Scene Stealers 

From can’t-miss classics to the hottest new happenings, this fall offers a spectacular lineup filled with award-winning talent and breakthrough performances. Here’s your backstage pass to some of this season’s best bets.

Art

First Friday Artwalk

Ocala Historic District
September 1-May 4, 6-9pm
ocalafl.org/artwalk, (352) 629-8447

A great opportunity to support Ocala’s artistic community, this monthly event takes place on the first Friday of each month beginning in September and running through May. The walk encompasses numerous indoor and outdoor spaces, including various restaurants and businesses that will be hosting visual and performing artists, acoustic entertainment, free family art activities and extended shopping hours.

MAX Paint Out

Ocala Historic District
September 23, 8am-1pm
maxocala.org, (352) 629-8414

This annual outdoor art event provides an opportunity for established and emerging artists to share their creativity with the public. Although organizers have set an end time for the event of 1pm, artists often work into the evening hours. The completed art will be exhibited at Ocala Union Station during the MAX Art Heist event on Thursday, November 9.

VAST: Sea, Salt, Sand, Sky, Photographs by Joni Sternbach

Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville
November 14-April 24
harn.ufl.edu, (352) 392-9826

Acclaimed photographer Joni Sternbach uses both large format film and early photographic processes to create raw and somewhat haunting coastal landscapes and portraits of the individuals who inhabit them.

Eye Of The Beholder

A conversation with visionary photographer Joni Sternbach and Curator of Photography for the Harn Museum of Art Carol McCusker

Joni Sternbach’s images move your senses through their profound stillness. Her penetrating vision captures both the vastness of the natural world and imbues her portraiture with the immediacy of a found object.

“The word “vast” references the subject and scale of Sternbach’s prints and the reverie she finds there,” explains Curator of Photography Carol McCusker. “Landscape photography, since the medium’s birth in 1839, has remained almost exclusively the preserve of men. In the 1980s, this changed; many, now notable women photographers began carrying large cameras and tripods into the wilderness. What they found there has added to our understanding of the planet and ourselves,” she continues. “Sternbach is one of them; her photography is about the physical experience of land, sky and sea. It is about solitude, self-reliance, responsibility and the gradual ability to shape the planet’s mysteries into something familiar and personal. She is a risk-taker and feels deeply about our collective impact on these places, asking: What seeds are we sowing, what does history teach us, what can we do to become better caretakers of the earth and each other?”

This sentiment is not only visible in the work but also echoed by the artist herself.

“The future holds concern for me,” Sternbach admits. “I worry about the political state of the country, the natural environment and the loss of wilderness. I want my children to have a future without fear for the planet and the natural order.”

Sternbach has explored various historic processes to conjure her hauntingly beautiful images.

“I have worked with a variety of materials and mediums,” she explains. “As a way to have a conversation with history and play with photography.”

VAST includes images from Sternbach’s popular Surfland series, which documents the various surfers she has encountered on beaches around the world and rendered using the 19th century wet plate collodion process. But it is the candid way she captures these individuals that reveals their genuine passion for and close relationship to the elemental.

“What makes great photography is to see something in a new way, through a new sensibility,” McCusker explains. “This is what makes a photographer an artist different from the rest of us wielding cameras and cellphones.”

Theatre

La Cage aux Folles
Ocala Civic Theatre September 7-October 1
ocalacivictheatre.com, (352) 236-2274

This Tony Award-winning musical was one of Broadway’s biggest hits of all time and features songs like “I Am What I Am” and “The Best of Times.” The comedic and heartfelt performance tells the story of the relationship between Georges and Albin. When Georges’ son from a one-night stand announces his engagement to the daughter of an ultra-conservative politician, things quickly spin out of control.

Feathers Will Fly

Q&A with Kim Wise, director and choreographer of La Cage aux Folles

Many people who have never seen La Cage aux Folles may be surprised to realize how well they know the story.

Yes, if you’ve seen the hilarious movie The Birdcage, starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, then you know the story of La Cage aux Folles. However, there are a few differences between stage and screen. La Cage aux Folles is set in the South of France, so our set designer Joseph Harris has designed a beautiful French town with a quaint, eclectic and friendly European atmosphere. Our costume designer Eryn Brooks has also created some breathtaking costumes.

What’s been the most challenging aspect of bringing this story to life?

The fun challenge for me is teaching male actors to dance. The choreography will be entertaining, to say the least!

What do you want audiences to experience through this production?

The main goal of this musical is to tell a heartwarming story about love, family and tolerance. It’s a story that will make you laugh and walk away knowing that love can unite us all.

Sweeney Todd
Reilly Arts Center, Ocala September 8-10
reillyartscenter.com, (352) 351-1606

Not for the faint of heart, this musical thriller by Stephen Sondheim tells the chilling story of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street and his nefarious doings.

