Here is a clever way to donate to five charities while eating one spectacular dinner.
Now through March 13 – The Plant City Florida Strawberry Festival
This top-40-ranked fair offers the perfect time to appreciate ripe, luscious strawberries alongside the farmers who brought them to market. More than 10,000 acres of strawberries are planted in 2,800 farms in Central Florida, the best of which come to the Strawberry Festival. The festival also offers exhibits of agriculture, livestock, and art. This is real Americana with parades, contests, youth programs, and big-name entertainment. Specials are offered along with daily headline concerts at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Three thousand free seats are available for all shows with reserve seats at $15 and up. Visit flstrawberryfestival.com
Now through March 14 – Breakthrough Theatre presents Neil Simon’s ‘Jake's Women’
America's premier comic playwright, Neil Simon, takes another comic jab at the world of modern relationships. Jake, a novelist, faces a marital crisis by daydreaming about the women in his life. The comic (and sometimes moving) flashbacks include a revered first wife, a daughter, a bossy sister, his analyst, his current wife, and a potential third wife. The Breakthrough Theatre is at 419A W. Fairbanks Ave. in Winter Park. Call 407-920-4034 or visit breakthroughtheatre.com
Now through March 27 – Shakespearean repertory with ‘The Tempest’ and ‘Pericles’
Orlando’s Shakespeare Theater is thrillingly in the middle of its annual repertory season with Shakespeare’s final play “The Tempest,” now in repertory with a fun-filled production of “The Adventures of Pericles,” a modern verse translation of the play by Ellen McLaughlin. The two plays have curious similarities (think pirates and maidens in distress). The audience is invited to arrive 30 minutes before each performance when an actor will lead the audience through a discussion of the plays (time well-spent). Highly recommended. Call 407-447-1700 or visit orlandoshakes.org
Now through May 30 – Walt Disney World’s Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Celebrate spring at Epcot with Disney’s world-famous Flower and Garden Festival. Stroll through topiaries, gardens and living sculptures shaped as Disney characters while sampling foods and beverages from 13 different countries in outdoor kitchens. On weekends, learn from gardening gurus about how to make your outdoors bloom like Disney and then share the love with legendary rock entertainment at the Outdoor Showcase. Throughout the Festival enjoy kid-friendly fun in play areas and exhibits created especially for the young ones. Most events included with theme park ticket. Visit disneyworld.disney.go.com
March 12 – Mayor Teresa Jacobs hosts “Jazz in the Park”
Mayor Teresa Jacobs invites your family, friends and everyone to a free afternoon of jazz music in beautiful Cypress Grove Park at Holden Avenue. Designed to recognize Orange County’s volunteer and service organizations, the event is open to the public with a list of musicians including The Dave Capp Project, Matt the Saxman and Jazzway Express among others. Guests should bring lawn chairs and a picnic or purchase from food trucks from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. To have your organization recognized, email [email protected] or visit OrangeCountyParks.net
March 12 – UnWrapped Live! – A free music experience
A free music experience fusing R&B, Latin, soul, hip-hop and jazz will be presented by The Dr. Phillips Center in two free concerts featuring an amazing all-star band that re-imagines hits made popular by Kanye West, Dr. Dre, Tupac, Eminem, Nelly, Drake and more. The concerts are at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. The roster of renowned artists includes Grammy-nominated percussionist/vocalist Sheila E., composer Roy Ayers, violinist Karen Briggs, Grammy-winning producer and bass player Andrew Gouché, Grammy-winning drummer Brian Collier, guitarist Yohei Nakamura, keyboardist Chris Turner and turntable legend DJ OG One. To RSVP for your free ticket, visit drphillipscenter.org.
March 12 and 13 – Plant Sale at Leu Gardens
Holy rosebud! Grab your wagon and bring your friends to the annual Leu Gardens Plant Sale. Featuring more than 50 specialty plant growers from around Florida, this unique event will offer the opportunity to find that must-have plant you’ve been seeking. Admission is free all weekend. Visit leugardens.org for a complete list of vendors so you can plan your day at the Gardens at 1920 N. Forest Ave. in Orlando Call 407-246-2620 or visit leugardens.org
March 13 – 5 Chefs / 5 Courses / 5 Charities at the Alfond Inn
Here is a clever way to donate to five charities while eating one spectacular dinner. We are all invited to enjoy the offerings of five of the finest chefs in Florida at the annual 5C Charity Event to be held at The Alfond Inn at 5:30 p.m. on March 13. Each of five chefs will prepare one course of the meal with proceeds going to a charity selected by the chefs with the farm-to-table dinner accompanied by live music and fine spirits. The chefs include Fabrizio Schenardi of Four Seasons Resort; James Beard-nominee Henry Salgado of the Spanish River Grill; James Beard-nominee Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon; James Beard-nominee Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant; and James Beard-nominee Marc Kusche of The Alfond Inn. Tickets are $150 each and may be purchased at EventBrite.com
March 15 to 27 – Dixie's (Almost Real) Tupperware Party
When Dixie Longate got her start with Tupperware in 2001 (her parole officer mandated that she get a job), within one year she was among the top sellers in the nation. Dixie’s very special Tupperware parties were presented Off-Broadway in 2007, for which she garnered a Drama Desk Award nomination, thank you very much. Now listen, Dixie has been known to use adult language, but she’s a good girl at heart, and since some of her guests even get to purchase on-stage seats for her parties … well … be prepared is all. Y’all can call 844-513-2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org for tickets.
