Arts & Culture - Staff Picks
Published: July 18, 2012
Best bettering of Broadway without a budget
A Behanding in Spokane
Feb. 10-March 10, 2012
Usually, when a recent Broadway hit is staged by a local theater company, the best compliment we can give is something along the lines
of "They did a great job, considering we're in Orlando." A happy exception was Howlers Theater's no-holds-barred take on Martin McDonagh's crime comedy A Behanding in Spokane. On a shoebox-sized stage and with scarcely any set, director Jeremy Wood exceeded the impact of the well-financed New York production in nearly every respect, and his actors (Scott Browning, Jamie-Lyn Markos, Aaron Smalls, Tony Demil) put their overpaid movie-star counterparts to shame.
Best new theatrical home
VarieTease at Say It Loud!
1121 N. Mills Ave.
Baby Blue Star's VarieTease, the burlesque-meets-circus blend that's blown audiences' minds beginning with the hit show Carnivale, is one of Orlando's hottest acts, but the troupe has long sought a permanent home base (Julio Lima's safety-orange Say It Loud studio was its most recent stop). But now we hear Blue's finally got a place of her own! VarieTease will be titillating audiences at the Venue, a deceptively woodsy-looking studio on Virginia Drive, starting this fall – another step toward making Ivanhoe Village an active arts destination.
Best quasi-Hollywood cameo
Orlando Weekly newsstand in Renee
Local colleges, personalities and businesses alike came together last year for the making of Renee, the story of local nonprofit To Write Love On Her Arms. The movie starred 2 Broke Girls' Kat Dennings, but at the film's premiere on opening night of this year's Florida Film Festival, we were captivated by a far brighter star: us! Like all great cameos – Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction, Brad Pitt in Full Frontal – it was a blink-and-you-missed-it kind of greatness, but there we were, a shiny red box full of papers in an otherwise despairing, colorless world, proudly staking our cinematic claim with only a name: Orlando Woodley?!?! OK, so they didn't want us to sue them or something, but we're still SO ready for our close-up.
Best Kid-Art Camouflage
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
There's one cardinal rule in the fine arts: Whenever you're worried about your product, fill it up with the innocent expressions of children. That way you have a captive audience of glowing parents and the public relations appearance of being inclusive. As we all sit on our hands waiting to see just how this whole DPAC thing plays out (will it ever include the acoustic hall it was sold to the public upon?), the folks running the show have wisely – and predictably – wrapped the fence surrounding the construction site with child-drawn stick figures and words like "poetry" as a sort of glossing-over of the fact that, at least initially, the venue will basically be a touring hall for Broadway shows and Tom Jones concerts. Well, at least the kids can dream!