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Thursday, September 11, 2014

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Monday Movie Review

WANZIE:Adorably hot twink newcomer Brenton Thwaites is totally engaging and a treat to watch in THE GIVER, as are Hollywood mainstays Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, in this psychological thriller that is as lovely to see as it is interestingly disturbing to digest. Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift round out an all star cast who all deliver competent and controlled performances in a film that could have been overblown and outlandish in less capable hands. Instead, under the steady direction of Philip (PATRIOT GAMES, SALT, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER) Noyce, we have no trouble buying into the stylized futuristic “community” in which this tale of sanitized living takes place; a world where individuality is frowned upon, and everything, right down to one’s “purpose,” is decided for them by “elders” who know best what all should think and see and do. Thwaites’ character Jonas is “chosen” to learn from an isolated sage played by Bridges.  The idyllic world in which they live was borne out of a now obliterated past that included pain and war and suffering. With the awaking in Jonas of the new concepts of pain and evil, also comes the discovery of long lost “feelings” such as love and compassion, and the painful awareness that good cannot exist without evil, joy without suffering, or true happiness without sadness. What Jonas will or will not do with his newly given insight is the paradox at the core of this most interesting, well-made film.
3 ½ PINK TRINANGLES

DOUG:
This is a great movie for teenage girls and Wanzie because the young male lead is right up his alley. There was too much in this movie that you had to simply accept without any explanation as to why these magical things were possible. It was a ridiculous premise. I hated most everything about this silly movie full of stars who wasted their talents in roles they never should have accepted. It was juvenile.
1 ½ Pink Triangles

Kevin Kelly – One Night Only – Abbey Cabaret Series Continues

The Abbey’s brand new Monday Night Cabaret Series continues with the debut of Kevin Kelly’s Mood Swings. A collection of quirky tunes, smooth standards and intoxicating blues notes, Mood Swings features accompaniment by the incomparable Christopher Levy on the piano.

Next in the series will be Jessica Hoehn on September 22 for her first cabaret at The Abbey with Debutante Gall: Better Late Than Never. In line with her irreverent personality, Hoehn explores through song love, life and leisure with pipes that rival the best in Central Florida.

On September 29, local favorite Andrea Canny takes the stage in her brand new cabaret Good for You. As the title implies, Canny will debut new songs about doing things that are “good for you,” as well as songs people have said would be “good for you” to sing, and last but certainly not least, exploring the snide “GOOD FOR YOU” that jealous people say between clenched teeth. Good For You features accompaniment on the piano by the talented John B. DeHaas.

Closing out the Monday Night Cabaret Series on October 14 is John Ryan & Eddie Cooper: Strange Bedfellows. Join veteran Orlando performer and playwright, John Ryan, and his real-life partner Eddie Cooper (making his cabaret debut), on a wild musical journey from Queens, NY through Quitman, Mississippi to Orlando, via the lights of Broadway, the Blues of the South and the roar of popular radio. This hilariously eclectic show explores the vastly different musical and cultural influences that made them the (crazy) men they are today. Strange Bedfellows features Orlando’s favorite piano playing, singing, composing and glam-rock multi-tasker, Tod Kimbro along for the ride.

Tickets to each cabaret show are only $10 and can be purchased at www.TicketWeb.com

For more information, visit www.AbbeyOrlando.com

“Les Mis” – Entire Run Nearing Sell Out – Reserve Now!

Featuring a talented mix of Broadway veterans and Orlando Shakes favorites, the production of Les Miserables now playing at Lowndes Orlando Shakespeare Theater complex, is the largest musical in the Theater’s history.

“With a standout cast of 27, and a 10-piece orchestra, you’ll see the Margeson Theater transform into 19th century France,” said Artistic Director Jim Helsinger. “I believe audiences will be swept away by Victor Hugo’s passionate story of revolution, love, and survival of the human spirit.”

Set in the early 19th-century, a French peasant named Jean Valjean is on a quest for redemption after serving nineteen years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread. When a compassionate bishop inspires him with a tremendous act of mercy, Valjean decides to start his life anew, but is relentlessly tracked down by Police Inspector Javert. Along the way, Valjean and a slew of characters are swept into France’s revolution, where a group of young visionaries make their last stand at a street barricade.

From left to right: Davis Gaines as Inspector Javert, Lianne Marie Dobbs at Fantine, and Michael Hunsaker as Jean Valjean in Orlando Shakes’ production of Les Miserables.

Les Misérables features Michael Hunsaker (Jean Valjean), Davis Gaines (Javert), Lianne Marie Dobbs (Fantine), James Beaman (Thénardier), Anne Hering (Madame Thénardier), Caitlyn Caughell (Eponine), Heather Botts (Cosette), Matt McMahan (Enjolras), and Tim Quartier (Marius).

