Josh Garrick Recommends for the HOLIDAZE 2021

For those who believe the arts should be a part of their family’s holiday adventures – Josh Garrick recommends a few classics for some and new works for others. NOW is the time to reserve your tickets to become a part of it all!

The Dr. Phillips Center presents 

“Tootsie” 

Nov. 2–7, 2021

We’re beginning the holiday column with the return of the Broadway Series to the Dr. Phillips Center, because having Broadway back in Orlando is the biggest holiday gift I can think of! The series begins with what Rolling Stone calls “musical comedy heaven.” Tootsie is a laugh-a-minute love letter to the theater that tells the story of a talented (but difficult) actor who struggles to find work until one strangely magical moment gives him (or is it her?) the role of a lifetime. It also has a hilarious Tony-winning book by Robert Horn, and I completely agree with Rolling Stone – “In these turbulent times, when the world seems out of balance, we need a place to let the good times roll. Tootsie is it!” Yay! Call 844.513.2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org.

ORLANDO REP presents

Cinderella

Nov. 12 – Dec. 19, 2021

This holiday season the Orlando Rep is inviting us all to the ball (even wicked step sisters) with the recent Broadway version of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. This outrageously funny, contemporary take on the fairytale classic features songs by two of Broadway’s greatest songwriters – Rodgers & Hammerstein. Cinderella sings “In My Own Little Corner,” and “Ten Minutes Ago,” along with a hilarious (and romantic) libretto. In this version, Cinderella is a “strong woman – woman” who takes charge of her own destiny while the confused but “Handsome Prince” finds his way through the forest to claim his “true love.” You WILL LAUGH – I promise! Call 407.896.7365 or visit orlandorep.com.

Winter Park Playhouse presents 

CHRISTMAS MY WAY: A SINATRA Holiday Bash

Nov. 12 – Dec. 18, 2021

A Sinatra holiday show is PERFECT for those multi-talented folks at the Winter Park Playhouse. No one in Central Florida does the “cabaret format” better. With perfect timing, we’re invited to embrace our holiday spirit with ole “Blue Eyes, “and ring in the holidays with a swinging, “dance in the aisles” musical. Including an amazing 40 pop hits from classic Sinatra tunes to seasonal favorites ‘Rat Pack Style,’ this show includes (of course) “Fly Me to The Moon,” “That¹s Life,” “New York, New York,” “Mistletoe and Holly,” “Silver Bells,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and so many more. Call 407.645,0145 or visit winterparkplayhouse.org.

Dr. Phillips Center presents

Neil deGrasse Tyson 

Nov. 17, 2021

Thanks to his gift for being ‘understood,’ (in an amusing and inclusive way), Neil deGrasse Tyson is the recipient of 19 honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal! His contributions to the public appreciation of the cosmos are as limited as space itself. The International Astronomical Union named asteroid 13123 Tyson, and thinking diversity, Mr. Tyson was voted “Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive” by People Magazine in 2000. Probably the most audience-friendly of the world’s geniuses, in this talk, Mr. Tyson will explore the “mismatch between expectations of where we should be in space and the geopolitical and economic realities that limit it.” Call 844.513.2014 or visit DrPhillipsCenter.org.

The Garden Theatre in Winter Garden presents 

BIG, the musical

Nov. 19 – Dec. 19, 2021

Even if you’re at the age when your friends remind you that your age is “just a number” (grrrr), when you’re 13, you can’t wait to be BIG. In this musical drawn from the beloved Tom Hanks movie of the 80’s, 13-year-old Josh finds himself magically transformed into a 30-year-old man. Clever enough to realize this is the chance to have a great time, Josh “lives” his new life in a grown-up world reminding himself and his new colleagues of the joys of childhood. This fun-filled musical is touched with the fun of Peter Pan’s pixie dust…you don’t have to grow up! Call 407.877.4736 or visit gardentheatre.org.

The Messiah Choral Society presents

The Annual performance of Handel’s Messiah

Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. – this performance is FREE

There is something magical about the annual gift to the community of this performance – especially when the entire audience stands up to join the choir for the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Should you decide to JOIN the chorus this year, there are 10 practices scheduled in local churches with the glorious, PUBLIC performance set for November 21 at Trinity Prep. This FREE performance is one of the beautiful and inclusive ways in which our multi-talented community shares the holiday spirit. Call 407.277.5128 or visit messiahchoralsociety.org.

Orlando PHILHARMONIC 

“HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS”

Nov. 27 at 3:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. 

At Festival Park on East Robinson St. 

Each holiday season, the Orlando Philharmonic turns to our favorite holiday songs and carols and invites several guest artists to a truly joyful introduction to the season. This year Conductor Mauricio Céspedes Rivero and the Orchestra will perform with the holiday singers, the Opera Orlando Youth Company, and

special guests Heather Thorn and Vivacity. Experience Home for the Holidays in the beauty of the Festival Park with the wonderful sounds of the season. It’s the perfect way to kick-off the holiday season with our Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra! Call 407.770.0071 or visit orlandophil.org.

