Riverside Children’s Theatre may have said goodbye to retiring education director Linda Downey last week. But the mascot, RT Star, is still around, and Saturday’s his birthday celebration. RT (pronounced Artie) popped up in the late 1980s, according to the always discreet Riverside marketing department, and he’s been particularly visible these past four years or so.
Kids’ activities are planned for most of the day starting at 10 a.m., with a noontime production by an Orlando-based touring company, Atlantic Coast Theatre, of “The Three Little Circus Pigs.” Student productions include bits from both “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Wiz,” and mimes and clowns will meander among the crowds. The event is free, thanks to the funding of the McCabe Family Foundation.
As the earth starts to sizzle, the sky can look pretty appealing, particularly in the 72-degree Hallstrom Planetarium on the Fort Pierce campus of Indian River State College. A new show this weekend and next is all about Hercules, the Greek legend, and the traces in the sky that remind us of him, from his slaying of the dragon Draco to three apples he takes from the Hesperides (the three stars in the handle of the Big Dipper.) Shows are Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. Planetarium director Jon Bell suggests the show for guests as young as 4, but cautions to bring a sweater.
Sunday marks the opening of the season for Theatre-Go-Round, the dinner theater run by Jon Putzke at the Quilted Giraffe restaurant on South U.S. 1. The first show has a 1960s theme, and stars regulars Beth McKenzie-Shestak, Shamara Turner and Gregory Harris. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for drinks and dinner, with the revue started at 6 p.m. Future shows this season will have a New York theme, says Putzke.
Meanwhile, the Vero Beach Theatre Guild is mid-run in its production of “You Can’t Take it With You,” the Pulitzer-prize winning comic play directed by Dee Ridenour. The Guild’s president, Mark Wygonik, fully expects the show to be another hit for the community theater, following four other shows he says were “big, successful shows.”
“Dee has found some great character actors,” says Wygonik. “Michael Fiore who plays the Russian guy, Kelli Adams who’s the ballerina, she’s just a riot. Dee is really good with getting an ensemble cast put together and it’s thoroughly delightful.”
Meanwhile, auditions are coming up for the Guild’s summer fundraiser. This year, Wygonik says they’re a little “Gilbert and Sullivan’ed out,” after “Mikado” last summer and “Pirates of Penzance” the summer before that. So instead, they’ll be putting on a revue of music from both Broadway and Hollywood, but not the same old standards: He’s thinking a little “Young Frankenstein” and “Sunset Blvd.”, maybe some “Sweeny Todd,” and a touch of “Chicago.”
And in Melbourne, the musical version of John Waters’ “Cry-baby,” opens Friday at the Henegar Center and runs through the end of the month. It is the first time anywhere that “Cry-baby” has been staged by a community theater group. Waters, best known for his movie “Hairspray,” sets this show in 1950s Baltimore, with the couple in love the usual good-girl, bad-boy combo with a side of jealous boyfriend. The cast includes Vero’s Shane Frampton as one of the “Squares.”
Remember the running competition between church music directors, when Marcos Flores of Christ by the Sea Methodist Church would play piano while his brother, Jose Daniel Flores, formerly of Community Church, would play organ? Jose Daniel has since moved on to direct a choir in Albany, NY. But that doesn’t mean the siblings are staying quietly in their respective corners.
The dueling Flores brothers are reviving their old rivalry, this time at Advent Lutheran Church in Suntree. The point is to determine which of the two instruments is king. Like Community Church, Advent Lutheran has an A. E. Schleuter pipe organ with 2,100 pipes (about half the size of Community’s); it’s borrowing a concert grand from Atlantic Piano. The concert starts at 3 p.m. The church is on N. Wickham Road.
As for music, it seems nearby venues are turning down the volume for the summer. But at Plaza Live in Orlando there are still excellent acts to see. Friday, Jason Isbell plays Americana off his latest album, which is really wonderful. And next Saturday, May 23, Steve Earle and the Dukes are back together playing a harder-edged, more driving sound that is at least as wonderful. Earle just released his 16th studio album, “Terraplane,” and this time, he strays from outlaw country into blues territory.