The Ensemble includes Ana Bateman, Sarah Caroline Billings, David Bracamonte, Anna Carol, John DeLisa, Gavin Esham, Amanda Frennier, Rashad Guy, Liz Mignacca, Erik Nelson, Christopher Joel Onken, Danielle Reneé, Michael Sheehy, Ryan M. Skiles, and Seth Wallen.

The Children’s Cast includes Eleanor “Ellie” McPherson and Julia Jordan as Little Cosette, Maddie Belanoff and Macy Peele as Young Eponine, and Jackson Chase and Luke Timmel as Gavroche.

Orlando Shakes Presents
Les Miserables

 

Now Playing

Through October 12, 2014
Tuesday through Saturday Evenings
Saturday & Sunday Matinees

All Evening Performances: 7:30 PM
All Matinee Performances: 2 PM
 

Preview
TONIGHT
Thursday, September 11

Opening Night
Friday, September 12

Opening Night Party: 6:15 PM
(No RSVP necessary/Included with ticket purchase)
Opening Night Pre-Show Chat: 6:45 PM

SUNDAY TALKBACK
Sunday, September 21

Stay after the 2 PM matinee performance for an informal Q & A with the cast and members of the design team

Senior Matinees
Wednesdays, September 17 & October 10

$20 Under 30
Friday, September 19

WHERE

JOHN AND RITA LOWNDES SHAKESPEARE CENTER
Margeson Theater
Loch Haven Cultural Park
812 East Rollins Street
Orlando, Florida 

TICKETS

Evening Performances
$55, $45, $30

Saturday & Sunday Matinee Performances
$55, $45, $30

Preview and Senior Matinees
$27, $22, $15

DISCOUNTS

Students
$10 off advanced purchase (with valid student ID)

Student Rush
$22 tickets 30 minutes prior to show (with valid student ID)

Military
$10 off tickets for active military/National Guard/Reservists & their spouses (with valid military ID)

Groups
Up to 10% off 10+

RESERVATIONS

407.447.1700  Ext. 1

Or

www.orlandoshakes.org

FRINGE YEAR ROUND Drama Winners Weekend

This Saturday – ONE NIGHT ONLY – Sept. 13

Wanzie’s
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

We are pleased to invite you to enjoy a weekend of encore performances of some favorites from the 2014 Fringe Festival. The first of this year’s Fringe Year Round (FYR) offerings is THE DRAMA WINNERS WEEKEND running Friday, September 12, through Sunday, September 14, featuring three of the most highly acclaimed dramatic offerings from this year’s Festival.

FYR DRAMA WINNERS FRIDAY:
This three-day event opens with Squeaky Wheel Theatre Project’s SEASONS, the 2014 Daily City Audience Choice Award Winner for “Best of the Fest” and “Best Musical.”

Why do we love? Why do we accept the pain and struggles associated with love? Is it worth it? SEASONS challenges these questions, and presents love as an unassuming and undeniable part of the human existence. In this unique musical, journey with Hope as her mom, Mrs. Jones, confronts a cancer diagnosis, while Peter finds new love with Helen after an unexpected pregnancy.

Rated 13+

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12     8 PM     $12

FYR DRAMA WINNERS SATURDAY:

The second installment of Drama Winner’s Weekend is Wanzie Presents & D-Squared Production’s THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, critically acclaimed winner of the 2014 Orlando Fringe Silver Venue “Patron’s Pick.”

Wanzie’s
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Wanzie plays a Catholic priest unexpectedly visited by a former accusation-wielding altar boy, in one of these 3 original short plays. Brooklyn Jews dealing with the dynamics of the mother/ daughter relationship and end of life decisions are the subject of another. The third is a hilarious misadventure: Late-life Judy Garland hallucinates a visit to post-apocalyptic Munchkin Land where Glinda has not aged very well. Full Drama meets Hi Camp Comedy!

 “The three short plays that comprise ‘There's No Place Like Home’ show off local playwright Michael Wanzie's skills — a grasp of character that makes his creations real people on the stage, the ability to surprise with an unconventional approach, and a flair for pop-culture camp…Director Kenny Howard guides the suspenseful plot with a steady hand…The show is thoughtful and daring — IT’S A WINNER.
Matt Palm, Orlando Sentinel

 

“STELLAR PERFORMANCES”
Billy Manes, Orlando Weekly

Rated 13+

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13     8 PM     $12

FYR DRAMA WINNERS SUNDAY:

Drama Winners Weekend wraps up with Viet Nguyen’s REINCARNATION SOUP, the 2014 Orlando Fringe Critic’s Choice Award winner for “Best Drama,” as well as the Red Venue “Patron’s Pick.”

