Wednesday, October 31, 2012

“Avenue Q” Another Winner for Slow Burn Theatre

By Skip Sheffield

Slow Burn Theatre Company continues its winning streak, leading off its fourth season with the bawdy musical comedy with puppets, “Avenue Q.” The show runs through Sunday. Nov. 4 at West Boca Raton High School at the west end of Glades Road.
Uproariously funny, often touching and very clever, this “Avenue Q” is every bit as good as the touring Broadway show I saw at Broward Center a few years back. What makes this all the more amazing is that this is a totally homegrown show, from direction, choreography and cast to large puppets hand-crafted from scratch by Richard Pena. All this was done on a tiny fraction of what a Broadway production costs.
The amazement continues with the cast, which had no previous experience manipulating puppets. The story, created by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty, is a kind of young adult version of “Sesame Street” dealing with typical problems that confront the recent college graduate. Looming at the top of the problem heap is sex. Young twenty-somethings are often still in the process of finding their identity, philosophically, professionally and sexually. This is an R-rated show and with good reason. Leave the little kids at home.
Princeton (Mike Westrich) holds a newly-minted bachelor’s degree in English literature. He has no idea how that will help him in real life.
Kate Monster (Nicole Piro) is an upstairs neighbor in the crummy tenement they occupy on Avenue Q. Kate wants to be a teacher, and she is serving as an assistant to a crabby kindergarten teacher. She also has a thing for the new guy, Princeton.
Nicky (Christian Vandepas) is a cheerful, upbeat roommate of Rod (Mike Westrich again), who is experiencing a crisis in his sexual identity. Nicky and Rod are clearly modeled on Bert and Ernie in the PBS children’s show, but their relationship is much more explicit.
Gary Coleman (yeah, the little guy from “Diff’rent Strokes”), is played by a woman (Pamela S. Stigger), who is superintendent of the apartment building.
Christmas Eve is a stereotyped Asian character with exaggerated accent, but she is played by the distinctly non-Asian actress Ann Marie Olson. She wants to be a mental health therapist. Her boyfriend Brian (Trent D. Stephen) is a Fozzie the Bear-style lousy comedian.
Courtney Poston is a versatile utility player who operates one arm of Nicky, plays one of the insidious “Bad Idea Bears” with Christian Vandepas, and several other roles. We are supposed to be watching puppets, but Courtney’s face and smile are so expressive she is a delight to watch as she mirrors the emotions of the puppet she manipulates.
Remember this is an adult show. The Cookie Monster-style character is Trekkie Monster, who is hilariously addicted to Internet Porn. Lucy T. Slut (Nicole Piro again) is a lounge singer who acts just like her name.
The songs are half the fun of “Avenue Q.” The score won one of three major Tony Awards in 2004. The lyrics are about as far away as you can get from the wholesome likes of “Sound of Music,” starting with the introductory theme song, “It Sucks to Be Me.” Greatest hits include “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” “Fantasies Come True,” “I Wish I could go Back to College,” “If You Were Gay” and the hilarious cover-up “My Girlfriend Who Lives in Canada.” The most wistfully romantic tune is “There’s a Fine, Fine Line,” which shows the story has heart too. The score is played by a live, onstage but unseen ensemble most effectively.
You better hurry if you want to catch this little delight. Congratulations director Patrick Fitzwater, cast and crew. Thanks for keeping theater alive on a shoestring in Boca Raton.
Tickets are $20 students, $30 seniors and $35 adults. Call 866-811-4111 or go to

Friday, October 26, 2012

So What is a "Cloud Atlas?"


