Published On: Mon, Oct 14th, 2019

The 14th Annual Festival of the Arts Boca Unveils its 2020 Lineup

By: Robert S Weinroth

The 14th Annual Festival of the Arts Boca has announced its 2020 lineup for its 10 days of authors, thinkers, musicians, dancers and films. 

Established in 2007, Festival of the Arts Boca was designed to promote the cultural arts and to enrich the quality of life of the residents of Boca Raton, North Broward and Palm Beach County.

As its venerable chair, Wendy Larson explains, the Festival is special, because of the venue, the season, the quality and diversity of its cultural offerings and because of the opportunity for young and old to celebrate the traditions of the great arts and to be exposed to the incredible diversity of the performing and literary arts, at the highest levels. 

Since its inaugural year, Larsen and co-founder and chair emeritus, Charlie Siemon, have endeavored to create an unprecedented cultural arts festival, which has consistently been heralded as a resounding success. The Festival has featured world renowned artists including Itzhak Perlman, Renee Fleming, Joshua Bell, Lang Lang, and Pat Metheny. The Wizard of OzCasablancaWest Side Story and Raiders of the Lost Ark have been performed with live orchestra.  Thought provoking speakers have appeared over the years have included Edward Albee, Sir Salman Rushdie, acclaimed historian and Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin, Daniel J. Levitin, Thomas Friedman, and Fareed Zakaria.

The Festival of the Arts Boca is also about cultural arts education – introducing new audiences to great music and exposing young people to the great artists in master classes and open rehearsals. The images are remarkable: Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway leading the best flute students in the region in a master class, Itzhak Perlman “doing a little Q & A” with students, two time Grammy Award nominee Joey Alexander playing two tunes with the Don Estridge High Tech. Middle School Jazz Band and physicist Brian Greene igniting the imaginations of students at West Boca Regional High School and throughout Palm beach County via live streaming.

The Festival continues its commitment to education, offering master classes, school visits, lectures and open rehearsals to over 10,000 area students.  In addition, over 1,000 Festival tickets are donated to students and teachers every Festival.  We would like to expand our educational efforts into Broward County.

The Festival attracts over 15,000 attendees a year. These attendees live primarily in southern Palm Beach and northern Broward counties.  The Festival’s annual economic impact on South Florida is over $1.3 million. Financial support from community sponsors has been a crucial component in making this event happen year after year.

Festival Boca events take place in the Mizner Park Amphitheater or at the Cultural Arts Center, both located at Plaza Real in Boca Raton.

Mizner Park Amphitheater

Mizner Park Amphitheater is located at the north end of Mizner Park, adjacent to the Boca Raton Museum of Art, and Festival events are presented under the Festival tent.

Address: 590 Plaza Real Boca Raton, FL 33432

Mizner Cultural Arts Center

The Cultural Arts Center is a multipurpose space with a small, black box theater. It can accommodate and audience of up to 350, and is located at the southwestern end of Mizner Park.

Address: Mizner Park, 201 Plaza Real Boca Raton, FL 33432

Here’s the lineup for 2020:

Cirque du Cinema – Friday, February 28 | 7:30 PM  Mizner Park Amphitheater

(Photo: George Simeon)

Fusing elements of cirque acrobatics, classical dance and contemporary theater, Troupe Vertigo will present a program featuring Cirque’s awe-inspiring physical feats of power and beauty paired with the music from blockbuster movie classics – all accompanied by live orchestra.

Troupe Vertigo, whose innovative circus-dance-theater works redefine visual space with displays of mental and physical prowess, has created new and original performances with orchestras for over a decade. Aerialists soar through the air above the musicians, contortionists captivate with mind-bending physical feats, and dancers sweep across the stage.

With roots in Cirque du Soleil, the fabled Pickle Family Circus, and acrobatic and dance troupes from all over the world, Troupe Vertigo will present a program featuring Cirque’s awe-inspiring physical feats of power and beauty paired with the music from blockbuster movie classics. Thrill to the spectacle of acrobats, jugglers, and aerial flyers soaring high above the heads of The Symphonia orchestra as they perform on stage.

This is a live performance you’ll never forget.


