Film: With such a benign title as A Bag of Marbles, you might not suspect that the film attached to it is a danger-laced Holocaust tale of two young Jewish boys, sent off by themselves by their French parents – a barber and a violinist – to cross the country to relative freedom in Nice, eluding the occupying Nazis. With tough-love brutality, the boys’ father beats into them that they must deny their religious heritage whenever asked by a German. Miraculously, the boys do reunite with their parents, who promise they will never be separated again, a promise that will prove impossible to keep. The story is based on a real-life memoir of the younger boy, Joseph, through whose eyes we live the saga, performed with remarkable natural skill by Dorian Le Clech. Opening locally this weekend.
Theater: Miami’s Zoetic Stage, this year’s Carbonell Award winner for best musical production (Sunday in the Park with George), scores again with a musical of substance, the 2015 Tony-winning Fun Home. Based on the graphic novel by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, it tells of her coming-of-age and coming out as a lesbian, and soon after learning that her father was a long-closeted gay man. Composer Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, or Change) and lyricist-book writer Lisa Kron relate Alison’s biography with three actresses in the role – young Alison (Alexa Lasanta), Alison at college age (Kimmie Johnson) and adult Alison (Anna Lise Jensen) – in an evening riddled with pain and humor. Yes, the show is called Fun Home, but that stands for funeral home, for Bruce Bechdel’s avocation is as a mortician. At Arsht Center’s Studio Theatre, through May 13.
Music: It’s been a good year for new music here in South Florida, with a world premiere of a new piece by Hannah Lash earlier this month at Atlantic Classical Orchestra just the latest example. This weekend, it’s another world debut at the Lynn Philharmonia with a Flute Concerto by the Puerto Rican composer Mariano Morales, who wrote the work for the great Latin jazz flutist Nestor Torres. A look at the score shows a piece full of dance rhythms and jazz band-style soloing, as well as a virtuosic solo part that starts the concerto all alone, and leads the rest of the orchestra to join him. Conductor Guillermo Figueroa also will lead the Philharmonia in the Mexican composer Arturo Marquez’s Danzon No. 2 and the Pastoral Symphony of Beethoven. Concerts are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at the Wold Performing Arts Center on the campus of Lynn University in Boca Raton. Call 237-9000 or visit www.lynn.edu/events.
Art: Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney made her mark on the American art scene not just with her inherited fortune in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, but as a sculptor of considerable skill. With the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I approaching in November, it’s a good time to catch the last few days of an exhibit of her work at the Norton, which closes April 29. Clearly the war had a strong impact on her, and her effective figures of wounded soldiers are part of a strong selection of well-crafted expression that tended to get overlooked in her lifetime thanks to her eminence in society. But she was a real artist with something to say. Admission to the Norton is still free while their expansion is going on. Visit Norton.org for more information.