Sprawling “Cloud Atlas” Not Easy to Figure

By Skip Sheffield

What is “Cloud Atlas?”
For one thing it’s a nearly three-hour movie about reincarnation or some such thing, based on a 2004 British novel by David Mitchell that everyone raves about. For another it’s a musical composition called “The Cloud Atlas Sextet.”
“Sprawling” is the charitable description of “Cloud Atlas,’ in which a half-dozen stories (sextet, get it?) span 500 years and jump back and forth in time as the same actors play different characters.
“Everything is connected” we are told at the outset.
 Direction is from the triumvirate of Andy and Lana Wachowski (“The Matrix”) and Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola Run”).
“Cloud Atlas” is a movie where the makeup, costumes and sets are more impressive than the individual stories. The two principal stars are Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. Hanks (and his makeup artist) show extreme versatility creating six diverse characters in age from thirty-something to doddering oldster. Some are good. One in particular (Dr. Henry Goose) is very, very bad.
The story set back the farthest in time is the “Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing,” set at sea in the Pacific in the year 1849. The narrative is provided by the journal of Adam Ewing (Jim Sturgess), who gets progressively sicker under the “care” of Dr. Henry Goose (Tom Hanks).
“Letters From Belgium” is set in 1931. Robert Frobisher (Ben Whishaw) is young composer in love with another man and in the employ of an autocratic old composer. This melancholy piece, directed by Twyker, is the closest thing to a romance in the movie.
Halle Berry’s standout role is as a crusading San Francisco reporter investigating a possibly unsafe nuclear power plant in 1975. Berry also plays a primitive native woman, a wife, a party guest, a Jewish woman and a solitary survivor of a now-ruined high tech society.
The most visually striking piece, directed by the Wachowskis is set in a totalitarian future “Neo-Korea.” Sonmi-451 (Doona Bae) is a cloned female restaurant worker who dares defy the regime with the help of an almost unrecognizable Jim Sturgess as her comrade, Hae-Joo Chang.
Perhaps the most baffling piece is set in a post-apocalyptic Hawaii, with Hugh Grant in full war face paint as a ruthless Kona chief and Tom Hanks as an elderly goat herder who tells the gory story.
The most conventional and intentionally comic piece stars Jim Broadbent as Timothy Cavendish, an elderly British publisher railroaded into a nursing home by his scheming brother. Hugo Weaver is comically menacing as nasty Nurse Noakes.
“Cloud Atlas” is the most expensive ($100 million) independent film ever done at studio Babelsberg in Germany. Like “2001: A Space Odyssey” it will both baffle and enrage. Only time will tell if the general audience “gets it.” I’m not ashamed to admit I found it pretentious, at times ridiculous, at times exciting, never quite cohesive, but always an arresting visual spectacle.

A Surfing Soap Opera


“Chasing Mavericks” Not Just a Surf Film

“Chasing Mavericks” is not just another surf film. Oh there are plenty of great wave shots, but “Chasing Mavericks” is more a biographical drama about a real surfer who lived a tragically short life.
That surfer was one Jay Moriarity, played by Jonny Weston. The screenplay, written by Kario Salem and based on a story by Jim Meenaghan, concentrates on Jay’s relationship with an older surfing mentor, Frosty Hesson, played by Gerard Butler.
The script is the weakest part of “Chasing Mavericks,” co-directed by American Curtis Hanson and British Michael Apted. In between his rigorous training with Frosty, Jonny deals with typical adolescent problems. His mother (Elizabeth Shue) drinks too much and his father is absent. He is bullied on the beach and at high school by some of the locals. He has a crush on an “older woman” named Kim (Leven Rambin). None of this is terribly original or interesting.
What is interesting is the real achievement of Jay Moriarity, who landed on the cover of Surfer magazine at age 16 when he was filmed in a spectacular wipeout at Mavericks, which is north of Jonny’s home town of Santa Cruz, California off of half Moon Bay. Gerard Butler radiates a convincing tough surfer-dude vibe. Butler was hospitalized after being injured doing his own surf stunts. The close-up shots are laughably fakey: Frosty and Jay sit discussing philosophical points on their boards in calm water one moment and peeling down the face of a 50-foot wave in the next. Hey, it’s only a movie.

Is Israel-Palestine Friendship Possible?


