Film: Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey has come a long way from his lightweight romantic comedy days, taking on increasingly challenging roles and no longer concerned about how handsome he looks on screen. Take his performance in Gold as contemporary prospector Kenny Wells, a pot-bellied, balding, snaggle-toothed schemer who bets everything he has — and everything he can steal and hock from his girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) — on a possible gold strike in Indonesia. He and his equally desperate geologist partner do seem to have struck a rich vein, drawing the interest of Wall Street investors, but there are plenty of ups and downs in this film, directed with tongue firmly in cheek by Stephen Gaghan. The movie starts slowly, but gradually gains speed, leading to an involving yarn said to be based, however loosely, on a true story.
Theater: Since moving to the Broward Center, Slow Burn Theatre has taken on increasingly more difficult musicals on increasingly larger scale. It is hard to imagine the company taking on a more massive challenge than Maury Yeston and Peter Stone’s Titanic. But the troupe’s artistic director, and its permanent director-choreographer Patrick Fitzwater is a natural risk taker, who succeeds beyond all expectations with this symphonic show that features exquisite choral work from his sprawling cast. Stone sticks to the actual passengers and crew on the doomed ocean liner, “the largest moving object in the world,” in contrast to James Cameron’s fictional soap opera. The show won five Tony Awards, but is rarely revived because of the built-in production difficulties, which Fitzwater and his company apparently failed to notice. Through Feb. 5. Call 954-462-0222 for tickets.
Music: It’s a good weekend for opera buffs hereabouts, with both area companies opening productions. First up is Palm Beach Opera’s mounting of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in three performances that began Friday night and continue tonight. Alexandra Loutsion is Butterfly and Adam Diegel is Pinkerton; on Sunday afternoon it’s Moldavian soprano Inna Los opposite American tenor Scott Quinn, in a performance conducted by David Stern and staged by Sam Helfrich. As to be expected with this hugely popular opera, it’s just about sold out for its performances at the Kravis Center. Call the Kravis at 832-7469 or visit kravis.org. And tonight in Miami at the Ziff Ballet Opera House, Florida Grand Opera opens its second production of the season with Tchaikovsky’s most admired opera, Eugene Onegin. Dina Kuznetsova sings Tatyana and Franco Pomponi is Onegin; Chad Johnson is Lensky, and Denyce Graves is Filipyevna. This production runs through Feb. 11, with the last two performances at the Broward Center. Visit fgo.org for tickets or more information, or call 800-741-1010.
Art: The Flagler Museum takes a look in its newest art show at how the Gilded Age understood a certain segment of what we would now call the Muslim world: The harem. Henry Flagler himself owned six Orientalist paintings on this subject, and the exhibit curated by the museum features those as well as drawings, prints and sculptures that evoke the mystery and erotic appeal of Ottoman concubinage. Prepare to sweat a little bit on your visit. The exhibit, called Harem: Unveiling the Mystery of Orientalist Art, runs through April 16, and tickets to the museum get you into the show, too. Visit flaglermuseum.us or call 655-2833 for more information.