Overheard in Orlando: New twist on Nutcracker (ouch!)

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A new twist on the Nutcracker
The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies is nothing new when you attend a holiday pageant during this festive time of year, but at the Orlando Gay Chorus “Eat, Drink and Be Merry” show on Dec. 14 at Plaza Live, the traditional dance took an untraditional turn. Instead of sweet, darling ballerinas dancing out in adorable pink tutus, four big and beefy guys, along with one tall and furry guy danced out”¦ in adorable pink tutus. The chorus hummed along as the bear-lerinas attempted to dance and pirouette their way to be prima ballerina, but instead had to settle on being the most memorable part of the holiday show.

Back home in time for the holiday
Gay activist Randy Ross, 48, who handles marketing for the Orlando Museum of Art, and 96-year-old Elizabeth Smith are unlikely friends. But the two crossed paths a few months ago when Ross heard Smith was in need. Her Carver Shores home was plagued with problems the bathtub had fallen through the floor, the roof leaked and the house was full of termites. Calls to the city and county for help went unanswered. Her neighbors were worried. Working with a small group of volunteers, Ross raised money and in-kind donations to renovate Smith’s home. Everything from paint and tile to appliances and furniture have been donated in recent months, including professional labor through contractor Eugene Roberson, Jr. All the hard work will culminate in “24 Hours for Mrs. Smith,” at noon on Dec. 22 at 4643 Raleigh St. when Mrs. Smith will return home. The Council of 101 will give her a decorated Christmas tree. If you would like to contribute to the project or volunteer your time, call Ross at 407-401-4409.  

Annie makes a surprise visit to Michael Wanzie at the Parliament House
Andrea McArdle was a child actress in 1977 and performing in a chorus of orphans when she was asked to play the lead in Annie on Broadway. The show was a smash and she went on to become the youngest performer ever to be nominated for a Tony Award as Lead Actress in a Musical. McArdle, now 50, made a surprise visit to the Parliament House on Dec. 16 to see Michael Wanzie’s Trailer Trash Christmas. McArdle, who was in town to perform in Sounds of the Season at the Abbey Dec. 17-18, had her picture snapped with fans.

LGBT acts fare well in Fringe lottery
LGBT acts fared well in the lottery for a spot in the 2014 Orlando International Theatre Fringe Festival on Dec. 2 at the Orlando Shakespeare Festival. Of 100 shows chosen, about 20 are known to have LGBT themes or were written by an LGBT playwright. “We are always excited to have LGBT talent from all over the world,” says general manager, George Wallace. “While Fringe is not a ‘gay festival,’ about 30% of our patrons identify as LGBT and we are known on the international touring circuit as ‘the Gay Fringe.'” Fringe is scheduled for May 14-27. To see a list of lottery winners, visit OrlandoFringe.org.

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