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'Mamma Mia!' Takes It All

A near-capacity crowd filed into the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts Oct. 18 hungry for the catchy pop hits and glittery costumes of "Mamma Mia!"

Before the curtain rose, one woman leaned over and whispered, “I’m sorry if my singing along annoys you.”

No one could be annoyed with dancing in the aisles, superb singing and touching mother-daughter moments in the high-energy musical.

"Mamma Mia!" — playing for two more shows Oct. 19 in Downtown Jacksonville — soars on hits by the Swedish group ABBA and the story of reuniting fragments of a shattered past during a wedding in paradise.

Bride-to-be Sophie, played by Chelsea Williams, dreams of having the father she never knew walk her down the aisle. Setting the chaos in motion, Sophie reads her mother's diary and writes to three men — believing one is her dad. All three men arrive at Sophie's wedding in Greece to the surprise of her mother Donna, played by Georgia Kate Haege.

Williams fits as the sweet and persistent wide-eyed heroine Sophie. That character type can be tiring, but Donna's practicality gives the story balance.

Donna, looking to rekindle her spirit as "El Rock Chick Supremo," is a fiery mop of blonde curls. Haege radiates independence, so key to the character, and her jaded delivery of some of the musical’s more dramatic songs was startling.

Gabrielle Mirabella and Carly Sakolove are stellar as Donna's old best friends Tanya and Rosie, respectively. The leggy, confident Tanya and the hilarious Rosie steal the show.

Sakolove's rendition of “Take a Chance on Me,” while seducing Bill was charming and heartfelt. Mirabella shimmied with young studs to “Does Your Mother Know.” The boys need to remember their backpacks the next time she takes them to school.

Mirabella spoke to Folio Weekly by phone a week before the show, and her love of the character Tanya was clear.

“If I could have played another role, I guess I would have played Donna,” …   More


Animal Magnetism in Locally Shot Music Video

It's not everyday that you see a beaver, a dog, a tiger and turtle walking down the streets of Downtown Jacksonville.

But that's the adorable image Jacksonville musician and photographer Joshua Wicker assembled for his music video of "Royals," a cover of the song by New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde (aka Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O'Connor).

Wicker convinced four lanky dudes to don big mascot costume heads while hanging out on streets, parks and rooftops around town: Kyle Horton as the beaver, Reid Parrish as the dog, Blake Parrish as the tiger and Chandler Merritt as the turtle. In one scene, a couple of the cool creatures leap-frog on the Northbank Riverwalk. 

The video popped up on Wicker's YouTube page on Oct. 17, and a photo by Cameron Korn was shared on igersjax's Instagram page the same day.

Check out the video for an amusing look at Jacksonville set to a seriously good soundtrack.



'Mamma Mia!' Resonates for Star

For some, the thought of the '70s conjures images of bell-bottom pants from a far-away wonderland full of polyester and neon velvet paintings.

From that dreamscape spills the unmistakable sounds of ABBA.

Northeast Florida residents will soon be able to revisit this place in time forever captured in the musical “Mamma Mia!” The tour makes its stop for three performances Oct 18-19 at The Times Union Center for the Performing Arts. Folio Weekly spoke by phone with Florida native Gabrielle Mirabella, who plays the vivacious cougar, Tanya.

“It's about remembering things lost,” Mirabella said. “It's about being a part of a place in time.”

The story behind the musical revolves around a young bride-to-be, Sophie, searching for her real father told to the hits of Swedish pop band ABBA.

It has enjoyed amazing success with performances all over the world, including London and China. Mirabella’s character, Tanya, is a wealthy divorcée.

“It’s a fun character,” Mirabella said. “It's great when you can see those tough cookies crack and see this woman be a young girl again. And dancing with really young guys doesn’t hurt.”

Mirabella has experience in opera and a degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Her background helps ease the stress of the nine-month long “Mamma Mia!” tour and countless renditions of pop songs.

“It is so important to have a technical background,” Mirabella said. “You can figure out how to sing anything in a healthy way. “

For her, this musical strikes a personal chord. As a kid, she grew up with this story and often went to see it with her mother. The news that she got the role as Tanya actually came on her mother’s birthday.

“There is a scene where Sophie turns to her mother Donna and says ‘I’m so proud of you,’ ” Mirabella said. “I understand that now. My mom helped make me who I am.”

