Film: In 1981, composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim and director Harold Prince adapted a Depression-era play on the ironies of show business success, Merrily We Roll Along, and opened it on Broadway to such critical and popular indifference that it destroyed their much-acclaimed string of musical collaborations. Now, 35 years later, original cast member Lonny Price looks at the genesis, failure, eventual vindication in revivals and the effect on its young performers in a documentary, Worst Best Thing That Ever Happened that includes never previously seen archival footage of the show, shot for a never-aired television special intended for broadcast when the Broadway production became a hit. This is fascinating stuff, even if you are not a devotee of the theater. Playing this week at the Living Room Theatres in Boca Raton on the FAU campus.
Theater: Rob Donohoe, a frequent performer at West Palm Beach’s Palm Beach Dramaworks, ends a well-received run in the one-man-show Tru this Sunday. Set on Christmas Eve, 1975, in the United Nations Plaza apartment of the great Southern writer and social butterfly Truman Capote, who has just published a sizeable excerpt of his scandalous roman à clef, Answered Prayers. So he spends the evening alone, shunned by his former friends from high society, name dropping and saying catty things about those who turned their backs on him. Donohoe gives a crafty impression of Capote, so compelling he almost makes us forget and/or forgive the usual shortcomings of monodramas. For tickets, call 561-514-4042.
Art: This year saw the reemergence into the national dialogue the case of the American Indian, fighting to preserve land sacred to their ancestors from the depredations of an oil pipeline in North Dakota. That fight, which for now is in limbo, brought back the long, sad history of colonizer-indigenous relations in the building of this country. Back at the turn of the last century, photographer Edward Curtis chronicled the last gasps of a defeated people for an irreplaceable archive that is on view for only two more days at the Flagler Museum on Palm Beach. These astonishing photographs are a poignant reminder of just how much American history we overlook, and a priceless record of what the country could have looked like had we done things differently. Edward S. Curtis: 100 Masterworks can be seen today and tomorrow at the Flagler Museum; call 655-2833 for more information or visit flaglermuseum.us.
Music: It’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow, and if you’re a fan of late-night television, you might want to head down to Miami on the eve of 2017 for a concert by The Roots, the Philadelphia-based octet that serves as Jimmy Fallon’s house band on The Tonight Show. Under the leadership of drummer Ahmir Thompson, aka Questlove, this versatile group provides a special kind of jazz-funk house music that makes equally good use of guitars and a sousaphone. If you want the VIP package, you can welcome in 2017 with Questlove himself and the other members of the band; it might be just the lift you need for what promises to be a challenging year. Tickets start at $75. Call 305-949-6722 or visit www.arshtcenter.org.