Coming Up! Comedy shines at Guild with ‘Bench in the Sun’

A sunny comedy is next in the Vero Beach Theatre Guild season, following in the pawprints of the smash season-opening musical “Cats.” It’s Ron Clark’s “A Bench in the Sun,” and it hits the boards this coming Wednesday, Sept. 18. It’s the story of a pair of childhood buddies, Harold and Burt, residents of a retirement home.

Now, according to the show promo, the two are “joined at their arthritic hips by the bonds of time; and spend their days on a bench in the garden bickering.” Having been reunited after 30 years, they pick up their grudge right where they left it back in their childhood. But then, says samuelfrench.com, “as they trade barbs on ‘their bench,’ a new, sexy resident moves in (predictably), interrupts Burt and Harold’s routine, and gives them something new to argue about.” (Remember Ann-Margret in “Grumpy Old Men?) “A Bench in the Sun” is quite funny, wise and, at times, moving. But mostly – funny.

The show runs through Sept. 29. Curtain: Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Tickets: $15 to $30. 772-562-8300.

Rhythm is gonna get you: in large part because it’s muy caliente. The music of Latin America is the inspiration for the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra’s next concert – “Caliente!” – coming to the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center this Sunday, Sept. 15. Get ready for a fiery program filled with, promises the orchestra’s promo, “passionate tangos, blazing mambos and pulsating congas.”

The all-Latin program lists such favorites as Gershwin’s “Cuban Overture” and Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” along with sizzling works from contemporary Latin composers: “Conga del Fuego”; and Gabriela Lena Frank’s “Three Latin American Dances.” Performer and teacher Amy Cofield will employ her dazzling soprano with Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos’ best-known work, “the soaring aria from ‘Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5.’” Cofield, according to her bio, “has performed to critical acclaim” in the U.S. and abroad, including in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, England and Japan, and has been heralded by critics for her “lovely, rich tone, technical facility, beauty of interpretation and arresting presence.”

Among Cofield’s many operatic roles are Violetta, Cleopatra, Micaela, Lucia di Lammermoor, Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Mimi, Rosalinda, Cunegonde, Susannah, Musetta, Pamina, Gilda and Norina, as well as numerous concert performances. Taking the baton to present the world premiere of Christopher Marshall’s “Streets of Old San Juan” will be internationally recognized conductor Lazlo Marosi. According to the promo, Marosi has long been considered “a conductor’s conductor” by his peers, and has led orchestras in major concert halls worldwide, including Germany, Hungary, Argentina, Spain, and Brazil; and has led elite wind ensembles including “the Hungarian Central Army Band, the Royal Military Band of the Netherlands, the State Symphonic Band of Sao Paulo, the Wind Orchestra of the Teatro Libertador of Cordoba, Argentina, the U.S. Navy Band, and the U.S. Air Force Band of Europe.”

Stateside, Marosi teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting at the University of Central Florida. The orchestra’s hugely gifted and always enthusiastic director Aaron T. Collins says, “there’s just something about the music of Latin America that makes you want to move.” That’s no secret. It’s because it’s – “Caliente!” Time: 3 p.m. Tickets: $25 in advance; $30 at the door. 18 and under or with student ID, free. 855-252-7276 or www.SpaceCoastSymphony.org.

Ready to howl? Riverside Theatre’s popular, let-your-hair-down weekend experience, “Howl at the Moon,” returns this weekend, Sept. 13-14, with three skilled, funny, amazing musicians on stage – two dueling pianos and drums. This week you’re invited to “party like it’s 1999,” the focus being tunes from the ’80s and ’90s. At the 88s will be Howl faves Ellie Stewart, Ken Gustafson plus a special (TBA) guest drummer.

This is also a live request show: You get to pick the tunes and, as always, try to stump the pianists. As if … Plus, get even more into the era with ’80s and ’90s dress attire contests and, says Riverside, “a chance to win some ‘rad’ prizes”; drink specials; and other ’80s and ’90s surprises including a retro arcade. Outside, as always, it’s Live on the Loop, with free live music; and all kinds of foodstuffs and beverages (full bar and grill; don’t BYO).

Friday night’s live band will be the soul/rock party band Rocket City; classic rock from the ’90s to today’s hits will fill the air and keep the vibe lively Saturday, courtesy of Alternative Therapy. Times: Howl – 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m. Live on the Loop – 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets: Howl – side seats $12; table seating $16-$22. Live on the Loop – free. 772-231-6990 or www.riversidetheatre.com.

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