Music: George Frideric Handel premiered his oratorio Messiah in April of 1742 in Dublin, where it was put on for a hospital benefit. It was an Easter piece, but over the years it’s become an indelible part of Christmas in the English-speaking world. There are several places this weekend to get your Messiah fix, with performances tonight at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale with the Master Chorale of South Florida (at 8 p.m.), or at the United Methodist Church of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach with the Masterworks Chorus of the Palm Beaches (at 7 p.m.). The Masterworks repeats its Messiah at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Royal Poinciana Chapel in Palm Beach, which is already sold out. More holiday choral music is available with Seraphic Fire, which does its holiday concert tonight at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Center in Cutler Bay, and repeats it at 4 p.m. Sunday at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Boca Raton. That concert, too, is sold out, but you can always ask about returns.
Film: Rejected by several studios, director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) persevered with this passion project, a retro movie musical romance set in contemporary Los Angeles, La La Land, and we’re glad he did. It is the story of the one-off relationship between a would-be actress (Emma Stone) and a jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) who yearns to have his own jazz club. The original songs are by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (lyricists for Broadway’s latest hit, Dear Evan Hansen). True, Stone and Gosling do not have very strong singing voices, but their dancing is reminiscent of Astaire and Rogers. The movie musical is constantly in danger of becoming extinct, but the audience-friendly La La Land should take at least one nail out of the coffin. Opening at area theaters this weekend.
Theater: Returning to Palm Beach County, at least briefly, is Slow Burn Theatre Company, which brings its remounted version of the chipper, though foul-mouthed Avenue Q to the Crest Theatre in Delray Beach’s Old School Square this weekend, through Sunday afternoon. Artistic director Patrick Fitzwater gives the show just the right balance of naughty and nice, as a group of young misfits co-exist on the lower end of Manhattan’s Alphabet City, seeking their purpose in life. The score, by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, is bouncy and irreverent, like from an R-rated Sesame Street. Standouts in the cast include performer/puppeteers Rick Pena, Nicole Piro and Christian Vandepas. Call 561-243-7922 for tickets.