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3 picks on stage: 'The Kitchen,' 'Next to Normal,' Audra McDonald

The Kitchen

At 7 tonight, The Kitchen by Arnold Wesker will be shown in four Tampa Bay area movie theaters as part of NT Live, a series of plays filmed at the National Theatre of Great Britain. Set in a restaurant in 1950s London, the play draws on the author's experience as a pastry chef and features a cast of 29, directed by Bijan Sheibani. Tickets vary; average price is $20. Information: or

Next to Normal

Next to Normal, with music by Tom Kite and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, won three 2009 Tony Awards (but not best musical; that went to Billy Elliot) and the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The Pulitzer jury said it's "a powerful rock musical that grapples with mental illness in a suburban family and expands the scope of subject matter for musicals." Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota stages the regional premiere, which opened this week and runs through Jan. 7. Stacia Fernandez stars as Diana Goodman, a mother of two who suffers from bipolar disorder. $19-$40. (941) 366-9000;

Audra McDonald

In December, Audra McDonald is going to be on Broadway, starring in a controversial revival of Porgy and Bess — renamed The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess in the updated version, directed by Diane Paulus. McDonald will play Bess opposite Norm Lewis' Porgy. In the meantime, the four-time Tony Award winner is on a 20-city concert tour that takes her to Sarasota's Van Wezel Hall at 7 p.m. Sunday. Asked by the Los Angeles Times what audiences can look forward to in the concert, she said, "They can look forward to hearing from composers like Kander and Ebb and Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim, new musical theater composers like Adam Guettel. And Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock and Cole Porter." $30-$65. (941) 953-3368;

John Fleming, Times performing arts critic

3 picks on stage: 'The Kitchen,' 'Next to Normal,' Audra McDonald 11/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 4:30am]
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