REINCARNATION SOUP

The creator of 2012’s Monkey King revives his tale of soup, Sàigòn, and recycled souls.

“Reincarnation Soup is a small show that will stay with you. It deserves to be seen – and celebrated.”
Elizabeth Maupin on Theater

“Nguyen has a knack for using just enough humor to soften you up for the emotional blow later on.” -
Tod Caviness, Orlando Sentinel

Rated 13+

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14     3 PM     $12

All Fringe Year Round Drama Weekend
performances will be held at

 LOWNDES SHAKESPEARE CENTER
Mandell Theater
(Pink Venue)
812 East Rollins Street
Orlando, FL 32803

TICKETS:

www.OrlandoFringe.org

Picture(s) Of The Week

Steve Schneider recently posted this picture and comment on Facebook:

“People magazine says this is Prince George. I think Michael Wanzie has some explaining to do!”

WANZIE: “OMG! How funny. I'm sorry, but I do think Steve is right. Prince George does look like I might have had something to do with his creation. That is the last time I accept drugs from Prince Harry when visiting the Royals on the sly! I for one demand an autopsy!”

On Sale In Our Box Office

MISS GAY ORLANDO 2014
NOW ON SALE

Select Your Exact Seat Before You Go!

Select – A- Seat Now

Coming in September

A One-Man Multimedia Safari Into The Gay Community! – Loud, irreverent, and hilarious, Logan Donahoo lovingly guides you through this off-kilter world of slang, history, drag queens, bears and MORE! Like stealing hot-pink fire from Mt. Olympus, you too can now learn the answers to all those questions about the queer culture that you were too afraid to ask. – DO NOT MISS IT!

Select – A- Seat Now

The Orlando PRIDE Edition Of

The Biggest Little Pageant Ever!

NOW ON SALE

Select – A- Seat Now

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PLEASE WRITE!
Email your submission to wanziemichael@gmail.com

Short Takes

CONGRATULATIONS TOM DYER

HAPPY 20TH ANNIVERSARY

“Congratulations to the entire staff and contributing writers of WATERMARK on achieving twenty continuous years in the business of helping to shape as well as report on the LGBT communities of Central East & West Coast Florida, and for twenty years of friendships, support, and meaningful contributions to a myriad of good and just causes. Many thanks on a job well done.”
WANZIE and Val & Gary & Jeff

My Two Cents

 

GOT SOMETHING TO SAY?
By all means, share it with your subscriber friends right here in your WANZeGRAM. Submit your 350-words-or-less opinion piece, rant, rave, or observations to Email your submission to wanziemichael@gmail.com

Now Playing

Monday September 15
Kevin Kelly
MOOD SWINGS

The Abbey
$10
www.TicketWeb.com

Through September 15
VarieTEASE MONSTER
The Venue

$15 Advance/$18 Door
407.412.6895

Saturdays through September 20
Logan Donahoo’s
FIELD GUIDE TO THE GAYS
Footlight Theatre

$10
http://wanzie.com/boxoffice/

Through September 21
THE LETTERS
Mad Cow

$33.75
Buy Tickets

Through October 3
SYLVIA
Theatre Downtown

$22 Adult/$18 Students & Seniors
407.841.0083

Through October 4
THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG
The Winter Park Playhouse

$38 evenings / $35 Senior Evenings / $28 matinees
$25 Third Thursday evening / $20 industry & Students
Student rush "$10@10"
407.645.0145
www.winterparkplayhouse.org

Through October 10
LES MISERABLES
Orlando Shakes

$20 - $55
407.447.1700 Ext. 1
www.orlandoshakes.org
 

THEATER – THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG
The Winter Park Playhouse presents the award-winning Broadway musical comedy that boasts a book by the legendary American playwright Neil Simon, musical score by Tony-Award winning composer Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Academy Award, Grammy and Golden Globe winner Carole Bayer Sager. This funny, romantic musical was inspired by the real-life relationship of Hamlisch and Sager and tells the story of an established composer and his relationship with an aspiring, free-spirited female lyricist.

Veteran Actor/Director Michael Edwards returns to The Playhouse to direct and Christopher Leavy will music direct. The professional cast will include real-life couple and Playhouse founders, Roy Alan and Heather Alexander in the lead roles, and Kevin Kelly, Josh Roth, Brian Wettstein, Gabi Guinta, Kayla Kelsay and Jill Vanderoef in supporting roles. The Playhouse trio will accompany the cast with Christopher Leavy on keyboard, Sam Forrest on percussion and Ned Wilkinson on multiple instruments. 

