Clockwise from top left: Michael Serratore,
Nick Santa Maria, Kim Ostrenko and Kim Cozort,
in God of Carnage, at Caldwell Theatre. Photos provided
Ed Asner appears as Franklin D. Roosevelt in FDR.
By Greg Stepanich
Early last month in downtown Delray Beach, one of America’s most important musical forms got a boost from a new partnership between arts-minded people who want to celebrate the history and future of jazz.
With veteran trumpeter Melton Mustafa and his quartet playing sets that included classic tunes such as Harold Arlen’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow, hundreds of guests snacked and sipped as they took in the music, an exhibit of photographs of jazz luminaries next door at the fledgling Jazzonian museum, and took a glimpse or two of Ken Burns’ documentary Jazz as it rolled by on another wall in the Arts Garage complex at 180 NE First St.
The Jazz Jubilee opening night marked the collaboration between Delray’s Creative City Collaborative and the Jazzonian, which is a jazz heritage museum founded in 2009 by Latin jazz flutist and saxophonist Bobby Ramirez. The ultimate goal is to establish the Arts Garage as a major home for jazz in South Florida, which should come as welcome news for the area’s substantial jazz community.
In addition to Mustafa, violinist Federico Britos and saxophonist Jesse Jones Jr. played the Garage in April.
“We had great expectations that we would have 100 people with Melton, but at the very high end that night, we had 170,” said Calisha Anderson, marketing manager for the Creative City Collaborative. “So that definitely exceeded our expectations. But we said, ‘That was the first event, it’s the kickoff, let’s wait for the second one and judge it from there.’ ”
That second performance, the concert by Britos, sold out. “So that was a loud call from the public that there is interest in this kind of programming,” she said.
This month, there will be concerts on May 14 and 28, both featuring jazz vocalists, though the names of the South Florida acts weren’t available at presstime.
Tickets for the concerts are $15. Visit www.delraybeacharts.org, and enter “PB Arts” or “Coastal Star” to receive a $5 discount. Or call Anderson at 243-7129.
At the Caldwell: The French playwright Yasmina Reza has won two Tony Awards for her work, beginning in 1998 with Art, a look at three friends who argue when one of them buys a completely white painting and expects his friends to approve his costly purchase.
In 2009, she won again for God of Carnage, which has begun to get picked up at regional theaters across the country, including Boca Raton’s Caldwell Theatre, where it’s running until May 15. It’s a play about two couples who meet to discuss a playground fight between their two 11-year-old sons, and then end up behaving like beasts themselves.
The Caldwell’s mounting of the play stars Kim Cozort, Kim Ostrenko, Michael Serratore and Nick Santa Maria, and has been winning good critical notices for its spirited, veteran cast, its high laughs quotient and the technical wizardry that enables a humdinger of a projectile vomiting scene.
Another show that’s been getting decent notices across the country makes it to the Federal Highway theater on June 1, when veteran stage, TV and film actor Ed Asner arrives for seven performances of Dore Schary’s FDR, a one-man show about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The shows run through June 5.
The 81-year-old Asner, long identified with liberal Democratic politics, has been performing the play — adapted from Schary’s Sunrise at Campobello — for a couple years now, all over the nation. While he doesn’t resemble the former president or sound much like him, many critics have found Asner’s portrayal compelling, and the play’s topics sharply relevant to our own time.
Tickets for God of Carnage range from $25 to $75, and from $40 to $75 for FDR. Call 241-7432 or visit www.caldwelltheatre.com for tickets.
Vickrey at Boca: Robert Vickrey died at his home in Naples on April 17, only nine days before a major retrospective of his work opened at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.
Vickrey was a master of the Renaissance technique of egg-tempera painting, which was superseded by oil painting in the 16th century, but which Vickrey revisited and expanded.
The New York-born Vickrey was best-known for his earlier work, which often featured nuns, children, clowns and long, dark shadows, creating what many critics saw as a feeling of menace.
Vickrey was represented at the April 28 opening of the exhibit by William Meek of the Harmon-Meek Gallery in Naples, and guest Donald Miller, an art critic from the Naples Daily News who in 2002 co-wrote with Vickrey a monograph about the artist’s nun paintings.
Robert Vickrey: The Magic of Realism includes about 40 works, and is on display until June 19 in the museum.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The museum is open until 9 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month, and closed Monday. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 65 and up. Call 392-2500 or visit www.bocamuseum.org.
Greg Stepanich is editor of Palm Beach ArtsPaper, updated daily at www.PalmBeach