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Summer Season

   Summer in Palm Beach County is not the hottest season for the arts, at least not metaphorically. Seasonal residents travel north to avoid skyrocketing thermostats and humidity as thick as soup, leading to a sharp drop in both the county's population and cultural endeavors. This summer, however, arts-deprived full-time residents have much to anticipate. Here are our top summer picks for art openings, theater, dance and everything in between.

I Want My Life Back, Geoff Hamel, colored pencil on paper; Best in Show in the "62nd All Florida Juried Competition and Exhibition."

MAY

   On May 8, the Boca Museum of Art welcomed the "62nd All Florida Juried Competition and Exhibition." This year's selection was juried by Mark Scala, the chief curator of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, and includes 149 works by 122 Florida artists. The works range from paintings to computer-generated images, drawings to photographs, and will be on display through July 14.

   Sylvia, the innovative dramedy about a man and his dog, opens on May 17 and runs through June 2 at the Delray Beach Playhouse. Set in Manhattan in the 1990s, the play explores the relationship between middle-aged couple Greg and Kate and their dog, Sylvia. Played by a person, the character of Sylvia is more akin to a human than a dog, interacting with her owners and lending advice and criticism as the play progresses.

Julie Rowe and Margery Lowe in Dancing at Lughnasa. Photo by Alicia Donelan.

   On May 24, Palm Beach Dramaworks closes its 2012-2013 season with Dancing at Lughnasa. This Tony Award-winning play by Brian Friel follows five sisters who live in a cottage in rural Ireland. Framed as a memory play, Lughnasa is told from the perspective of Michael Evans, the son of the youngest sister. You can catch Dancing at Lughnasa through June 16.

JUNE

   In June, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, under the leadership of a new curator, will open two exhibitions. "Wood Be Kindred Spirits: The Kokeshi Dolls of Bob Brokop" displays one of the largest collections of kokeshi (Japanese dolls handmade from wood with delicately painted faces) in the United States. "Tanabata: Japan's Star Festival - Views of Tanabata in Sao Paulo Brazil by Jade Matarazzo" features a selection of images from the Tanabata Festival in Sao Paulo, which is home to a large and affluent Japanese community. Both exhibitions are on display from June 4 through September 15.

   The Vero Beach Museum of Art also has two new exhibitions opening in June. "Visual Systems: The Quilter's Eye," explores the history of quilt art in America, from traditional quilts made to adorn beds to quilts composed as art; the exhibition runs from June 8 through September 8. Opening on June 29 is "Along the Road: Paintings of the Highwaymen." This body of work–produced by young, self-taught, African-American artists in the 1950s, 60s and 70s–features lively seascapes, landscapes and still-lives, and will be on display to September 28.

A dancer in Arabian Nights. Photo by Kenneth Grzymala, KRG Photography.

   If you're in the mood for some ballet, attend the Susan Lyle Studios' production of Arabian Nights, a dance interpretation of the story of Aladdin,  at the Palm Beach State College Eissey Campus Theatre in Palm Beach Gardens on June 15 and 16. For more information on Susan Lyle Studios, pick up a copy of our June issue.

   Two additional juried exhibitions open in Palm Beach County in June. The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County hosts "County Contemporary: All Media Juried Show" from June 14 to September 7. This showcase will include a range of media from artists working throughout the county and will be juried by Mark Richard Leach, the executive director of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Five days later, the Palm Beach Photographic Centre opens a juried exhibition for its INFOCUS members. This exhibition runs from June 19 through August 17, but you can get a sneak peek of the selected works right now.

   County residents have the opportunity to catch a milestone in modern musical comedies when Entr'acte Theatrix presents Monty Python's Spamalot at the Delray Beach Center for the Arts at Old School Square June 20 through 30. This Tony Award-winning best musical written by Eric Idle is "lovingly ripped off" from the classic comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, so expect countless historical inaccuracies, dry British humor and coconut sound effects.

   An innovative art exhibition perfect for budding artists and architects alike rounds out the arts in June. The Norton Museum of Art hosts "Block by Block: Inventing Amazing Architecture," an exhibition of landmark structures made from Legos, June 20 through October 13. View some of the world's grandest skyscrapers, including the Seattle Space Needle and Taipei 101 in Taiwan, constructed out of building blocks. Just remember to keep your hands to yourself.

Dan Parker, a certified Lego professional, puts the finishing touches on the Seattle Space needle.

JULY/AUGUST

   If you're craving musicals, then you'll be counting down the days till July. To begin, the Lake Worth Playhouse mounts In The Heights from July 11 to 28. This Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-nominated musical takes place over three days in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. The Dominican-American population of this area influences the Latin-infused music, making it the perfect musical transplant for South Florida.

   In July and August, Palm Beach Dramaworks presents two concert interpretations of classic musicals as part of its Musical Theatre Masters Series. First up, from July 10-21, is Man of La Mancha, the Tony Award-winning musical based on Cervantes' literary masterpiece Don Quixote. Company, the landmark Stephen Sondheim musical that's been a Broadway standard since 1970, will follow, running from August 7 to 18.

   Finally, don't forget to check in with Delray Beach's Arts Garage this summer. From July 19 through August 11, it hosts "Beyond the Rainbow: Garland at Carnegie Hall." This dramatized musical portrait of the famed starlet will include some of Garland's biggest hits, such as "Get Happy" and "Over the Rainbow." Don't make "Beyond the Rainbow" your only visit to Arts Garage. From May through August, it mounts two musical series, Jazz Project and Garage Blues, featuring local and national musicians, including the South Florida Jazz Orchestra (June 15), the Cook Trio (July 13) and 21 Blue (August 17).


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