THEY’RE PLAYING
OUR SONG

September 12 – October 4, 2014

THE WINTER PARK PLAYHOUSE
711 Orange Avenue Suite C
Winter Park, FL 32789

$38 evenings / $35 Senior Evenings / $28 matinees
$25 Third Thursday evening / $20 industry & Students

Student rush "$10@10" offers $10 tickets (for students 25 years and under) 10 minutes prior to a performance when seats are available.

407.645.0145

www.winterparkplayhouse.org

DANCE – THE SHIFT CALM & CHAOS
SEE 8 DIFFERENT DANCE COMPANINES PERFORM UNDER ONE ROOF IN ONE PROGRAM; Emotions Dance is teaming up with Orlando’s best in modern, improv, and contemporary dance to engage and enlighten audiences with new, experimental, and in-progress works all under one roof.

A one-of-a-kind annual event hosted by Emotions Dance Company, The Shift: Calm & Chaos focuses primarily on shifting our perception of movement, dance, and art while allowing companies to grow and change as artists.

Companies participating this year include: Emotions Dance Company, Voci Dance, Yow Dance, Dawn Branch Works, Canvas Creative Coalition, Red Right Return Dance Company, Mary Love Dance Projects, Coby Dance Project and a special opening number by students from Turning Pointe- A Dance Studio!

THE SHIFT CALM & CHAOS

Friday September 19 & Saturday Sept 20, 2014

8PM

LOWNDES SHAKEPEARE CENTER
Mandell Theatre
Loch Haven Cultural Park
812 E Rollins St. Orlando




Tickets available from presenting companies and at the door

CABARET – LET ME BE FRANK
Journey with Veteran entertainer Frank Siano Frank as he takes us on a trip from his early days in a Hoboken speakeasy to his brush with Stephen Sondheim and the show tunes he has lived and loved. 

Along with his New York credits, Frank has worked alongside Broadway legend Charles Busch at the Goodspeed Opera House, also at Papermill Playhouse, Northshore Music Theatre and The Cape Playhouse, to name a few. 

Don't miss the unique chance to see this experienced performer in an up close and personal setting! Frank's versatile talent and one-of-a-kind story makes it a sure bet for a great evening out.

Frank Siano

LET ME BE FRANK

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 18

7:30PM

THE WINTER PARK PLAYHOUSE
711 Orange Avenue Suite C
Winter Park, FL 32789

$18

Plus a one drink minimum
Limited standing room - $10

407.645-0145
www.winterparkplayhouse.org

THEATER – ARSENIC AND OLD LACE
Beloved Central Florida theatrical mainstay, David Clevenger, directs this chestnut of a comedy; Mortimer Brewster discovers that his two spinster aunts have a horrifying hobby. Meanwhile, his brother Teddy digs the locks for the Panama Canal in the cellar.  When another brother, Jonathan, arrives seeking a safe hideout – breathtaking hilarity begins!

Directed by DAVID CLEVENGER

September 12 – October 5 

Thursdays:       7:30 PM
Fridays:                8 PM
Saturdays:  2 PM & 8 PM
Sundays:               2 PM

SONNENTAG THEATRE
At The Ice House

1100 N. Unser Street
Mt. Dora, FL   32757 

$18-$20 Adult/$15 Student/$10 Child

Buy Tickets

MULTI-MEDIA PERFORMANCE/DANCEVarieTEASE MONSTER
This VarieTEASE will be a "Brand New Experiment in Storytelling” incorporating
a stop-motion movie by Pat Fatica, and the continuum story by Blue Star. This story will leave you confused, and possibly disturbed!! Expect the unexpected; nothing is normal here!

SEPTEMBER 5, 6*, 8, 12, 13, & 15

9 PM
*Except on September 6, when show time is 10 PM

THE VENUE
511 Virginia Drive
Orlando, FL   32803

TICKETS:

407.412.6895

Coming Attractions
 

In the section you will find opening dates for future attractions so you may plan ahead. Emboldened listings indicate events added as of this edition of your GRAM.

