South Florida has long been known as a winter getaway for Northern and Midwestern visitors. Many of our John Knox Village residents enjoyed those getaways before moving south to the Fort Lauderdale area as permanent residents…and then to John Knox Village to secure their futures with the life care advantage.
As year-round residents, we can now enjoy our favorite restaurants, cultural attractions and arts and performance venues as they become less crowded and more available.
The musical and theatre arts continue during the summer in South Florida, albeit with a more abbreviated schedule. John Knox Village residents are frequent visitors to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA) for concerts, ballet, dramatic theatre and musicals. The venue is enchantingly set along the Riverwalk and the New River. A visit to the BCPA can include a stroll down the Riverwalk to the many cafes, restaurants and lounges that line the River.
According to the BCPA Website (www.browardcenter.org), prior its opening in 1991, “The city’s main performance halls: Fort Lauderdale’s War Memorial Auditorium, built in the 1940s, and the Parker Playhouse, constructed in the late 1950s, could not keep pace with the growing demands for the expanding South Florida cultural community.”
The BCPA includes the Au-Rene Theater, which is the main performance hall (capacity 2,700) for the Miami City Ballet, Florida Grand Opera, Broadway Across America tours and select individual concerts. The intimate Amaturo Theater (capacity 590) hosts community theatre, emerging dance companies and choirs, chamber, jazz, folk and symphonic groups. The Abdo New River Room seats 500 theatre style or 240 banquet style and is a conference/banquet/performance facility perfect for cabaret, dinner theatre and speaker programs.
John Knox Village residents Paul and Sally Loree are frequent visitors to the BCPA. The Lorees’ love for the performing arts dates back to their earlier years in the Buffalo, NY area. She was involved in costumes and local theatre in Franklinville, NY, and Paul performed several times at the Grand Island Barn Theatre.
They have brought that appreciation for performance with them as John Knox Village residents. “We are season ticket holders for the Symphony of the Americas, they are very talented,” Sally said. “We frequent the Gold Coast Jazz Concert Series, and the Miami City Ballet is fantastic. They are world class.
“We attend the Florida Grand Opera performances at the Broward Center and are big supporters of the Young Opera Singers. We follow them whenever and wherever we can.”
In fact, the Lorees followed the Young Opera Singers to a special Village Centre Auditorium performance arranged in conjunction with John Knox Village residents Sam Townsend and Harriet Mertz in March.
Sam is a long-time supporter of the performing arts in South Florida. He is a gold card carrying member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. He had been involved in the performing arts for decades at the Parker Playhouse and the old War Memorial prior to the opening of the BCPA. As a nine-year resident of John Knox Village, Sam has been an influential member of the Activities Committee.
In 2013, Sam and Harriet were honored by the Florida Grand Opera as “Impresario” and “Diva” for their continuing support. Sam joined the Florida Grand Opera when he first came to Florida and sang in the chorus, then later helped with staging and wardrobe. He donated funds to help pay for health insurance for the Young Opera Singers. Harriet contributed to the young artists’ voice coaching.
In addition to his love of opera, Sam is a supporter of local community theatre. “I used to belong to an organization called the South Florida Theatre League,” he said. “The League promoted local theatre with a hot line and as an information source. All those theatres participating cooperated in a ‘buy one ticket get one free’ program, as a way of supporting community theatre.”
Sam said one of the good local community theatres is the Stage Door in Coral Springs. “I appreciate the Stage Door, the performers, and how they stage elaborate productions in such a small theatre. I know from experience it is very challenging.”
Sue and Bill Allison have been residents of John Knox Village since October of 2012 and are also avid community theatre fans. The Allisons still work for their 40-year-old company Appraisal Services and have lived in Pompano Beach since 1964.
Sue agrees with Sam in praise of the local theatre productions at Stage Door. “I just like local theatre and Stage Door does a great job,” she said. “We went with a group a few weeks ago to see ‘A Chorus Line.’ We have plans to go with another group for the production of ‘Bell, Book and Candle.’”
“Anyone who has not been to the Stage Door should take the opportunity this summer,” Sam said. “It is a worthwhile visit.” Upcoming shows this summer are “Bell, Book and Candle” (through June 21), “Sisters of Swing” (June 5 through July 12) and “WaistWatchers The Musical” (July 10 through August 16).
John Knox Village residents Diane and John Dalsimer are serious buffs when it comes to the performing arts and particularly good theatrical drama. They are frequent visitors to the BCPA and other performance venues north into Palm Beach County. The Dalsimers enjoy great concert music and have already signed up for tickets to the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts (West Palm Beach) for performances by the Philadelphia, Cleveland, Munich, Toronto and Buffalo Symphonies, as well as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in the Regional Arts Concert Series.
In addition, they both appreciate wonderful community theatre and travel to various venues in search of captivating drama. “We are not big on musicals,” Diane said. “We like to be challenged by what we see in drama.”
The Dalsimers have been John Knox Village residents for 10 years and have followed theatre for decades going back to their time in Philadelphia. “In Philly, we would go to 35 to 50 theatre productions a year, and we appreciate a good thought-provoking production,” John said. “We like to get together and discuss what we have seen with other theatre goers.”
They point out one of their favorite theatre groups is the Palm Beach Dramaworks on Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach. “The most memorable recent performance was a play named ‘My Old Lady’ by Israel Horowitz, and we just saw ‘Buried Child’ by Sam Shepard. It was very powerful,” Diane said. “We like Dramaworks because they are doing brand new plays, encouraging playwrights to submit new works for development.”
John said they have the opportunity for feedback at Dramaworks. “We go to ‘talk backs’ after the show. Some of the actors will come out and we in the audience get to ask questions. We purposely go to those performances and Diane asks wonderful questions.”
There is one more show on the performance schedule at Dramaworks: “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” by Lanie Robertson through June 7.
The Dalsimers travel extensively and often music and theatre is integral to their plans. This past January they traveled with Road Scholar to New York to study opera. Road Scholar is a program of adult learning where educational subjects are myriad and venues are worldwide.
During their opera trip, they spent a week getting to know the ins and outs of the Metropolitan Opera.
“We saw ‘La Boheme’ and ‘The Merry Widow,’” Diane said. “We got to meet the important people at the Met. We had lectures by singers and production personnel. We took the tour and saw how everything is done back stage. One of the singers even came in to tell us how an opera singer learns to use voice.”
The Dalsimers are planning a summer trip to visit seven children and 13 grandchildren from North Carolina through Boston. On their way, they will stop at the renowned Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC to enjoy the variety of: opera; theatre; dance; and chamber, symphonic, choral and jazz music.
From Boston they will then meet the Lorees in western New York to travel to the Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario for a variety of theatre and to the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario for Shakespeare performances.
While the Lorees and Dalsimers enjoy their travels, residents can check the offerings closer to home at the Pompano Beach Arts.
Pompano Beach Arts is a unifying force for arts and culture throughout the entire city and is comprised of the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, the City of Pompano Beach and the Creative City Collaborative. Included are programs at the City’s key cultural venues, including Bailey Contemporary, Pompano Beach Amphitheater, Ashanti Cultural Arts and the upcoming Cultural Center.
For a listing of events this summer please check the Websites:
Broward Center for the Performing Arts:
Kravis Center for the Performing Arts:
South Florida Theatre League:
Stage Door Theatre:
Pompano Beach Arts:
–Marty Lee, Word of Mouth Advertising