by Jan Davisson
Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
Twenty-five years ago I attended the “topping off” construction party for the new performing arts center on Okeechobee Blvd. It would be known as the Kravis Center. The gathering was an “over the top” event featuring an assortment of food stations, great music and a tour of the building, including getting a chance to sing “Happy Birthday” on the huge Kravis stage. Most impressive, however, were the live baby elephants from the Palm Beach Zoo, brought in to lead the Triumphal March from Verdi’s opera, Aida. Everyone was presented with a gold mask for the huge march into the Kravis. It was a public relations dream event.
This marks the 25th anniversary season for the Kravis with events happening throughout the season. Tickets are now on sale!
Several wonderful page to stage productions are being presented in October. Favorite children’s books come to life in the Helen K. Persson Hall at the Kravis. The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia will present Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, two classic Margaret Wise Brown children’s books. The use of charming animal puppets and stunning scenic effect brings to life the wonderful children’s bedtime story. The Runaway Bunny follows an adventurous little hare and his adoring mother. Tickets can be purchased at the Kravis box office for the October 8 production at 10 am.
Next children’s production is slated for Saturday, October 29 at 10am. It’s the Maurice Sendak classic, Where The Wild Things Are. This internationally acclaimed production from Vancouver’s Presentation House Theatre is an intimate, guided play, adapted from the classic children’s book for ages 3 to 7 and adults. The audience helps transform the bedroom of Where the Wild Things Are main character, Max, into a creature-filled forest and then, with leadership from the performers, helps to bring the mischievous boy safely home.
This is such a fantastic opportunity to gently introduce live theater to children. The tickets are only $12. A reminder that tickets for the 20016/17 Kravis on Broadway are also now available.
Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach 33401 Tickets: ( 561)-832-7469 or 800-572-8471; www.kravis.org
Palm Beach Dramaworks
Exciting new shows are on tap to celebrate the 17th season for the award-winning Palm Beach Dramaworks presented at the Don & Ann Brown Theatre in West Palm Beach. Tennessee Williams plays are always a treat. With this in mind, Palm Beach Dramaworks opens with The Night of the Iguana from October 14 – November 13.
The Night of the Iguana opened on Broadway on December 28, 1961 and ran for 316 performances. The original cast featured Patrick O’Neal as Shannon, Margaret Leighton as Hannah and Bette Davis as Maxine. She left the show after four months and was replaced by Shelley Winters. The 1964 film starred Richard Burton as Shannon, Deborah Kerr as Hannah and Ava Gardner as Maxine. It is regarded as Williams’ last major work.
To refresh your memory, The Night of the Iguana is set in the summer of 1940 and takes place at the Costa Verde Hotel in Puerto Barrio, Mexico when a busload of tourists arrive including the Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon (Tim Altmeyer), who has been banished from his pulpit because of his scandalous behavior. He is reduced to playing tour guide for a low rated travel agency. He takes his female group on an unscheduled stop to Costa Verde in an effort to talk with his friend, Fred, the owner of the hotel, in hopes of getting some guidance and comfort. Things go wrong when he learns that Fred has passed away and his widow, lusty Maxine Faulk (Kim Cozort Kay) is running the hotel. Fortunately, he meets up with Hannah Jelkes (Katie Cunningham), a lonely artist who is traveling with her 97-year-old grandfather, Nonno (Denis Creaghan). Unlike many of Williams’ plays, this has a hopeful ending.
Directed by William Hayes, the Producing Artistic Director of Palm Beach Dramaworks, the show also features Irene Adjan as Miss Judith Fellowes, the outspoken leader of the women’s tour group, Alexandra Grunbert as Charlotte Goodall as well as David Nail, Michael Collins, Brian Varela, Thomas Rivera. David Hyland, Becca McCoy, Rebecca Tucker and Jordon Armstrong.
Palm Beach Dramaworks 201 Clematis Street West Palm Beach 33401 Tickets:( 561) 514.4042 Ext. 2; www.palmbeachdramaworks.org.
Maltz Jupiter Theatre
The highly anticipated Maltz Jupiter Theatre season kicks off with The Audience, October 23-November 6. This Broadway smash hit starred Helen Mirren and swept the Tony Awards. The Audience takes you behind the walls of Buckingham Palace where Queen Elizabeth II held a private weekly audience with her Prime Ministers for more than sixty years. Starting as a very young queen, The Audience follows her growth as Queen as she meets with Sir Winston Churchill: Prime Minister 1951-1955. Churchill was an inspirational statesman, writer, orator and leader who led Britain to victory in World War II.
Anthony Eden: Prime Minister 1955-1957. Best known for his controversial handling of the Suez Crisis in 1956 during the second year of his tenure as prime minister.
Harold Wilson: Prime Minister, 1964-1970 and 1974-76. Wilson enacted social reforms in education, health, housing, gender equality, price controls, pensions and provisions for those with disabilities and child poverty.
Baroness Margaret Thatcher: Prime Minister 1979-1990. The “Iron Lady” was the first female British Prime Minister and the longest serving prime minister in over 150 years.
Sir John Major: Prime Minister 1990-1997. Oversaw Britain’s longest period of continuous economic growth and the beginning of the Northern Ireland Peace Process.
Tony Blair: Prime Minister 1997-2007. The longest-serving Labour Party Prime Minister, Blair oversaw the Northern Ireland peace process, public sector reform and the response to the 9/11 and 7/7 terrorist attacks.
Gordon Brown: Prime Minister 2007-2010. Oversaw the devolution of powers in Northern Ireland, the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and the world’s first ever Climate Change Act.
David Cameron: Prime Minister 2010-2016 who resigned recently following Britain’s Brexit referendum. Tickets are currently on sale.
Maltz Jupiter Theatre, 1001 E. Indiantown Rd, Jupiter Tickets: (561) 575-2223; www.jupitertheatre.org
November Curtain Up will feature reviews of season openings and upcoming theater events leading up the holidays. See you at the theater!