Festival of the Arts BOCA Brings Tales, Tunes and Shark Flick to Mizner Stage

The much-anticipated 18th Annual Festival of the Arts BOCA is nearly here. The 10-day, 11-event series of lectures, concerts, a classic film with live soundtrack and other forms of entertainment kicks off March 1 at the Mizner Park Amphitheater, Boca Raton, where all major activities are scheduled.

Established in 2007, Festival of the Arts BOCA aims to promote the cultural arts and enrich the quality of life for residents of Boca Raton, North Broward and Palm Beach County through a wide-ranging series of performance arts events and lectures held each March.

Many luminaries from the classical arts have been featured at the Festival of the Arts BOCA, including Itzhak Perlman, Renée Fleming (who returns this year), Joshua Bell and Pat Metheny. Award-winning authors such as Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Thomas Friedman have also dropped by. 

The schedule is: 

Famed maestro Henry Mancini will be honored March 1 with a production that includes his music performed by the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra and vocals by his daughter, Monica. (Submitted photo).

March 1

The festival begins with a tune-laced celebration of legendary maestro, Henry Mancini’s 100th birthday.  The air will be filled with timeless tunes (think “Moon River” and “Pink Panther”), brought to life by the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, accompanied by his daughter, Monica, who adds vocals. The show is a family affair, produced by multi-Grammy and Emmy Award-winning Gregg Field, Monica’s husband. It starts at 7:30 p.m.

The classic film, “Jaws” will be shown March 2, with the soundtrack performed live by the Festival Orchestra Boca. (Submitted photo)

March 2

The Florida premiere of Steven Spielberg’s iconic scary fish film, “Jaws” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. in a manner unlike anything the audience has ever seen. The cinematic masterpiece will come alive as the Festival Orchestra Boca performs the Academy Award-winning score by John Williams. The music is notable for the famous two-note rumble heralding the arrival of the fearsome shark.  

Daisy Dowling, author of “Workparent,” will speak at 4 p.m. March 3, teaching working parents how to create successful, fulfilling lives, while raising happy kids. (Submitted photo)

March 3

Opening the Festival’s series of lectures is Daisy Dowling, author of “Workparent,” founder of the movement with the same name and an executive coach. At 4 p.m., she will lead the audience through the sinuous paths of how working parents can create successful, fulfilling lives while raising happy kids. 

Grammy winning soprano Renée Fleming returns to the Festival of Arts BOCA this year to entertain the audience with her superb soprano vocals. (Submitted photo)

March 3 and 4

Ms. Fleming shows up twice at this year’s fest. In an exclusive recital at 7 p.m. March 3, the reigning queen of sopranos will charm the audience with her mesmerizing voice.  The five-time Grammy winner performed at the inaugural Festival in 2007, and again in 2015, to sold-out, standing-room-only audiences. 

At 4 p.m. on March 4, she returns to the amphitheater stage to offer a lecture exploring the profound connections between music and mental well-being.   Her “Sound Health” initiative studies and brings attention to research and practice at the intersection of music, health and neuroscience. 

March 5

The festival joins forces with the Rotary Club of Boca Raton to spotlight emerging talents from throughout South Florida at the Rotary Club Future Stars Competition, beginning at 7 p.m. This performance, a popular annual attraction, will showcase some of the top young singers and dancers in our own backyard.

March 6

The Authors & Ideas Program continues with Nicholas Thompson, CEO of “The Atlantic” and former editor-in-chief of “Wired” magazine, who will unravel the mysteries of the “Wired Future” and show how technology touches our lives. The aim is to show us how to use it more effectively.

March 7

American poet and public speaker, Richard Blanco, will take the stage at 7 p.m., offering profound insights through poetry and prose.  Selected by President Obama as the fifth Presidential Inaugural Poet in U.S. history, Blanco was the youngest person to serve in that role.  In 2023, Blanco was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Biden from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

In a South Florida exclusive, the Barcelona Flamenco Ballet will perform at the Festival of the Arts BOCA March 8. (Photo by Zsolt Meszaros)

March 8

Surrender to the passion and fervor of the Barcelona Flamenco Ballet with Luxuria at 7:30 p.m.  The dance ensemble introduces a new flamenco concept, one that preserves the root of the traditional dance with a captivating infusion of jazz and contemporary ballet.  The show is a South Florida exclusive.

Isaac Mizrahi will perform his cabaret show, “Hello, Isaac,” at 7:30 March 9. (Submitted photo)

March 9

Multitalented fashionista Isaac Mizrahi shows up at 7:30 to perform, “Hello Isaac,” his critically acclaimed cabaret show that features an evening of laughter, design and song.  With him will be his six-piece jazz band, performing a range of tunes from the great American songbook. The featured guest will offer some hilarious musings from politics to dieting to his latest Instagram obsessions.

March 10

This year’s finale features the Festival Boca Jazz Orchestra conducted by Kyle Prescott and featuring pianist Dominic Cheli who will perform “100 Years of Rhapsody in Blue,” a tribute to George Gershwin’s quintessentially American composition as it was premiered in 1924 with jazz band. The show begins at 7. 


Tickets range 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.  Admission to the Rotary Club Future Stars Competition is free.

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