Local artist Josh Garrick gives his top five recommendations for upcoming arts and culture events in Central Florida.
1. The Tamburitzans: ‘The Journey of Our Ancestors’
8 p.m. March 9 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The longest-running multicultural song and dance company in the United States comes to Orlando in its record-breaking 81st season to offer audiences a whirlwind tour of Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Hungary, Greece, Spain and the “Dance of the Gypsy Roma.” Created in 1937 by Dr. Lester Pierce, the group was well received by Pittsburgh’s diverse ethnic communities. Pierce negotiated an arrangement with Duquesne University including a work scholarship program, and the tradition of The Tamburitzans began. Over the years, The Tamburitzans have recorded albums and toured nationally and internationally, performing music and dance mainly from the folk cultures of Eastern Europe. Affectionately known as “The Tammies,” their blend of intricate and historical costuming, precise footwork, and youthful energy has long been a trademark of their concerts, which immediately turn audiences into fans. This season’s traveling show is titled “The Journey of Our Ancestors” and celebrates the world cultures brought to our country through immigration. Call 844.513.2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org.
2. ‘My Sinatra’ Starring Cary Hoffman
2 and 8 p.m. March 10 at the Bob Carr Theater. Singing sensation and historian Cary Hoffman turns his celebrated PBS Special into a biographical — often funny — and more often poignant one-man musical about his love and idolization of his hero Frank Sinatra. Hoffman includes “the perils of wanting to become somebody else” in two special performances in which Hoffman joins the Orlando Philharmonic in his intimate journey. Hoffman grew up fatherless with three musician uncles who played on some of Sinatra’s greatest recordings. This association led to Sinatra becoming young Hoffman’s “fantasy father,” with Hoffman’s creative obsession eventually leading to what the New York Times calls Hoffman’s “Dead On!” re-creation of the Sinatra experience. Hoffman’s Off-Broadway show presents more than 20 classic Sinatra songs in an unforgettable musical score that honors a performer whose talent changed the lives of three generations of Americans. That legacy led to the PBS special seen by more than two million viewers. On March 10, the Orlando Philharmonic invites you to see this performance live. Call (407) 770-0071 or visit orlandophil.org.
3. ‘The Graduate’
Through March 12 at the Breakthrough Theater. Every visit to the Breakthrough Theater of Winter Park is a lesson in stage technique. This busy theater is home to one of the area’s smallest stages on which Director Wade Hair presents some of the area’s most ambitious performances. Recently, Terry Johnson’s stage adaptation of “The Graduate” opened on this “little stage that can.” Based on the novel and the iconic film from 1967, “The Graduate” is a bitterly funny, dark comedy full of rapid-fire dialogue between fascinatingly dangerous characters. Considering the size of the stage, there is something about this close-up live theater experience that makes this exploration of dysfunctional families, crumbling marriages and the naïve, but disillusioned, younger characters even more frightening than the original movie. The lead character (the role that made Dustin Hoffman a star), is forced to grow up fast in the “swinging” affluence of Southern California of the 1960s. Note: Adult themes with parental discretion advised. Call (407) 920-4034 or visit breakthroughtheatre.com.
4. ‘Extreme Dinosaurs’
Through October on International Drive. You don’t have to be a kid to be excited about getting up close and personal with a dinosaur. A new tourist exhibition on International Drive, “Extreme Dinosaurs” offers guests a full-sized Jurassic Park-like view of prehistoric life on our planet — with a full-size Tyrannosaurus Rex. Including 15 animated models, five skeletal replicas and sound — loud dinosaur roars — computers control the animatronic dinosaurs, synchronizing the movement and sounds for each dinosaur in a dynamic, immersive environment. The combination of animatronic dinosaurs, skeletons, fossils, historical content and interactive consoles allows guests to learn about dinosaurs at each interactive station. With scenes that tell stories of the predator/prey relationships that existed when these prehistoric creatures lived, we stop to wonder — who was the predator, and who was the prey? Some answers will surprise you (and your young ones). Located at 7220 International Drive in Orlando. Call 888-501-3466 or visit dinosorlando.com.
5. City of Winter Park’s 40th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade
2 p.m. March 4 on Park Avenue. The city of Winter Park and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee will present the 40th annual Winter Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the only St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Central Florida. ‘Tis the wearin’ of the green we be talkin’ about, so wear some green (or you might get pinched) as you gather family and friends to enjoy the festivities honoring Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Having spent six years of his youth in slavery in Ireland, Patrick returned in his 30s as a Christian missionary among the Celtic pagans who “worshipped idols and unclean things.” The Shamrock is the national flower of Ireland because St. Patrick used it to explain the Holy Trinity to the Celts. With more than 75 groups, floats and organizations, the parade begins at the Winter Park Country Club and proceeds south on Park Avenue. The celebration then continues with Irish music and step-dancing on the main stage in Central Park. For information, call (386) 785-6965.