Tag Archives: central florida

“The Flick” Director Kenny Howard Answers 5 Questions

This week Gen Y Productions brings a 4 week engagement of Annie Baker’s “The Flick” to the stage at the Alexis and Jim Pugh Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. This marks the Florida premiere of the play which earned the 2013 Obie Award for Playwriting and the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  “The Flick” runs June 17 through July 12.

Central Florida Theatre in Process’ John DiDonna asked the show’s director Kenny Howard to answer five questions:

Kenny Howard, director of "The Flick" playing at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts June 17-July 12

Kenny Howard, director of “The Flick” playing at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts June 17-July 12

JD: The production team you were part of is both Tony winning and Grammy nominated. Why the return to producing in Central Florida?

KH: For me it was about artistic vision and community. I went up for an AD job off-Broadway and to further my career as a director, yet ended up a managing member of a Tony Award-winning Broadway Producing company and a record label for Original Broadway Cast and Broadway artists’ cabaret albums.   Every moment was an amazing experience, but I needed to regroup and focus on what I actually wanted. That ended up being expression as an artist and a sense of community; both of which were things I had always felt I had here, so I came back for that purpose, as well as I just missed my family here in Central Florida. It was 17 years in the theatre community when I made the move to NYC, and I missed it horribly.  

 

JD: How does it feel being one of the first long-run shows in the Alexis and Jim Pugh Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts? What are the risks? What are the benefits? (Okay, it is three parts but still one question!)

KH: Great question(s)! I had made a play to use the Pugh previously. I wanted in that space.

It is a gorgeous space that reminds me of the Jewel Box at the Signature Theatre in NYC.   Being a resident of Orlando almost 22 years, I was aware of the Pugh as the theater “for all lives,” (or whatever phrase they finally settled on), and I wanted to take them up on that.   I can’t tell you how it really feels until we load in on Sat (Note: June 13)., but I am a huge fan of the space and I’m excited as hell. The risks are many. Although not as expensive as first thought, it is still the most expensive venue of its kind in Central Florida, which requires a certain amount of attendance to be truly successful financially. AND, although not a producer for this production, I cannot help with my years of experience as a producer concern myself with that reality.

We are very fortunate to have a producer who not only rises to the challenge, but chose a play that challenges me, the cast, and crew, as well as the audiences. The benefits are that we are doing another production there in August. It is a musical that is over four times the size in cast and we have the benefit of acclimating ourselves to the space. Also, I believe in the vision of the Pugh that was first presented, and I hope that working with DPC for this project makes them amenable to doing the same for many local theatre companies. We are blessed to have a thriving theatrical community and I would like to see theatre companies follow suit and have more local productions take place there.

 

JD: Tell us about “The Flick”! What about this show will pull people into a live theatrical experience this summer?

KH: I can honestly say that personally I have never seen a show quite like “The Flick.” The setting of the play is inside an old movie house, that uses an old 35mm projector, and much like the theatre, the lives of the three lead characters are stuck in a rut. It is a story of the human spirit, change, heartache, yet very funny and extremely poignant. The audience is the screen and we watch the lives of 3 everyday people that we would normally pass in the theatre or on the street without a second glance. But in the movie house named “The Flick” we find ourselves immersed in three people doing their job and examining their lives and the need for connection. It is falls into a category of complete realism so these characters are not “performed,” as much as lived in by the fantastic cast.

 

JD: What is it like collaborating with the team of “The Flick”?

KH: This team is fantastic. Gen Y’s Managing Member Aaron Safer is amazing when it comes to artistic freedom, and he is a champion of the show, and can hustle. Chris Yakubchik as AD is another who provides great insight to the text. The cast collectively is so strong. Anastasia Kurtiak is a dream stage manager who keeps us all on track. Marcellis is a reserved man, but is bringing Avery to life in a beautiful way. Jessie Grossman is the bomb! She is a consummate professional and her Rose is truly lovely to watch. And then Daniel Cooksley is someone I have admired on the stage for years and the audience and we are extremely fortunate to have him breathe life into Sam. Coletyn is young, but he is bright and funny, and we are lucky to have him. Bonnie Sprung is our set designer and has out done herself for this one, and lastly Roy Brown, who I have used for most of my lighting design needs who in each instance has not only succeeded but gone above and beyond expectations. So as far as collaborating with this team…I’m very fortunate. J

 

JD: What is coming up next for Kenny Howard? Projects? Vacation?

KH: Next up in July is “Wanzie’s Court Ordered Therapy: Ladies of Eola Heights-Continued” at The Abbey which reunites Chris and I with Beth Marshall, Peg O’Keefe, Blue Star, Sam Singhaus and our newest cast member of the Locksdale tribe…Kevin Kelly. Then in August “Heathers: The Musical” we are back in the Pugh Theatre at DPC. In September I have BMP’s Play-in-a-Day, and the reboot of The Abbey’s Monday Night Cabaret Series, then in October “Bat Boy” at The Abbey. I do have another project in both the spring and summer of 2016, but it has not been announced yet. Vacation? What’s that? I will get to NYC whenever I can, and I will get to KY to visit my parents.

But mostly….”I can’t – I’m in rehearsal.”

 

Tickets range from $35 to $60 for the hilarious and heartrending “The Flick,” and are on sale now at DrPhillipsCenter.org.

 

– Interview and post courtesy of guest blogger John DiDonna of Central Florida Theatre in Process

Central Florida Theater Picks June 12-18

Enjoy these weekly picks by guest contributor John DiDonna of Central Florida Theatre in Process (CFTIP).

Here’s a round-up of theatrical events and productions you should know about for the week of June 12-18, 2015. For more theater news and discussion visit Central Florida Theatre in Process: www.facebook.com/groups/277284114334/

(PHOTO: Coletyn Hentz, Marcellis Cutler, Daniel Cooksley and Jessica Hope Grossman in “The Flick” playing at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts June 17-July 12.)

OPENING THIS WEEK

THE FLICK, written by Annie Baker and starring Daniel Cooksley, Jessie Grossman, Marcellis Cutler, and Coletyn Hentz, opens June 19th in the Dr Phillips Center Pugh Theater, tickets on sale now!  Industry Night: June 29th, Tickets only $25.
http://www.drphillipscenter.org/…/20774-the-flick.stml

THE REPUBLIC – Pseudonym Productions (Near downtown Orlando)
Immersive theater brings video gaming to real life in an innovative, interactive performance experience.
June 11th (8pm), 12th (7:30pm & 10pm), and 13th (7:30pm)
Exclusive offer for this group: Use discount code CFLTHEATRE to save $5 off tickets!
http://www.Facebook.com/TheRepublicGame
http://www.TheRepublicGame.com
Rated M for Mature. Advance ticket purchase required.

PRODUCTIONS CONTINUING (some final weekends!):

BULLSHOT CRUMMOND – SIZZLING SUMMER BOGO DEAL , a campy British comedy, continuing at Valencia’s East Campus Black Box Theater June 12, & 13 at 7:30pm and June 14 at 2:00pm. There are a limited number of BOGO tickets available per each remaining performance. Buy one General Admission ticket and get the second General Admission ticket for free!  This offer is good either with the box office (407) 582-2900 or online at www.valenciacollege.edu/arts with the Promo Code ‘carrierpigeon’ (yes, all one word). NOTE: For online purchase, you must enter that you want 2 General tickets. After you enter the Promo Code, the system will adjust the pricing. Cannot be combined with other discounts. Not valid for previously purchased tickets. We invite you to ‘Like’ our ‘Valencia Arts & Entertainment’ Facebook page.

