A glimpse at some of the 4-star attractions that the Ocean Reef Cultural Center has planned for 2020
I know many of you Ocean Reef Members have just arrived in Ohio, New York, Maine, Colorado or some other destination you call “back home”. You may not even be unpacked and here I am talking like a politician about 2020.
Why? Because Barbara Olcott, the Cultural Center chairman, recently gave me a rundown on the attractions that she and John Hunt (CC President) and the Entertainment Committee (chaired by Linda Owens) have already lined up for next season. A few other attractions are expected but have not yet confirmed.
I checked the list. Then I did a little homework on the internet so that, when I receive the catalogue in early fall, I’ll have a pretty good idea of most of the tickets I want to request.
In case you are as curious as I was, here’s a summary of some of the attractions awaiting you next season at the Cultural Center.
THE LINE-UP Il Divo (Jan. 4) is a quartet of male opera singers, who have successfully combined classical music with ballads, church music, folk and pop. I had not heard of them (though friends tell me they are all over TV and the net) but I found a big collection of their albums on Amazon Music and I am now a total fan. In addition to being super talented, they are also handsome and elegant. Il Divo means “divine performer” in Italian. I can’t wait to see them live at the CC.
Belinda Davids: A Tribute to Whitney Houston (Jan. 17) is next on the Cultural Center’s agenda – and on mine as well. One fan said it all – “Belinda Davids sounds remarkably like Whitney Houston. If I had shut my eyes, I’d have been convinced that I was listening to the legend herself.” Worth the price of admission to hear her sing “I Will Always Love You.”
From Jan. 19 to 24 many Ocean Reef Members will get their much-anticipated cultural fix by attending the annual Chamber Music Festival. This will be the 14th year that Artistic Director Anne Marie McDermott has put together a cadre of world class musicians for 5 Ocean Reef concerts – 3 of them are soirees presented in the drawing room of a Member’s home (shades of Downton Abbey). There’s also the added bonus of a youth concert and a free concert performed in the CC’s theatre.
On Jan. 27 just a few days after the Chamber Music’s finale at the Cultural Center, the stage will resound with a chorus of 12 men, who comprise Chanticleer, known world-wide as an “Orchestra of Voices.” … Founded in San Francisco in 1978 to present Renaissance music as it was originally performed, the group has widened their repertoire to include jazz, gospel, folk, as well as venturesome new music. I bet their rendition of “Shenandoah” will bring tears to your eyes.
Every season at the Cultural Center there has to be at least one Rock & Roll entry. This winter on Feb.1 Daryl Hall, best known as the co-founder and lead vocalist of Hall & Oates, will enliven our theatre with renditions of old favorites like “Kiss on My List” and “She’s Gone.” Hall is a R&R legend, an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I’ll bet fans like my golfing buddy Chris Fisher will be on board for this one.
On Feb. 5th I know I’ll be on my feet for a standing ovation for “A Gin Game,” presented by Zoetic Stage. It is a marvelous Pulitzer Prize winning play – funny, warm and ultimately very moving. I saw it on Broadway years ago, where it starred Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn (pictured below). It’s perfect for the Ocean Reef audience and the acclaimed Zoetic theatre group is staging it just for us. It is only 90 minutes long and with a 6 p.m. curtain, you can enjoy early dinner with the stars.
When I mentioned to a friend that I was looking forward to attending a performance of the Russian State Symphony Orchestra, she replied – “I didn’t know you were going to Moscow.” When I explained that this internationally respected orchestra would be performing at Ocean Reef’s Cultural Center on Feb. 12, she was duly impressed. You will be too, when you hear their renditions of Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninoff.
It’s human nature to crave diversity. And in this case on Feb. 15 Human Nature, an Australian boy band, will provide a nice contrast to the Russian symphony. They call their performance a Jukebox Show because they play pop hits from the 50’s to present day. You’ll hear the classics like “Stand by Me” and “Under the Boardwalk,” as well as Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
Back by Popular Demand! I’m talking about Paul Anka, who comes to the Cultural Center on March 5th. This engaging singer/song writer/actor wowed the Ocean Reef audience at his appearance 7 years ago. I missed seeing him then, but this time I’m definitely going to be there. I can’t wait to hear him belt out his hits (e.g. “Having My Baby,” “One Man Woman,” “My Way”). I’m also looking forward to his stories of the Rat Pack and Ol’ Blue Eyes.
Wrapping up the season in March and early April, there will be a few surprises – shows that are expected to confirm but have not yet done so. One of them will certainly be a big country star. And on April 18 there will be the performance (confirmed and much anticipated) by the Oceanaires, a talented group of our very own Ocean Reef Members.
CABARET– Three years ago Barbara Olcott had the idea of adding Cabaret to the Cultural Center’s schedule of live performances. These Cabarets, where the dining area of the CC morphs into a nightclub with small tables, catered dinner service and entertainment, have proved to be all the rage with OR Members… Scheduled for 2020: Aaron Lazar (Jan. 20), a fine actor/singer with a host of impressive Broadway credits, including the father in last year’s Tony winning musical Dear Evan Hansen. And Kate Baldwin, who has endeared herself to fans of musical theatre on Broadway (e.g. Finian’s Rainbow, Hello Dolly, Big Fish) and around the country (e.g. South Pacific, White Christmas, The King and I)… Both of these talented performers have a lot to sing about. CAMPUS In 2020 the three series (Speaker Series, History Buffs, Film Society) presented under the umbrella of the Campus at the Cultural Center will offer fascinating learning experiences.
Speaker Series. Christine Patton, Campus Chair, has lined-up four knowledgeable and articulate people. Dr. Joel Cohen (medicine); Dan Hudak (Academy Awards); Austin Sarat (law & politics); Jessica Payne (effects of stress on memory). And Good News –in the new season the Speaker Series is open to the community and it’s FREE! …History Buffs will feature two “big time” authors – A.J. Balme (“The Accidental President” about Harry Truman) and Mike Bernath (a leading Civil War historian). On your arrival for these talks you will be seated at a table in the Compass Room, CC’s dining area, where you will enjoy the speaker and later dinner…Film Society, going into its 7th year, will continue its popular program of presenting 5 movies with a food theme, followed by dinner with a related menu…
HAPPY SUMMER & MANY HAPPY RETURNS to Ocean Reef and a splendid season at the Cultural Center.