Art World


The Merry Widow Print E-mail

 

WFIT (NPR Radio, Melbourne, Fla)
August 20, 2017

In the 19th century the operetta relied on catchy tunes and popular dances of the day. One of the most famous is Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow.Merry Widow_cast_photo_courtesy_Orlando_Light_Opera

Set in 1905 in a glamorous Parisian setting, the title character Hanna has come into a substantial inheritance — and in this operetta, it seems to be a truth universally acknowledged that a widow in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a husband. When prospective bridegrooms set their sights on Hanna, rivalries swirl and romance crackles.

Farce, romance and jealousy abound when the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra and Orlando Light Opera collaborate in an updated production of Lehar's famed operetta. The Merry Widow will be performed Saturday August 19 at 7 p. m at The Scott Center for Performing Arts in Melbourne and Sunday, August 20 at 3 p.m. at the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center.

Directed by Eric Pinder and conducted by Aaron T. Collins, Lehar's music sparkles in this English language production, staged and reimagined for the new millennium. Lehár's score is a succession of hit tunes — the famous "Merry Widow" waltz, the "Vilja Song," and numbers based on dance rhythms like the polka, the galop, the march, and even the newest import from America, the cakewalk. It was a huge international success, and helped to give operetta a new lease on life that continued for decades.

 
Lady Day Ensemble Print E-mail

 

WFIT (NPR Radio, Melbourne, Fla)

August 19, 2017

Get ready to raise the roof. The bright, brash, and sassy sounds of the Jarred Armstrong Quartet and the remarkable vocalist Kristen Warren are headed to the Henegar Center performing as the Lady Day Ensemble on Saturday, August 19. The jazz quartet is led by Jarred Armstrong on piano with Ethan Bailey-Gould on bass and Ashton Bailey-Gould on drums.Armstrong Warren

The concert in some ways is a reprise of Melbourne director Pam Harbaugh's production Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill at the Henegar last February. The show experienced a sold-out run with an additional show selling out immediately. Rather than a musical, it is a one-woman play with music. Written by Lanie Robertson, the play is set in the historic Emerson’s Tavern in Philadelphia where legendary jazz singer Billie “Lady Day” Holiday (Warren) performed shortly before her death at age 44. In the play, Billie sings and tells stories of her life, which was rife with challenges born out of racism.

"It was a very successful production, catching the hearts and minds of the region's jazz lovers," Harbaugh related. "We created the atmosphere of a legendary jazz club and told the story of the amazing challenges in Billie Holliday's life and how she rose about them and society at that time. People were blown away by it. Couldn't get enough of it. If we would revive the show, it would sell out in a day."

 
Saturday Night Fever Still 'Stayin' Alive' Print E-mail

 

WFIT (NPR Radio, Melbourne, Fla)

April 15, 2017

He's back. That's right, Tony Manero. The down-on-his-luck, street-wise kid from Brooklyn who hungers to escape his dead-end job and reign as the "disco king" at the local club.SNF 1

Flash back to the late 1970s when shiny polyester shirts open to the waist, bell-bottom pants, platform shoes and the disco "four-on-the floor" beat were all the rage. Wrapping up its 2016-2017 season, Vero's Riverside Theatre serves up the soaring sounds and pulsating rhythms of Saturday Night Fever, running through April 30.

The musical is framed on Nik Cohn’s New York Magazine story, “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night,” which turned into the culture-bending blockbuster 1977 film, starring John Travolta. It follows the lives of a group of working-class Italian-Americans in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in 1976, who despaired at their jobs and lived for their local disco called 2001 Odyssey where they madly danced the night away.

First performed on stage in London in 1998, the musical ran for sixteen months and received three nominations for Laurence Olivier Awards. Directed and choreographed by Arlene Phillips, Saturday Night Fever opened at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City on October 21, 1999 and ran for 501 performances.

 
Child Prodigy in the Spotlight with Space Coast Symphony Orchestra Print E-mail

 

WFIT (NPR Radio, Melbourne, Fla)

May 2017

Meet Jacob Velazquez. He's got a busy weekend. The nine-year old boy from Pembroke Pines won't be zooming around on his scooter or dialing up his favorite video games.Jacob 1

Jacob has a date with to perform Haydn’s piano Concerto No. 11 in D Major in two concerts with the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra. Diagnosed with high functioning autism in 2012, Jacob will be playing the 25-minute movement from memory in his orchestral debut on Saturday, April 8 at 7 p. m at Vero Beach High School PAC and Sunday, April 9 at 3:00 p. m. at the Scott Center for the Performing Arts at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy.

Shortly after Jacob's fourth birthday, Tina Velazquez heard a song coming from the family piano at their south Florida home. Her husband had been playing the night prior, but Willie was now at work. When Tina entered the room, it was Jacob playing.

"I was shocked, couldn't believe my eyes. So I asked, 'How did you do that?' Jacob turned and looked at me and said, 'I watched Daddy.'"

 
The Christians: Hell to Pay Print E-mail

 

WFIT (NPR Radio, Melbourne, Fla)

March 21, 2017

Inspiration for an actor travels down many avenues.Chris 2

Take Vanessa Kai. A number of years ago she joined a few friends from the Discovery Channel who were filming a segment for "After Dark in New York City." Their mission: bungee jumping 16 stories at 3:00 in the morning off the Manhattan Bridge that crosses the East River. It's illegal, but also an adrenaline seeker's dream.

Kai walked to the bridge's edge, said an expletive. Then jumped. Scanning the twinkling Manhattan skyline, it was a five-second freefall, tied only by her ankles, flying through the darkness toward the river. Once the chord was stretched to its limit she rocketed back skyward toward the bridge. Kai bounced up and down on the elastic cord until the energy of the fall was exhausted and then a "yank 'em up" rope was tossed down. She attached it around her waist and was hoisted back to the bridge by the other jumpers.

"I took a break from acting and found I had fallen into an uninspiring routine,” Kai recalled from her hotel in Vero Beach. “I wanted to create lifelong, lasting memories. When the moment came, I remember looking down and all I saw was a sea of blackness. And I asked myself, ‘Am I really going to do this?’ You know what, pride is a powerful thing. I needed to let go. It was an experience that nurtures you as a human and as an artist. I think it’s important to keep your spirit alive.

 
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