ONGOING PRODUCTIONS

DRIP industrial bar and show. Dress down, drink up and rock out while dancers tell a love story while dancing in paint, flying water and sand, backed by a LIVE rock band. You will get messy!
Thursdays (followed by a local art night), Fridays, Saturdays
Doors opens at 8pm, show starts a little after 9pm.
Tickets: www.ILoveDRIP.com
$35 DRIP 8747 International Dr. Ste 102 Orlando, Fl 32819

SAK COMEDY LAB is a 200 seat improv comedy theater in downtown Orlando. Conveniently located at the City Arts Factory’s second floor, 29 S. Orange Ave. SAK performs LIVE improv comedy shows that are fun and suitable for ALL AGES, Tuesday through Saturday.www.sak.com

OPENING SOON

MY PAL BETTE – Presented by interACTionZ and playing at UCF’s Performing Arts Center in Studio 1 Little Tommy Klein needs some divine intervention: between the kids at school, his feuding parents, and his own inner demons, he needs the right DIVA to teach him to be FIERCE! Enter Bette Davis, a diva with balls the size of Massachusetts and a heart to match! June 20th and 21st at 7:30pm and June 20th at 4pm. Free admission with a suggested donation to interactions. Rated PG-13. https://www.facebook.com/events/634287566716129/

DAMES AT SEA – Winter Park Playhouse, 711-C Orange Avenue (Winter Park). July 24 – Aug 22 (Preview July 23). Parody of the large, flashy 1930’s Busby Berkeley-style movie musicals in which a sweet “hometown” girl steps into a role on Broadway and becomes a star. Tickets $40-$15 and $10 student rush tickets – check with box office for availability. NOTE: Reservations are STRONGLY recommended as performances routinely sell out. 407-645-0145 (Rated PG) http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org

SPOTLIGHT CABARET SERIES featuring David Almeida – Winter Park Playhouse, 711-C Orange Avenue, (Winter Park). Wed & Thu, June 24 & 25 ONLY! Mr. Almeida will perform popular songs made famous by Broadway divas, television shows and comedies like the popular British comedy Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Tickets are $18 + one drink minimum. Standing room tickets are available for $10 (with no drink minimum) when seating has sold out. 407-645-0145 (Rated PG) http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org

EDUCATION

DANCE/FITNESS: Now offering a Student/Theater/Dancer discount for Dion Leonhard’s Dance Barre classes at Barre Bellas! Drop-in rate for any classes Monday or Wednesday 10:30am and 11:30am is $15 (your very first class is free). Package of 5 classes for $50; (package good for a year). A unique combination of classic Pilates Technique blended with ballet exercises, dance stretches and cardio. http://barrebellas.com

EMOTIONAL FREEDOM WORKOUT! – w/ Jen Jarackas @ Art’s Sake Studios – It’s a gym for your feelings! Designed to GROUND your body and mind, RELEASE emotional blocks, and EXPLORE the truth of your truth. Saturday, June 20th, 2015. RSVP jen@jenniferjarackas.com /321-234-6968 by JUNE 15TH. $5 discount for VCC students & alumni. https://www.facebook.com/events/830492266998259/

DRAMATIC EDUCATION – Are you looking for a Summer Drama Program that will boost your child’s academics and social skills while teaching them theatre basics and working together as team while putting together a theatre production? Well look no further! Dramatic Education’s Summer Drama, Art & Entrepreneurship Program is a 3 week program in July for incoming 6th-9th graders. You can choose 2 of the following 4 classes: Drama, Art, Stagecraft, and Marketing/Management. This year’s production is Disney’s Lion King Jr. For more info please contact 407-494-1744/www.dramaticeducation.com

AUDITIONS/JOB OPENINGS

BETH MARSHALL PRESENTS 2015-16 Theatrical SEASON AUDITIONS! June 21st & 22nd Garden Theatre by scheduled appointment only. AEA and Non Union Professionals. Full breakdowns of all shows and characters are in the invite and at BethMarshallPresents.com. Email Mike@BethMarshallPresents.com to schedule your appointment. (NEEDED Actors ages 11-70’s). Job ops for Stage Managers, Interns, Costume Designers as well. https://www.facebook.com/events/1631015253810277/

AUDITIONS FOR “SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE!” ON TOUR
Directed and choreographed by: SCOTT A. COOK
For complete audition information please visit our website at: www.theatreworksfl.org
CASTING: (3) LEAD male & (3) LEAD female singer/dancer/actors. All roles open. Please download a character list here:http://www.theatreworksfl.org/…/srl_synopsis_characters.pdf…
TO AUDITION: By appointment only. Please use our Appointment Calendar. Visit the TWF website to schedule or use direct link:http://www.appointmentquest.com/scheduler/2160087538
AUDITION DATE AND TIME: SUN, JULY 19, 2015 starting at 2:00PM | MON, JULY 20 2015 starting at 6:00PM / CALLBACKS: TUES JULY 21, 2015 from 6:00PM10:00PM NOTE: If you are called back, please plan to attend the entire time frame.
AUDITION LOCATION: Davenport Community Campus, 8 West Palmetto St., Davenport, FL 33837. Please enter the dance studio from the Maple Street side of the campus. Signs will be posted.
MORE AUDITION INFORMATION: Please email Abel Gonzales: auditions@theatreworksfl.org
Produced by: TheatreWorks Florida / Presented by: TheatreCares

AUDITION NOTICE: Orlando Repertory Theatre is seeking Equity and Non-Equity actors for six exciting shows the upcoming 2015-2016 season. Please visit http://www.orlandorep.com/auditions/ for the Audition Schedule, Audition Guidelines, and Character Breakdown. We strongly encourage all ethnicities to audition for all productions!
There are a total of three general calls, each of which requires an appointment.
General Audition #1 – Friday, June 5th (9:00am-5:00pm)
General Audition #2 – Wednesday, June 10th (2:30pm-9:30pm)
General Audition #3 – Wednesday, June 24th (2:30pm-9:30pm)

AUDITIONS for Neil Simon “God’s Favorite” this Sunday and Monday Show will be at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna, July 17th and 18th. call 909-560-7454 auditions will be at 203 Washington, in NSB 32168 https://www.facebook.com/events/1619102021680913/

IMMEDIATE HIRE: TheatreWorks Florida is now accepting submissions for COSTUME DESIGNER for SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE!. 3+ years of musical theatre experience required. Salary: Independent Contractor Salary. To apply, please send a cover letter of interest highlighting your experience and a resume to Abel Gonzales, TWF Company Manager, at: theatrecares@theatreworksfl.org

AUDITIONS for Clandestine Arts production of “Carrie The Musical” are quickly approaching, and slots are filling up. Be sure to schedule an appointment so you don’t miss out on this rarely produced show!  https://www.facebook.com/events/955259921162696/

Central Florida Theatre in Process Picks June 5-11

CENTRAL FLORIDA THEATRE IN PROCESS (CFTIP) WEEKEND CHOICES and PICKS –  June 5th – June 11 2015

Openings, continuing shows, upcoming events and auditions/education!
OPENING THIS WEEK
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Element Earth – presented by Emotions Dance. Friday June 5 and Saturday June 6 at 8pm at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center’s Mandell Theatre.

Tickets are $20 GA and $15 for students and seniors (65+). https://www.facebook.com/events/1637882156432283/
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
BULLSHOT CRUMMOND – Valencia College Theater (Orlando) Check out the campy British comedy at Valencia’s East Campus Black Box Theater!

June 5, 6 ,8, 11, 12, & 13 at 7:30pmJune 7 & 14 at 2:00pm. SAVE $2 per ticket when you purchase online at www.valenciacollege.edu/arts and use the Promo Code ‘VALENCIAWEB.’
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
CALAMITY JANE presented by Circle Theatre Company at the Orlando Repertory Edyth Bush Theatre, June 4th-June 7th. This good-hearted Western musical is the story of gun-totin’, hard-ridin’, tough-talkin’ Calamity Jane, and her love-hate relationship with famed gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok.

Tickets $12-$14 (Family friendly) www.circletheatrecompany.com/shows/calamity-jane/
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
ONGOING PRODUCTIONS
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
ONGOING: “DRIP” DRIP, industrial bar and show. Dress down, drink up and rock out while dancers tell a love story while dancing in paint, flying water and sand, backed by a LIVE rock band. You will get messy!
Thursdays (followed by a local art night), Fridays, Saturdays
Doors opens at 8pm, show starts a little after 9pm.
Tickets: www.ILoveDRIP.com
$35 DRIP 8747 International Dr. Ste 102 Orlando, Fl 32819
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
ONGOING: “SAK Comedy Lab” is a 200 seat improv comedy theater in downtown Orlando. Conveniently located at the City Arts Factory’s second floor, 29 S. Orange Ave. SAK performs LIVE improv comedy shows that are fun and suitable for ALL AGES, Tuesday through Saturday. www.sak.com
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

OPENING SOON

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Flick, written by Annie Baker and starring Daniel Cooksley, Jessie Grossman, Marcellis Cutler, and Coletyn Hentz, opens June 19th in the Dr Phillips Center Pugh Theater, tickets on sale now!