September 12 THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG Winter Park Playhouse
  Mood Swings With Kevin Kelly Cabaret at The Abbey
September 7

AN EVENING WITH MARK TWAIN

Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center
September 15 MISS GAY ORLANDO Footlight Theater
September 17 Cirque Du Soleil VAREKAI Amway Center
September 19 INTERNATIOANL FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL EPCOT
September 22 Jessica Hoehn's Debutante Ball: Better Late Than Never Cabaret at The Abbey
September 24 SWEENY TODD The Garden Theatre

September 26

THE WIZARD OF OZ Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center
September 27 TRAGIC KINGDOM PARTY Parliament House
September 29 Andrea Canny (untitled as of now) Cabaret at The Abbey
October 5 MARC ANTHONY Bob Carr PAC
October 6 LADIES OF EOLA HEIGHTS The Abbey
October 7 SESAME STREET LIVE! MAKE A NEW FRIEND CFE Arena at UCF
October 8 PINK COLLAR COMEDY SHOW Orlando Improv Comedy Club
October 12 LITTLE MISS PARLIAMENT HOUSE Footlight Theatre
October 13 John Ryan & Eddie Cooper (untitled as of now) Cabaret at The Abbey
October 17 Killer Joe Theatre Downtown
October 19 ELAINE BOOSLER Plaza Live Orlando
October 21 ENRIQUE INGLESIAS & PITBULL Amway Center
October 22 RINGO STARR and his All Star Band King Center
November 2 SUSAN BOYLE in Concert King Center
November 7 BEATNIK 2 The Venue
A Note from Wanzie

May I just say that Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida is the most totally immersive theme park environment created since Disneyland first unveiled Main Street U.S.A.

And speaking of Main Street - the one that runs through downtown Winter Garden (Plant Street, actually) - has become a bona fide little attraction unto itself.

If you haven’t visited lately, or if you only use Plant Street as a thoroughfare to get to the little city’s landmark theater, I really encourage you to set aside a few hours to stroll along this all- American pedestrian friendly street and explore its many interesting shops, watering holes, eateries, and little museums. This Saturday morning I’m going to check out The Winter Garden Farmer’s Market which has been voted “America’s Favorite Farmer’s Market.”

The rather extensive weekly affair offers all the usual produce you would expect, and then some; all of it from regional small farms, and much of it organic. In addition you’ll find Mennonites selling farm fresh confections, and Mason Jars filled with home canned jams and preserves. Local mom and pop bakeries are on hand with hearty breads and scones, along with local artisans selling crafts of every description, alongside venders offering home made soaps, fresh flowers, and potted plants. And there’s always free entertainment.

 

The Winter Garden Farmers Market is a year-round offering that operates every Saturday from 9 AM to 2 PM in the park and covered pavilions at 104 S. Lake View Avenue adjacent to The Garden Theatre.

The Garden Theater is where I will be playing the part of Catholic priest Father Flynn in the drama DOUBT in February. In the meantime, if you can’t wait that long to see me in vestments and white collar, by all means do come out to Orlando Shakes this very coming Saturday evening at 8 PM to see me play the part of Father in a one-night-only encore performance of THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME as part of the Fringe Year Round fundraising series. Check out the entire weekend of Fringe offerings at www.OrlandoFringe.org.

Yes, downtown Winter Garden is very quaint, but it’s too bad Winter Garden Mayor John Rees is proportionately antiquated because quaint it aint to order a citizen physically removed from a City Counsel meeting by law enforcement officials for exercising the right to free speech by refusing to stand and “pledge allegiance” to the flag. That happened just last week! In ejecting this peaceful law abiding citizen from an open public forum for not reciting the pledge to the flag, the Mayor displayed an appalling lack of understanding for just what it is that very flag is meant to represent. A few days ago Rees offered a rather qualified apology; one for which it did not require the help of an FBI personality profiler to determine was being offered begrudgingly at the urging of other more enlightened City officials who actually live and think in this century.

I tend to rise and recite the pledge to the flag even though I despise two words forced into the pledge by communist-fearing Dwight D Eisenhower. The words “under God” were not part of the original pledge as written in 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy. Eisenhower encouraged Congress to mandate the insertion of “under God” between the words “one nation” and “indivisible” ignoring both the vehement and very vocal objections of Bellamy’s daughter, and the all important concept of “Separation of Church and State.”

I proudly stand and place my hand over my heart and recite The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of The United States of America whenever I find myself at an event where others are doing so, but I remain silent while the rest of the crowd recites the two words “under God.” Francis Bellamy believed in God. He was in fact, a Christian, but he also understood the importance of not having a state sponsored religion, and that true freedom and independence for every citizen can only be realized when a government is not bound by any one religious ideology.

Why is it that people who so cherish the concept of religious freedom refuse to accept that by its very definition the ideal allows that people are also free not to believe in God, and that the decision to not embrace a deity is not tantamount to a lack of patriotism? The two have NOHTING to do with one another. And THAT is how it should be!

I’m WANZIE and That’s All I Wrote!

 Wanzie Signature Photo

email me

 

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