Two Boys Switched at Birth in a Dangerous Land

By Skip Sheffield

It’s bad enough to be switched at birth. Just imagine if you were a Jewish baby boy who was inadvertently switched with a Palestinian baby boy born around the same time?
That in a nutshell is the dilemma of “The Other Son,” opening Friday at Cinemark Palace, Shadowood, FAU’s Living Room Theaters and Regal Delray 18.
The discovery is made when Joseph (Jules Sitruck) is preparing for mandatory duty in the Israeli Army. Joseph lives in a comfortable suburb of Tel Aviv with his mother, French-born Orith (Emmanuelle Devos), a psychiatrist, and father Alon Siberg (Pascal Elbe), an Israeli Army commander. Joseph is a carefree guy who aspires to be a musician but is proud to serve in Israel’s Air Force. However his blood type of A+ means he couldn’t possibly be the son of Orith and Alon. A search of hospital records show there was another boy born Jan. 23, 1991 of Palestinian parents. Yacine (Mehdi Dehbi) has grown up on the West Bank with Arab parents, Said Al Bezaaz (Khalifa Natour) and Leila (Areen Omari). The switch occurred when the babies were evacuated from a clinic during the Gulf War.
Joseph is shocked and chagrined.
“I’m the other one,” he laments. “And the other one is me.”
Writer/director Lorraine Levy has created “The Other Son” as a parable of one of our era’s thorniest problems: the animosity and blind hatred between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews. Once the two boys get over their disorientation, then they must deal with the reality of their different parents.
One is left with a hopeful thought. If Joseph and Yacine can become friends, can the West Bank Arabs and their Israeli neighbors finally come to a mutually acceptable relationship?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Lovely Waltz With Love


Two wounded Souls Find Balm in “Tally’s Folly”

By Skip Sheffield

The ironic joke in the title “Tally’s Folly” is that what transpires in this Pulitzer Prize-winning memory play is not folly at all, but amazing good fortune of two kindred spirits finding their destiny.
Lanford Wilson’s uplifting 1979 work “Tally’s Folly” has settled in for a run through Nov. 11 at Palm Beach Dramaworks, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach.
Lanford Wilson broke with some theater traditions to create this two-character “waltz.” The male partner, Matt Friedman (newcomer Brian Wallace) breaks the “fourth wall” by addressing the audience directly at the outset, and explains exactly what will happen within the space of just 97 minutes.
“We have 97 minutes to change lives,” Matt explains.
The female partner is Sally Tally (Erin Joy Schmidt). Sally is the 31-year-old “spinster” daughter of one of the wealthiest families in Lebanon, Missouri.
Sally had a brief fling a year ago with Matt, who dropped in from the “big city” of St. Louis. Matt and Sally could not be less alike on the surface. He is a Lithuanian Jewish immigrant scarred by the war. Sally is from blue-blood Southern ruling class.
The lovingly referred to “folly” is an ornate but crumbling boathouse, constructed by Sally’s eccentric uncle a generation ago. Now the boathouse is in ruins, but it is the designated meeting place of the wayward lovers.
As Matt tells us, the boathouse, created by ingenious set designer Michael Amico, is more like a third character. We will see why as stubborn Matt, a 42-year-old accountant with a mind like a computer, works away on reluctant, insecure Sally.
Like Matt, Sally is wounded, both physically and emotionally. She works as a nurse caring for wounded soldiers but her own wounds are untreated. As the layers of her defenses are peeled back we see the healing glimmer of hope that real love provides.
“Tally’s Folly” had a flurry of activity after it won the Pulitzer Prize (I saw a couple different productions), then inexplicably it was put on the shelf. Like the perennial classic “The Fantasticks” early this year, “Tally’s Folly” is meant to be seen. This production is lovingly realized by director J. Barry Lewis, his cast and crew, including lighting designer Ron Burns and sound designer Matt Corey. These last two elements are crucial, as the story is set on July 4 in the year 1944. It is a happy Independence Day indeed.
Tickets are $55 ($10 students) and may be reserved by calling 561-514-4042.

Friday, October 12, 2012

"Argo" One of the Best of 2012


“Argo” a Feel-Good Movie for USA, Canada

By Skip Sheffield

If “Argo” weren’t based on actual events one might be tempted to dismiss it as too far-fetched.

A daring rescue did occur in Tehran, Iran in January of 1980. A CIA “exfiltration specialist” named Tony Mendez led a group of six Americans from the Canadian Embassy where they had been hiding to a Swiss Air flight to freedom.

Mendez wrote a book about his CIA experiences titled “Master of Disguise.” In 2007 Joshua Berman wrote the article “How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran.”

Screenwriter Chris Terrio used both sources to create the script for “Argo,” directed by and starring Ben Affleck. This is by far Affleck’s best work both as actor and director. He had a lot of help from a crack team of Hollywood professionals, starting with Alan Arkin as the wise-cracking veteran producer Lester Siegel.

“Argo” is the name affixed to the phony script used to fool Iranian officials.

“This is the best bad idea we have,” admitted CIA operative Jack O’Donnell (Bryan Cranston).