Industry Night: June 29th, Tickets only $25.
http://www.drphillipscenter.org/…/20774-the-flick.stml
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
SPOTLIGHT CABARET SERIES featuring David Almeida – Winter Park Playhouse, 711-C Orange Avenue, (Winter Park).  Mr. Almeida will perform popular songs made famous by Broadway divas, television shows and comedies like the popular British comedy Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Tickets are $18 + one drink minimum. Standing room tickets are available for $10 (with no drink minimum) when seating has sold out.

Wed & Thu, June 24 & 25 ONLY!

(Rated PG) The Winter Park Playhouse online: winterparkplayhouse.org or call 407-645-0145

https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?show=53512

EDUCATION
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
DANCE/FITNESS: Now offering a Student/Theater/Dancer discount for Dion Leonhard’s Dance Barre classes at Barre Bellas! Drop-in rate for any classes Monday or Wednesday 10:30am and 11:30am is $15 (your very first class is free).

Package of 5 classes for $50; (package good for a year). A unique combination of classic Pilates Technique blended with ballet exercises, dance stretches and cardio. http://barrebellas.com

AUDITIONS/JOB OPENINGS
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Athens in DeLand will hold open auditions for Footloose! on June 8 & 9 (starting at 6-8pm) at the Athens Theatre. An additional Call Back Date is Wednesday June 10. The Athens Theatre is located at 124 N. Florida Avenue in Downtown DeLand. https://www.facebook.com/events/625255240944004/
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
AUDITION NOTICE: Orlando Repertory Theatre is seeking Equity and Non-Equity actors for six exciting shows the upcoming 2015-2016 season. Please visit http://www.orlandorep.com/auditions/ for the Audition Schedule, Audition Guidelines, and Character Breakdown. We strongly encourage all ethnicities to audition for all productions!
There are a total of three general calls, each of which requires an appointment.
General Audition #1 – Friday, June 5th (9:00am-5:00pm)
General Audition #2 – Wednesday, June 10th (2:30pm-9:30pm)
General Audition #3 – Wednesday, June 24th (2:30pm-9:30pm)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Auditions for Neil Simon “God’s Favorite” this Sunday and Monday Show will be at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna, July 17th and 18th. call 909-560-7454 auditions will be at 203 Washington, in NSB 32168 https://www.facebook.com/events/1619102021680913/
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
IMMEDIATE HIRE: TheatreWorks Florida is now accepting submissions for COSTUME DESIGNER for SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE!. 3+ years of musical theatre experience required. Salary: Independent Contractor Salary. To apply, please send a cover letter of interest highlighting your experience and a resume to Abel Gonzales, TWF Company Manager, at: theatrecares@theatreworksfl.org
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Auditions for Clandestine Arts production of “Carrie The Musical” are quickly approaching, and slots are filling up. Be sure to schedule an appointment so you don’t miss out on this rarely produced show!  https://www.facebook.com/events/955259921162696/
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Five Questions with “Arts For Every Life” Documentary Director Famor Botero

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, as part of Snap! Orlando’s YOU ARE HERE project, hosts “Backstage” featuring the premiere screening of the documentary “#ArtsForEveryLife,” this Saturday, May 23 at 7pm. The film provides a behind-the-scenes look at Central Florida’s arts community and the building of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The screening is free and offers guests a rare opportunity to enter the Walt Disney Theater from backstage.

The film’s director Famor Botero is a Full Sail University graduate and was thrilled to return to Central Florida for this project. He shot his first documentary as a Full Sail student, and the Saturday following graduation he screened the film at a local theatre. The documentary, “Take Me Home,” caught the attention of MSNBC and provided Botero with a platform for his future which would include an invite to the Oscars.

While filming his project “Los Ocho” in Miami, producer Robin Cowie approached him with the opportunity to helm the “#ArtsForEveryLife” project, which takes its name from the stated “vision” of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (DPCPA), and focuses on the extraordinary growth of our arts community and the leaders behind it.

Dancer Arts for Every Life

Image from #ArtsForEveryLife

We asked Famor Botero these five questions:

1. What surprised you most about the Central Florida arts community today?

My biggest surprise was the pride and authenticity of its artists, the support they have for one another and the humble welcome I received from each and every one of them. This truly is a community of amazing people.

2. What do you see as the biggest change in our arts community since the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts entered the scene?

The biggest change I have seen since the opening is the connection between smaller arts organizations, it seems as if they now have a bigger place to call home where everyone comes to get inspired.

3. “Arts For Every Life” is the vision for both the performing arts center and for this film — what does “Arts For Every Life” mean to you?

Personally I believe that we are all artists, deep inside we feel the need to create something out of nothing…. There is an artist in everyone; there is art for all and by all.

4. Which genre of the arts aside from filmmaking is your favorite?

In a world surrounded by visual arts in all of its genres, I find music to be fascinating. I often close my eyes to the sound of music and it transports me to places that only exist in my imagination. As an artist the sound of art inspires me to create and survive in a world filled with so much negativity. My goal is always to inspire people no matter where I go. Music allows me to keep a clear head so I can continue to do just that.

5. You got invited to the Oscars! We are  so jealous! What can you tell us about that experience?

Attending the Oscars was an amazing experience. Meeting people I have admired and people whose careers inspire me was definitely a huge step towards beginning to fulfill my own goals as a filmmaker. Although a lot of people tell me in the four years since graduating I have achieved a lot, I feel this is only the beginning. I feel blessed and I’m very humble about my journey. I have really big dreams to be accomplished and the best part of all these dreams is that when I close my eyes I have the certainty that I will accomplish them all, so I have a lot of hard work to do and a lot of people to inspire.

Some of Famor Botero’s work includes the award-winning short film “Los Ocho,” “ProjectMad” starring Dr. Maria Miller and featuring Gerald De Pego, and the documentary “Take Me Home.” His upcoming projects include a feature film with Oscar Winner Anthony Lamolinary titled “The Mothership.”

“#ArtsForEveryLife” was produced by Robin Cowie, directed and co-Produced by Famor Botero and sponsored by the Dr. Phillips Center For The Performing Arts.

Snap! Orlando’s YOU ARE HERE is a month-long event designed to engage guests in social, historical, and artistic conversations through the mediums of photography, visual arts, and film. The event includes a full schedule of exhibitions, lectures, experimental media and workshops showcasing the energized core of Orlando’s arts and culture movement. Learn more here.

#ArtsForEveryLife

#ArtsForEveryLife

Connect with Famor and learn more about his work at www.famorbotero.com.

RSVP for the free screening here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/snap-orlando-presents-backstage-film-premiere-at-dr-phillips-performing-arts-center-tickets-16424144057

Orlando – Please Don’t Redefine Us

Lately I’ve been reading numerous articles by extremely passionate Orlando-area citizens, who declare their love for the City Beautiful. They write about the thriving literary community, the bursting tech industry, the outstanding colleges and universities, and even the highly touted food and art scene.

And in nearly every article, each well-meaning writer relates angry disgust that media outlets from across the nation are just now discovering that Orlando isn’t a “cultural wasteland” after all. And as a by-product of that anger, every writer then wants to redefine who we are or wants to describe Orlando as having a rebirth. (As if all our greatness had disappeared until just recently!)

Perhaps this common theme of needing to redefine what Orlando is comes from the fact that most of these writers start their articles by explaining they moved to Central Florida “several years ago” for school or work or to retire. And like many, they didn’t expect to fall in love with the City and were thrilled to see how much it had to offer in the aforementioned literary, arts, food, tech et al. (How ironic they now take exception to the fact that outsiders don’t also know this.) These writers say, “You don’t know the real Orlando. We’re not just Disney.”

While I certainly appreciate these eager citizens wanting to tout how wonderful our area is, I find myself bristling at the term “redefining” because feels like we weren’t good enough before these people arrived in Central Florida and decided to give us a new definition.

You see, I was born and raised here, just like my mother was, and just like my grandmother was back in the 1800s. There are a number of us here, actually, native Central Floridians that have always known what Orlando is and don’t need new arrivals to suddenly tell us what we are and what we have.

We’ve Always Had a Literary Scene

Yes, even before Jack Kerouac.

Back in 1926 Rollins College began the Animated Magazine. Since paper and printing supplies were still in somewhat short supply due to the fairly recent first World War, then-college President Hamilton Holt decided that the articles should be read aloud on stage instead of printed. This turned into an annual event that used to draw thousands. In the crowd sat dignitaries from around the world, including Secretaries of State and even former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Animated Magazine - Rollins College

Animated Magazine – Rollins College

The Animated Magazine lives on today, under the tutelage of editors like U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, and has helped bring about the annual Winter with the Writers, which is where I got to see Maya Angelou when she visited back in 2007.