March 16 – “The State of the Arts” – a panel discussion at UCF
The first semi-annual panelist-led conversation devoted to brainstorming and developing strategies to unite the Orlando arts and cultural communities will be presented as a free event for the public at the UCF’s School of Visual Arts Gallery (Room 132) at 12400 Aquarius Agora Drive in Orlando. The panel will include cultural leaders Jennifer Coolidge, Josh Garrick, Benoit Glazer, Patrick Greene, Barbara Hartley, and Terry Olson. Orlando artist Richard Munster will moderate. The symposium will include an audience Q&A after which the audience is invited to a reception to meet the panelists and to visit UCF’s MFA Thesis Exhibit. Call 850-461-0750.
March 17 – Eureka! The moment when art and science collide
Art cognoscenti know to watch for Brad Biggs’ annual Group Art Exhibit opening, this year on March 17 at the City Arts Factory in downtown Orlando. “The Thrill of Discovery” prevails in art-works inspired by geology, entomology, astronomy, chemistry, biology and more. Biggs is known for intriguingly themed exhibits that engage the eye and the mind in equal measure. Works by professional artists, along with advanced students from Lake Highland Prep, will be on display. The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. CityArts Factory is at 29 S. Orange Ave. Call 407-450-2255 or email [email protected]
March 17 and 19 – Two ultimate tribute bands at the Plaza Live
The Fab Four-The Ultimate Tribute is elevated above other tributes thanks to their amazing note-for-note renditions of the great Beatles' classics. On March 17, you’ll think you’re watching the real thing with costume changes from every era of the Beatles’ career. Then, on March 19, you’ll join Get the Led Out – The American Led Zeppelin, musicians so passionate about their love of the music of Led Zeppelin it's become their mission to bring the studio recordings of "the mighty Zep" to life on the concert stage. Performances at the Plaza Live in East Orlando. Visit plazaliveorlando.com
March 18 to April 3 – ‘The Whale’ (and we ain’t talkin’ Moby Dick)
In this multi-award-winning play by Samuel Hunter, a 600-pound recluse hides away while eating himself to death. Desperate to reconnect with his estranged daughter, he reaches out to her, only to find a vicious, sharp-tongued, unhappy teenager. In this big-hearted drama, we witness the story of a man's last chance at redemption. Produced by Beth Marshall Presents at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, call 407-877-4736 or visit gardentheatre.org
March 18, 19 and 20 – Orlando Ballet presents audience-favorite ‘Don Quixote’ ballet
The Orlando Ballet will perform the scenic production of the world’s most vibrant ballet – “Don Quixote,” originally created for the American Ballet Theatre in New York City. Performed to live music by the Orlando Philharmonic, the Orchestra will be conducted by Kansas City Ballet Music Director Ramona Pansegrau, one of the world’s finest ballet conductors. ABT Ballet Master Susan Jones is staging the production based on the 1869 original by Marius Petipa and the 1900 version by Alexander Gorsky. Adiarys Almeida will dance the prima role of Kitri, partnered by Arcadian Broad. The attention lavished on this production is because, second only to “Swan Lake,” a company’s production of “Don Quixote” is the ballet by which companies are judged. Highly recommended. Call 844-513-2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org
March 19 – Bring your ‘Kinky Boots’ to the Sanford Art Walk
Hopefully the recent sell-out performances of Kinky Boots at the Dr. Phillips Center left some of those boots behind, because they will be de rigueur for the monthly Art Walk in Sanford on March 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. Drag queens will rule in Sanford with the Walk’s theme – “Art is a drag.” Along with original art, Sanford will host an informative ‘Drag Queen Guide’ at every venue, including Sanford’s own Ashley Satine and Orlando’s Miss Sammy and Carol Lee, among others. There are nine Art Walk locations including the Sanford Welcome Center featuring artist Dlynn Roll; Gallery on First, complete with a Selfie Station; and Jeanine Taylor Folk Art featuring ‘Circus Queens’ by Theresa Disney, among others. And with all those drag queens, of course there is an after-party.
And looking ahead …
March 29 to April 3 – The classic ‘Dirty Dancing’ live
Nobody puts you in the corner if you get your tickets to “Dirty Dancing” on-stage – an unprecedented live experience, exploding with music, passion, romance and sensational dancing. Already seen by millions, this smash hit musical tells the story of two young lovers from different worlds who come together in what will be the most challenging summer of their lives. Featuring the hit songs, “Hungry Eyes,” “Do You Love Me?” and “I’ve Had The Time of My Life,” this theatrical sensation will give you the time of your life at the Dr. Phillips Center. Call 844-513-2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org.