On Nov. 4, 1979 the American Embassy in Tehran was besieged by rioting supporters of the Ayatollah, a strict Islam cleric who took over Iran after the Shah fled to the United States. Fifty-two Americans were taken hostage. Six Americans managed to slip out the back and were granted refuge at the Canadian Embassy. This was the darkest era of the Carter Administration. The hostages would end up spending 444 days in captivity, fearing for their lives.

The rescue of six Americans was a tremendous morale-booster, but it could not be publicized for fear of reprisals against Canada. This operation would not have been possible without the express cooperation of Canada, which supplied fake Canadian passports to the Americans. Canadian Ambassador Kenneth D. Taylor (Victor Garber) risked his life and his country’s reputation to save the Americans, but the story was not declassified until 1997.

“Argo” crackles with edge-of-the-seat suspense and a surprising about of comic relief from actors like John Goodman, Kyle Chandler, Michael Parks and Clea DuVall.

“Argo” is not only one of the best-realized films of 2012 so far, it is the feel-good movie of the year. You may want to hug a Canadian after seeing this film.

A Pretty Dog and 7 Psychopaths

Crazy Fun in “Seven Psychopaths”

With the title like “Seven Psychopaths” you must assume you will be seeing a black comedy.

Black comedy it is, and “Seven Psychopaths” is surprisingly funny considering its macabre premise. For that we must credit gifted playwright Martin McDonagh, who both wrote and directed “Seven Psychopaths.” McDonagh was named Britain’s Most Promising Playwright for his first play, “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” in 1996. McDonagh tapped his buddy Colin Farrell, who had previously starred in McDonagh’s film “In Bruges,” to play the lead character of a failing, alcoholic screenwriter named Marty.

Marty’s best friend is Billy (Sam Rockwell), a ne’er do well actor who convinces Marty to help him dog-nap a valuable Shih-Zu named Bonny.

This is a spectacularly bad idea. Bonny is owned by Charlie (Woody Harrelson), a ruthless and possibly crazy gangster.

Soon Charlie is on the trail of Billy, Marty and their accomplice, Hans (Christopher Walken).

While the action is slapstick, choppy and mock-gory, there is an underlying satire of writer’s pretentions, crime movie clichĂ©s, mental health and obsessions. The dog is awfully cute too.

Friday, October 5, 2012

"Taken 2" Unremarkable Retread

Liam Neeson Can’t Save “Taken 2”

By Skip Sheffield

Liam Neeson is one big, bad dude. He has a deep voice, stands 6-foot-5 and his face has the battered look of the champion amateur boxer he once was.

Neeson has a sensitive side too, and a lot of soul. When his young wife Natasha Richardson died after a skiing accident, he gained additional gravitas.

All this serves Neeson well in “Taken 2,” an otherwise unremarkable sequel to the 2009 sleeper hit.

“Taken 2” is again written (with Robert Mark Kamen) by French thriller specialist Luc Besson (“La Femme Nikita”) and again it co-stars Famki Janssen as Neeson’s estranged wife Lenore and Maggie Grace as his daughter Kim.

Kim is playing matchmaker to try and get her parents back together, in Istanbul, of all places. In the first “Taken” Kim was abducted in Paris and was going to be sold into sex slavery. Not over her dad’s dead body.

In the sequel the father of the abduction ringleader is back with a gang of Albanian Muslim hoodlums to wreak vengeance on ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills (Neeson) and his wife and daughter.

It seems the Russians and Red Chinese have been pushed aside as villains in favor of swarthy, nasty Muslims. Murad, the papa bad guy, is played by Croatian actor Rade Serbedzia. The setting is Istanbul, Turkey where the Mills’ surprise family reunion turns into a nightmare when Bryan and Lenore are abducted and roughed up and Kim narrowly escapes with angry Muslims on her trail.

Director Olivier Megaton (“Colombiana”) keeps the tension pretty taught, though the plot is basically one miraculous escape after another as Neeson one by one throttles, garrotes, pummels and blows away bad guys. This is just one step away from the parody of excess that was Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill.”

So if it’s action, bloodbath and swarthy villains you want, “Taken 2” is your beverage of choice. Neeson, 60, is a widower with two young sons living in New York. He must need the pay check.

"Looper" Will Throw You For a Loop

“Looper” Not Just Another Time-Travel Movie

By Skip Sheffield

Not another time-travel movie!