With the Orlando Public Library opening in 1923, and the Zora Neale Hurston Festival operating for nearly 30 years now, this is just further evidence the literary scene is not having a rebirth but has quietly been here all along.

We’ve Always Had an Art Scene

One of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most prestigious art festivals happens right here at the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. The Orlando Museum of Art was established in 1924, the Maitland Art Center in 1937, and we’ve had the Crealde School of Art and Jamali for over 40 years now. Add in the Polasek Museum and the world’s largest collection of Tiffany glass at the Morse Museum, and we’re doing just fine.

Albin Polasek

Albin Polasek

Famed actor Buddy Epsen’s father started the Central Florida Ballet Company in 1945. “I dared not start a ballet company here in Orlando because the idea seemed hopeless,” Epsen was quoted as saying. “Now there are several companies throughout Florida.” Epsen’s company was later taken over by Edith Royal, whose “Ballet Royal” supplied generations of dancers to the great stages of the world.

And even earlier, Ruth Pounds started a dance school in 1935, which taught both my mother and then me how to dance, sit, curtsy, and all the etiquette required of a cultured young adult.

The area has always had beautiful architecture thanks to those like Gamble Rogers, II, who helped create the beauty that attracted leading artists, business tycoons, and top politicians to settle in the area.

When President Dwight Eisenhower dedicated the opening of the basement radio station at Rollins College (still one of the longest-running basement radios in the country), we made indie radio hip long before we made boy bands hip in the 1990s.

We’ve Always Had a Tech Scene

Lockheed Martin opened its doors in 1956. (My mother worked there afternoons in high school!) Shortly thereafter, the Kennedy Space Center was built nearby to oversee the Apollo missions. We watched those missions, and later those of the Space Shuttle, right from our backyards – and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get much cooler than that!

Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center

Thankfully this tech industry also had a need for engineers; thus UCF was founded in 1963 and has grown into one of the largest universities in the nation. Add in the innovations of Walt Disney in the 70s, and then Full Sail University in the 80s, and yep, we’ve always had a tech scene.

We’ve Always Had a Food Scene

Food trucks did not make the food hip in this city.

We’ve always had great food, ranging from Dixie Crossroads and La Cantina to Le Cordon Bleu and Gary’s Duck Inn. From the 94th Aero Squadron, which served incredible food since World War I, to Ronnie’s Diner which opened in 1956, Orlando always had talked-about food. The fact that the establishments serving that food is changing, doesn’t mean there weren’t great restaurants before the new ones arrived.

Ronnie's Diner

Ronnie’s Diner

With T.G. Lee Dairy and the many orange groves, we’ve always been farm-to-table. And when you add in Publix (founded in 1930), we were doing just fine long before this so-called rebirth.

We’re Growing, Not Rebirthing

Yes, it is an exciting time to be in Orlando. We are growing in many different, wonderful ways. Newcomers are bringing great assets, and companies are setting up roots and investing here. With strong leadership we will continue to flourish.

And while I admire the zeal these newcomers use to tell the rest of the world how great Orlando is, please don’t act like this is a new development in Orlando’s history. Don’t call it a rebirth or try to redefine it.

We are who we are, and always have been.

We don’t want to be New York, San Francisco, or even Austin. We want to be who and what we already are. We’re orange groves and Disney. We’re tech and and old-fashioned books. We’re art and great food.

But, we’re not the best thing since sliced bread… we were cool long before that hit the world back in 1930!

This guest post was written by Bess Auer, fourth generation Floridian and the first editor of the Central Florida Top 5. You can connect with her on Twitter at @Bess_Auer.

Science of Wine at the Orlando Science Center

This past weekend, I had the extreme pleasure of attending the 5th Annual Science of Wine event at the Orlando Science Center. Science? Wine? Food? Dinosaurs?!?! Yes please! Your all inclusive ticket grants the ability to sample over 150 wines from all major wine producing regions along with tapas sized food offerings from local restaurants and caterers.

The entire 4th floor of Orlando Science Center was full of tables overflowing with multiple bottles of wine (over 150 they say – I’ll take their word for it, because it was overwhelming!) and displays of cascading nosh ranging from BBQ to seared scallops, burgers to pork belly bao, and paella to cupcakes.

 

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Sakes and Plum wines from Gekkeikan

Want a little more science to go with your wine? The Wine Education seminar which teaches about the unique wine regions of the world might have been up your alley. Or maybe you’re curious as to the affects of weather on your favorite vineyard? WFTV Channel 9’s own Meteorologist George Waldenberger was on hand with the assistance of a motion sensored projection globe. Personally, I enjoyed conducting my own science experiments such as which goes better with brisket – Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon?

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Food is the control – wine is the variable

 

Oh but wait, there’s more! Maybe you’re not satisfied with eating and drinking until your heart’s content, specially since we know you have contacted the team at https://www.leyba-defense.com/possible-false-positives-when-using-an-ignition-interlock-device/ for several dui problems in the past, it is better to keep the drinking aside. The Science of Wine has you covered there too. Pianist Lynn Peghiny filled the room with classical music while aerialists spun from long silks overhead. There was a corner turned art studio where you could create your own masterpiece and a table where the ‘King of Cigars’ was hand rolling his namesake for patrons to puff on.

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Are you not entertained?!?

The night also featured a silent auction. Bids were placed on theme park tickets, hotel stays and a weekend getaway to the Big Apple. Those who were more interested in winning a prize with skill could try their hand at the Wine Toss, by tossing rings, carnie style, over bottles of wine for prizes or guessing the number of corks it took to fill the large glass container. The correct guess won 2 tickets to the upcoming Neanderthal Ball on November 7th.

Overall the Science of Wine had a little something for everyone and every palate. For less than the price of a theme park ticket, this is my kind of thrill ride – no fast pass needed.

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Take me home! And so I did

Festival of Equality teams with NOH8 Campaign tomorrow at Parliament House

So much is going on this weekend in Central Florida! We love fun, and we know all of you love fun too! That’s why we had to share with you a very special party happening on Saturday, May 9th at the Parliament House.

Now in its second year, the Festival of Equality presented by Wedding Alliance and Helium Group has gotten even bigger! With local vendors, DJs and performers, a pool party, two fashion shows and a big NoH8 Campaign photo shoot with reknown celebrity photographer Adam Bouska, is sure to be another hit! (Remember last year’s event?!)

Festival of Equality

Brian P. Gouthro, founder of the Festival and President of both the Wedding Alliance and Helium Group, started this with one goal in mind – bringing fun to awareness. “There is no differences between us; regardless of our gender, orientation, race or size. We all should be welcomed in the community we work and play in. Equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity.As humans we simply long to be accepted and loved by one another. At Festival of Equality, we believe that equality equals love; love and acceptance of all. Period,” he says.

Many locals are familiar with the NOH8 Campaign, and many more have even posed for a photo including our own Nando Torres and his BFF Christina Carmona of Bad Kitty Films! Everyone is invited to the party as well as welcome to pose for pictures. Here are some details…

Festival Info:

www.badkittyfilms.net

Top 5 Writer Nando Torres & BFF Christina (Photo Credit: Adam Bouska)

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NoH8 Campaign photo shoot info:

  • NOH8 Campaign will be set up in the Footlight Theatre from 12pm – 3pm
  • Make sure to WEAR A WHITE SHIRT!
  • Props are allowed but no licensed characters, etc.
  • Go to registration table, fill out a release to get your number. (Each person photographed needs a release, minors need a guardian’s permission)
  • Cost: Solo shots are $40, Groups are $25 per person. (Cash and credit are accepted)
  • NOH8 temporary tattoos and duct tape will be provided onsite
  • Adam will take 5-10 frames per person, one will be selected, touched up and sent to you in 4-8 weeks.
  • Can’t make the Orlando shoot? Join NOH8 at the Hilton Daytona Beach Resort on Sunday!

Twitter: @TheWedAlliance@PHouseOrlando@NoH8Campaign #ProudToLove

Event Pages:

 

 

Notice something a little different about Central Florida Top 5?

Dear Central Florida Top 5 Readers,

BREAKING NEWS!

You may have noticed a little something when visiting the site today.

Central Florida Top 5 has changed… a lot. Aesthetically of course it looks different but there are many other big things coming in the month of May, and even more great things to come in 2015.

