At the Allianz Championship, 78 top Champions Tour pro players drive, chip, and putt along the undulating Old Course at Broken Sound for a $1.7 million purse. On February 11, during the second round of championship play, last year’s winner, Tom Lehman, defends his crown on a battlefield framed by Florida maple trees, traversed by stone bridges, and strewn with legendary foes such as Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Fuzzy Zoeller, and an ogre that never replaces its divots. Formidable bunkers and water carries balance the picturesque appeal of the course's cleverly designed greens and chase off any wandering landscape painters.
It's 1980-something. Glen, a young boy, dons a pair of glasses with one blue lens and one red, excited by this new technology that's supposed to make things on the screen pop out at you. During the next two hours, Glen ducks swooping avians during the revival of Alfred Hitchcock's ¬The Birds in 3-D, terrified, yet thrilled. This is one of Glen Gray's earliest memories about the theater his father built more than 30 years ago. Today, Glen lives out those moments each day as the proprietor of Movies of Delray, where the projectors roll a medley of Hollywood features, and foreign, art-house, and independent films.
Gold walls and burgundy curtains lend to the lobby’s art-deco air, and a large chandelier illuminates more than 60 pencil drawings of movie icons of yore, such as John Wayne, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe. This old-fashioned lobby disguises the updates within: brand-new bathrooms, granite countertops at the concession stand, and in the theaters themselves, digital surround sound and updated seating. Rows of black leather seats cushion moviegoers with high backs and wide benches so cozy that Glen claims guests have fallen asleep in them, only waking up at the end of the picture or when Bruce Willis turns out to have been a metaphor all along.
In celebration of film, professor Shelly Isaacs graces the theater with screenings of obscure Oscar-winning or Oscar-nominated foreign films. After each screening, he discusses the film with audiences, dissecting and analyzing the cinematography, characters, and plot.
The aroma of salt and butter fills Alco Capital Theaters in Boynton Beach. Manager Larry Forbes has worked in theaters for three decades, having started out projecting midnight rock flicks at a drive-in in Fort Lauderdale. He therefore balances a sentimental attachment to film with the practical aspects that make it good for business. "If there's a problem and you have a technician—which we do onsite all the time—you can fix it immediately," he points out. Although the majority of work is projected from film, the theater's eight screening rooms are not warehouses for nostalgia. Digital and Dolby 3-D projectors deliver sharp pictures and immersive experiences to stadiums of 1,500 lumbar-supportive seats, as digital speakers and ADA listening devices make eardrums quake.
During the winter, moviegoers prepare for the upcoming awards season with a full slate of Academy Award–nominated films. On some summer days 700–800 kids will flood the theater by 10 a.m. for adventure flicks and romantic comedies, and when things slow down in the fall, Forbes fires off notices of indie premieres and director Q&A sessions to members of the Movi-E Mail Club, who have chatted with director Susan Seidelman and burgeoning stars from The Palm Beach County Film & Television Institute. On federal holidays, the staff host a special matinee for students, and every Tuesday they pile free popcorn into reusable plastic buckets and vacant laps. The theater's dedication to its audience extends to special requests—Forbes remembers slipping a man's wedding-proposal video into the previews one night. Although he doesn't remember the film, Forbes does remember the woman's answer: she said yes.
In a mixed repertory concert, Boca Ballet Theatre’s troupe of dancers flutters and floats across the stage to the choreography of co-artistic director Dan Guin. "Spring Fever" borrows from both classical and contemporary ballet and elicits awe throughout the 520-seat theater with dazzling jazz flourishes, speedy costume changes, and dancers who solve Rubik's cubes with their feet. Guin’s “Bubblin’ Over” strikes modern chords as dancers twirl and pirouette to music by Grammy Award-winning crooner Michael Bublé, and comedic folly injects new life into Ballet Russes’ classic “Graduation Ball.” The lively production also marks a world premiere of Guin's new original work, “Voyage Classique.”
Not many actors can say they've performed in a production directed by a 12-year-old, but Erin Coley has always had an instinctive sense of how to put on a show. Years later, she and her husband, J.R., founded Standing Ovation Performing Arts, assembling eight other experts in the field to encourage kids to get on the stage as early as possible. Improv comedy, puppetry, and playwriting help students express themselves while giving them the skills to deliver confident class presentations and rousing monologues on the futility of naptime.
A nationally sourced all-star roster of professional singers, Seraphic Fire weaves complex vocals and dynamic performance into a shimmering audio-visual tapestry. Their popular Christmas program features English, Spanish, and American carols, sung with classical poise and seasonally appropriate gusto. Patrons can fill their ears amidst flickering candlelight, and enjoy sweeter sounds than those produced by well-intentioned but atonal door-to-door carolers and traveling reindeer choirs.