England's King Henry VIII wasn't taking chances with wife number four. The Catholic Church had banned divorce, so he created the Church of England in order to legally unload Catherine of Aragon, his first wife. Displeased with wife number two, Anne Boleyn, he had her beheaded. His third wife, Jane Seymour, died shortly after they were wed. When considering marriage for the fourth time, he set his sights on the Flemish princess Anne of Cleves, mainly for political reasons. (This was pre-NATO, remember, and marriage was one of the best ways to form a stable alliance.) But Henry had never actually seen the princess. So he sent a portrait artist over, and the result was a flattering oil painting of the prospective bride-to-be. Too flattering, it turns out. When the princess arrived in England, Henry took note of her equine facial features and dubbed her the "Mare of Flanders." Being as politically savvy as he was, he married her anyway. In The King's Mare, playwright Oscar E. Moore turns Anne's potentially sad story into a touching comedy by having her stand up to the tyrant. The battle of wills between the two rotund royals runs through May 23 at the Caldwell Theatre Company (7873 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton). Tonight's show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $29 to $37.50. Call 561-241-7432. See "Stage" listings for a complete schedule.
For those who can't get enough of the woman who made berets fashionable once again, Monica Lewinsky arrives in Fort Lauderdale today to push Monica's Story, written by Andrew Morton. The book recounts, in detail, the affair between Lewinsky, who was then a White House intern, and Pres. Bill Clinton. During Ken Starr's investigation and the subsequent impeachment proceedings, Lewinsky's lawyer forbade anyone associated with Lewinsky from speaking on her behalf for fear they too would be subpoenaed. So the book, based on extensive interviews with Lewinsky, her family, and friends, is the first in-depth look at her side of the story. "Everyone... has focused on the oral sex as if it were the main part of the relationship," Lewinsky whines in one passage. "It was always more passionate and loving than that stark phrase." Lost in the media feeding frenzy, she claims, was Clinton's "boyish ardor" for her; the Prez evidently told her she reminded him of his mom. Good one, Bill. Lewinsky appears tonight at 7 p.m. at Liberties Fine Books (888 Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale). Admission is free, but books for the signing must be purchased from Liberties. Call 954-522-6789.
As comedians go, Andrew Dice Clay is as foul-mouthed and mean-spirited as they come. His jokes rip the handicapped, the ill, minorities, and women with cruel, sometimes downright sick, observations punctuated by obscenities. Some consider it brutal bashing, others comedy. Either way, no-holds-barred standup is what Dice does best. Tone down his testosterone-fueled ranting -- as in his flop 1995-96 CBS sitcom Bless This House -- and the Diceman falls flat. So have his feature films: The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990), Brain Smasher... A Love Story (1993), and No Contest (1994). The only Dice movies that have received praise are his concert films. The praise, of course, comes mostly from fans, who will be happy to know that Dice is performing at 8 p.m. tonight at Sunrise Musical Theatre (5555 NW 95th Ave., Sunrise). Tickets cost $25.75 to $32.75. Call 954-741-7300.
British guitar god Robin Trower has a case of the blues. It's a departure from his early art-rock noodling with Procol Harum and his later Hendrix-inspired fretwork on solo albums such as the seminal Bridge of Sighs (1974). The Hendrix leanings were blues-tinged, no doubt, and early in his career Trower was compared to Eric Clapton, who's known for his blues-style guitar. But Trower had never gone as full-tilt in the blues direction as he does on his latest, Someday Blues. The album comprises three blues standards and seven originals penned by Trower, who decided not only to play guitar this time around but to sing as well -- for the first time in his career. When Trower performs tonight at the Carefree Theatre (2000 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach), fans will get a taste of the blues and a mix from his extensive rock repertoire. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $21. Call 561-833-7305.
In the Green Room at the Broward Center For the Performing Arts sits a green table with a net strung across it. That's because, as theatergoers are eating dinner, the cast of the Broadway musical Footloose likes to unwind with a game or two of Ping-Pong. The touring show totes its own table, which visitors will get to see as part of the backstage tours offered free every Monday at 1 and 3 p.m. The stages and wings of both the Amaturo and Au-Rene theaters are included in the tour, and along the way guides recount the history of the arts center. Opened in 1991, the building was designed by architect Ben Thompson, who used curved, sweeping lines to create the illusion of a ship docked along the New River. In keeping with the nautical theme, the interior includes plank ceilings and walls with wavelike curves. But the best part of the tour is "the tunnel," which leads to the prop, costume, and dressing rooms. There are two kinds of dressing rooms: celebrity suites equipped with wet bars and private showers and the shared rooms for the lowly choruses. Tours are also conducted the first Sunday of every month, between noon and 2 p.m. The center is located at 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Reservations are not required. Call 954-462-0222.
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