Wednesday, January 8, 2020

‘RENT’ is coming to JAX for 8 performances

“RENT 20th Anniversary Tour” will return to Jacksonville due to popular demand.  In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway… and forever changed the landscape of American theatre.  Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s "RENT" continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world.  And now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production.  A re-imagining of Puccini's La Bohème,RENT” follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out.  With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters—love.

The show received its world premiere off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on February 13, 1996 to ecstatic reviews and transferred to Broadway on April 29, 1996.  RENT” won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Based on original direction by Michael Greif (Tony and Drama Desk Nominations, RENT), Evan Ensign re-stages the 20th anniversary tour.  Original Broadway creatives Marlies Yearby (Choreography), Angela Wendt (Costume Design), and Tim Weil (Music Supervision and Additional Arrangements) are joined by Jonathan Spencer (Lighting Design), Keith Caggiano (Sound Design), MiRi Park (Associate Choreographer), and Matthew E. Maraffi (adapting original scenic design by Paul Clay) to make up the creative team for the tour.  Casting for the tour is by Wojcik | Seay Casting.

The RENT 20th Anniversary Tour is produced by Work Light Productions whose other touring productions include: the 2016 Olivier Award-winning production of Jesus Christ Superstar, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Bandstand, and the upcoming tour of the TONY award winning musical Ain’t Too Proud.

Tues., Jan. 14  7:30 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 15  7:30 p.m.
Thurs., Jan. 16  7:30 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 17   8 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 18    2 & 8 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 19   1:30 & 7 p.m.

TICKETS: for RENT 20th ANNIVERSARY TOUR start at $48.50, plus applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased at our box office from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, by calling (904) 632-5000, or online 24/7 at Discounts for groups of 10+ may be available by calling (904) 632-5050.

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

The Cummer Museum’s Jan. 2020 schedule is here

It’s starting to get a little brisk outside, and then again, it might be 70º later in the week; nonetheless, there will be heat or air conditioning inside the exquisite Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.  Why not bring the family down for a visit?

The Art Of Pop: A Warhol Dinner Party
January 16, 2020; from 6 to 9 p.m.  Celebrate the start of 2020 and the Museum’s recent acquisition of works by artist and pop-culture icon, Andy Warhol.  This is the first dinner in our Dinner Party Series.  Ticket pricing varies | Registration required

Family Open Studios from1 to 3 p.m.  Free drop-in art-making activity in Art Connections.  Free with admission | No registration required.
January 19, 2020
February 16, 2020

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
January 20, 2020 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Join the Cummer Museum, in partnership with the Ritz Theatre and Museum, for a special day to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The event features art engagement and special commemorations, with free admission for all.  Free | No registration required.

Pop Up Art Shop 0pening with artist, Overstreet Ducasse
January 31, 2020 from 6 to 8 p.m.  The Pop-Up Art Shop spotlights local artists while connecting artists and collectors.  Free | No registration required.

Ponce De Leon Society opening for Striking Power: Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt
January 29, 2020 from 6 to 8 p.m.  Free for Ponce de León members | Registration required.

Member events for Striking Power: Iconoclasm In Ancient Egypt
January 30, 2020 - Preview from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Free for Members | No registration required
Opening, 6 to 8 p.m. | Free for Members, Non-Members $40 | Registration required.

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

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

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Players By The Sea hosting fundraiser for upcoming show

Players by the Sea Theatre will host a fundraiser on January 18th to raise money for “Romeo & Juliet” that takes the Main Stage in February.  The special fundraising event begins at 6 pm with a silent auction.   Attendees can expect opportunities to win reserved tickets to the show, have a show night dedicated to them or someone special, and more.  There will also be a stage fight demonstration, much like what will take place on stage for “Romeo & Juliet”.

Amy Canning Love and Ashley Jones are directing the show.  All funds collected from this special event will go towards cultivating their magical, futuristic vision.  Romeo & Juliet will feature a cast of 20 women.  All parts are played by female actors.

“Much like we never know why the two households are at war with each other; we are never sure where the men in the play are located or even if they even exist at all—we can only speculate that the women were able to survive without them… the one gender cast in Shakespeare is a modern tradition- but only to be celebrated when executed with fidelity and purpose.  We have such purpose and that purpose will sharpen even more as we prepare,” say Canning Love and Jones about their production.

“Romeo & Juliet” will show at Players on February 20, 21, 22, and 23.  Tickets are available now at or by calling the Box Office at (904) 249-0289.  Season Membership packages cannot be applied to this show.

About Players by the Sea - For over fifty-three years, Players by the Sea has brought quality creative and classic theatre to the Jacksonville community.  Players mission is to enrich the community through excellence in theatre.  The nonprofit community theatre welcomes all creative artists to participate in making the magic of theatre come to life, whether on stage, through advocacy or assisting backstage.