That’s what I thought when I first heard the premise of “Looper.” Then the accolades started coming in for stars Joseph-Gordon Leavitt and Bruce Willis and writer-director Rian Johnson.

Intrigued, I saw “Looper” as a paying customer and I’m glad I did. It is the best science-fiction-crime thriller so far in 2012 and I think it is destined to be a classic.

“Looper” is set mostly in 2044, but it harkens ahead to 2072 and a decayed, corrupt and crime-ridden future. In the year 2074 time-travel was invented and quickly outlawed. The reason becomes apparent with the definition of Loopers, who are hired assassins who go back into the past and blow away a target destined to cause trouble for the mob in the future.

Joe (Joseph Gordon-Leavitt) is one such Looper. So is Seth (Paul Dano), his best buddy.

Loopers live a relatively good life, but at a fearsome price. One day each will be forced to “Close the Loop,” or in other words kill themselves and vanish without a trace.

Writer-director Rian Johnson doesn’t create any complex mumbo-jumbo to make this premise believable. You either buy it or you don’t. If you do buy into it, as I think most people will, the scenario presents all kinds of tough moral dilemmas.

Joe is faced with the dilemma of killing his older self, played by Bruce Willis. He chokes, old Joe escapes, and the chase is on.

As with the time-travel premise, Johnson makes hardly any effort to create a futuristic look. People drive the same cars we do now. Joe drives a Mazda Miata roadster. There is one whiz-bang jet motorcycle thing and some CG animation of a big city. This is no big-budget blockbuster. Its power comes from the mind-bending twists and ironic turns of the story and the amazing performances of the two stars.

Joseph-Gordon Leavitt has been physically altered with makeup, prosthetics, dye and contact lenses to more resemble Bruce Willis. More importantly, you sense a mutual respect and bond between the younger and older actor. Willis does the best acting he has in years as a man torn by loss and regret. Leavitt proves he has moved into the major leagues with his most powerful performance to date.

There is a side plot involving a single mom (Emily Blunt) and her otherworldly son Cid (Pierce Gagnon) who may or may not grow up to be a truly evil figure.

There are echoes of Old Testament retribution as the characters teeter between painful good and lucrative evil. For once the ending is not a cop-out. I’ll say no more except this film sets the mark for high-emotional action/drama for this year or perhaps any other.

Something is Rotten in “The Oranges”

There is no shortage of drama in the suburbs. Take “The Oranges,” if you will.

David and Paige Walling (Hugh Laurie and Catherine Keener) and Terry and Cathy Ostroff (Oliver Platt and Allison Janney) are best friends and neighbors in West Orange, New Jersey in this domestic/romantic comedy directed by Julian Farino and written by Jay Weiss and Ian Heifer.

The story is narrated by the Wallings’ sourpuss daughter Vanessa (Alla Shawkat). Vanessa is 24 and still living at home. Neither her career nor her love life are going anywhere fast.

The calm is broken when Nina Ostroff (Leighton Meister), the Ostroff’s beautiful daughter and Vanessa’s former best friend, arrives unexpectedly just before Thanksgiving after a five-year absence.

It seems that Nina’s imagined perfect life has just evaporated. Her self-possessed fiancĂ© Ethan (Sam Rosen) has broken the engagement and announced he is off to Europe, without Nina.

Crestfallen and vulnerable, Nina turns not to Vanessa’s perfect brother Toby (Adam Brody) but to handsome David Walling (Laurie) for sympathy. She gets more than either bargained for. It seems that David’s relationship with his obsessive wife Paige (Keener) has been deteriorating without either one really noticing. When a beautiful young thing shows an interest in David, he is tempted to throw caution to the winds.

There is some slapstick comedy in “The Oranges,” with the righteously angry Terry doing battle with his best buddy David, but there is a fair amount of pain too, particularly on the part of the “woman scorned,” played with equal parts sorrow and resolve by the formidable Keener.

“The Oranges” is one rung above a typical situation comedy, but it reminds us there is more going on than meets the eye in the suburbs.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

“Sylvia” a Real Charmer

By Skip Sheffield

Jacqueline Laggy is no dog, but she sure does play an adorable pooch.

Laggy is the star and title character of the Boca Raton Theatre Guild production of “Sylvia,” running weekends through Oct. 14 in the Willow Theatre of Sugar Sand Park, 300 S. Military Trail, Boca Raton.