Orlando Shakespeare Theatre

A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens 

Dec. 1–24, 2021

Certain performances can be counted on each holiday season to create the best of our holiday memories for the whole family. That is certainly true of the heartwarming Christmas classic “A Christmas Carol” about to come to life on-stage in a new adaptation by Shakes Artistic Director Jim Helsinger. The miserly Ebenezer Scrooge greets Christmas with a “bah humbug,” until he is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. This adaptation features Christmas carols and magical special effects to tell the tale of one man’s chance to change for the better. Visit orlandoshakes.org.

The Morse Museum presents 

Christmas in the Park in Winter Park

Dec. 2, 2021 at 6:15 p.m. – a FREE event 

Each year, on the first Thursday of December, the Morse Museum launches its gift to the holiday season when it creates holiday magic and lights up the Museum’s amazing Tiffany windows in Winter Park’s Central Park. Part of that magic includes the Bach Festival Choir and Brass Ensemble in a FREE concert for the community. Created as a way for the Museum to share their rare Tiffany collection with the public, the Morse Museum and the City of Winter Park co-sponsor the event. The price is FREE, and the event begins at 6:15 p.m. when the lights come on and remain lit till 8:30 p.m. Blankets and lawn chairs may be set up beginning at 4 p.m.

The Orlando Ballet presents

The NUTCRACKER

Dec. 3–19, 2021

Just as “A Christmas Carol” is to theatre and the “Messiah” is to orchestral music, the magic of the ballet, the Nutcracker is a not-to-be-missed holiday tradition. Fortunately, the Orlando Ballet has a beautiful production of this annual favorite. Gorgeous dancing, along with glittering sets and costumes, tells the story of a toy nutcracker. With magic – and a giant Christmas tree – the Nutcracker soldier comes to life and saves young Clara from the Mouse King and his army. Then, traveling through a land of dancing snowflakes, we join Clara in a “sugar plum world” of storybook characters. Call 844.513.2914 or visit orlandoballet.org.

Opera Orlando presents 

“The Secret River” 

A world premiere performance at the Dr. Phillips Center 

Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. & Dec. 19 at 2 p.m.

With music by Stella Sung and a libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Mark Campbell, our adventurous young Opera company is about to present the world premiere of Opera Orlando’s first commissioned opera. Based on a book by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, the work will be sung in English. The work is set in Central Florida during the Great Depression and follows the journey of Calpurnia, a young girl with a big imagination as she searches for a secret river to help her family and small town. 

Call 844.513.2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org or operaorlando.org.

AMWAY CENTER presents

Andrea Boccelli’s “Believe” Tour

Dec. 19, 2021 

There is only one tenor in the world today whose voice can both thrill and comfort an audience like that of Andrea Bocelli. Now, just in time for Christmas, Bocelli’s “Believe” American Tour, visiting 21-cities, includes a glorious return to Orlando’s Amway Center, and tickets are on sale now! The performance will feature songs from Bocelli’s poignant and uplifting new album “Believe,” a very personal collection of songs celebrating the power of love and forgiveness, along with arias, cross-over hits and love songs. With a voice that brings comfort to people around the world, Bocelli is joining us for Christmas in Orlando. Tickets via Ticket Master.

Dr. Phillips Center presents

Jim Gaffigan – The Fun Tour

Dec. 30, 2021 at 7 p.m. & Dec. 31, 2021 at 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.

I’m not at all surprised that Jim Gaffigan is one of the Top 5 highest earning comedians in the country.

He’s my favorite comedian – ever! Called “the everyman comedian,” he’s known for his love of food, his five children and reasons for NOT going to the gym. One of his kids gave him the inspiration for his 2013 best-selling book called, “Dad is Fat.” Another of his quirks is his “spooky voice” that is known to comment on his performance while it’s happening. Woo hoo – the tour brings him to the Dr. Phillips Center on New Year’s Eve. I’m marking this as “Highly Recommended.” The conjunction of the stars brings one of the funniest persons on the planet to us as we enter a New Year. That’s gotta be a good thing. Call 844.513.2014 or visit drphillipscenter.org.

Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando presents

Giants, Dragons & Unicorns: The World of Mythic Creatures

On exhibit NOW to Jan. 23, 2022

Originally created by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Giants, Dragons & Unicorns: The World of Mythic Creatures features unique ‘cultural objects’ that highlight the ways people around the world have envisioned or depicted mythic creatures. The exhibit includes cast fossils of prehistoric animals to investigate how – through fear or simple imagination – fossils may have inspired the legends around these “creatures.” For example, dinosaur fossils were mistaken for the remains of griffins, and tales of mermaids or sea monsters came from exaggerated fisherman’s stories of real creatures such as the giant squid. Fascinating! Call 407.836.8500 or visit thehistorycenter.org.

Josh Garrick has been creating, fundraising and writing about the Arts for all of the 24 years he’s lived in Orlando. In recognition of his service to the Arts, Mayor Buddy Dyer named June 27 as “Josh Garrick Day” in the City of Orlando. 

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