Ballet of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in JAX for one performance

For one performance only, The National Ballet Theatre of Odessa comes to Jacksonville’s Times-Union Center.  On January 10, 2020 at 8 p.m., come experience their production of “Romeo and Juliet”!

This full-scale production, set to the music of Sergey Prokofiev and based on William Shakespeare’s timeless tale of tragic love, follows young lovers Romeo and Juliet through warring families and forbidden love.  The National Ballet Theatre of Odessa, Ukraine will bring 55 of Ukraine’s most talented and brightest ballet stars to present the most passionate romantic tragedy in history.

“Romeo & Juliet”

DATE: Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 TIME: 8 p.m.

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

TICKETS: start at $25 for adults and $12.50 for children (12 and under), 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.orgIf you’re interested in purchasing 20 or more tickets please contact Group Sales at (904) 632-5050.

Winter Jam 2020 coming to JAX with tickets only $15

Christian music’s premiere multi-artist annual outing, the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, steps into a new decade with a fan-favorite headliner, GRAMMY®-nominated singer/songwriter Crowder. With such recent hits as “Red Letters” and “All My Hope,” the genre-spanning artist—who has sold more than 3 million units and appears regularly on the Grand Ole Opry—leads a star-studded 2020 lineup featuring some of the biggest names in Christian music.

Winter Jam, which is hallmarked annually by its musical diversity, central focus on the Gospel, and a "no ticket required"/$15 donation at the door, will hit a total of 42 cities around the country next year.  Highlighted by a time of worship each evening, international chart-toppers Hillsong Young & Free are set to make their Winter Jam debut in 25 cities, while renowned worshippers Passion, as well as acclaimed pastor/author/speaker and Passion Movement founder Louie Giglio, will be featured on all other tour stops.

“It’s crazy to think this is my first time speaking on Winter Jam, one of the most influential tours of the last few decades,” says Giglio. “I’m pumped, and really excited to share the nights with our fam—Crowder and Passion!" 

“We can’t wait to get out on Winter Jam 2020,” echoes Crowder. “There is nothing like it and 2020 is going to be just insane! Too much goodness in one place.” 

Winter Jam 2020’s lineup also showcases Reach Records hip-hop recording artist and producer Andy Mineo; Dove Award-winning pop hitmakers Building 429; GRAMMY®-nominated rockers RED; Dove Award-nominated singer/songwriter Austin French; GRAMMY®-nominated Winter Jam creators and tour hosts, NewSong; and Dare2Share speakers Greg Stier and Zane Black. Additionally, the PreJam opening set will feature 2019 New Artist of the Year Dove Award-nominee Riley Clemmons and will introduce singer/songwriter and evangelist Billy Ballenger, as well as emerging rap/hip-hop recording artist Zauntee. 

Kicking off January 10 at Jacksonville, Florida’s VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Winter Jam 2020 is slated to hit Chicago’s Sears Centre Arena; State Farm Arena in Atlanta; Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena; Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena; Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis; Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena; Kansas City, Missouri’s Sprint Center; and PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, among numerous other leading venues around the country, before concluding March 29 at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland.

"I’ve never been more excited about Winter Jam than I am for 2020,” says NewSong founding member and Winter Jam creator Eddie Carswell. “The lineup is amazing and the desire to see Jesus change lives remains our top priority. Bring your friends, bring your youth group— just don't miss it."

In addition to the tour’s popular Jam Nation membership, which allows attendees advance venue entry among other special perks, Winter Jam is introducing a limited number of Jam Nation Ultimate Access passes for 2020. This exclusive pass includes a backstage meet & greet with Crowder, premium reserved Jam Zone seating, and free Jam Nation entry to any other 2020 Winter Jam date.

The Winter Jam 2020 Tour Spectacular is produced by Premier Productions and sponsored in part by Holt International, Liberty University, "A Week Away: The Musical" and Destiny Rescue.

Created and hosted by one of Christian music’s most influential bands, NewSong, the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular exploded from a single show in 1995 to become the genre's benchmark tour. Throughout two decades, the tour has regularly ranked among Pollstar's top first quarter outings. Showcasing the best and brightest in Christian music, Winter Jam provides a powerful platform for the Gospel in major arenas nationwide.

For further information, visit or Follow Winter Jam on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Players By The Sea holding auditions for first show of 2020

On January 12, 2020, Players by the Sea will welcome local talent to audition for August Wilson’s, “Two Trains Running, a play that will appear in the Studio Theatre in March of 2020.  Auditions will start promptly at 1 p.m. with registration beginning at 12 noon.  Auditions will be held at the Theatre.