“Sylvia” was written in 1995 by the puckish observer of upper-class life, A.R. Gurney.

“Sylvia” is one of Gurney’s lightest pieces, and one of his most broadly-appealing. Most people love dogs, and if you do you may see yourself in this story.

Kate (Patti Gardner) and Greg (Keith Garsson) are a middle-aged Manhattan couple in kind of an emotional doldrums. Greg is bored and dissatisfied with his job. Kate is struggling mightily to teach Shakespeare to inner-city children.

Into this uncertain atmosphere bursts Sylvia (Jacqueline Laggy), a stray female dog Greg found in Central Park.

“I love you,” Sylvia declares to Greg as we first meet her. “I think you’re God.”

That in a nutshell is the appeal of a dog. They do love unconditionally and worship their masters humbly. A friendly dog is just the thing for a guy with shaky self-confidence.

The drawback to this total devotion is that it excludes anyone else. It comes as no surprise that Kate dislikes Sylvia at first sight. As Greg becomes more enthralled with his new little friend, Kate feels more left out and resentful.

Jacqueline is a tiny, nimble sprite of a woman. Her athletic performance as this irrepressible pup is one of the best I’ve seen.

Patti Gardner has the thankless task of making a basically negative character into one more appealing and sympathetic. For this Gardner calls up her womanly and acting wiles to express the hurt and bafflement of a wife feeling her marriage slip away.

The men are far less interesting. Greg is your standard mid-life crisis guy. Instead of a flashy sports car or a secret mistress he has found what he thinks he needs in Sylvia. He is wrong, of course.

Mario Betto plays the other male character of Tom, a typical sports-loving regular guy who befriends Greg in the park. In drag Betto also plays Kate’s friend Phyllis and the androgynous who-knows-what Leslie. It’s a good sight gag seeing Betto tower over diminutive Patti Gardner, but there’s not much more to it.

I’m guessing director Genie Croft is betting on enough dog-lovers to keep “Sylvia” going. Let’s hope so. With the demise of Caldwell Theatre, live professional theater has become an endangered species in Boca Raton.

Tickets are $25 and may be reserved by call 561-347-3948 or going to

Let There Be Drums

A “Global Invasion” of Percussion at Arts Garage

By Skip Sheffield

Hark! The sound of distant drums, beating the rhythm of life.

Partial to percussion? You have a big treat in store when Drew Tucker leads a “Global Invasion” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Arts Garage, 180 N.W. First Street, Delray Beach.

Tucker will be featured on vibraphone, marimba and percussion. Lebanese singer Rachel Chalhoub will perform vocal percussion, otherwise known as beat-boxing. From India Rajesh Bhandari will be featured on tabla. There will also be a bit of Latin piano, bass, electronic dub-step and even Japanese taiko drums in a unique sonic blend.

“This hasn’t been done anywhere,” says Tucker, an instructor at Arts Garage. “I don’t think there has ever been this particular blend of instruments. We’ll be playing songs I love but no one wants to hear.”

Lonely is the marimba player. Tucker packed a stadium in Europe in 2004 showing off his marimba prowess. In the USA unless you are one of the pre-packaged super groups, forget about attracting a huge crowd, much less marimba-lovers.

That’s the beauty of Arts Garage. It is not a large performance space. People are there because they want to be; because they want music and theater they can’t experience anywhere else.

Drew Tucker grew up in west Boca Raton and still lives there with his wife and 7-year-old daughter. He graduated from Olympic Heights High School and went on to Berklee School of Music in Boston.

Tucker began piano instruction at age 4, but in middle school he became fascinated with the vibraphone and other percussive instruments. After Berklee he went to Europe and began spreading his wings musically.

“Europe appreciates and supports jazz much more than America,” he says. “Even pop music in Europe has more integrity than what you hear on the radio here. There is so much noise in general. No one likes to be challenged.”

Tucker challenges you to be challenged with something you have never heard before. Tickets are $20-$30 in advance ($5 more at the door) and may be reserved by calling 561-450-6357 or by going to

Chopin and Schubert at FAU Theatre

For music of a more traditional classic nature, the Florida Atlantic University Symphony Orchestra presents a program of “Romantic Masters” featuring Chopin and Schubert at 7 p.m. Saturday in the University Theatre. Heather Coltman is piano soloist. Tickets are a suggested $10 donation. Call 561-297-3853 or go to