First things first. The website. In the Central Florida blogging world, we’ve been sharing the best of Central Florida with you since 2009. And, with being one of the oldest blogs in the area, we felt we needed a change, an update… to brighten up even more. We had little idea of how or where to go with this thought process. Enter: CT Social.

CT Social

We met the CT Team at Florida BlogCon (founded by our original owner, Bess Auer) a few years ago which sparked conversation. Last year we got serious and got the creative ball rolling. Today, we’re 15 days from our full relaunch and we couldn’t be more excited to FINALLY share this great news with you! Our friends and partners CT Social gave our website a massive overhaul, which we hope you will find even more convenient and fun to explore. From backend to front page, they rebuilt us from scratch. (Keep in mind, with our soft launch comes some tweaking. We are still under construction, so we thank you for your patience in advance.)

You may already recognize Carolyn as one of our Guest Contributors or as one of Orlando Business Journal’s 2015 Women Who Mean Business nominees. She’s also CT Social’s Communications Director and Digital Storyteller. Her business partner, Greg, is a coding and developer ninja as well as CT’s Marketing Technologist. Chief Barkologist, Hartley, definitely keeps the team motivated! Over the last year they have met with us, coached us, shared many caffeinated beverages and helped us pave the way for a new future of Central Florida Top 5.

I am also one of those big changes. You may recognize me as Top 5’s Multimedia Producer. In case we haven’t met officially, I’m Jen Vargas, Central Florida Top 5’s new Managing Editor! With me comes a team of writers located in counties all over Central Florida – 13 writers to be exact – as well as more Guest Contributors and community partnerships!

In February I replaced Top 5 Senior Editor, Ken Storey, who moved on to orangey pastures over at Orlando Tourism Report. We thank Ken for his input in the early stages of our resdesign. Rest assured, Central Florida Top 5’s owner and community catalyst, Brian Wilson, is still with us. You may not see his face around often but his heart is still here. (He’s a hard one to forget!)

What details can we share with you about our new website launch party? Not a lot yet but here are my Top 5 best hints;

  • It will be HUUUUGE.
  • We will be broadcasting LIVE via Google Hangouts On Air and YOU are invited!
  • Special Guests will stop by, in person AND online
  • You’ll get a chance to meet our new writing team
  • Exclusive local news will be announced

So, what do you think so far? Let us know in the comments or email us at info(@)centralfloridatop5.com.

SunRail Celebrates One Year, You Get Free Coffee

If you can believe it, it’s already been a year since Central Florida’s passenger rail started running. So if you haven’t taken a ride yet, this seems like a good time to give SunRail a try. In its first year, SunRail has gained a solid group of commuters and “just for fun” riders, as well as passionate group that wants more night and weekend trains. On Friday, May 1, to celebrate SunRail’s birthday, Clayton Alexander, a great businessman and coffee mug maker, will be offering free coffee, coffee cups and donuts at select stations. In case you missed that… Free coffee! 
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer will join with Florida Department of Transportation District Secretary Noranne Downs to ride SunRail at 10 a.m. from DeBary to Downtown Orlando Friday morning. The City of Orlando encourages Central Florida residents to ride tomorrow and to use the hashtag #RideSunRailMay1.
“Keeping Orlando moving continues to be a priority for the City of Orlando with SunRail as the backbone of our growing transit system,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer who also is chairman of the Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission.  “With just a year of operation under its belt, SunRail has connected more of our residents with access to jobs and opportunity, spurred development and investment and laid the foundation for enhancing and growing our transportation options throughout our entire region.”

If you do get out and take the birthday ride, you can enjoy FREE donuts and coffee to start the morning off right, courtesy of Dunkin’ Donuts. The Dunkin’ Donuts sampling team will be at three SunRail stops on Friday, May 1 from 6-9 a.m. to treat commuters. Guests can enjoy Dunkin’ Donuts croissant donuts and the new One World hot coffee.

While the coffee and donuts are free, Note that regular SunRail fares still apply on May 1. 

Happy birthday, SunRail!! 


Central Florida Theatre Picks April 23-29

Enjoy these weekly picks by guest contributor John DiDonna of Central Florida Theatre in Process (CFTIP). Here’s a round-up of theatrical events and productions you should know about for the week of Thursday, April 23 through Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

For more theater news and discussion visit Central Florida Theatre in Process: www.facebook.com/groups/277284114334/

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Spring Opera Theatre Workshop at Valencia College East Campus Black Box Theater. FREE! NO TICKET REQUIRED. Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25 at 7:30pm(407) 582-2900

11182035_10101705449462744_3992469829669629741_nPUTTING IT TOGETHER at Winter Park Playhouse (711-C Orange Avenue, Winter Park). April 17–May 9 (Preview April 16). Two couples reflect on the complexities of modern relationships in this revue featuring some of Sondheim’s well-loved songs including numbers from Into the Woods, Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, and more! Tickets $38-$18 with $20 industry and $10 student rush tickets – check with box office for availability. NOTE: Reservations are STRONGLY recommended as performances routinely sell out. 407-645-0145https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?show=41667(Rated PG)The Winter Park Playhousewinterparkplayhouse.org

JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH at Shine In the Limelight (8010 Sunport Drive, Suite114, Orlando, FL). Ronald Dahl’s classic masterpiece for children. Thurs, Fri, Sat at 7pm, Sun at 2pmApril 23-26407-340-0920. Rated G. www.shineinthelimelight.com

THE WOMEN presented by Cornerstone Theatre Company at The Princess Theater, April 16 to May 3. The Women shows us a funny and somewhat unflattering picture of womanhood. The plot involves the efforts of a group of women to play their respective roles in an artificial society that consists of vanity, comedy, tragedy, hope and disappointment. A Cast of 25 Women! General Audiences. Visit: CornerstoneTheatreCompany.com or call (407) 494 – 8474https://www.facebook.com/events/912102295507436/

PRODUCTIONS CONTINUING (some final weekends!):

SOUTH PACIFIC from Central Florida Community Arts is Different from their large scale Summer Broadway Season concert version production — this will be a creative, immersive, fully staged show in an intimate space. Experience this full-length musical theater masterpiece, directed by Donald Rupe, in a whole new way!
https://www.facebook.com/events/350876958449463/
Note: Mild adult language

ONGOING PRODUCTIONS

DRIP, industrial bar and show. Dress down, drink up and rock out while dancers tell a love story dancing in paint, flying water and sand, backed by a LIVE rock band. You will get messy! Thursdays (followed by a local art night), Fridays, Saturdays, doors opens at 8pm, show starts a little after 9pm. Located at 8747 International Dr. Set 102, Orlando. $35 tickets: www.ILoveDRIP.com (8747 International Dr. Ste 102 Orlando)

SAK COMEDY LAB is a 200 seat improv comedy theater in downtown Orlando. Conveniently located on the City Arts Factory’s second floor (29 S. Orange Ave, Orlando). SAK performs LIVE improv comedy shows that are fun and suitable for ALL AGES, Tuesday through Saturdaywww.sak.com

OPENING SOON

THE FLICK, written by Annie Baker and starring Daniel Cooksley, Jessie Grossman, Marcellis Cutler, and Coletyn Hentz, opens June 19th in the Dr Phillips Center Pugh Theater, tickets on sale now!  Industry Night: June 29th, Tickets only $25. http://www.drphillipscenter.org/…/20774-the-flick.stml

EDUCATION

ADVANCED AUXILIARY Acting Class – @ Art’s Sake Studio (Winter Park) EFW & Classic Meisner repetition warm-up and Film & Television Scenes. April 29-Jun 3, 2015. RSVP jarackas@hotmail.com – DISCOUNT for VCC alumni and students. https://www.facebook.com/events/451257931693230/

DANCE/FITNESS: Now offering a Student/Theater/Dancer discount for Dion Leonhard’s Dance Barre classes at Barre Bellas! Drop-in rate for any classes Monday or Wednesday 10:30am and 11:30am is $15 (your very first class is free). Package of 5 classes for $50; (package good for a year). A unique combination of classic Pilates Technique blended with ballet exercises, dance stretches and cardio. http://barrebellas.com

Orlando Bike Share Expands with New Name

Juice at City Hall

Whether you want to beat traffic, get some exercise or save some gas, you can now share a bike with your fellow Orlandoans to get around. Formerly Orlando Bike Share, Juice Bike Share expands to 200 bikes available through 20 hubs in downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. These bikes will soon be available for you to run errands, visit friends or tour the city.

