Theater: Opening on Tuesday evening at West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center is that great folk opera, Porgy and Bess, reclaimed from elitist opera houses and reconceived as a Broadway-scale musical by director Diane Paulus, who has owned the Best Revival Tony Award for the past three seasons (Hair, Porgy, Pippin). In this case, the DuBose Heyward script has been shaken up by Pulitzer Prize winner Susan Lori-Parks, and the score has a reduced orchestra of “only” 23 musicians and much of the recitative has been deleted to bring down the running time. Still, the show — now dubbed The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess by the estate of the composer — remains a marvelous experience with a musical and dramatic embarrassment of riches. Call (561) 832-7469 for tickets, starting at $25.
Film: Not much new opening this first weekend of the new year, but most of the films likely to receive Oscar attention in a few weeks are still hanging on in theaters. And while you can soon catch them on DVD, some really cry out for consumption on the big screen. Gravity, for instance, Alfonso Cuarón’s masterful lost-in-space thriller is one of the few releases that need to be seen in that otherwise annoying format, 3D. Almost the direct opposite is Alexander Payne’s small, character-driven comedy, Nebraska, but the award-worthy black-and-white cinematography by Phedon Papamichael is what deserves the theatrical viewing, where the black tones of the desolate Midwest landscape looks so attractive and devastating.
Music: With the holidays behind us and the heart of the season stretching out ahead, each weekend for the next three months will have more than enough worthwhile concerts to see. Two piano-oriented events are on view this weekend, with the Cleveland Institute of Music professor Daniel Shapiro returning to Boca Raton for the Piano Lovers series with two sonatas by Beethoven: the Tempest (No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2), and one of the towering landmarks of piano composition, the Hammerklavier (No. 29 in B-flat, Op. 106). Shapiro performs at 4 pm Sunday; call 561-573-0644 for more information, or visit www.pianolovers.org.
Meanwhile, at the Kravis Center, the two-piano team of Duo Amal, Israeli Yaron Kohlberg and Palestinian Bishara Haroni perform music of Shostakovich, Stravinsky and Prokofiev, as well as works by the young Israeli composer Avner Dorman and the Palestinian composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi. The duo, whose name means “hope” in Hebrew, is a living example of how the arts can cross over any political boundary. Duo Amal performs at 2 p.m.; tickets start at $25. Call 832-7469 or visit www.kravis.org.
Art: Two local exhibits are wrapping things up in the next few days. Deco Japan, a surprising look at the influence of Art Deco on the Chrysanthemum Kingdom, closes at the Four Arts’ O’Keeffe Gallery on Friday (call 655-7226 or visit fourarts.org), while L.A. Stories, work by four video artists teamed with an exhibit of new acquisitions for the photography division are on display through Jan. 12 at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach (call 832-5196 or visit www.norton.org).