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From South Pacific to Tuna, Texas: Culture Worth the Miles

| November 30, 2011

South Pacific by way of Lincoln Center

The temperature rises from December 6 to 11 as the national tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical South Pacific settles into the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center.


Based on the 2008 Tony Award-winning Lincoln Center Theater production, the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical takes place on a Pacific island during World War II, focusing on two very different love stories — Navy nurse Nellie Forbush and French plantation owner Emile de Becque and Navy Airman Joe Cable and a young native girl — and how their happiness is affected by war and their own prejudices. The score includes the classics Some Enchanted Evening, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair, Bali Ha’i, and There is Nothin’ Like A Dame. This production features the operatically trained Marcelo Guzzo as Emile de Becque, adding a special resonance to his performance of Some Enchanted Evening. Visit or call 1-800-982-2787.

A Tuna Christmas

In the ‘Holiday’ sequel to Greater Tuna, the outrageous characters of Tuna, Texas are back to cope with the traumas and dramas of the ‘Holidaze.’  Radio personalities Thurston and Arles report that Christmas festivities are in jeopardy and no nativity scene is safe.  Didi Snavely (who runs the used gun shop), her husband R.R. (who sees UFO’s), and all their neighbors are on a rampage because a ‘Phantom’ is destroying holiday displays before the annual prizes are awarded.  With amazing comedic timing (and split-second costume changes), comedians Michael Kevin Baldwin and Mark Lainer portray all 24 citizens of this mythical small town.  Directed by Patrick Flick, the play runs through December 30 at the Shakespeare Center at 812 East Rollins Street in Loch Haven Park in Orlando. Call 407.447.1700 or visit


That fearless team of ‘pratfall’ comedians who work together as the PB&J Theatre Factory have created their own original Holiday comedy – called SLEIGH – playing through December 18 at the Shakespeare Center. They’ve packed the entire holiday season into one entertaining evening, so bundle up the family and hurry over the river and through the woods to laugh your way through the holidays! First, a young couple spends their first Christmas together, tackling holiday traditions with very different expectations. Meanwhile, a pair of shopkeepers redefines ‘rivalry’ as they coax customers away from their competitor, and finally, three very determined mail carriers fight the elements – and each other – to make a delivery. SLEIGH plays through December 18. Call 407.447.1700 or visit

The Gift of ART

Imagine the most unique Holiday gift you could offer – one that benefits not only the person to whom you give it, but also benefits our local arts community as well. This year Americans can give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. I’m talking about original ART – created by the talented artists who are our neighbors, and who are working to maintain their art at this time of economic hardship.  Here are 3 events that feature ‘Affordable ART’ – all original – all affordable – and all hard-earned money that DOES NOT go overseas. Let’s consider it a new tradition of giving and sharing.

First Thursday at the Orlando Museum of Art helps with their Art Under $200 exhibit which will be shown (and available to buy) for one-night-only on December 1 from 6 to 9 pm. Museum curators are hoping to see “a buying frenzy for original works of Art all priced under $200.”  At this perfect event for art enthusiasts, collectors and gift givers, Dickens Carolers will be caroling, Santa Claus will be there to encourage gift-giving, and a “Cupcake Sampling” will be part of the evening. Admission is $10, and parking is free at Orlando Loch Haven Park. Call 407 896 4231 x260 or visit

One of the most rewarding shopping trips of your year will be a visit to the Artists’ Open House at the McRae Art Studios. Tucked-away in Winter Park is a studio warehouse filled with award-winning artists. Each Holiday Season, the McRae Artists open their studios to the community selling their gallery-worthy work at discounted prices. ‘Collectors’ know about this chance to purchase original work, and now you do too. The Open House will be held Friday, December 2 from 6 to 9 pm and Saturday, December 3 from 4 to 9 pm. Admission is free and all are invited. McRae Art Studios are at 904 Railroad Avenue in Winter Park. Call 407.599.9956 or visit

Pottery-lovers may rejoice as dozens of POTTERS join together to show (and sell) their ‘wares’ at the 1st Annual Orlando Pottery and Ceramic Festival. To be held from 9 am to 4 pm on December 3 at Loch Haven Neighborhood Center, the Festival will feature all forms of ceramic art, from plates and mugs to piggy-banks to abstract sculptures. Along with 50 potters selling their wares, the Festival will include live music as well as food and beverages. The Center is at 610 N. Lake Formosa Drive, near Loch Haven Park. Free parking is available. Call 407.900.7687 (POTS).

A Christmas Parade

“Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade is (at 59 years), Central Florida’s longest running Christmas Parade. The Parade will continue its tradition of marching down historic Park Avenue spreading holiday cheer in downtown Winter Park with more than 100 bands, dance troupes, floats, local dignitaries and – Santa Claus – to delight the young and young-at-heart on Saturday, December 3 from 9 am to 10 am. Visit or call 407.644.8281.

The Diviners Alternative

In an alternative to ‘standard’ holiday shows, this drama, as described by producer Beth Marshall, is “poignant, touching, and profound.” The Diviners, set in the 1930’s, is about a backsliding preacher who befriends a young boy who has the ability to ‘divine’ for water. The Diviners stars 14-year-old C.K. Anderson as the mentally-challenged young ‘Diviner,’ with Michael Marinaccio as the backsliding preacher. The two outcasts find a common bond and help each other ‘divine’ for faith and hope in a different kind of story for this holiday season. The Diviners will be performed through December 18 at the Garden Theatre on Plant Street in downtown Winter Garden.  Call 407.877.4736 or visit

Holidays at the Waterhouse Museum

The Art & History Museums – Maitland invites us to spend part of our Holidays with the Waterhouse family at the annual Holidays at the Waterhouse through January 15, 2012. The historic Waterhouse Residence Museum is at 820 Lake Lily Drive in Maitland. Built in 1884 by pioneer William Waterhouse, the house has been beautifully restored to reflect the way of life enjoyed by a middle class family during the late Victorian period. We can journey back in time to see Sarah and William Waterhouse prepare for their Christmas celebration as each room features Victorian-era holiday decorations and historical facts about the season. Call 407-539-2181 or visit

December at The Mennello Museum of American Art

While the “must-see” Eight From Florida exhibit continues through January 1, the Mennello Museum offers several “fun-days” to enhance the experience.  The exhibit features works by Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Jose Bedia, Margaret Tolbert, Sandy Winters, Dan Gunderson, Leslie Neuman and John Chamberlain – ALL Artists who have created significant bodies of work while living in Florida.

Dates worth adding to your calendar:

Dec. 6 at 5:30 pm join Museum Director Frank Holt for a tour of the Eight From Florida exhibit. The night begins with wine and cheese, followed by the program at 6 pm. Admission $10; reservations required.

Dec. 10 from 7 am to noon is the “Donut Drive-Thru and Garage Sale” where we get to pick up a dozen hot donuts for sale and browse through bargain-priced treasures from the Museum’s basement.

Dec. 11 is Family Day where kids make a holiday craft project and tour the galleries, while grown-ups get in Free from noon to 4:30 pm. Kid’s activities from 12:30 to 2 pm are Free!
Call 407-426-4278 or visit

The Waterhouse Museum's family room.

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1 Response for “From South Pacific to Tuna, Texas: Culture Worth the Miles”

  1. Layla says:

    I can highly recommend “A Tuna Christmas”. It is one of the most hilarious plays I’ve ever seen.

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