If I had to recommend only one performance this year, it would be the World Ballet Competition 10th anniversary performance gala - "the Olympics of Ballet."
Now to June 20 – Breakthrough Theatre presents ‘The Dream of the Burning Boy’
In the David West Read drama, “The Dream of the Burning Boy,” the sudden death of the favorite student of a high-school teacher has caused the teacher to fall asleep at his desk … and dream. As the teacher's dreams intensify, a shocking secret is revealed that changes everything. The play is directed by BeeJay Aubertin-Clinton, and the teacher is played by Gary Norris. The Breakthrough Theatre is at 419A W. Fairbanks Ave. in Winter Park. Call 407-920-4034 or visit breakthroughtheatre.com
Now to July 11 – ‘The Brothers Size’ at Mad Cow Theatre
The Chicago Tribune calls “The Brothers Size,” "The greatest piece of writing by an American playwright under 30 in a generation or more." Set in Louisiana, big brother Ogun is hard working and independent while younger brother Oshoosi is just out of prison and aimless. Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney crafts symbolism and ritual into a tough/tender drama about the unbreakable bond between brothers and family. Call 407-297-8788, ext. 1, or visit madcowtheatre.com
Now to July 24 – ‘Beauty and the Beast’ for young people at Orlando Shakespeare
Based on the fairy tale, and re-interpreted by children’s playwright Brandon Roberts, the play is set in an enchanted castle in a far away land. “Beauty and the Beast” tells of a young Beauty locked away by a terrible Beast, but the young woman’s love and caring for the unsightly Beast becomes a gift of kindness that brings magical results. This new telling of the classic tale is 50 minutes in length and is suggested for children age 3 and older and their families. Arrive a little early and “Shake Out the Sillies” by joining cast-members for some interactive pre-show fun. For tickets, including group tickets, call 407-447-1700 ext. 1.
Now to June 25 – The St. Augustine (Classical) Music Festival
Now in its 10th year, the St. Augustine Music Festival is the nation’s largest, free classical music festival. Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra members Jorge A. Peña (viola) and Jin Kim-Peña (cello) founded SAMF in 2007 to “entertain, educate and elevate through music.” All of the season’s programming is on the website listed below. The historic Cathedral Basilica at 38 Cathedral Place in St. Augustine provides excellent acoustics and the backdrop for the festival where concerts are free and no tickets are required. Call 904-347-6260 or visit staugustinemusicfestival.org
June 17 and 18 – The Mascot Games at the Amway Center
The Mascot Games feature more than 30 mascots from sports teams across the country competing in games that are fun for the whole family. They promise the thrill of pulse-pounding competition, as mascots from MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA and the Arena Football League battle through gladiator-themed games to support New Hope for Kids, an organization that provides support to children and families grieving the death of a loved one and to grant wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses in Central Florida. Visit newhopeforkids.org
June 18 – The World Ballet Competition Gala in Orlando
One-performance-only: If I had to recommend only one performance this year, it would be the World Ballet Competition 10th anniversary performance gala – “the Olympics of Ballet” – which concludes on June 18 at 7:30 p.m. with a Gala Performance to showcase guest artist dancers from around the world in their “star-turn” performances. Unique to this season, Orlando’s own beloved ballet stars Katia Garza and Israel Rodriguez will – for the first time ever – perform the “Spartacus” love pas de deux. The performance is at the Linda Chapin Theater at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Highly recommended. For tickets, visit worldballetcompetition.com
June 18 to July 17 – A ‘Gumbo’ of three artists at Jeanine Taylor Folk Art
Jeanine Taylor Folk Art will experience the flavor of Louisiana for the exhibit, “Gumbo,” which includes a “roux” of talented folk artists whose work reflects the attitude of life from The Big Easy to the Bayou. Lois Simbach will present hand sewn Ju-Ju dolls; artists Pat Juneau and son Andre work in sheet metal and aluminum, cutting, welding, and painting colorful tableaus; and Lorraine Gendron paints standing wooden figures that reflect her love of Louisiana culture. A free opening reception will coincide with Sanford’s monthly Art Walk on June 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. Jeanine Taylor Folk Art is at 211 E. First St. in Sanford. Call 407-323-2774 or visit jtfolkart.com
June 19 – Father’s Day free admission at Harry P. Leu Gardens
The beautiful Harry P. Leu Gardens is a 50-acre botanical oasis just north of downtown Orlando. Among the natural beauty, each garden is designed to promote the awareness and understanding of plants. While the gardens offer a wide array of classes and events for horticulture and landscaping, on Father’s Day dads with children or children with dads are invited to experience the gardens for free from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gardens are located at 1920 N. Forest Ave. in Orlando. Call 407-246-2620. No RSVP required.
June 19 – Cupcake Lover’s Day & Dad’s Day (deliciously close together)
National Cupcake Lover’s Day was June 13, and in honor of cupcake lovers everywhere, Sprinkles has come up with two weeks of off-the-menu flavors. (Check Sprinkles’ Facebook page – facebook.com/sprinkles – to see the special flavor of the day.) Then, on Father’s Day, June 19, Sprinkles will offer dads and kids who visit the bakery together on Father’s Day, a free cupcake, cookie, scoop, sundae or shake with the purchase of any one of these items. Call 407-560-9192.
June 19 to 26 – ‘Spring Awakening’ at the Dr. Phillips Center
“Spring Awakening” is based on Frank Wedekind's 1891 expressionist play of the same name. Featuring a pop/rock score by Duncan Sheik, and book and lyrics by Steven Sater, this Broadway musical follows the angst-ridden lives of a group of adolescents as they grow from adolescence to adulthood in a confusion of morality and sexuality. Winner of the 2007 Tony Award for Best Musical, this play is still controversial in 2016 as it redefines “What is musical theatre in the 21st Century?” Note: the musical includes serious adult themes. Call 844-513-2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org
June 22 – Maks and Val live on tour – ‘Dancing Our Way’
Maksim and Valentin Chmerkovskiy, the super-hot stars of ABC’s hit show “Dancing with the Stars,” bring to life the smash hit dance event they’ve dreamed about by combining a narrative of their life story with dancing and passion. Working with the greatest choreographers in the business and supported by a cast of professionals, this show surprises and delights with its fusion of old-world elegance and steamy seduction. Maksim says, “We want to connect with our audience; there will be no holding back.” VIP packages may be purchased at vipnation.com. For tickets, call 844-513-2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org
June 23 – Chef’s Night at Second Harvest Food Bank
Where can we dine where the menu not only tastes good but also does good? The answer is Chef's Night at Second Harvest Food Bank where celebrated chefs work with students in Second Harvest’s Community Kitchen Culinary Training Program. That special program helps men and women become self-sufficient through culinary training and higher paying jobs with a record of 125 graduates and 100-percent job placement. One lucky guest will win a tabletop grill, compliments of the chefs of Longhorn Steak House. Call 407-514-1048. Your enjoyment of a gourmet meal can mean a life-changing experience for those who need it most.
June 24, July 15 & 29, and Aug. 26 – Free MoviEola Film Series
The free outdoor movie series in Orlando’s Lake Eola Park has returned for 2016, beginning each evening at 6 p.m. with activities and music from Mix 105.1. Bring blankets, chairs, snacks and the whole family to enjoy this year’s movies including “Cinderella” on June 24; “Inside Out” on July 15; “Jurassic World” on July 29; and “Minions” on Aug. 26. You’ll want to arrive early to secure your spot and enjoy some of the pre-movie activities. The movies begin promptly at 8:15 p.m. Call 407-246-4484 or visit cityoforlando.net/parks/movieola