Music & Comedy

Join us for our exciting 2020-2021 season featuring both virtual and live programs. (Our season will begin with virtual programs only, and we will introduce in-person programs later in the season, when it is safe to do so).

Prices vary by program. Purchase tickets through designated links below each description.
If you need assistance purchasing tickets or membership, call the Box Office at 561-558-2520.

LEVIS JCC SANDLER CENTER | 561-558-2520


Kultur Festival

Aaron Kula, Artistic Director

Sunday, June 6, 4:00 pm

Stravinsky's A Soldier's Tale
with Aaron Kula and the Sinfonietta Society
A WORK in PROGRESS

Performance will be recorded and available virtually after June 14.

Aaron Kula conducts Sinfonietta Society, a new chamber orchestra in a performance of "A Soldier's Tale" by Igor Stravinsky written in 1918.

L'Histoire du Soldat (A Soldier's Tale), is a theatrical work "to be read, played, and danced" by three actors accompanied by seven instruments: violin, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, bass and percussion.

Conceived by Igor Stravinsky and Swiss writer C. F. Ramuz, the piece was based on a Russian folk tale. The libretto relates the parable of a soldier who trades his fiddle to the devil in return for unlimited economic gain. The work premiered in Lausanne on 28 September 1918, conducted by Ernest Ansermet. A full performance of L'Histoire du soldat takes about an hour.

The music is complex but uses popular dance rhythms including tangu, rag, and jazz with changing time signatures. This presentation will not be a formal concert but rather an open rehearsal to the public with commentary offered throughout the hour. The audience will be able to see how the ensemble works and rehearses this iconic composition along with the actors. This will be a performance in progress as the ensemble reads through and rehearses this unusual 20th century dramatic musical work.

Limited seating available for live performance. Social distancing and masks required. All Covid-19 protocols observed.

Live Performance: FREE for platinum members, $15 for gold members, $20 for non-members

Virtual Performance (available after June 14): FREE for virtual members, $10 for non-members

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Wednesday, June 23, 1:00 pm:

Aaron Kula presents American Yiddish Radio Hour: 1920-1960

The history of Jewish radio stations was an important part of the American experience especially for the immigrant population. The radio was the single most important device in the first half of the 20th century that allowed everyone to listen to anyone in the privacy of their own living room. Jewish musicians and singers used the radio as a vehicle to become famous and sound American on the airwaves ultimately making them super stars of their time. The lecture will include vintage recordings of famous singers from Second Avenue and commercials in Yiddish advertising Ajax, and delicious Gefilte fish. This is both an entertaining and educational lecture taking the listener on a tour of Jewish radio in New York City including WEVD and WHN.

Free for virtual members, $10 for non-members

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That's Entertainment!


Wednesdays via Zoom (unless noted), see times listed below


Weekly lectures and discussions about all forms of entertainment that we love—film, theater, television, comedy, music, dance and more!
FREE for virtual members, $10 for individual programs for non-members

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May 12, 1:00 pm:

Cole Porter & The Great Depression with Charles Troy

Between the stock market crash and Pearl Harbor, Porter wrote twelve musicals and four movie scores and was at the height of his success—but was permanently injured in a riding accident. This program wends its way through this packed period in Porter’s life. See lecturer bio below.

 

May 19, 1:00 pm:

Sinatra with Richard Knox

May 26, 1:00 pm:

Moviegoing in America: Nickelodeons to Movie Palaces to IMAX to Netflix with Brian Rose with Brian Rose

Ever since the movie industry was born in the 1890s, audiences have thrilled to watch stories come to life on the big screen. At first, this screen wasn’t very big—nor was attending the stuffy local nickelodeon all that pleasant. But by the 1920s, extravagant movie palaces were constructed in downtowns all over the country and moviegoing was transformed into a luxury experience. Sadly, this would end in the 1950s with the rise of the suburbs and the explosion of drive-in theaters, followed by shopping mall multiplexes. With the advent of the pandemic, for most of us, moviegoing is now just a memory. This presentation will look at the fascinating history of movie theaters and examine how the experience of moviegoing has changed over the decades. And whether movie theaters will survive in the age of Netflix. See lecturer bio below.

 

Tuesdays, June 1, 8, 15, 22, 3:00 pm:

George & Ira: The Gershwins (4 parts) with Charles Troy

The brothers worked together only 13 years before George’s early death in 1937. But they sure packed in a lot! We’ll review their lives from their breakthrough year, 1924, through Porgy and Bess, and then the movie songs of George’s last year. See lecturer bio below.

