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Florida is a tropical paradise, even in the wintertime. Is it any surprise that everyone wants to come down here to enjoy the wonderful weather? So while the North is freezing cold, you take advantage by getting a tan during the day and enjoying some interesting shows at night. I have the dish on twenty entertainers and shows who will be here in the Sunshine State this winter.

December/January

Guys and Dolls

This play won the Tony Award for Best Musical when it debuted back in 1950. Sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of New York in the ’20s and ’30s with such fan favorite numbers as “A Bushel and a Peck,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” and “Luck Be a Lady.”

When and Where? Lakeland Center, Lakeland, December 29; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota, December 30; Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, December 31; King Center, Melbourne, January 2; Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, January 4

Winter-AE-Preview_copy1Dancing with the Stars Tour

Mirrorball champion Alfonso Ribeiro, beloved from such sitcoms as Silver Spoons and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, will be touring the country and showing off his dance moves with a number of the show’s professional dancers in tow, including Mark Ballas and Kym Johnson!

When and Where? Dr. Phillips Center, Orlando, January 2; Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, January 3

Vanessa Williams

Her career in acting and music has spanned three decades, so it’s safe to say that this green-eyed beauty has “the right stuff”! Vanessa Williams refuses to save the best state for last in 2015 because she will be starting her year off with concert dates all across Florida.

When and Where? Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota, January 2; Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, January 4; Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, January 5

Sister Act

Winter-AE-Preview_copy8We all know the story: Lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier went to a convent to save herself from a gruesome fate! Now the musical version of the beloved film will be back in Florida. Watch these nuns raise their voices and help keep Deloris…I mean, “Sister Mary Clarence,” out of harm’s way!

When and Where? Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota, January 4; Lakeland Center, Lakeland, January 5

Audra McDonald

Winter-AE-Preview_copy9This acclaimed singer and actress has a voice like an angel. Her talent was on full display when she made her star turn last year as Mother Superior in the Sound of Music remake on NBC. Her touring schedule has her in Florida for one night in January, followed by a more lengthy tour later this season.

When and Where? Broward Center, Fort Lauderdale, January 8; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota, March 22; Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, March 24

Lisa Lampanelli

The Queen of Mean and Friend of the Gays sold out in Central Florida when she performed her one-woman show this past November. Now she’s showing South Florida some love with not one, not two, but FOUR nights of comedy.

When and Where? Palm Beach Improv at CityPlace, West Palm Beach, January 15-18

Megan Hilty

The Smash songbird returns to Florida after her well-received tour last year. This time she brings with her standards from the Great American Songbook, such as “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” hits from Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton, and Ella Fitzgerald, and of course, songs from her CD It Happens All The Time.

When and Where? Aventura Arts and Cultural Center, Aventura, January 25; Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, February 28

Flashdance

Winter-AE-Preview_copy10What a feeling! Movie fans will remember the story of Alex, welder by day and flashdancer by night. Her dreams of attending the dance academy are chronicled in this energetic musical, featuring songs like “Maniac,” “Gloria,” and of course, “Flashdance (What a Feeling)”.

When and Where? Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, January 27-February 1; Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, March 28; Lakeland Center, Lakeland, March 30; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota, April 1-2

Newsies

Winter-AE-Preview_copy2The musical adaptation of the beloved 1992 film returns to Florida for another year. Based on a real story, the Newsboys Strike of 1899, this musical delights the audience with lively dancing and songs such as “Santa Fe,” “The World Will Know,” “King of New York,” and “Seize the Day.”

When and Where? Dr. Phillips Center, Orlando, January 27-February 1; Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami, February 3-8

 

February/March

Olivia Newton-John

Long live love, and long live Olivia! She celebrated forty years as a worldwide singing sensation this past year. This winter, she will be singing some of her chart-toppers just for you. Surely we’ll hear hits like “Magic,” “I Honestly Love You,” “A Little More Love,” and “Have You Never Been Mellow”.

When and Where? Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, February 4

Harry Connick, Jr.