Sonnentag Theatre at the IceHouse, Mount Dora
September 8-October 1
icehousetheatre.com, (352) 383-3133

This classic tale of wonderfully mismatched roommates, uptight Felix Unger and the slovenly Oscar Madison, gets a fresh take under the direction of David W. Clevinger.

The Dixie Swim Club
Bay Street Players, Eustis September 15-October 1
baystreetplayers.org, (352) 357-7777

Five lifelong friends gather annually over the course of 30-plus years at the same beach cottage to share joy, heartbreak and martinis. Drawing comparisons to both Steel Magnolias and Golden Girls, it is equal parts heartwarming and humorous.

Fiddler on the Roof
Gainesville Community Playhouse, Gainesville
September 23-October 16
gcplayhouse.org, (352) 376-4949

One of the most enduring musicals of all time, this life-affirming story cuts across barriers of race, class, nationality and religion while exploring the essential human longings for love, freedom and success.

The Legend of Georgia McBride
The Hippodrome, Gainesville
October 13-November 5
thehipp.org, (352) 375-4477

A flamboyant and campy comedy about a young Elvis impersonator, barely able to keep a roof over his and his pregnant wife’s head, who transforms into a popular drag performer.

The Other Mozart
Phillips Center, Gainesville
October 23-24, 7:30pm
performingarts.ufl.edu, (352) 392-2787

Sylvia Milo’s one-woman show tells the story of the lost genius of Mozart’s sister, once considered to be one of the finest pianists in Europe. Milo has been praised for her phenomenal portrayal of this fascinating woman, who has been all but forgotten by history.

Kinky Boots
Phillips Center, Gainesville
October 30-31, 7:30pm
performingarts.ufl.edu, (352) 392-2787

A big-hearted and high-heeled comedic romp with great songs by legendary pop sensation Cyndi Lauper.

My Fair Lady
Sonnentag Theatre at the IceHouse, Mount Dora
November 17-December 10
icehousetheatre.com, (352) 383-3133

Lerner and Loewe’s musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion is the musical by which all others are judged. When rigid linguistics professor Henry Higgins sets out to teach Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle to speak proper English, they both experience an unexpected transformation.

9 to 5
Bay Street Players, Eustis
November 17-December 3
baystreetplayers.org, (352) 357-7777

Based on the raucous hit movie of the same name, this hilarious musical about friendship and revenge centers on three work friends who take on their lying, thieving, sexist boss.

The Nutcracker

This fairy tale ballet in two acts was created for and first performed at Moscow’s Imperial Theatres in 1892 with music by Tchaikovsky. Through colorful staging and beautiful choreography, viewers follow a little girl who falls asleep after a party at her home and is transported to a fantastic world where toys become larger than life. This annuall favorite has become the most popular show of the winter season. Here’s where you can catch it:

The Nutcracker, Marion Ballet Theatre
Ocala Civic Theatre
December 8-17
marionballettheatre.org, (352) 236-2274

The Nutcracker, Dance Alive National Ballet
Reilly Arts, Ocala
December 5, 7:30pm
reillyartscenter.com, (352) 351-1606

The Nutcracker, Dance Alive National Ballet
Phillips Center, Gainesville
December 15-17
performingarts.ufl.edu, (352) 392-2787

 

Music

Debby Boone
The Sharon, The Villages
September 8, 7pm
thesharon.com, (352) 753-3229

Debby Boone earned instant fame in 1977 when “You Light Up My Life” became one of the biggest songs in history. Now Debby is lighting up the stage with a mix of her own hits and selections from the Great American Songbook.

Clint Black
The Sharon, The Villages
September 15, 7pm
thesharon.com, (352) 753-3229

Prolific singer-songwriter Clint Black is not only a deeply talented singer and guitarist, he’s a feel-good entertainer. Between his No. 1 hits and fan favorites, Black delights in sharing stories and making his audiences laugh.

Atlantic City Boys
Circle Square Cultural Center
October 7, 7pm
csculturalcenter.com, (352) 854-3670

Expect dynamic vocals, fun choreography and a rollicking good time from these hard-working performers. With the power of four talented lead singers and chemistry to spare, the group covers the hits of The Beach Boys, The Drifters, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

Bernadette Peters
The Sharon, The Villages
October 14, 7pm
thesharon.com, (352) 753-3229

Ms. Peters is one of those performers that commands the stage and delights her fans with equal parts sparkle and shtick. This award-winning star doesn’t just sing a song, she brings out the nuanced character within and breathes life into them.

The Platters Salute with Myles Savage
Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale
October 21, 2:30pm & 7:30pm
obopry.com, (352) 821-1201

Myles Savage, former lead singer of The Platters, delivers smooth renditions of the group’s greatest hits while fans sing along and dance in the aisles.

