Mere months after hiring and then abruptly axing interim executive director Jim Cundiff (their sixth leader in six years), the Orlando Ballet has brought in the big guns to help it pirouette its fortunes. Michael M. Kaiser, chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland and past president of Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center, will serve as a "turnaround expert" to get the Ballet back on track. By now, nearly every member of the organization except artistic director Robert Hill, whose Firebird premiered at the Dr. Phillips Center last weekend, has been replaced in recent years; here's hoping they finally stick the landing on this latest leap.
You don't usually think of Amway Center as a venue for local artists, but two recent exceptions prove the rule. During Barry Manilow's farewell tour stop in Orlando on Feb. 2, 35 members of Central Florida Community Arts' choir were invited to act as backup singers on classics like "Copacabana." And on Feb. 28, Logan Anderson hosts "Pure Magic," a slam poetry pre-show before the Magic-76ers game. The event is a fundraiser for Growth From Grief mental health services; email firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb. 12 to buy discount tickets for both the slam and the basketball game.
Looking ahead to early next month, Winter Garden's Garden Theatre holds its annual gala weekend March 4-6. The theater (which is currently presenting the regional premiere of Hands on a Hardbody through Feb. 21) will play host to musician John Charles, off-Broadway a cappella stars Vox Audio and Grammy-nominated actress Maureen McGovern. Tickets range from $45 to $200 (including red carpet reception and outdoor after-party) with proceeds supporting the nonprofit venue.
NOW PLAYING Art, through Feb. 21 at Mad Cow ... I Left My Heart, through Feb. 27 at Winter Park Playhouse ... Naked Boys Singing, through March 13 at Parliament House.
UPCOMING The Tempest, opens Feb. 10 at Orlando Shakes ... Expecting Isabel, Feb. 12-20 at Rollins College ... Ruined, Feb. 17-22 at Valencia East ... Reeling, Feb. 18-28 at Theatre UCF ... I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, Feb. 19-March 6 at CFCArts Theatre ... Painting Churches, opens Feb. 19 at Mad Cow ... Kinky Boots, Feb. 23-28 at Dr. Phillips Center ... The Adventures of Pericles, opens Feb. 24 at Orlando Shakes ... Girls Night: The Musical, Feb. 25-28 at Dr. Phillips Center ... My Dear Watson, March 3-7 at Orlando Shakes ... Side by Side: A Tribute to Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, March 4 at Winter Park Playhouse.