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February Best Bets

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Feb. 2,3 Once Upon a Time

The Tony Award-winning sensation Into the Woods lands in Westchester this month as the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College stages the ebullient musical. Extended twice at the Roundabout Theatre Company and later adapted to film, this play written by Steven Sondheim and James LaPine receives a rousing reinvention in this area production. Follow along as several characters from fairy-tale lore, including Cinderella, Snow White, and Red Riding Hood, discover the power of dreams and the dangers of desire.

 

Feb. 5 From Russia With Love

Most people with a soft spot for classical music know that the Russian String Orchestra means business. The award-winning founder and music director Misha Rachievsky has quickly made the group one of the world’s premier classical ensembles. Boasting some of Russia’s finest young musicians, the orchestra has performed more than 2,000 concerts in 24 countries and has released more than 30 recordings. This month, music buffs can see them in the flesh at Westchester Community College in Valhalla, where the orchestra will perform a new selection of music titled Around the World in 18 Stops.

 

Feb. 11 Bear Essentials

If there is a series of books that has remained close to children’s hearts over the years, it’s The Berenstain Bears. Stan and Jan Berenstain’s beloved tale about a family of curious beasts has been entertaining and educating kids for decades. This month, the book’s fun-loving characters will be brought to life onstage during the Emelin Theatre’s adaptation The Berenstain Bears LIVE! Aimed at ages 4 and up, this humorous production follows Brother Bear as he overcomes setbacks at school with the help of Momma Bear and Papa Bear. Full of valuable lessons and silly asides, this Mamaroneck production presents a high-spirited evening for the entire family.

 

Feb. 16 Dublin Time

Combine one world-champion Irish dancer with a veteran Celtic rocker, and you get Rockin’ Road to Dublin. Founded by dancer Scott Doherty and musician Chris Smith, the group have gained a worldwide following for their incredible step dancing and innovative take on traditional Irish tunes. Champion dancer Ashley Smith will join the beloved band onstage at Stamford’s Palace Theatre for the Performing Arts this month, during an evening of equal parts eye-popping dance and raucous, Celtic-inspired song.

 

Feb. 16 Funk Frontiersman

Having performed alongside the likes of Prince and George Clinton, it is safe to say Maceo Parker knows a thing or two about music.  Over the last half-century, the acclaimed saxophonist has pioneered his own jazz-infused brand of funk, performing on dozens of albums — many with the late James Brown. In the years since, he has developed a band of incredibly talented musicians who will be taking the stage alongside Parker this month at the Tarrytown Music Hall. Parker will be celebrating “50 Years of Funk” during this concert that harks back to the roots of modern music.

 

Photo by joey carman

 

Feb. 23 Westchester’s Got Talent

When America’s Got Talent host Howie Mandel takes the stage, a hefty amount of laughter usually follows. Mandel has been a comedic force for more than 30 years, appearing in dozens of TV shows, films, plays, and as host of several hit game shows. Mandel even racked up an Emmy nod for his hosting of the reality competition show Deal or No Deal and received rave reviews for his 2009 memoir, Here’s the Deal: Don’t Touch Me. Now, local comedy hounds can catch the laugh master in action onstage at Connecticut’s The Ridgefield Playhouse, where Mandel will undoubtedly show just why he remains as popular as ever. 

 

Feb. 28 Born to Be Wild

When you mix director David Lynch with actors Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern, you are bound to get something undeniably weird and astonishingly beautiful. The celebrated film Wild at Heart certainly fits the bill. This 1990 drama caused a stir upon release, winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and sharply dividing critics. Since, the surreal romp has become a fan favorite, sporting a white-knuckle story suffused with equal parts tenderness and action about two lovers on the run from a hitman. This month, Stamford’s Avon Theatre will be showing the bizarre flick during a special screening aimed squarely at all those who are themselves a bit wild at heart. 

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