Culture worthy of your calendar

Broadway voices here, there everywhere

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  • | 2:21 p.m. May 6, 2010
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Orlando Cabaret Festival

Mad Cow Theatre is among the most innovative and talented groups in Orlando. Through May 16, their intimate two-theatre complex in downtown Orlando plays host to The Eighth Annual Orlando Cabaret Festival with more than 40 performances of jazz, pop, Broadway, comedy and a few ‘surprises’ along the way. The Festival is a great mix of Central Florida's favorite artists along with celebrity performers from the New York City cabaret scene. This year’s world-class headliners include Karen Akers, KT Sullivan and The Broadway Boys. Concert star Akers has performed in Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and three performances at the White House. Sullivan, headliner at the Oak Room of the famous Algonquin Hotel, has been called “Cabaret’s Crown Princess.” The Broadway Boys, returning for a third appearance at the Festival, are a collection of the hottest male voices currently working on the New York stage. Another feature of the Festival is a series of weekday lunchtime performances designed for downtown workers. At 45 minutes, the performances allow workers to “come to the cabaret” and still make it back to their offices within an hour. Mad Cow’s theaters provide a true up-close-and-personal cabaret experience with these extraordinary performers. Visit or call 407-297-8788 for details. The Theatre is at 105 S. Magnolia Ave.

Orlando Philharmonic’s ‘My Fair Lady’

After their amazing success with Porgy and Bess, The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra will once again collaborate with Mad Cow Theatre to present a semi-staged production of one of the most beloved musicals of all time, “My Fair Lady”. With two performances on Saturday, May 8 at the Bob Carr at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., “My Fair Lady” is the timeless story of Professor Henry Higgins who ‘experiments’ with a Cockney flower girl in his willful determination to transform her into a “lady.” “My Fair Lady” is the most famous of the musicals by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. Maestro Christopher Wilkins will lead the orchestra with stage direction by Alan Bruun, Artistic Director of Mad Cow Theatre.

Audiences will fall in love once more with the musical’s hits, “I Could Have Danced All Night”, “Get Me to the Church on Time”, “Wouldn’t it Be Loverly”, “The Rain in Spain” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face”. Call the Philharmonic’s box office at 407-770-0071 or visit for more information.

Broadway at the Plaza

We get to choose from a double dose of Broadway on the very same Saturday, May 8, when the Plaza Theatre (downtown on Bumby) continues its Broadway at the Plaza series with “The Music of the Knight,” songs from Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber. At least in a financial sense, Lloyd Weber is the most successful Broadway composer of all time, consistently topping himself with the honor of “longest running” first with “Cats” and now with “Phantom of the Opera”. Sir Andrew has also brought us “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “Starlight Express” and so many more. Featuring Broadway veterans Melissa Minyard, Patrick Ryan Sullivan and Brian Minyard, they will be joined on-stage by Chicago cabaret artist Lisa Rock. Broadway at the Plaza is set for Saturday May 8, 4-7 p.m., and because the Philharmonic’s “My Fair Lady” is also offering a matinee and evening performance, we can fit in both performances on the same day! The Plaza Theatre is at 425 N. Bumby Ave. Call 407-228-1220 for details.

New Performing Arts Center

Any person with an appreciation for the arts, and an awareness of the manner in which great cities are ‘judged’ by the world, understands the very real need we have in Orlando for the new performing arts center. While every contribution is important, last week the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts celebrated another milestone in becoming a reality as the receipt of the Center’s 21st $1 million gift was acknowledged. The official groundbreaking is set for this fall. “The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts will enrich our community for generations,” said Joyce Green. “As passionate believers in the importance of the performing arts and music education, we are excited to help bring this world-class project to reality so that it can be enjoyed by everyone who lives in or visits our great community.” Speakers from Mayor Buddy Dyer to Dr. Phillips Center President Kathy Ramsberger thanked the Greens while also commenting on the thousands of jobs that will be created as the Center is built. The Dr. Phillips Center will embrace — and enhance — every culture, interest and walk of life in the “City Beautiful.” Glory hallelujah — its time has come! Visit for more information.


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