 

June 2, 7:30 pm:

Great Musical Moments Part 2 with Dan Hudak

With the era of the Hollywood musicals complete, the mid-1950s saw a shift in production. No longer were song and dance sequences stuck inside a studio; now musicals were shooting on location with bigger budgets, which allowed the genre to get bolder, more experimental, and in some cases, more satisfying. But like many good things, it didn’t last. Clips and images from the greatest musicals of all time will be featured in this hour-long presentation that covers great changes both in the genre and the industry itself. See lecturer bio below.

 

Thursday, June 10, 7:30 pm:

Songs That Changed the Game with Music Critic, Curtis Ross

The tech world would call them disruptors. Every so often a song comes along that heralds something new, a shift in pop music’s cultural landscape that will have an impact long after it’s replaced on the charts. In this presentation, we’ll look at five songs that changed music permanently. Drawing from a number of publications and sources, this presentation takes an entertaining look at songs that changed the way we listen.

 

June 16, July 14, August 18, 1:00 pm:

Young Vocalists Perform Old Songs Part 1, 2, 3 with Richard Knox

Here is a wonderful opportunity to experience many of the outstanding standards of the Great American Songbook performed by a variety of new generation singers. This multi-part program will give us the opportunity to watch and hear dozens of young semi-professional and amateur vocalists share their talents with new renditions and creative arrangements of some of the most memorable tunes by composers such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, and Richard Rodgers. See lecturer bio below.

 

June 30, 1:00 pm:

The Hollywood Blockbuster: How Steven Spielberg and George Lucas Changed the Movies with Brian Rose

Hollywood is an industry that has always depended on blockbusters. However, beginning in 1974, two young filmmakers, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, would together change the way the movie industry made movies. Whether they were making films together or separately they introduced the age of the “modern blockbuster,” which featured elaborate special effects and thrilling spectacle. This presentation will look at their four decades of filmmaking and discuss how they changed the movies. See lecturer bio below.

 

July 7, 1:00 pm:

The Creation of My Fair Lady with Charles Troy

We'll celebrate this universally beloved show, often called the greatest musical of all time, by following its long journey from its beginnings as Shaw's 1912 play "Pygmalion" and then as a popular 1938 film. Then we'll learn how Lerner and Loewe managed to fashion this difficult material – an intellectual drawing room comedy – into such a stunning musical theatre triumph. See lecturer bio below.

 

July 21, 7:30 pm:

The Top Ten Longest Running Shows in Broadway History with with Theater Critic, Hap Erstein

One measure of a show’s success is how long it runs on Broadway. Oklahoma!, which ran more than five years (2,212 performances), led the list in the 1940s. Now it ranks a mere 32nd. Today the top thirty shows are all musicals, and include popular titles such as The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago and The Lion King. Do any of those crack the top ten? This hour-long discussion that examines the ten longest running shows Broadway has ever seen. See lecturer bio below.

 

July 28, 1:00pm:

From Mickey Mouse to Star Wars and Beyond: How the Walt Disney Company Conquered the Entertainment Universe with Brian Rose

Over the last nine decades, the Walt Disney Company has transformed every facet of the entertainment business—from the creation of feature length cartoons to television programming, from theme parks that span the globe to Broadway musicals, from challenging Netflix with their new streaming service Disney+, to ownership of the greatest collection of franchise movies under the control of a single studio in Hollywood history. This presentation examine this remarkable story of how the Walt Disney Company grew from a small cartoon studio in 1923 to become the most powerful force in worldwide entertainment. See lecturer bio below.

 

August 11, 7:30 pm:

The Jewish Composers of Broadway with Theater Critic, Hap Erstein

As they sing with tongue-in-cheek in Monty Python’s Spamalot, “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway (If You Don’t Have Any Jews).” It is in fact true that the vast majority of the musical theater’s composers have been Jewish. From Irving Berlin to George Gershwin to Richard Rodgers to Stephen Sondheim, they have shaped this uniquely American art form, yet rarely until recent years have they written about the Jewish experience. This hour-long talk is a survey of the evolution of the Broadway musical, with a celebration of the creative individuals who made it happen. See lecturer bio below.

 

August 11, 1:00 pm:

The Creation of Camelot with Charles Troy

This star-crossed show, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s last great musical, almost killed two great talents — Lerner and director Moss Hart were both hospitalized during its pressure-packed tryout period, which rendered “Camelot” not completely ready for its Broadway opening night. It took two events, one unlikely and the other tragic, to make “Camelot” into a hit — and then into the legend it became. See lecturer bio below.

 

August 25, 1:00 pm:

From Mary Pickford to Meryl Streep: Hollywood’s Star System and How It Works with Brian Rose

For more than a century, Hollywood has relied on star power as the most reliable way to draw an audience. From the early days of silent movies, when Mary Pickford was able to command $10,000 a week to modern times, when actors like Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks are guaranteed $20 million (or more) a picture, the film studios have recognized the crucial role stars played at the box office. This presentation will look at the history of movie stardom—how originally film actors weren’t even identified by name, how Mary Pickford became “America’s Sweetheart” and the first real film star, how the Hollywood studios manufactured stars like Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, and Lana Turner during its Golden Age, how the star system changed once television came on the scene, and how actors like Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, and Denzel Washington ushered in a new definition of stardom during the last few decades. See lecturer bio below.