Artists & Authors: Troupe Vertigo

Beethoven Birthday Bash – Saturday, February 29 | 7:30 PM Mizner Park Amphitheater

Born in December 1770 in Bonn, Ludwig van Beethoven first made his mark as a virtuoso pianist. Yet he soon gained renown as an innovative and prolific composer – one of the most influential musicians of all time.

At the height of his fame and creativity, he was forced into a heroic battle against a horrifically creeping deafness. Yet he continued to produce masterworks that remain hugely popular to this day, 250 years on.

This evening we celebrate the life and work of this bold composer with a concert of Beethoven’s works, including his Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” and the “Triple” Concerto, featuring The Symphonia, conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulous, and guest artists The Eroica Trio.



Artists & Authors: Eroica Trio; Constantine Kitsopoulos; and The Symphonia

The Moth StorySLAM – Saturday, February 29 | 3:00 PM Cultural Arts Center

(Photo: Liz Linder)

No one gathers, and tells, stories like The Moth. What makes The Moth extraordinary is that participants tell their stories live, without notes.

The nationally-renowned program – whose mission is to promote the art and craft of storytelling and to honor and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience – comes to Boca to kick off our Authors and Ideas series with a lively, open storytelling competition.

Anyone with a five-minute story to share on the day’s theme can step on the stage and tell a story. Seating is limited for this very special event, so bring your friends and your stories, and prepare to be deeply entertained.

The theme for Festival Boca’s StorySLAM is “Achilles Heel”: Prepare a five-minute story about weaknesses and soft spots. Vulnerable situations. That look your dog gives you, your secret love of harlequin novels, your fear of goldfish, your need to have the last word. Recklessly falling in love or getting struck down from the hilltop. Regale us with tales of your personal kryptonite.


Artists & Authors:The Moth

Miloš: Voice of the Guitar – Sunday, March 1 | 7:00 PM Mizner Park Amphitheater

(Photo: Liz Linder)

Montenegro-born Miloš Karadaglić was the first ever classical guitarist to perform in a solo recital at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Of the concert, The Guardian wrote: “More extraordinary by far, however, was the way a single guitarist… could shrink the Hall’s cavernous space into something so close.” It was, The Independent concluded: “… a sleight of hand that makes Karadaglić not only a magician, but a serious and accomplished musician.”

All of Miloš’ recordings have achieved major chart successes around the globe and turned him into “classical music’s guitar hero” (BBC Music Magazine). His most recent album, Sound of Silence (September 2019), is a reflection on grappling with a devastating hand injury that took him from the height of his popularity to what he called “the lowest point” in his life.

Miloš’ courageous battle to return to the stage has culminated in “Voice of the Guitar” – a musical journey through the repertoire that has been most important to him so far in his life and career – from music of Catalonia and the Caribbean to the Beatles, Radiohead, and Leonard Cohen.



Artists & Authors: Miloš Karadaglić

An Evening with Novelist Jesmyn Ward – Monday, March 2 | 7:00 PM Cultural Arts Center


Jesmyn Ward, the first woman and the first person of color to win two National Book Awards for fiction, for her books Salvage the Bones and Sing, Unburied, Sing, is a writer of uncommon power and eloquence who explores the bonds of community and familial love among poor African Americans in the rural South.

Ward is ailed as the standout writer of her generation, proving her “fearless and toughly lyrical” voice in novels, memoir, and nonfiction. In her talk this evening, she will share her writing process and how her experiences growing up poor and Black in the South continue to influence her work.



Artists & Authors: Jesmyn Ward

Cartoonist Roz Chast: Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? – Tuesday, March 3 | 7:00 PM

Cultural Arts Center

New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast has firmly established herself as one of our greatest artistic chroniclers of the anxieties, superstitions, furies, insecurities, and surreal imaginings of modern life. She is the author of more than a dozen books for adults, including, most recently, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? (2014), a work that chronicles her relationship with her aging parents as they shift from independence to dependence, and that was a New York times 2014 Best Book of the Year, a2014 National Book Award Finalist, winner of the 2014 Kirkus Prize, and a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for the best books of 2014, the first time a graphic novel received the prize for autobiography.

She will join us this evening to talk about her art, her family, and her body of work.



