Who knew the King of Pop could inspire classic theater? "Michael Jackson goes to court and everybody pays attention," says Richard Gamble, artistic director of Florida Atlantic University's 2005 Festival Repertory Theatre. In hopes of drawing some attention himself, Gamble chose a whodunit called The Hollow to open this year's theater festival on Friday. The play was written by the matriarch of mystery, Agatha Christie.
"This is the first time we've done a mystery in the festival [in years]. We've usually done comedy," Gamble says. "It's not The Mousetrap, which is probably Christie's most popular mystery. A lot of people aren't so familiar with The Hollow, so they won't know the ending."
Directed by Jean-Louis Baldet, a professor in FAU's department of theater, The Hollow will be performed by a cast of 12, including FAU students and two equity actors. "It's probably got the broadest group of eccentric characters, so it gives us a wonderful vehicle not only as entertainment but also as education," Baldet says. "And I'm working with the play as a cinema-noir film. We've underlined scenes with dark, brooding music and highlighted important moments in the dialogue with musical stings." Baldet's set includes "surreal" elements, such as walls that look as if they're deteriorating and mist that comes down from the ceiling.
The Hollow will be followed by West Side Story (July 1 to 23) and A Celebration of Rodgers and Hammerstein (July 29 to 31). West Side Story is directed by FAU dance instructor Clarence Brooks. "There's a lot of choreography in the show, and Clarence knows more about dance than anybody here," Gamble says. Brooks has danced with more than 50 companies and with many of New York's great choreographers. Among them: Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis, Laura Dean, and Anna Sokolow. "The cast is phenomenal," Brooks says of the 40 or so performers. "And the set design is a brilliant example of minimalism in cityscape." A Celebration of Rodgers and Hammerstein will feature six selections from the duo's musicals -- a mix of solos, duets, group numbers, and medleys. -- Kate Mattingly
Beetlejuice Gets a Mouthful
Howard Stern has introduced us to some real bizarre specimens over the years. But of all the memorably deranged characters that have appeared on his show, none flies the freak flag quite like Beetlejuice, the four-foot-three, 90-pound "Jolly Dwarf." Perhaps even more bizarre is that he's allowed to tour as a standup comic. Though, in an age of reality-show-induced rubbernecking, Beetlejuice offers the ultimate reality comic; he is the punch line, and he's far more surreal than anything Tim Burton ever could have dreamed up. Currently on tour with fellow Sternians (Sternia?) the Reverend Bob Levy and Sal "the Stockbroker" Governale, Beetlejuice (born Lester Green) provides more freak power in one performance than a year's worth of the Michael Jackson media circus. Plus, the 'Juice often takes over Levy's infamous "bleu cheese" routine, in which a female audience member lets the comic lick salad dressing from the dark side of her moon. Mmm... Can I get some croutons with that? The trifecta of weird stops by Thursday through Saturday at the New York Comedy Club (8221 Glades Rd., Boca Raton). Tickets cost $15 to $20. Call 561-470-6887, or visit www.nyccboca.com. -- Jason Budjinski
Don't hate DJ Snezana 'cause she's beautiful
It's pretty much guaranteed: All the boys at Pangaea (5711 Seminole Way, Hollywood) for the club's "Boutique Thursdays" will lock eyes on the beautiful DJ Snezana, what with her rock-hard abs, her Australian accent, and her big box of dirty rock, electroclash, and hip-hop records. When they do, you might expect all the other girls in the room to whine at their boyfriends, "Oh, just because homegirl has some fancy Serbian name, worked as a dancer in Tokyo for eight years, and has become one of Miami's hottest DJs with coveted slots at Pearl and a feature in Playboy magazine -- you think she's cool?" But no. By saying things like, "I feel absolutely delicious" and "This is what really moves me -- the soul of a person and the beautiful sound of life" (as she told the Miami Herald), Snez has ignited a thousand girl-crushes too. Did we mention that, in her free time, she works to help save tigers? Fall in love when doors open at 10 p.m. There's no cover. Call 954-581-5454. -- Deirdra Funcheon
Shake, Battle, and Roll
Most local battles of the bands are fought for something tangible like studio time or music gear. Other battles, however, are a matter of who's watching. Friday's battle at Sofa Kings Sports Bar (9160 W. State Rd. 84, Davie) has an audience most bands would gladly fight for -- representatives from Geffen and Universal records. Though there's more than $10,000 in prizes up for grabs, the prospect of a fat record deal could reap even bigger benefits. (You know -- fame, chicks, a spot on Cribs.) Shit, ten grand's probably what most rock stars spend on a week's worth of dry cleaning. Doing battle are nine bands from the tricounty area: Montag, Breakline, Skylab, Wakestate, E-S-P, Chicken for Chico, Southland, Quixotic, and Lost, My Love? (pictured). With styles ranging from jazzy punk and metallic hardcore to experimental rock, the judges have plenty to choose from. So, will one of these bands be doing the contract shuffle? Show up at 7 p.m. and find out. The show costs $5 for ages 21 and up. Call 954-474-5637. -- Jason Budjinski