While the mother-daughter relationship is pivotal in the story, Mirabella …   More


Florida Theatre Offers $10 Tickets on Columbus Day

The Florida Theatre is offering $10 tickets for select upcoming shows during a Columbus Day sale.

The tickets are only available on Oct. 14 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. either in person at the Florida Theatre box office, 128 E. Forsyth St., in Downtown Jacksonville or by phone at (904) 355-2787. The ticket offer is not available online.

The number of tickets might be limited and seating will be assigned by the theater personnel. The dates and times for the shows are available on the Florida Theatre website

Florida Theatre's Columbus Day sale events:

Tower of Power

Hurley presents Switchfoot and the premiere of the film “Fading West”

Mark Russell's “The Laughter of Politics”

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Clark Hagans Comedy Tour / Triple HHH presents Gary Owen & Friends

L.J. Holloway & Associates, Inc. presents an “Evening with Will Downing” for the “Seventh Annual Celebration of Life Benefit Concert”

Spyro Gyra

Craig Ferguson

John Denver: A Rocky Mountain High Concert 

Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash – Broadway National Tour

Cirque Dreams Holidaze

The Three Irish Tenors Symphonic Christmas

Walgreens presents the 22nd Annual Community Nutcracker

Peter White Christmas featuring Rick Braun & Mindi Abair

Golden Dragon Acrobats

ABBA: The Tour

The Spencers: Theatre of Illusion

Ray Price

The Irish Rovers: Farewell Tour   More


Cat Power Coming to Ponte Vedra

Singer-songwriter Cat Power will perform Nov. 8 at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall.

Cat Power, the stage name for Chan Marshall, canceled several North American concert dates — including her scheduled performance June 16 at the Florida Theatre.

At the time of the cancelation, Cat Power's management indicated she needed the extra time to prepare for her European Tour.

Tickets for the standing-room-only concert 8 p.m. Nov. 8 go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. General admission tickets are $30 in advance.

Cat Power's 2012 album "Sun" was her first in six years with original material. She wrote, performed, recorded and produced the album herself.    More


'The Running Man' Proves His Talent

For Kenichi Ebina, the passion for dance began with one simple move: the running man.

Born in Japan, Ebina came to the United States at a young age. One night he wandered into a freshman dance on the college campus where he learned English.

“Everyone made a big circle on the floor, people started dancing in the circle and I was watching and I was shy,” Ebina said. “But there was a moment where it was like ‘OK, you’re next.”

So Ebina did "The Running Man," the only move in his arsenal, taught to him by a high school friend in Japan. When people cheered, the energy he felt in that moment propelled him into a lifelong passion. He didn’t realize until later that the audience was actually laughing at his outdated move, but fast forward to 2013 and Ebina, now 39, wins $1 million on "America’s Got Talent." 

What Ebina does on stage is hard to define. His act is equal parts break dancing, technoand physical prowess, developed over years of exposure to the New York club scene and MTV. 

“They call it dance, but I don’t call it dance,” Ebina said. “It’s a versatile performance, a multi-media performance.”

Although he never had formal training, Ebina took every chance he could to perform.

“I love the feedback and the energy during a performance. When people get loud and excited, the energy I can feel from the audience gives me a reason to live,” Ebina said. “Before that I didn’t have ambition or a dream. That feeling gave me a sense of identity, like ‘OK, I’m Kenichi, I’m alive. I’m here.’ ”

Despite the money, recognition and stream of talk show appearances, Ebina maintains a humbleness that even winning the largest talent contest in the country couldn’t tarnish. 

“As a performer, I’m not that good. So many other performers are better than me,” Ebina said. “[When I …   More


St. Augustine Shines in 'Ancient City Stories’

“Ancient City Stories,” a lifestyle show produced entirely by students and alumni of Flagler College, will debut at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 on CW17, according to a press release from Flagler College. The show will continue on WCWJ — Jacksonville's CW network affiliate — at 7 p.m. Sundays for 52 weeks.

Students from Flagler College's Communication Department as well as arts and graphic design researched, interviewed, shot and edited the show.

The show will cover people, locations and events highlighting St. Augustine.

A live screening of the premiere episode will play 7 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Gamache-Koger Theater in the Ringhaver Student Center, 50 Sevilla St., in St. Augustine.