Artists & Authors: Roz Chast

Laurie Santos: Psychology and the Good Life – Wednesday, March 4 | 7:00 PM Cultural Arts Center

In 2018, Dr. Laurie Santos offered a class for Yale undergraduates called “Psychology and the Good Life.” It became a huge sensation, so much so that 25 percent of the student body signed up, making it the most popular class ever at this elite university.

The course focused both on positive psychology – the characteristics that allow humans to flourish – and behavioral change, or how to live by those lessons in real life. Santos will bring her teachings from that course, and from her popular online class, The Science of Well-Being, to this powerful talk.

A psychologist with deep experience studying the brains of humans, non-verbal primates, and canines, Santos is not just a gifted, award-winning scientist, she is also an engaging and thought-provoking speaker, which led her to be chosen as the featured speaker at a global TED talk.


Artists & Authors: Laurie Santos

Amy Walter: Where Are We Now? – Thursday, March 5 | 7:00 PM  Cultural Arts Center

With over 20 years of experience, Amy Walter has built a reputation as an accurate, objective, and insightful political analyst with unparalleled access to campaign insiders and decision-makers. Known as one of the best political journalists covering Washington, she is the National Editor of The Cook Political Report, where she provides analysis of the issues, trends and events that shape the political environment.

Walter will be joining us just as the dust begins to settle after Super Tuesday, and so she will be able to offer a timely readout on where things stand with the 2020 elections, and what we should watch for in the months ahead.


Artists & Authors: Amy Walter

 Film with Live Orchestra: The Empire Strikes Back – Friday, March 6 | 7:30 PM Mizner Park Amphitheater

The Empire Strikes Back is the most critically acclaimed film in the Star Wars franchise. It is also widely regarded as one of the most important films ever: it ranked number 3 on Empire‘s 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.

The action picks up three years after the first firm, A New Hope, as Darth Vader and the Emperor pursues Luke Skywalker’s friends – Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa, and others – across the galaxy. Luke, meanwhile, is studying the Force under Jedi Master Yoda. When Vader captures Luke’s friends, Luke must decide whether to complete his training and become a Jedi Knight, or to confront Vader and save them.

A film that literally defines the words heroic and epic, The Empire Strikes Back could not be more enjoyable than when viewed outdoors, on a warm spring evening, with The Symphonia (conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos) playing out the score live before a massive 130-LCD screen.

It promised to be a magical evening filled with light sabers, Jedi, Jabba the Hut, and, of course, Yoda.


Artists & Authors: Constantine Kitsopoulos and The Symphonia

Nu Deco Ensemble Rides Again – Saturday, March 7 | 7:30 PM Mizner Park Amphitheater

(Photo:  Paul E. Richardson)

If you missed last season’s electrifying performance by Miami-based Nu Deco Ensemble (the riveting Queen medley was particularly memorable), now is your chance to make up for that oversight!

This virtuosic, eclectic chamber orchestra will have you itching to jump up out of your seat and dance. Their exciting, genre-bending style fuses the best of classical and pop, jazz and Latino music, and we can’t wait to share what they have in store for you this year!


Artists & Authors: Nu Deco Ensemble

Postmodern Jukebox – Sunday, March 8 | 7:00 PM Mizner Park Amphitheater

When he was growing up in the 1990s, Scott Bradlee did not listen to pop hits like his friends, but to old jazz and Motown records. Years later, as a musician living in New York, he formed Postmodern Jukebox as a way to bring the classic sounds he loved back into the mainstream – to build a platform to celebrate real, unadulterated, deserving talent.

Today, five years on, Postmodern Jukebox has become an international sensation, sparking dozens of million-beloved viral videos and sold-out concerts in cities even they can’t pronounce the names of.

The troupe is comprised of “a rotating collective of musical outcasts” – nearly fifty singers and another fifty instrumentalists – all performing in the classic genres they love for audiences who appreciate them. The vocalists sing every note live, without any tuning help, and the musicians make every sound you hear on stage with the instruments you see them playing.

In short, Postmodern Jukebox does music the old fashioned way, and they (and we) love every second of it. They are some of the best natural performers from around the world, and we could not think of a more powerful way to end our season of heroes.


Artists & Authors: Postmodern Jukebox

What an eclectic selection of artists and authors!

For assistance or to buy tickets by phone, call 561.300.4138

About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. Commissioner Weinroth serves as County Vice-Mayor and has been appointed Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

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