Juice_Logo_Orange_Green

Last week Orlando’s Juice Bike Share announced the new brand and website where you can get more information about the bike sharing program. The name change pays homage to Central Florida’s historical connection to the citrus industry and comes along with a new logo and orange bikes. Juice Bike Share explains the new logo features a tribute to citrus in its color and also an arrow to symbolize how you can ride, return and repeat for multiple trips with their shared bikes.

If you like this idea and are out and about a lot, a founding membership may be for you. Juice recently added this $99 membership option which gets you 120 free minutes per day, plus a t-shirt, water bottle and sunglasses. Other membership options include monthly and annual passes that will get you 60 minutes of use per day. Members can also collect reward points when they lock up at certain locations and redeem points at partnering local businesses. If you’re only occasionally in the area or just want to test out the system before committing, you can pay $6 per hour for your ride.

When you’re ready to give bike sharing a try, you can use any web-enabled mobile device, desktop computer, or visit a Juice hub to reserve your bike. Then you simply get your bike, ride to your destination and lock it to any hub or public bike rack.

City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says, “keeping Orlando moving continues to be a priority for the City of Orlando. By providing multi-modal forms of transportation, we are able to offer those who live, work and play in Orlando options for getting around the City. Part of this effort includes the City’s commitment to investing in our bicycle amenities with programs like Juice Bike Share that increase mobility in our urban core, connect to existing transit options such as LYMMO and SunRail and provide another affordable transportation alternative to using a car while increasing access to jobs and opportunity, promoting active lifestyles and reducing our impact on the environment.”

“We’ve seen how excited Orlando is about Bike Share,” said Juice Bike Share Program Director, Peter Martinez. “Juice is about making Orlando a more connected city, making it easier to visit and enjoy local businesses, restaurants, parks and events.”

There will be 200 Juice Bikes rolling out to 20 hub stations on May 1, which is also the day Juice Bike Share invites you to join them for a ride and ribbon cutting as a part of the City of Orlando’s Bike to Work Day.

Keep an eye on the Juice Bike Share website — they are working on the 10 best rides for you to follow once you get your hands on an orange bike. They also encourage you to check out the hub map and suggest a station near your favorite location. To learn more about Juice Orlando Bike Share visit JuiceBikeShare.com.

Central Florida Theatre Picks April 9-16

Enjoy these weekly picks by guest contributor John DiDonna of Central Florida Theatre in Process (CFTIP)

Here’s a round-up of theatrical events and productions you should know about for the week of Thursday, April 9 through Wednesday, April 16, 2015. For more theater news and discussion visit Central Florida Theatre in Process: https://www.facebook.com/groups/277284114334/#

OPENING THIS WEEK

Streecar Named Desire 2015A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at Seminole State College’s Fine Arts Theatre on the Lake Mary Campus on April 10, 11, 16, 17, 18 at 7:30pm and on April 12 & 19 at 2pm. For tickets and information call (407) 708-2040. This play includes mature themes and is not recommended for children. Details: https://www.seminolestate.edu/arts/events/theatre

HAVING OUR SAY: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years produced by Cultural Fusion at Shakespeare Center. A wise and witty stage play chronicling the story of two well-lived sisters at ages 101 and 103, written by Emily Mann and directed by Kenneth Brown. Thursday, April 9, Friday, April 10 & Saturday, April 11 at 8pm, 812 E Rollins St, Orlando. Details: www.culturalfusion.org (Check out the special effects makeup provided by #aeostudios!)

SWAMPED, performed by the beginner class of Central Florida Community Arts’ Children/Youth Arts program at Calvary Assembly in Winter Park. Saturday, April 11 at 6:30pm. $10 per person and kids age 12 & under are free. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/589179114551397/

 

CONTINUING PRODUCTIONS (some final weekends!) 

Metamorphoses 2015METAMORPHOSES is Mary Zimmerman’s magical adaptation of the Myths of Ovid set in a water environment of transformation, directed by John DiDonna. Through April 12 at Valencia College East Campus, Black Box Theater. Save $2 per ticket when you purchase online at www.valenciacollege.edu/arts and use Promo Code VALENCIAWEB. Valencia Box Office (407) 582-2900

 

JOE’S NYC BAR via Beckett Thomas Productions and St. Matthews Tavern (Orlando) is an interactive, improvisational, immersive theatre experience in which the audience is transported to a bar on Manhattan’s lower east side. Purchase tickets at WANZIE.com for $15 in advance, or $20 at the door the day of show. Every Sunday through April 19, 2015, matinee performance only, 3pm door, 3:30pm show time! (Note: Rating “21 and over”)

ONGOING PRODUCTIONS

DRIP, industrial bar and show. Dress down, drink up and rock out while dancers tell a love story dancing in paint, flying water and sand, backed by a LIVE rock band. You will get messy! Thursdays (followed by a local art night), Fridays, Saturdays, doors opens at 8pm, show starts a little after 9pm. Located at 8747 International Dr. Set 102, Orlando. $35 tickets: www.ILoveDRIP.com

SAK COMEDY LAB is a 200 seat improv comedy theater in downtown Orlando. Conveniently located at the City Arts Factory’s second floor, 29 S. Orange Ave. SAK performs LIVE improv comedy shows that are fun and suitable for ALL AGES, Tuesday through Saturday. www.sak.com

OPENING SOON 

SPOTLIGHT CABARET SERIES featuring Noel Marie Matson. Noel Marie premieres her new cabaret SONGS MY MOTHER SANG, featuring music from the songbooks of Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler and Carol Burnett at the Winter Park Playhouse, 711-C Orange Avenue, Winter Park. Tuesday and Wednesday, April 17-18 ONLY. Tickets are $18 + one drink minimum. Standing room tickets are available for $10 (with no drink minimum) when seating has sold out. Details: 407-645-0145 or Playhousewinterparkplayhouse.org (Note: Rated PG)

PUTTING IT TOGETHER follows two couples reflecting on the complexities of modern relationships in a revue featuring some of Sondheim’s well-loved songs from Into the Woods, Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, and more! Winter Park Playhouse, 711-C Orange Avenue, Winter Park. April 17–May 9 (Preview April 16). Tickets $38-$18 with $20 industry and $10 student rush tickets – check with box office for availability. NOTE: Reservations are STRONGLY recommended as performances routinely sell out. Details: 407-645-0145 or Playhousewinterparkplayhouse.org (Note: Rated PG)

TIME PASSES – Valencia College Theater in Association with Playwrights Round Table festival of 14 – 5 minute plays. April 17-18 at 8pm and April 19 at 2pm, Lowndes Shakespeare Center (Loch Haven Park) – ADMISSION FREE (Donations accepted at door) https://www.facebook.com/events/331658243710240/

THE WOMEN presented by Cornerstone Theatre Company at The Princess Theater, shows us a funny and somewhat unflattering picture of womanhood. A cast of 25 women put effort into their respective roles in an artificial society that consists of vanity, comedy, tragedy, hope and disappointment. April 16 through May 3. Details: (407) 494 – 8474 or CornerstoneTheatreCompany.com

EDUCATION

ADVANCED AUXILIARY Acting Class – @ Art’s Sake Studio, Winter Park. EFW & Classic Meisner repetition warm-up and Film & Television Scenes. April 29-Jun 3, 2015. RSVP jarackas@hotmail.com – DISCOUNT for VCC alumni and students. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/451257931693230/

DANCE/FITNESS: Now offering a Student/Theater/Dancer discount for Dion Leonhard’s Dance Barre classes at Barre Bellas. Drop-in rate for any classes Monday or Wednesday 10:30am and 11:30am is $15 (your very first class is free). Package of 5 classes for $50; (package good for a year). A unique combination of classic Pilates Technique blended with ballet exercises, dance stretches and cardio. Details: http://barrebellas.com

AUDITIONS/JOB OPENINGS

AUDITION NOTICE: THE FLICK, Non-union, paid, appointment only. Details: http://playbill.com/jobs/job_detail/the-flick-orlando-non-union-only-345064

AUDITION NOTICE: calling actors between the ages of 17-21 to audition for the 1 man 1 woman show “Out of Gas on Lovers Leap” By Mark st. Germain, produced by The Breaking Ground Production crew, directed by Jonathan Raffoul

Tough Mudder to take on Kissimmee this weekend

by: @jenvargas

Think you’ve got what it takes to tackle a British Special Forces designed obstacle course? Then you are one TOUGH MUDDER!

