Polk County Sheriff revives its Haunted Jail Tour with “The Ghost of Calvin”

Haunted Jail Tour

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is bringing back its popular Haunted Jail Tour.

BARTOW — For decades, people who committed crimes spent time in the old Polk County jail in Bartow. Some even passed away there.

And today, questions linger about whether a ghost or two has stayed behind in that old jail building … waiting to see who comes to visit.

That includes one inmate by the name of Calvin, who committed suicide in that jail … but did he ever really leave?

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is bringing back its popular 2017 Haunted Jail Tour, and the theme this year is “The Ghost of Calvin.”

Noting that the spooky event was “back by popular demand,” Carrie Horstman, the public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff, said the tour will benefit The United Way of Central Florida.

This is an opportunity this Halloween season to see what’s truly scary about the jail (outside of the obvious – how unpleasant incarceration is, so be sure to stay on good behavior at all times.)

The tours will be held on the final two weekends in October. Volunteers for the sheriff’s office will be leading guests through “The Ghost of Calvin” tours from 6-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20-21, and Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28 at the PCSO old jail at 455 N. Broadway Avenue in Bartow, directly across the street from the Bartow Police Department. Continue reading

A dark and powerful “Man of La Mancha” comes to Orlando Shakes

Man of La Mancha

Laura Hodos as Aldonza, Matt Zambrano as Sancho, and Davis Gaines as Don Quixote star in Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s production of “Man of La Mancha.” (Photo by Luke Evans.)

ORLANDO – Davis Gaines cuts a truly commanding presence as Cervantes, the tax collector, playwright and dreamer in the legendary Broadway show “Man of La Mancha,” now being performed at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, that he’s thrilling ever moment he’s on stage.

Gaines has a marvelously towering voice from the very start, when he performs the show’s classic opening title song, “Man of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote).” For the next two hours, he beautifully balances humor, pathos and more than a bit of tragedy in his performance. He’s particularly good when matched up against the equally stunning Laura Hodos as his imaginary love, Dulcinea. The two of them could have carried on the entire show themselves and been a pure delight to watch.

This beautifully mounted production of the 1964 Broadway hit by Dale Wasserman was directed by Nick DeGruccio, and his approach made me feel like I was watching the show for the first time. In several of the past productions that I’ve seen in Central Florida, the cast and directors emphasized humor, as the befuddled dreamer Cervantes and his loyal sidekick Sancho Panza were portrayed as comedic figures whose actions verged on slapstick. Continue reading

“Life Could Be a Dream” takes a harmonious trip back to a more innocent era

Life Could Be a Dream

Andrew LeJeune, Zach Nadoiski, and Michael Scott Ross (rear) join Bert Rodriguez and Tay Anderson in the musical-comedy “Life Could Be a Dream” at The Winter park Playhouse.

WINTER PARK — When someone mentions the 1960s, most people are likely to recall a highly turbulent era, especially in the latter years.

Political assassinations, anti-war protests, and the flower child movement all rocked the nation from 1967 until the 1970s arrived, and it was a time when it felt like the nation was being torn apart.

What might no longer be remembered is that the decade didn’t start that way, and the early 1960s still felt a lot more like the 1950s. The spirit of youthful rebellion, social change and rejection of traditional norms was still years away. That was reflected in the music as well. If by the late 1960s The Rolling Stones were singing “Sympathy For The Devil,” in the early 1960s teens were still listening to Paul Anka singing “Puppy Love” and Mark Dinning crooning “Teen Angel.”

That era is captured in Roger Bean’s jukebox musical “Life Could Be a Dream,” which is set in the year 1960, in the basement of Denny Harney, a teen with ambitions to become a hit doo wop singer. Continue reading

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