Director Brian Niece, who was last seen at Players directing True West, spoke about his expectations for the cast.  “We are looking for a cast who is willing to challenge themselves physically and emotionally, and work in an ensemble fashion to create meaningful moments.”

Actors are asked to prepare a 1-minute monologue.  They should be prepared to read cold-readings from the script.  Actors should wear something they are comfortable in as there will be a short movement session.  Headshots and resumes are not required but highly recommended. Actors should provide a list of conflicts from January 13 through March 29, 2020.

Full rehearsals will begin on February 3 and run Monday through Thursday from 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm (depending on actor availability).

All roles are to be played by African American actors.  Visit to learn more about the characters in the show.

In August Wilson’s masterpiece, history unfolds around everyday lives against the backdrop of the civil rights movement.  Long-time regulars gather at the local diner in Pittsburgh’s Hill District to gossip, flirt and play the numbers.  Now the owner must decide whether to let the city take over his building or sell it to a shrewd, local businessman.  Part of Wilson’s trailblazing American Century Cycle, “Two Trains Running” paints a compassionate and unforgettable portrait of ordinary people in the midst of transformation.

“I have a rare opportunity to help tell this powerful story; a truthful black story; an American story that looks for beauty in brokenness. It is humbling to be able to serve August Wilson’s vision as a storyteller,” said Niece.

“Two Trains Running” will begin its run on March 13 and close on March 29.  Shows will take place Friday and Saturday of opening weekend and continue on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the following two weeks.  Thursday through Saturday night shows start at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m.

TICKETS are now on sale.  Visit Players By The Sea for more information.

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

Alhambra’s first show of the New Year - ‘Love Letters’

Having grown up in the Alhambra Theatre, Jessica Booth has played in just about every role from a child performer in Christmas Carole to leading lady as Jovi in Elf…the Musical.  Now she takes on an entirely new role as Director of the acclaimed Broadway hit, “Love Letters”.  To make it just a little more challenging (or perhaps interesting), Ms. Booth will be directing her parents, Lisa Valdini-Booth and Tod Booth.  Mrs. Booth has been in more than 200 Alhambra performances and was once knowing widely as the “voice of Winn-Dixie Supermarkets,” and Mr. Booth is the Alhambra’s former owner and current Creative Director, himself having directed more than 200 shows at the iconic theater.

A play by A. R. Gurney, “Love Letters” was a finalist in 1988 for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  The play centers on two characters, Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, who sit side by side at tables and read the notes, letters and cards – in which over nearly 50 years, they discuss their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, victories and defeats – that have passed between them throughout their separated lives.

Since its debut on Broadway in 1988, “Love Letters” has been performed by a who’s who of celebrities including: Carol Burnett with Brian Dennehy, Mel Gibson with Sissy Spacek, Robert Wagner with wife Stefanie Powers, Larry Hagman and Dallas co-star Linda Gray and in 2006 with I Dream of Jeannie co-star and Alhambra alumna Barbara Eden.  In 2013 Ali McGraw performed beside Love Story co-star Ryan O’Neal and in 2016, Tom Hanks performed with wife, Rita Wilson.  Even Elizabeth Taylor took a turn, with James Earl Jones in 2007.

Said Managing Partner, Craig Smith, “Amazingly, the Alhambra has never shown Love Letters, and it’s only appropriate that we do so with our very own stars, Lisa and Tod.”  Smith noted, commenting that the Alhambra is really in the business of creating memories, “Having Jessica direct her parents in her leadership debut is really monumental for the Alhambra family and for the Booth family.  That girl was pretty much raised under this roof.  Not many families get to celebrate such moments.”

Said actor-turned director Jessica Booth, laughing, “This experience could be really fun or really vengeful, or perhaps a little bit of both, depending on your point of view.”  She went on, “I really think directing my parents will be a great way to get feedback on my first directing opportunity. I’ve seen both of them work on stage and behind it, and I know I’ve learned from the best.  The bar is quite high, and I also know they won’t at all sugar-coat their feedback.  Why start now, right?”

Love Letters

DATES: January 9, 2020 through February 9, 2020

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: “Gala Night” (Friday January 10, 2020.  Doors open at 5:15 p.m.) attire is “Dressy/Formal/Black Tie”.  All other shows could be “Business Casual”, or “Sunday Best”.  There is always complimentary Champagne and Hors d'oeuvres served in the lobby before dinner, on Gala evening and special pastries served after the show.

TICKETS: Prices range from $38 – $66, but for “Love Letters”, the Alhambra is offering a special pricing package in honor of this Booth family moment, two tickets for just $89..  Often following a show, the cast will make an appearance in the main lobby for an informal meet and greet.  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, nor orders from the bar**

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