Falling slowly: 5 performing arts events we're looking forward to this fall 

click to enlarge John Hodgman

Photo by Bex Finch

John Hodgman

In Orlando, we fall slowly. While most of the rest of the country is settling into their Starbucks PSLs and chunky sweaters, we’re still the other kind of sweater – damp and flushed in the 85-degree days that sometimes hold on until mid-November. Arts seasons don’t take their cues from the weather, however; the calendar’s idea of autumn is when our performing arts organizations crank up the heat. And so we have plenty to look forward to in these next months: new plays, ballets, readings and operas and stand-up comedy, all weaving together into a brilliant banquet. Keep an eye on our calendar for more events as they’re announced.

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Oct. 6: Orlando Ballet Uncorked
While you should refrain from touching the dancers unless invited to do so, Orlando Ballet’s Uncorked events share some DNA with the Orlando Phil’s (and orchestras everywhere) “instrument petting zoos.” It’s just a chance to demystify an art form that may seem snooty or unreachable by interacting with patrons up close. Learn more about the ballet’s 2015/2016 season, plus get background info and early glimpses of their upcoming Giselle. If you’re lucky, the dancers may even throw some popping and locking in among the arabesques and pas de bourrées – like we said, it’s an informal atmosphere.
7 p.m. | The Abbey, 100 S. Eola Drive | $30-$50 | 407-426-1739 | orlandoballet.org

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Oct. 13-18: One Man Star Wars Trilogy
In light of the Star Wars mania surrounding the upcoming Episode VII and Disney’s announced Star Wars-themed lands, not to mention the inescapable fact that Fanboys Have Taken Over The World, this show in which one actor performs the entire original trilogy by himself ought to be a popular draw. Charlie Ross has toured his One Man Star Wars from fringe festival to fringe festival since its debut in 2001, racking up more rave reviews than the Federation has battle droids. Fellow fringe-fest stalwart T.J. Dawe (multiple award-winner at the Orlando Fringe Festival) directs this six-night run. This is the show you’re looking for.
Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave | $35-$55 | 844-513-2014 | drphillipscenter.org.

Oct. 23: John Hodgman (pictured above)
Author, Daily Show correspondent and self-proclaimed PC (to Justin Long’s douchey Mac) John Hodgman is best-known in his various personae: the “deranged billionaire,” the “expert on all world knowledge,” the aforementioned PC. We’d like to say that on his current stand-up tour, dubbed "Vacationland," he’s going to be himself, but rather than dropping out of character, it seems he is just trying on a new one – the “bewildered Maine resident.” Hodgmaniacs will turn out for this show, though, no matter who he is that day – any fan of the man would be incapable of resisting “a new talking comedy show from John Hodgman about cairns, river witches, junkyards and death.” See ya there, nerd.
7 p.m. | The Plaza Live, 425 N. Bumby Ave. | $25-$36 | 407-228-1220 | plazaliveorlando.com.

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Oct. 24-25: Orlando Philharmonic Music Director Debut
After a yearlong search, the Orlando Philharmonic has a new music director, and what a breath of fresh air he is. Conductor and cellist Eric Jacobsen brings to Orlando the fluency in modern and avant-garde musics that a younger segment of local classical fans has craved (yes, they exist) – he’s a founding member of modern string quartet Brooklyn Rider and the innovative NY-based chamber orchestra the Knights. That’s not to say he can’t blow the dust off of traditional repertory, though; in this, his official debut concert, the four-piece program includes works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Ravel, and thus is unlikely to alienate the grayest heads in the season ticketholder circle. We love Daphnis et Chlöe as much as anyone, sure, but it’s that fourth piece on the program, a Gabriel Kahane world premiere, that has us most excited.
8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday | Bob Carr Theater, 401 W. Livingston St. | $21-$62; 407-849-2020 | drphillipscenter.org

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ASHLEY INGUANTA
  • Photo by Ashley Inguanta

Nov. 13: Juventud Book Launch
Award-winning Orlando writer Vanessa Blakeslee stuck close to home in her first book, Train Shots, capturing this city with a level of detail only a native could truly appreciate. She ventures much farther afield in this novel, a coming-of-age tale set in Cali, Colombia. Through the eyes of her teenaged protagonist, Mercedes, Blakeslee explores the politics of the country known mostly for its drug cartels, and the complexities of growing up, leaving home, and coming back. Meet the author and purchase a signed copy of Juventud, a book that we expect to see adorning many critics’ “best of 2015” lists by the end of the year.
4-9 p.m. | Bookmark It, East End Market, 3201 Corrine Drive | free | 407-389-9870 | bookmarkitorlando.com

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