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Ruthless Hilarity, Shop of Horror, Altar Boyz and Philharmonic Oscars: Culture Worth the Miles

| October 6, 2011

Ruthless, the Musical: 'The funniest, fall-out-of-your-seat musicals to bring to Central Florida.' At the Winter Park Playhouse through Oct. 29.

Festival Season in Winter Park and Winter Springs —

The ART FESTIVAL season is in full swing with FREE Art Festivals every weekend throughout Florida.  We just enjoyed a glorious Fall weekend for the Maitland Art Festival, and here are some highlights for the coming weeks …


The Winter Park Autumn Art Festival returns to Winter Park’s beautiful Central Park on October 8 and 9.  Show Florida artists exclusively, 150 of Florida’s outstanding artists are selected to display their works in ceramics, drawings and graphics, fiber, fine crafts, jewelry, painting, photography and sculpture.  Over 200,000 visitors set an attendance record in 2010 – many of those Art-Lovers helping support our Florida Artists by purchasing their Art. In addition to ‘tents’ filled with original works of Art, attendees will find live musical entertainment, children’s art workshops, and a beer garden.  Visit or call 407.644.8281.

The somewhat ‘younger’ Winter Springs Festival of the Arts (in its 4th year) celebrates Art, wine, and music on October 14, 15 and 16 at the Winter Springs Town Center – at SR 434 and Tuskawilla Road. 125 juried Artists present sculpture and clay, drawing, graphics, pastels, crafts, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, digital media, and performing arts.  New this season is an animated film by Jodie Mack ( to be shown on Friday, October 14 at 7:30 pm.  Then, on October 15 and 16, Fine Art is paired with live entertainment on the Main Stage along with a children’s entertainment stage, a senior’s art exhibit, and student art exhibit. Visit or call 407.278.4872

RUTHLESS! A Musical Farce

Leave it to Roy and Heather, the Dynamic Duo at the Winter Park Playhouse, to find the funniest, fall-out-of-your-seat musicals to bring to Central Florida … and I’ve been waiting for this one! Opening this week is Ruthless! The Musical – a farce that draws from (and makes fun of) characters from such classic films as All About Eve, Gypsy, The Women, and Valley of the Dolls. In the “stage-door” plot, eight-year-old Tina knows she was born to play Pippi Longstocking, and she will do anything to win the part in this riotous musical comedy! The Daily News called it, “Hilarious… beyond praise,” and Artistic Director Roy Alan says, “We’ve wanted to do this show for more than 8 years and are ecstatic that we can finally bring it to Central Florida.” Ruthless plays at the Winter Park Playhouse through October 29.  Call 407-645-0145 or visit

HORROR in the Garden

little shop of horrors winter garden theater

From left, Frank Siano, Kevin Cole, Candace Neal (Sebastian Van Horn III)

How could you not LOVE a rock-n-roll musical about a man-eating plant (with a rich baritone singing voice), a 3-part girl group who act like a Greek chorus and sing like the Supremes, and a cast of colorful misfits who find true love amongst the jungle growth?  Yes, the Little Shop of Horrors kicks off the new Season at the Winter Garden Theater with performances from October 14 to November 6.  Kevin Cole is the nerdy plant shop employee who ‘discovers’ the nasty plant, and Candace Neal – one of the greatest singing actresses in Central Florida – co-stars as his beautiful, but ‘damaged,’ love interest. Jamaal Solomon is the voice of the dangerously hungry plant. Director Scott Cook promises new costume and set designs, fresh choreography and an enhanced plant puppet for this production. Visit or call 407.877.4736

Too-Good-for-Heaven Altar Boyz

What better place than The Abbey to produce a musical called Altar Boyz?  The story of a ‘heavenly’ boy band out to save the world one screaming fan at a time, five small town boys – Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham – sing their way around the country, working ‘miracles’ with their hits Girl You Make Me Wanna Wait and Jesus Called Me On My Cell Phone. This show mixes angelic voices, sinful choreography, and a touching story. Altar Boyz debuted Off-Broadway in 2005 and ran for 5 five laugh-filled years. It will be performed at the Abbey from October 12 to November 13. The Abbey is the new mixed-use theater/bar at 100 S. Eola Drive in Downtown Orlando – a space designed to accommodate everything from concerts and comedians to community theater and cabaret. Visit Tickets may be purchased through or by calling 1-866-468-7630.

A Halloween Art Show in Sanford

For one-day-only – Saturday, October 8 from 10 am until 4 pm – Halloween aficionados and quirky collectors may purchase one-of-a-kind holiday art exhibited in this juried show created for those with a ‘spiritual connection’ to Halloween!  Back for a third year, Jeanine Taylor Folk Art in Sanford creates this show for those with a serious passion for Halloween. “At Spirits in Sanford, we honor the hand-made and the heart-felt. We know that fans of Halloween Art march to the beat of their own drum, and we have lined up a cadre of artists who do the same,” says founder Jeanine Taylor. The Art is inspired by spooky fun and ranges from whimsical to Gothic, with something for every taste and pocketbook.  Jeanine Taylor Folk Art is at 211 East First Street in historic downtown Sanford. Admission is $5. Visit or call 407-323-2774


A Night at the Oscars with the Orlando Philharmonic

Dirk Meyers

Memorable music from the greatest Hollywood films of all time, including Ben-Hur, Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz will highlight the Orlando Philharmonic’s concert entitled A Night at the Oscars. On October 15 at 2 pm and 8 pm, the Orchestra will perform as new 35mm prints of memorable movie scenes are projected on a huge screen above the stage. The program is conducted by Dirk Meyer and narrated by Orange County Comptroller Martha Haynie. A Night at the Oscars is part of a series created by John Goberman, the Emmy-Award winning producer of Live from Lincoln Center, and has played to sold-out audiences throughout the world. The performances will take place at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center in Orlando.  Call 407.770.0071 or visit

Eight from Florida at the Mennello Museum

We may all feel a sense of pride in the new exhibit opening October 14 at The Mennello Museum of American Art. Eight from Florida features the works of renowned Artists, each of whom created significant work while living in Florida. Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Jose Bedia, Margaret Tolbert, Sandy Winters, Dan Gunderson, Leslie Neuman, and John Chamberlain make up the “famous 8.”  Several large sculptures and interactive installations are included. Sandy Winters and Margaret Tolbert collaborate on a multi-media work incorporating drawings, light projections, sculptures, sounds and motion while Dan Gunderson presents Toys Are Us, a ten foot sculpture created from hundreds of children’s toys and action figures inspired by his young son. The Opening Reception is set for October 14 from 6 to 8 pm. The Mennello Museum is at 900 East Princeton Street at Loch Haven Park in Orlando. Visit or call 407 246 4278

And Save the Date

For their Annual Benefit Gala, the Maitland Art & History Museums will honor the accomplishments of US Congressman John Mica with a cocktail reception, dinner, entertainment and live and silent auctions on Sunday, October 16 at 6 pm. Tickets, sponsorships, and a private cocktail reception with Congressman Mica are available. Contact Juliet at 407.539.2181 ext 262 or visit

A work by Margaret Tolbert, at The Mennello Museum of American Art.

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