 

Tuesday, September 14, 7:30 pm:

The Hamilton Phenomenon with Theatre Critic Hap Erstein

Hamilton has been a hot ticket since it debuted in 2015. But what possessed composer-lyricist-playwright-original star Lin-Manuel Miranda to write a musical about the first Secretary of the Treasury and his Founding Father contemporaries, and set their history to a hip-hop beat? For those lucky enough – or wealthy enough – to snag seats to the show, this hour-long talk will deconstruct the musical to increase your enjoyment and appreciation of the highly acclaimed – and highly profitable – Broadway sensation. See lecturer bio below.

 

Thursday, September 23 7:00 pm:

The Tony Awards with Theatre Critic Hap Erstein

With the Tony Awards scheduled to air September 26, 2021, this hour-long presentation by Theatre Critic Hap Erstein reviews the history of the Tonys and profiles this year’s top contenders. He also provides historical context: Since 1947, the mark of excellence on Broadway has been the Antoinette Perry (aka Tony) Awards, and ever since they were televised in the early 1960s, the annual broadcast became the prime marketing tool of the commercial theater to the nation. More so than the Oscars, a Tony Award win can mean the difference between success and failure at the box office. If you like plays and musicals, you’ll love this presentation! See lecturer bio below.


Kultur Bios


Aaron Kula
is a nationally recognized conductor, educator, composer, accordionist, and producer, who was awarded a 2018 grant as a Fulbright Specialist to conduct and lecture in Israel with appearances at the U.S. Embassy, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, schools in the Central and Southern Arava, and at conservatories throughout the Western Galilee. He attended the New England Conservatory of Music and pursued graduate studies in conducting, theory, composition, and ethno-musicology with world class musicians including Gunther Schuller, Frank Battisti, John Heiss, the late sitarist Peter Row, and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. As an orchestral conductor, Aaron Kula has led orchestras throughout the US, Europe, and Israel. From 1986-2013 he served on the conducting faculty at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and taught at Boston University from 1995-1996. He led high school and college orchestras at Chautauqua Music School in New York from 1990-1995. An active guest conductor, he has worked with Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Erie Ballet (PA), Boston Conservatory Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus, Boca Raton Sinfonia, and New Hampshire Ballet. Locally, he was invited to conduct the Collier (FL) All County Honors Orchestra in Naples during the 2014 season. He has collaborated with renowned artists including Yo-Yo Ma/cello, Richard Stoltzman/clarinet, Colin Carr/cello, Denise Graves/singer, David Leisner/guitar, and Avery Sommers/actress, Avi Hoffman/Yiddish actor, as well as artists from the Metropolitan Opera and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. As music director of the New England Conservatory Youth Symphony from 1986-2003, Mr. Kula led numerous international orchestra tours throughout Europe and Israel and was invited to organize international tours for the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra and the Stanford Symphony Orchestra from 1996 to 1998.


That's Entertainment Bios


A lifelong film lover, Dan Hudak has worked extensively as a film critic in print, radio and television. Dan’s film reviews are syndicated throughout the country. He is the owner of Hudak On Hollywood, Inc. He is the former chairman of the Florida Film Critics Circle and a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. He studied Film History and Criticism at Bard College and the University of Miami, where he received his M.A. in Film Studies.

Brian Rose
is a professor emeritus at Fordham University, where he taught for 38 years in the Department of Communication and Media Studies. He’s written several books on television history and cultural programming, and conducted more than a hundred Q&A’s with leading directors, actors, and writers for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Screen Actors Guild, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and the Directors Guild of America.

Following his retirement, after 38 years as a school teacher and administrator, Richard Knox began to develop a series of multimedia presentations based on his first love, the performing arts. His interactive programs are immensely engaging, entertaining and informative!

Hap Erstein Born in Washington, D.C., Hap Erstein went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in dreary Troy, New York, where he narrowly escaped becoming an engineer. In 1994, he and his wife moved to West Palm Beach, where he assumed the position of theater critic at The Palm Beach Post and soon after added the job of film critic. He held these positions for 15 years, until retiring from the paper in 2008. Hap now writes for Palm Beach ArtsPaper, an online and hard copy arts magazine. He has taught theater appreciation courses at Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society and been a longtime member of the Carbonell Awards panel recognizing theater excellence in South Florida.

Charles Troy, popular speaker and presenter, is an acclaimed musical theatre historian and graphic designer. He has created over 50 multi-media presentations and has presented his work to countless national audiences.

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