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Looking At Art And Obsession In 5&Dime's '33 Variations'

5&Dime Theate Company

When does an inquiry become an obsession? Ludwig van Beethoven, ailing, impoverished, and nearly deaf, set aside other compositions to create 33 variations on a simple waltz theme.

Katherine Brandt, a musicologist in rapid physical decline due to the progression of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), has traveled across the globe to determine the reason behind Beethoven’s compulsive treatment of this theme.

Moving between the early 19th Century, the present, and a performance of the piano variations themselves, Moisés Kaufman’s 33 Variations examines these parallel stories of preoccupation.

Jacksonville’s The 5&Dime Theatre Company is staging 33 Variations. Director Lee Hamby and pianist Laura Peden joined Melissa Ross with a preview.

Performances of 33 Variations are scheduled for July 18-20 and 25-27 at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. You can get more info and tickets online at or

You can follow Melissa Ross on Twitter @MelissainJax.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.