Metropolis: Silent Film + Live Orchestra
Reilly Arts, Ocala
October 28, 7:30pm
reillyartscenter.com, (352) 351-1606

Great music and great cinema make for mesmerizing collaborations. The Ocala Symphony Orchestra will perform composer Brian Satterwhite’s acclaimed score as Fritz Lang’s classic silent film Metropolis is screened, during this one-night-only event. The chillingly beautiful science fiction epic, celebrated for its visual sweep and entrancing special effects, tells the story of a futuristic city and the oppressive class struggle brewing beneath its gleaming surface.

Gabrielle Chou at the Marion Chamber Music Society
Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Ocala
October 29, 3pm
marionchambermusic.com

Gabrielle Chou, former child prodigy, recent graduate of Juillard and Florida-native will appear at a free concert event on behalf The Marion Chamber Music Society. Ms. Chou is an accomplished pianist and violinist, who will play selections on both instruments.

The Everly Brothers Experience
Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale
November 3, 7:30pm
obopry.com, (352) 821-1201

Great music transcends time, as evidenced by the two-part harmonies of brothers Zachary and Dylan Zmed, who artfully recreate the music and magic of Phil and Don Everly over the course of this entertaining evening.

The Heart and Soul Queen of New Orleans Irma Thomas with The Blind Boys of Alabama & The Preservation Hall Legacy Quintet
The Sharon, The Villages
November 20, 7pm
thesharon.com, (352) 753-3229

Lovers of jazz, soul, R&B and gospel music won’t want to miss the chance to see these legendary talents come together for the first time in a celebration of the eclectic New Orleans sound.

Motown Magic Concert
Circle Square Cultural Center
November 25, 7pm
csculturalcenter.com, (352) 854-3670

Motown in Motion dazzles with top-notch vocals and high energy choreography in this fantastic tribute show that will transport you back to the soulful sounds of Gladys Night & the Pips, Dion Warwick, The Platters, James Brown, Martha & The Vandellas, The Supremes, The Temptations and The Four Tops.

Judy Garland: Come Rain or Come Shine starring Angela Ingersoll
Reilly Arts, Ocala
December 17, 3pm
reillyartscenter.com, (352) 351-1606

There is something unenviable about the idea of measuring up to one of the world’s most beloved performers, but for Angela Ingersoll, it feels like second nature. Her resemblance to Garland, both physically and vocally, is nothing short of uncanny—but it is the way in which she conjures the legendary star’s heartbreaking blend of power and vulnerability, that lifts her performance well beyond mere impersonation.

 

Art Festival at Thornebrook

Thornebrook Village Plaza, Gainesville
October 21-22, 10am–5pm
artfestivalthornebrook.com, (352) 682-2662

A two-day fine arts festival offering visitors an opportunity to interact with top-flight artists like Yvonne Ferguson and Laurie Scott-Reyes, enjoy food from local restaurants and live music from such favorites as The Killer B’s and Middleground. Art on view will include paintings, sculptures, photography, pottery, jewelry, fiber art, wood carvings, glasswork and crafts.

Ocala Arts Festival
Downtown Ocala
October 28-29, 10am-5pm
fafo.org, (352) 867-0355

Fine art, music, food and fun combine during the last weekend in October at Marion County’s premier art event. For over 50 years, Fine Arts for Ocala has energized downtown with exceptional art, activities and enthusiastic crowds. The festival also showcases a large selection of student artwork from local schools. Enjoy entertainment on two stages and delicious fare from a variety of vendors and food trucks.

Mount Dora Craft Fair
Donnelly Park, Mount Dora
October 28-29th, 9am-5pm
mountdoracraftfair.com, (352) 217-8390

Tens of thousands of visitors flock to downtown Mount Dora each year on the hunt for great crafts, art, ceramics, sculpture, gifts and a vast array of artisan goods. This popular event features on-site craft demonstrations, eclectic eats, music by local performers and a free “Kid Zone” area.

Gainesville Downtown Festival & Art Show
Historic Downtown Gainesville
November 11, 10am-5pm and November 12, 10am-4pm
gainesvilledowntownartfest.org, (352) 334-ARTS

Ranked one of best fine art shows in the country, this annual celebration attracts over 90,000 visitors. Talented artists, including notable Gainesville painters Alyne Harris and Sylvia McIntyre-Crook, converge to share their works as visitors enjoy continuous entertainment on four stages and sample mouthwatering local cuisine. Aerial and acrobatic arts studio S-Connection will also perform with guest artist-in-residence and master of Chinese acrobatic arts Dong “Andy” Xin. The festival kicks off November 10 at 7pm with a free Downtown Blues Concert at Bo Diddley Plaza.

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