"'Ancient City Stories' is a fantastic opportunity for our students who consistently create broadcast quality work," said Josh Wallace, the college's FCTV station manager, according to the press release. "The students have put a lot of hard work in to get the show to the point it is at, and with the premier right around the corner, we are all very excited to see the fruits of our labor."

An introductory video can be found on   More


Cultural Council Appoints New Executive Director

The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville announced the selection of Kim Bergeron as its new executive director, according to a press release Oct. 1.

Bergeron is expected to start Nov. 1, replacing Robert Arleigh White, who retired after 13 years as executive director.

Bergeron was the director of Cultural and Public Affairs in Slidell, La. In November 2012, she chose to resign from her post rather than select one of two other employees to be laid off, according to a story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

In Slidell, Bergeron spearheaded fundraising efforts for programming and worked with the New Orleans Museum of Art to bring in exhibits that included art by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Andy Warhol, according to the Cultural Council.

Bergeron was the unanimous choice of a search committee made up of Cultural Council board members and community representatives.

"The committee was wowed by all Kim has achieved in her previous roles," Cultural Council board member Abel Harding said, according to the news release.   More


Fall Art Friday

It might not feel like fall in Northeast Florida yet, but the fall arts season is in full swing. This is one busy weekend for visual arts, with several major openings.


‘Paint Techtonics’

New York painter Leslie Wayne’s exhibit of abstract art created by building layers of oil paint into 3-D compositions opens J. Johnson Gallery's season. You have never seen paintings like these. The paint is sculpted, scraped, cut and combined to create works evocative of geological and oceanographic forms.

Reception 6-8 p.m. Sept. 20, exhibit continues through Nov. 1

J. Johnson Gallery, 177 Fourth Ave. N., Jacksonville Beach



‘Abstraction Over Time: The Paintings of Michael Goldberg’

The Museum of Contemporary Arts Jacksonville mounts the first retrospective exhibit to encompass the entire span of Michael Goldberg's career. Goldberg was an abstract expressionist who discussed art and studied with Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline. Goldberg died in 2008, but his wife, the artist Lynn Umlauf, will attend the opening.

Reception 6 p.m. Sept. 20 for patrons, 7-9 p.m. for members, exhibit Sept. 21-Jan. 5, 2014

Admission: Free for members, $10 for nonmembers



‘The Human Figure: Sculptures by Enzo Torcoletti’

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens celebrates the opening of the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Community Sculpture Garden & Plaza with its inaugural exhibit. Permanent sculptures in the new space include William Zorach’s bronze “Spirit of the Dance.” The completion of the Olmsted Garden restoration is celebrated with live music, art-making activities and demonstrations.

Sculpture Garden Ponce de León Society opening and donor recognition 6-8 p.m. Sept. 20

Sculpture Garden community opening 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 21

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, 829 Riverside Ave., …   More


This Man Knows Local Arts History

Congratulations to Arthur Moss for winning our drawing for two free VIP tickets to Folio Weekly’s Oktoberfest at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Oct. 19. Moss was selected randomly from the readers who posted a perfect score in Folio Weekly’s Fall Arts Preview Quiz. Here are the answers to the quiz:


1. What year did The Beatles perform at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville?

b. 1964


2. What was the first song Michael Jackson and his brothers performed on the first night (July 21, 1984) of the Victory Tour in Jacksonville?

b. “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”


3. Who was the judge who warned Elvis Presley to tone down his act after his first show at The Florida Theatre in 1956?

a. Marion Gooding


4. Who painted the jaguar mural on the Bostwick Building in Downtown Jacksonville in 1995?

d. Jim Draper


5. What was the name of the Egyptian exhibit that came to the Prime Osborn Convention Center in 1986?

b. “Ramses II: The Pharaoh in His Time”


6. What are the six colorful statues outside Veterans Memorial Arena called?

d. “Talking Continents”


7. The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville was founded in 1924 as what organization?

c. Jacksonville Fine Arts Society


8. What is the most performed show in the history of Alhambra Theatre & Dining?

b. “Christmas Carole”


9. What is the full name for CEAM, Flagler College’s museum?

d. Crisp-Ellert Art Museum


10. What was the first Broadway show Artist Series brought to Jacksonville?

a. “Grease”