Festival of the Arts BOCA – Finally Free of COVID Restraints – Returns for 17th Annual Production March 3

Festival of the Arts BOCA is preparing for its 17th season in 2023 with confidence that the COVID pandemic that mucked up many of its recent presentations has subsided enough for the traditional event to “go live” for its entirety starting March 3.

“From the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and Young Singers of the Palm Beaches to the Rotary Club Future Stars Competition, this year’s program highlights our mission of promoting the spirit and talent of our youth,” said Joanna Marie Kaye, the Festival’s executive director.  

She added that everyone can attend worry-free: “The audience will continue to enjoy our open-air tented venue with ample, well-spaced seat placement.”

The final vestige of COVID interference will be expunged on opening night when Disney’s classic 1940 film, “Fantasia,” remastered and projected on a giant screen above the stage at the Mizner Park Amphitheater, will be shown. The Festival Orchestra Boca conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos, festival music director, will provide the film’s music track live.

“Fantasia” was an experimental film by Disney and Leopold Stokowski, an orchestra composer, which combined classical music with animation in a concert feature movie that starred Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Kaye said the film was set to air as a family-oriented event during the 2022 Festival but was postponed due to COVID concerns.

Mickey Mouse is garbed as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in “Fantasia.” The film will be shown at the 2023 Festival of the Arts Boca. (Photo by Walt Disney Productions).

The Festival has a tradition of presenting films and providing live orchestral performances of their dramatic scores. Among movies presented before COVID temporarily halted the practice included “West Side Story,” “Star Wars: A New Hope,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “The Pink Panther” and “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” among others.

In addition to Mickey’s opening night appearance, the festival is bringing back  legendary three-time Grammy Award-winning musician Sergio Mendes and Brasil 2023 in an exclusive South Florida performance. Also back is the popular “A Night at the Ballet: From Tchaikovsky to the Rolling Stones,” with an all-star cast performing classical ballets and new works set to contemporary music. 

Musician Sergio Mendes will be back for the 2023 Festival of the Arts Boca.

Acclaimed jazz artist Nicole Henry will grace the amphitheater stage with her powerful, elegant voice.  The concert will feature songs from her newly released CD.




Jazz vocalist Nicole Henry will appear at the 2023 Festival of the Arts Boca. 

The Festival’s spotlight on young performers includes: “Voices Rise: The Young People’s Chorus of New York City” in a joint performance with the Young Singers of the Palm Beaches and Broadway star Christina Maxwell; “Scheherazade and Solos,” an evening centered around Rimsky-Korsakov’s romantic favorite Scheherazade, and two inspiring young soloists, flutist Kara Ravaschieri (winner of the Festival’s Young Artist Competition) and violinist Hina Khuong-Huu, joined by the Festival Orchestra Boca conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos.

Constantine Kitsopoulos is Festival music director for the 2023 Festival of the Arts Boca.

The Rotary Club’s Future Stars Competition featuring South Florida’s top high school singers and dancers will also be presented. 

The Authors & Ideas lecture program features Lynne Olson, a famed chronicler of World War II politics and diplomacy, presenting “WWII: Women in the Resistance,” discussing one of the most crucial and effective spy networks at that time.

Author Lynne Olson will be among speakers at the 2023 Festival of the Arts Boca.

The program, “90 minutes with Fran Leibowitz” will bring the audience face-to-face with the inimitable author, actress and social commentator.

Author Fran Leibowitz will be among speakers at the 2023 Festival of the Arts Boca. (Copyright photo by Brigette Lacombe).

The series concludes with a lecture by Charles Fishman, a respected and engaging journalist discussing The Big Splash, how water is the foremost global challenge and an exploration of viable solutions. 

Tickets to the Festival presented by the Schmidt Family Centre for the Arts go on sale Nov. 1. They range in price from $15 to $150 per person and are available at festivalboca.org or by calling 561-757-4762 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.  

Virtual tickets to the Authors & Ideas events are available for $10.  Admission to the Rotary Club Future Stars Competition is free.

The overall event runs from March 3 to March 12, again at the Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real in Boca Raton.

Established in 2007, Festival of the Arts BOCA was designed to promote the cultural arts and to enrich the quality of life of the residents of Boca Raton, North Broward and Palm Beach County through a series of performing arts events and lectures that take place every March. 

For more information visit festivalboca.org or call 561-571-5270.

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