Tough Mudder is coming back to Central Florida and things are about to get wild. On Nov. 8-9, 2014, approximately 10,000 participants (known as “Mudders”) will put their speed and stamina to the test at Tough Mudder Central Florida. Incidentally, this event will be the final United States event of the regular 2014 season.

Coming to Kissimmee for the first time, challengers will conquer a 10-12 mile obstacle course through Trophykart Ranch (1368 S. Poinciana Blvd, Kissimmee, FL 34746), an expansive ranch converted into grassy fields, grazing pastures and swamp-like conditions in Osceola County. This is not a race, nor a marathon. It’s a CHALLENGE.

Of the “Mudders” participating next weekend; 37% of them are female, 63% are male and will be traveling from ten foreign countries and forty five other states! It will take approximately three and a half hours to complete. (It takes me that long to get up in the morning!)

Participating in Tough Mudder this year is Hector Manley, a 25-year-old double amputee from Tampa. On Saturday, Nov. 8, Manley will be presenting a $15,000 check to a Wounded Warrior Project representative at the event. Check out Hector’s first experience tearing through a Tough Mudder in Miami last year. He says, “Impossible is nothing. I am double amputee, I live life to the fullest and sometimes I wonder where my sanity went.” On average they say, only 78% of participants finish…and this is Hector’s FOURTH. Rock on, Hector. Rock. ON.

Tough Mudder is the largest supporter of Wounded Warrior Project and its mission to assist severely injured veterans. To date, Tough Mudder participants have raised more than $7 million for Wounded Warrior Project.

If you don’t/can’t participate, sign up to be a volunteer. Definitely stop by to cheer on Hector and the other 10,000 participants on! Still think you can traverse the unforgiving Osceola swamp? Good luck, soldier… and earn that beer!

Register for SATURDAY <—there

Register for SUNDAY     <— there

Take a #StridesSelfie at Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Orlando!

We love selfies! We love seeing YOUR selfies!

If you’re walking in tomorrow’s HUGE Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Orlando  walk in Downtown Orlando, we KNOW we’ll see thousands of them! Expected attendance will be – get this – *at least* 60,000 people. It will be a literal SEA OF PINK, all for a great cause! The buzz on their Yelp Orlando event page is…

Put on your pink, grab some friends and join Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Orlando Presented by Lexus of Orlando at Lake Eola on Saturday, October 25th, 2014! Over 50,000 attended last year’s walk and we’re expecting even more new friends in the fight this year! Interested in volunteering or starting a team? Register for FREE at www.orlandostrides.com! Are you a breast cancer Survivor? Please make sure to register before the walk so we can save a space for your in our Survivor VIP Tent! Many goodies and surprises await…

Make sure to TweetInstagram and Facebook your #StridesSelfie and share your experiences before, during and after the walk using hashtag #OrlandoStrides! 

Click HERE for Parking information. Click HERE for registration information

EXCLUSIVE NEWS: A little Twitter birdie told us Orlando Strides will attempt to take the Ultimate #StridesSelfie minutes before the walk begins at 9am. Will they be able to fit all 60,000 walkers in ONE PHOTO?! We’re not sure but we can’t wait to see them try!

Some of the MANY things happening at tomorrow’s MSABC walk:

  • Lake Eola’s Fountain will be PINK!
  • Free refreshments from Athena Water, Starbucks, FreshPoint Produce, Dole (no DoleWhips?!) and more
  • Full Sail will have their own endstage setup near the start line
  • Give ‘Til It Rocks will have some AMAZING talent playing live, sprinkled throughout the 5k walk
  • All breast cancer Survivors will have a special VIP tent sponsored by Morgan and Morgan with a great view
  • Vanessa Echols from Channel 9 WFTV and Dana Taylor from Mix 105.1 will emcee
  • Lexus of Orlando will have a PINK car (and a few others) on display
  • Look for the big Florida Blue tent for another selfie opportunity using the hashtag #HereFor___!
  • We’ve heard a rumor too that Orlando Solar Bears‘ Shades may attend… [Update: CONFIRMED RUMOR!!]
  • Strides is not a race but you can keep up with your walk on MapMyRun/MapMyFitness, RunKeeper and Endomondo

AFTER THE WALK: At Noon, Musician Keith Lay will present “Distance Music” at Lake Eola. His YouTube Channel explains ‘Distance Music’ as, “A new kind of musical experience that creates a sonic sculpture in a 23 acre lake. The audience to walks around it to view it with their ears. WIth 30 musicians, 14 boat people and 7 train horns!” Like Making Strides, this event is also FREE and (obviously) open to the public.

SAVE THE DATE for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Orlando’s VIP Party on November 11th, from 6-8pm at Lexus of Orlando!

The Great American Milk Drive Helps Nourish Florida Families

On average only one gallon of milk is donated to local food banks A YEAR. 3.79 liters. 16 cups. 128 ounces. A YEAR. 364/5 days. 52 weeks. 12 months…

Imagine feeding an infant 3 ounces of milk every 3 hours… a gallon of milk would only last you about 5 days before you’d have to go get another gallon. Adults should be drinking 3 glasses of milk daily according to the Food Pyramid. A nationwide movement called The Great American Milk Drive strives to change all this by providing milk to families in need.

Milk not only contains high quality protein for your diet but also a handful of essential nutrients like Vitamins A and B-12, magnesium, potassium and, of course, Vitamin D. Such nutrients are important for all adults but particularly for children whose bodies are still developing. Dr. Robert Heaney, a researcher at Creighton University says, “With modern diets, eliminating dairy from the diet – for any reason whatsoever – will result in poor nutrition with long-term consequences for health.” He adds,”People need a steady supply of calcium, Vitamin D and other bone-building nutrients in milk early in life to lay a sturdy foundation. Depriving the body of these nutrients has the potential to impact bone health throughout the lifecycle. Additionally, low fat and fat free milk is the top food source of vitamin D, which has been linked to a growing range of health benefits.” This prodiets is a California based dietary provider, which was founded in the year 1983 by Sydney Craig and Jenny Craig in Melbourne, Australia. Later on, in the year 1985 the provider moved from there to the US. The company is associated with the famous Nestle Nutrition.

At the launch of this year’s Great American Milk Drive, TV Host and Registered Dietician Ellie Krieger said, “There’s not just a hunger gap in America, there’s a nutrition gap too. There’s a need for more nutritious food in our nation’s feeding programs. One of the most requested items is milk, but it’s rarely donated. The basically means it’s not getting to the twelve and a half million families who need food assistance in this country.” Kate taught us last summer that 732,000 Central Floridians regularly struggle with hunger. To struggle with this too seems a bit absurd to us.

(For our Lactose Intolerant (or LI) friends, there are quite a few alternatives out there that offer the same nutritional benefits like Lactaid (real cow milk without lactose), active culture yogurt and natural cheeses [e.g. mozzerella, cheddar and colby].)

To know more how you can help women and children welfare click on wic office.

Don’t believe us? Here’s Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson to tell you more…

Mayor Jacobs State of the County This Friday

What is the ‘Year of Transformation‘ all about? How can Orange County residents find out more and get involved?

This is what Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs plans to address in her 2014 State of the County on Friday, June 6, 2014. In this live chat, Mayor Jacobs will focus on the achievements and milestones Orange County has hit thus far, and give a peek of what’s to come.

Even more exciting is, for the first time ever the Mayor is inviting YOU to take part from the comfort of your own computer chair! Do you have any questions about Orange County or for Mayor Jacobs herself? Comment below or tweet us using hashtag #SOC2014 and we will ask her for you!

We hear the Mayor is very excited about this event and is becoming a big fan of social media – and being huge social media nerds ourselves – we couldn’t be happier! A little Twitter birdie may or may not have told us that news of Orlando City Soccer Club, the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, some cool theme park info, SunRail buzz and more might be mentioned during this address on Friday. Hmm… 

Join Mayor Jacobs at the Church St. Ballroom this Friday!

#YearofTransformation | #OCTransformation

State of Orange County Address 

Friday, June 6, 2014, 9 a.m.

The Ballroom at Church Street

225 S Garland Avenue, Orlando

 

The event is complimentary and open to the public. The speech will be televised live on Orange TV which is Bright House Networks channel 199, Comcast channel 9, and AT&T U-Verse channel 99, and will be live-streamed on www.orangetvfl.net.

Interview: Leah Meyerhoff (writer/director, I Believe In Unicorns)

So, while I was at the Florida Film Festival, I was able to catch the showing of I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS.

