have been privileged to see him working on stage with Disney Cruise Lines.

If plays are your choice of entertainment over musicals, then you’ll want to get you tickets NOW for a seat in the audience, while Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach” is still on stage at the Alhambra.

NB - * Denotes Actors Equity Association!

First Course
Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup,
OR Home Run Salad with chopped romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, boiled eggs, green onions, green peppers, carrots, raisins, sliced almonds, Green Goddess dressing *GF*.  Both were good.  If you don’t like a lot of salad dressing, request your dressing on the side.
Second Course (Choice of One) Pierogi Shepherd’s Pie with ground beef and mixed vegetables and rich gravy, fluffy potatoes and cheese pierogies, OR Chicken & Waffles - with cardamom syrup and strawberry butter & Fruit with Poppy Seed Dressing.  As always, Chef DeJuan’s Fried Chicken is Da BOMB and the waffles have a sweet taste that didn’t require any additional syrup. 
Third Course (Choice of One) Lemon Chiffon Cake OR Boston Cream Pie  Both desserts were scrumptious and the portions are just enough to enjoy with coffee or tea.

Brighton Beach Memoirs
DATES: September 18, 2019 through October 13, 2019

SHOW TIMES: Evening shows Tuesday through Friday start at 7:50 p.m.  Doors open at 6 p.m., and dinner is served until 7:30 p.m.  Saturday Matinees begin at 1:15 p.m.  Doors open at 11 a.m. and the brunch served until 12:30 p.m.  Sunday Matinees are at 1:50 p.m.  Doors open at 12 p.m. and the meal is server until 1:50 p.m.

DRESS: All other shows could be “Business Casual”, or “Sunday Best”.

TICKETS: Prices range from $38 – $66.  Ticket prices include: a plated three-course meal that changes for each show, and is served directly to your table; a Broadway-style performance and complimentary parking.  Tickets may be purchases on line, or by calling (904) 641-1212.
     **Prices do NOT include gratuity, professional photos, or orders from the bar**

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