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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016 3 years ago

Josh Garrick: Culture for Your New Year's Calendar

You want to stay close to home, but you still want sophistication to bring in the New Year?
by: Josh Garrick Columnist

Final performances – Dec. 29 & 30 – Orlando Shakes’ ‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told’

Only two performances left of one of the funniest plays I’ve ever seen. Get out of your turkey-malaise and high thee to the Orlando Shakespeare Center to see the moment when a somber performance of "A Christmas Carol" devolves into an irreverent look at all of our favorite holiday classics including “It’s A Wonderful Life,” Frosty, Charlie Brown, and more! Three hilariously funny actors take a tongue in cheek look at everything from Dickens to Dr. Seuss in the funniest satire you may ever experience. I love this show and highly recommend it. Call 407-447-1700 or visit

Dec. 31 – New Year’s Eve – fourth annual Gala at the Alfond

You want to stay close to home, but you still want sophistication to bring in the New Year? You can begin your celebration at 8 p.m. in the Alfond’s Park Avenue Ballroom with dancing to The Buzzcatz, chef-attended food stations, an open bar and champagne toast at midnight. You and your significant other can even count down the Times Square ball as its drop is live-streamed into the ballroom. You can purchase tickets on for $169 per guest. There is also a Midnight and Beyond Dance Party from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the New England Ballroom with a DJ, light food and open bar for $99 per guest. Call 407-998-8090.

Now to Dec. 31 – Help feed the Mad Cow

Hurrah for anonymous donors. The Mad Cow Theater in downtown Orlando has been dropped by the United Arts' Campaign, so the ‘brave little theater that could’ is running its own fundraising with anonymous donors committed to matching dollar for dollar up to $40,000 of all donations made to Mad Cow by Dec. 31. And all this money goes to the Mad Cow without United Arts’ overhead being taken out. By running its own campaign, Mad Cow’s Mitzi Maxwell believes the theater will bring in more than it would have received from United Arts, and she is foretelling a total in excess of $80,000. Feel that end-of-year-generosity? If so, please call 407-297-8788.

And looking ahead to 2017 …

Now to Jan. 5 – Josh Garrick’s ‘A VERY Classical Holiday’ at Bloomingdale’s

Hosted by the Orlando Downtown Arts District and Bloomingdale’s at the Mall of Millenia, the public is invited to my art exhibit “A VERY Classical Holiday,” featuring my printed-on-aluminum artwork. Visit the third floor where Bloomingdale’s supports the arts by allowing viewers to imagine the artists' work in their homes with a percentage of all art sales donated to the Downtown Arts District. Return the ugly sweater some other day, and visit this free classic art exhibit in a department store. Open as long as Bloomingdale’s is. Thank you, Bloomingdale’s for this enlightened approach to philanthropy.

Jan. 4 to Feb. 5 – ‘Blackberry Winter’ at Orlando Shakespeare

Years of success and planning have not prepared Vivienne for her mother's slide into dementia. Vivienne’s memories of her mother and the decisions regarding her care are interwoven with a 21st century Alzheimer's creation myth about a White Egret who protects forest animals as they lose their memories. Steve Yockey’s new play “Blackberry Winter” is a moving, sometimes humorous, but always deeply human work being presented at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. Call 407-447-1700 or visit

Jan. 9 to 14 – ‘Pip-Squeak: An Anti-Bullying Magic Show’ at Orlando Rep

Award-winning magician and comedian Tony Brent returns to the Orlando Rep with “Pip-Squeak: An Anti-Bullying Magic Show.” Because of his small size as a child, Tony was bullied in the cafeteria, the gym, the playground – anywhere there were no adults. Now using comedy, magic, and lots of costumes, Tony teaches children how to cope with being bullied, how to recognize the signs of bullying, and whether they themselves might be guilty of bullying. Call 407-896-7365 or visit

Jan. 11 to 29 – ‘Wicked’ – for three weeks – at the Dr. Phillips Center

Broadway’s “Wicked,” one of the greatest Broadway shows of all time, continues to break box office records around the world. Winner of over 100 international awards, including a Grammy and three Tony Awards, “Wicked” tells the story of two girls in the Land of Oz. One, born with green skin is smart and misunderstood; the other is ambitious and popular. How one becomes the Wicked Witch of the West and the other becomes Glinda the Good makes for one great Broadway musical. In performance for three very highly recommended weeks at the Dr. Phillips Center, call 844-513-2014 or visit

Jan. 12 to 16 – Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey present Circus XTREME

Ladieeeeeeeeeees and gentlemen! Prepare to be amazed by artists who redefine the word extreme as the Circus XTREME comes to Orlando’s Amway Center. High-wire wizards, strongmen, trick riders, daredevils, contortionists, a human cannonball, bungee skydiving, a cast and crew of more than 300, and a full menagerie of amazing animals provide two and a half hours of thrilling entertainment. Circus XTREME features Bengal tigers and camels ridden by brave Mongolian women. The party starts an hour before the show at the All Access Pre-show, which is free with each ticket purchase. Visit,, Ticketmaster locations, or charge-by-phone at 800-745-3000.

Jan. 14 – Engelbert Humperdinck at the Dr. Phillips Center

Engelbert Humperdinck’s unique voice has charmed millions of fans around the globe. He has recorded everything – ballads, movie themes, disco, rock, and gospel in a career spanning 50 years. Mr. Humperdinck has sold over 140 million records, including 64 gold albums, 35 platinum, four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe, and his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His music transcends time, but it’s the man himself, who reaches out to people – inspiring feelings and emotions that is the essence of his life-long success. Join him at the Dr. Phillips Center at 7:30 p.m. by calling 844-513-2014 or visiting

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