Cultural Preview: December 2019

Don’t miss these must-attend shows and exhibitions taking place in December.

Christ and the woman of Samaria among ruins.
Photography provided by the Four Arts

Rembrandt at The Four Arts

Time flies when you’re dead. Just ask the late, great Dutch artist Rembrandt, who died 350 years ago at the age of 63. The Society of the Four Arts is marking his death-anniversary with “Rembrandt: The Sign and the Light,” a special exhibition of the master’s prints, on display at the Esther B. O’Keeffe Gallery from December 7 to February 2. In addition to docent tours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, the Four Arts will also host Art InSight lectures on Rembrandt’s life, including “Stealing Rembrandt” on January 2 and “From Novice to Art Market Innovator: Rembrandt’s Extraordinary Career as a Printmaker” on January 8.

The Archduke Trio at The Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach 

The Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach is going all out for Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday. Beethoven-centric highlights from the organization’s seventh season in the Palm Beaches include December 15, when Orion Weiss, Yura Lee, and Clive Greensmith will join together for sonatas for violin, piano, and cello, and Beethoven’s Opus 97, lovingly referred to as the “Archduke Trio.”

Holiday Jazz in the Gardens at Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens

The experience of strolling through the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens becomes even more idyllic with the addition of new musical programming. This West Palm Beach institution, which comprises tropical gardens dotted with the late Ann Weaver Norton’s sculptures as well as her historic home and studio, will host a new Jazz in the Gardens series on Sunday afternoons. Visit December 15 for a “Holiday Jazz Tribute” honoring veterans and featuring jazz covers of holiday hits from Kevin O’Neil and Jamila Ajibade.

Ordinary Americans at Palm Beach Dramaworks

This season, Palm Beach Dramaworks in West Palm Beach will mount another world-premiere production, this time in partnership with Coral Gables’ GableStage. Ordinary Americans by Joseph McDonough will run at Palm Beach Dramaworks December 6-29 and GableStage January 18 to February 16.

William Hayes, producing artistic director at Dramaworks, commissioned McDonough to pen the play after South Florida actress Elizabeth Dimon expressed interest in playing the role of Gertrude Berg, a larger-than-life entertainer who starred in, wrote, and produced her

own radio and television show depicting Jewish life in America in the mid-twentieth century. Hayes and McDonough developed Ordinary Americans in The Dramaworkshop, Dramaworks’ incubator for new works, and it received a reading in January as part of the theater’s New Year/New Plays Festival.

Ordinary Americans is set in the early 1950s and tackles the issues Berg and her co-star, Philip Loeb, faced as they attempted to save their show and friendship amid anti-Semitism and accusations of un-American activity. At the height of McCarthyism, Loeb was blacklisted. Berg—who was not only a groundbreaking figure in the industry but also a visible example of Jewish motherhood at a time when few existed—then had to decide whether to yield to network and sponsor pressure to replace Loeb or lose her show.



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