She came from Massachusetts and has long inhabited South Florida, but Marie's songs seem to drift out of western borderlands, all smoky with mesquite and a Texas-size longing. Standing resolute, cradling her guitar as both friend and shield, she sings of big empty skies and worn-out boots, looking back wistfully on love and history with a knowing voice that would almost break your heart if not for her punctuating smiles. After years of hustling cassettes, Nofsinger proudly released her first CD this year. Entitled Boots (Nofsinger is one folkie you won't see in sandals!), it is a great collection of acoustic originals featuring her confident strumming augmented by friends like Dusty Rhodes on bass and Bobby Hester on harmonica. Marie is a troubadour of the first order, gracing not just the stages of the region's top folk festivals but the late-night song-swaps around the campfires where reputations are made, places where she is known as one of the best.
It was the setting as much as the set that made this jazz funk trio's performance the best concert of the year. Keyboardist John Medeski went to high school at Pine Crest, a tony academy nestled in a northeast Fort Lauderdale neighborhood, and this show was a homecoming of sorts. Fresh from an appearance on the PBS series Sessions at West 54th, Medeski, bassist Chris Wood, drummer Billy Martin, and turntable artist Logic blazed through an inspired showcase of MMW's new album, Combustication. The crisp acoustics of Pine Crest's pristine auditorium and a hometown crowd of parents and friends made for a cozy high-school ambiance at a most uncommon venue. Inexplicably, punch was not served.
It was the setting as much as the set that made this jazz funk trio's performance the best concert of the year. Keyboardist John Medeski went to high school at Pine Crest, a tony academy nestled in a northeast Fort Lauderdale neighborhood, and this show was a homecoming of sorts. Fresh from an appearance on the PBS series Sessions at West 54th, Medeski, bassist Chris Wood, drummer Billy Martin, and turntable artist Logic blazed through an inspired showcase of MMW's new album, Combustication. The crisp acoustics of Pine Crest's pristine auditorium and a hometown crowd of parents and friends made for a cozy high-school ambiance at a most uncommon venue. Inexplicably, punch was not served.
A solo performer need not have a slew of computerized gizmos to be a one-man band, only a commitment to deliver as much music as he or she possibly can through his or her instrument of choice. When Scott Avery anchors a corner of a bar (such as Maguire's Hill 16 in Fort Lauderdale) with just his voice, his trusty Ovation guitar, and a stool, he unleashes a mind-numbing array of songs every bit as powerful as a full band. Avery inhabits his selections with an intuition that grasps their essence, turning everything from obscure rock nuggets to the latest pop hits into a singular repertoire that's all his. He is a man who knows how to entertain a crowd, but his CD release Night Fell Laughing, (a collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Michael Uhrich) is far more personal, a highly original affair featuring ornately constructed compositions performed with players like fiddler Jason Philbin (Goats Don't Shave). It reflects a depth that makes Scott Avery a standout among the area's solo performers.
A solo performer need not have a slew of computerized gizmos to be a one-man band, only a commitment to deliver as much music as he or she possibly can through his or her instrument of choice. When Scott Avery anchors a corner of a bar (such as Maguire's Hill 16 in Fort Lauderdale) with just his voice, his trusty Ovation guitar, and a stool, he unleashes a mind-numbing array of songs every bit as powerful as a full band. Avery inhabits his selections with an intuition that grasps their essence, turning everything from obscure rock nuggets to the latest pop hits into a singular repertoire that's all his. He is a man who knows how to entertain a crowd, but his CD release Night Fell Laughing, (a collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Michael Uhrich) is far more personal, a highly original affair featuring ornately constructed compositions performed with players like fiddler Jason Philbin (Goats Don't Shave). It reflects a depth that makes Scott Avery a standout among the area's solo performers.
Thanks to the proliferations of Broadway tours, South Florida audiences are never far from at least a glimmer of the Great White Way. What's harder to sample are the off-Broadway hits, shows that -- because of their quirkiness or bold attitudes -- don't quite fit into the mainstream. One such musical was Das Barbecü, the riotous, Hee-Haw-inspired adaptation of Wagner's Ring cycle presented by the Actors' Playhouse. How do you present a spoof of a three-day opera cycle in two-and-a-half hours? Apparently, by throwing together giants, Norns, river maidens, star-crossed lovers, and the rest of the gang of Teutonic trillers (all possessed of Broadway voices) with sequins, lassos, and kitsch-inspired lyrics. "I could eat a/Pound of Velveeta" went one song we couldn't get out of our heads. Nor do we ever want to.
Thanks to the proliferations of Broadway tours, South Florida audiences are never far from at least a glimmer of the Great White Way. What's harder to sample are the off-Broadway hits, shows that -- because of their quirkiness or bold attitudes -- don't quite fit into the mainstream. One such musical was Das Barbecü, the riotous, Hee-Haw-inspired adaptation of Wagner's Ring cycle presented by the Actors' Playhouse. How do you present a spoof of a three-day opera cycle in two-and-a-half hours? Apparently, by throwing together giants, Norns, river maidens, star-crossed lovers, and the rest of the gang of Teutonic trillers (all possessed of Broadway voices) with sequins, lassos, and kitsch-inspired lyrics. "I could eat a/Pound of Velveeta" went one song we couldn't get out of our heads. Nor do we ever want to.
Take one Victorian homosexual on trial, add a 20th-century talk-show host, a courtroom full of lawyers, some Aubrey Beardsley drawings, and lots of cute boys in their underwear, and you'll have Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde. The show, an Outer Critics Circle Award-winner in New York, received a stunning Florida production thanks to Caldwell Theatre Company artistic director Michael Hall, who also directed the show with understated elegance and savvy. Designed by Tim Bennett and Thomas Salzman, who outfitted actors and abstract scenery alike in a black-to-shades-of-gray color scheme, and driven by Hall's razor-sharp pacing, Gross Indecency exulted in its own artistic universe. We think Oscar Wilde would approve.
Take one Victorian homosexual on trial, add a 20th-century talk-show host, a courtroom full of lawyers, some Aubrey Beardsley drawings, and lots of cute boys in their underwear, and you'll have Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde. The show, an Outer Critics Circle Award-winner in New York, received a stunning Florida production thanks to Caldwell Theatre Company artistic director Michael Hall, who also directed the show with understated elegance and savvy. Designed by Tim Bennett and Thomas Salzman, who outfitted actors and abstract scenery alike in a black-to-shades-of-gray color scheme, and driven by Hall's razor-sharp pacing, Gross Indecency exulted in its own artistic universe. We think Oscar Wilde would approve.
"Acting isn't nice," says theater innovator Anna Deavere Smith, acknowledging the naked edges that cut the heart when a performance uncovers complex truths. OK, it's not nice. But sometimes it's quite palatable nonetheless. Especially when the people doing it are as talented and in sync as the troupers comprising the New Theatre's double bill Don Juan in Hell and A Christmas Carol. Under the direction of Rafael de Acha, this foursome -- Bill Yule, Bill Hindman, David Alt, and Lisa Morgan -- turned themselves into the Devil, Scrooge, Don Juan, and a number of supporting characters, including a panting dog and a bevy of thieves. In these two script-in-hand productions, props, costumes, and scenery hardly existed. They weren't missed. The magnificent quartet demonstrated the power that the actor alone exerts on our imagination. And multiplied it to the power of four.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®