Winter-AE-Preview_copy3Who can resist that voice or those rugged good looks? Considering he’s sold nearly 30 million albums worldwide, my guess is nobody can resist! The American Idol judge is taking time out from his TV gig to sing some of the songs that made you fall in love with him in the first place.

When and Where? Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami, February 7; King Center, Melbourne, February 8; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota, February 10; Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, February 11; Dr. Phillips Center, Orlando, February 14

Chris Brown and Trey Songz

Winter-AE-Preview_copy4Hey, it’s Chris Brown! The superstar is touring the country, promoting his most recent album called X. The single “Loyal” from that album has already burned up the Billboard charts and landed in the top ten. Singer-songwriter Trey Songz will also be touring with Brown, as he promotes his album Trigga.

When and Where? BB&T Center, Sunrise, February 12

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett may have said he left his heart in San Francisco but we really know he left it in Florida. He is wishing his fans down here a happy Valentine’s Day by performing concert for the ages with his daughter, Berklee College of Music-trained Antonia Bennett.

When and Where? Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami, February 13; Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, February 14

Cheyenne Jackson

Star of stage and both the silver and small screens, Cheyenne Jackson has sold out Carnegie Hall twice, and surely he’ll sell out when he comes to Florida this winter. His concert will combine songs from his various theater productions and conversation with his accompanist.

When and Where? Broward Center, Fort Lauderdale, February 14

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Winter-AE-Preview_copy5The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, with Robert Battle as artistic director, brings its touring company of 30 to the Sunshine State every year, and every year it is a delight. Two of the dancers, Antonio Douthit-Boyd and Kirven Douthit-Boyd, are the first gay married couple in the company’s history.

When and Where? Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg, February 17; Broward Center, Fort Lauderdale, February 19-22

Jason Mraz

The winner of two Grammy Awards, Mraz’s laid-back rock and soul style has resonated with millions of listeners. He is also a noted ally: did you know that he was the first straight man to be featured on the cover of Instinct Magazine, when they recognized him for his support of LGBT rights?

When and Where? Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami, February 18

Maroon 5

Winter-AE-Preview_copy6This pop rock group broke through to the mainstream a decade ago with the multi-platinum album Songs About Jane. Now, with the added exposure of NBC’s The Voice, Maroon 5, headed by Adam Levine, is bigger and better than ever. Their worldwide tour is in support of their album V.

When and Where? BB&T Center, Sunrise, February 24; Amalie Arena, Tampa, February 25

Motown: The Musical

In this celebrated musical, Berry Gordy remembers his storied career and how he built the Motown brand into a soundtrack for a generation, and hope for the entire city of Detroit. Performances of everyone’s favorite Motown hits abound. The Supremes, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, you name it!

When and Where? Broward Center, Fort Lauderdale, February 24-March 8; Dr. Phillips Center, Orlando, March 10-15; Straz Center, Tampa, March 17-22

Anything Goes

Winter-AE-Preview_copy7This Cole Porter musical is timeless. Set on an ocean liner, the antics of the passengers have had millions of theatergoers enthralled for over 80 years. The cast is ready with a smile and a song, and what a selection they have: there’s “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “It’s De-Lovely,” and “You’re the Top,” among others!

When and Where? Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, March 10-15; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota, March 16; Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, March 18

Joshua Bell

Joshua Bell grabbed headlines this year when he performed an impromptu concert in the Washington D.C. Metro. You don’t have to make your way all the way up to D.C. to see the Grammy Award-winning violinist play his prized $3.5 million violin; you can see him here in Florida.

When and Where? Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami, March 21; Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, March 23; Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, March 24

Be sure to read our Winter Movie Preview next week right here in Hotspots Magazine!

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Mike Halterman
Mike Halterman has been the editor of Hotspots Central since its launch in July 2016. He joined the Hotspots Media Group family as editor of Hotspots' South Florida magazine in June 2013. A former "40 Under 40" honoree in The Advocate magazine, Mike lives in the Tampa Bay area.