The film was introduced by Brian Quain (festival’s film selection committee) and Leah Meyerhoff (her IMDb), the writer and director of the film. Following the film, there was a Q&A with Leah, and one of the film’s associate producers, Hannah Beth King (her IMDb). After the Q&A, I got to take a few pictures of each of them, and the film’s UCF Marketing Team. It was at this time that I was able to speak with and interview Leah. Boy, did I have questions.

We got to speaking about the film, and how it came about. Leah had always had the desire to make a film that a sixteen-year-old her would’ve wanted to see. She wanted to make something pertinent, and something truly relatable – not a fairy-tale / hollywood-reality film.

Leah had previously, primarily, made shorts and non-features. She’d mentioned that, when she got to film school, she’d always thought that a director was more behind-the-camera only; rather than somebody who would stand to the side or out-of-frame, directing the actors. She was sort of ‘afraid’ to direct her actors. Through her experiences, Leah realized that you have to speak with your actors, you have to truly direct them, while letting them perform; this way, you get the most effective result.

Prior to all this endeavor, Leah was able to be on IFC’s Film School, which allowed her to make some connections, gain experience, and garner some financing for this next project she wanted to complete – I Believe In Unicorns.

While trying to get I Believe In Unicorns made, Leah starting calling around and asking her friends about things to do, where to go, and tip/tricks for the film. Through all these calls, she realized that there was a severe lack of help, for women-in-filmmaking. She found though, that she knew a lot of women-in-film. Through these experiences, she was able to garner some interest and support in starting her own organization – Film Fatales -to bring together (and support) women-in-film.

Film Fatales originated in NYC, Leah’s home. They meet once-a-month, discuss their projects, and go over future plans/ideas. Most recently, Film Fatales has expanded with an LA collective, as well. Through Leah’s research, and even Film Fatales, she was able to connect with Hannah Beth King (who happens to be from Central Florida!).

Casting seemed a bit tricky – certainly more detailed. One of the leads (Peter Vack) was chosen in a more conventional way – auditions. However, another one of the leads took a different approach. Leah was auditioning hundreds of girls for the lead, and just wasn’t connecting with any of them. She had a few requirements for the role – she needs a sixteen-year-old (as the role is for a sixteen-year-old) – she didn’t want an 18/20-year-old, she wanted somebody authentic and relatable. Another requirement was the maturity level – there are some pretty heavy, and then pretty wispy/young parts of the film, and there was a need for maturity – to be able to handle each aspect, with grace, and believability. Leah, actually, found the actress (Natalia Dyer) after asking the people behind True Grit what top-three actresses they encountered, when casting for the role of Mattie. When she saw/spoke with Natalia, she was sold. While casting for the lead, Leah also ran into Julia Garner, and liked her so much – she wrote the role of ‘the best friend’ just for her!

Another part of casting – Leah deciding to cast her own mother in the role of the lead’s mother. Leah’s mother, Toni, has MS. So does her character in the film. There was a desire for the mother/daughter relationship in the film to be somewhat tense, strained, and convincing. Leah admitted this relationship was a bit auto-biographical of that time-period in her life. However, Leah has since grown closer with her mother. Prior to casting her mother in I Believe In Unicorns, she had previously cast Toni in her short film, Twitch. After that experience, Toni was excited to work another another one of Leah’s projects.

Other notable experience for Leah include working on, and directing, music videos and commercials. Specifically, one of her most fond experiences on a music video was Joan As Policewoman‘s Eternal Flame. She remembers that being one for the books – just an all-around great time. Another favourite moment was working on Converse‘s ad, The Heist.

In the future, Leah just wants to keep making independent movies. She just wants to make movies that she wants to see, and movies that she wish she had seen. Leah is creating, working on, and producing other projects – including some projects by her Film Fatale cohorts! Hannah Beth King helped with the production I Believe In Unicorns, and in exchange, Leah is now helping produce Hannah’s first feature “Dirt Roads”, which they are hoping to shoot in Florida next year.

Leah is very excited about the future of I Believe In Unicorns, and what it may mean to her future in Indie Cinema.

 

I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS just recently played at Leah’s Alma Mater, Brown University. It is headed to the Nashville Film Festival. For more screenings, please check it out, here!

For more information on the film, check out their website and facebook.
For more information on Leah, check out her website and facebook.

“10 days of Awesome” A look at the Florida Film Festival

By: Nando Luis Torres

Each year the Florida Film Festival is the site of one the most anticipated events in Central Florida. Showcasing ten days of film, foods, and fun. The Florida Film Festival is a special event that filmmaker and film lovers alike will never forget.

Recently the Top 5 team went the span of the ten day festival, which went from April 4 throughout the 13th, and it quickly became evident that finding just the Top 5 reasons to attend this event was going to be difficult, simply because there was so much there to love.

The Florida Film Festival now in its 23rd year is an annual event that premieres the best in independent and international cinema. This years festival featured an astounding 170 plus films representing 26 countries. Of the films selected for this years event 137 of them had premiere status at the fest. Henry Maldonado, President of the Florida Film Festival stated “The Florida Film Festival continues to attract independent filmmakers in record numbers. With so many films appearing on Florida screens for the first time, our audience has the chance to experience amazing stories with a broad range of themes, styles, and surprises. There really is something new and exciting for everyone to explore this year.”

After ten days of fun we had to sit down and narrow it done to our Top 5 reasons to attend the Florida Film Festival and here they are.

  1. Films: If you are a fan of movies then welcome to paradise.
  2. The Food: From brunches to food tastings the Florida Film Festival will make sure you wont need to reach for the popcorn when watching the films, but its always recommended because who doesn’t like popcorn while watching movies?
  3. Panels: If you are a looking to further yourself as a film maker, then make sure to sit in on one of the many panels the fest has to offer.
  4. Special Guest: Love meeting your favorite movies stars? Then your in luck, because the Florida Film Festival has them. This years special guests included Susan Sarandon, Paul Sorvino, Giancarlo Esposito, and Shawn Christensen.
  5. Last but never least The Parties: From the Opening Night party to the Award Bash, The Florida Film Festivals offers you the chance to mingle with filmmakers and fans alike to eat drink, talk about your favorite films, or just have a good time.

One special mention I have to acknowledge is one particular film block form the Florida Film Festival, “The Best of Brouhaha.” The great thing about this block of films is that all 14 films showcased in this block are made in Florida or by Florida filmmakers. Giving the opportunity for local filmmakers to show the great working coming out of our state.

So if you are looking for a one of kind experience, then keep up to date with the Florida Film Festival by visiting their website at www.floridafilmfestival.com and join us next year for what is surly going to be another year of “Awesome.”

 

Nationwide Google Glass Explorer Event, May 3rd at Kings Bowl Orlando!

https://plus.google.com/events/c4nevoe37sdsoitsl3i5vhb0f4s

 


Save the date, party people. Whether you own Google Glass or not, ALL ARE WELCOME to this unique, nationwide event!

What is Glass Welcomed + Glass Night Out? It’s a community driven initiative to reach out to folks from all walks of life and across the United States who are interested in Google Glass but were afraid to attend a formal meetup or talk or are still concerned about what Glass and other wearables mean for our future. Why all on the same day, you ask? To maximize or social media posts and shares of course!

All are welcome to this FREE (21 and up) event! Hold on to your White Russians, there will be surprises too… 

*Drink Alcohol (or other tasty beverages)!
*Bowl Lebowski style!
*Have a nosh!
*Be a pool shark!
*Bocce it up!
*Shuffleboard like a Rat Packer!
*Meet fellow explorers!
*Share your adventures!
*Share your misadventures!
*Meet developers!
*Share awkward “Can I try it” stories!
*Talk nerd, and people will actually understand you!
*Drink Alcohol/tasty beverages AND bowl!

NOTE: There’s plenty of free parking!

Kings Orlando is located at:
8255 South International Drive, Suite 120
Orlando, FL 32819
(Behind Ripley’s Believe It or Not! And Charley’s Steakhouse. Enter from I-Drive or Universal Boulevard.)

Also, at 11:30PM EST, we’ll do a glass raising to all the other #glassnightout events all over the United States using a Google+ Hangout!

Sign up for King’s newsletter and you’ll get a FREE appetizer!  http://kingsbowlamerica.com/orlando/

This will be the first of (hopefully) many #glasswelcomed and#glassnightout events in Central Florida!