An Ideal Husband .
It was witty plays like An Ideal Husband that made Oscar Wilde the darling of London in the 1890s, leading up to his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest. But then came his arrest and trial for homosexuality and the ruination of a sparkling career. Todd Olson, artistic director of American Stage, directed An Ideal Husband at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre on Cape Cod this past summer, and now that production has transferred here. It's about a member of Parliament who is being blackmailed and can't stand the thought that his wife will find him less than a perfect spouse. Wilde's drawing room comedy opens Friday and runs through Dec. 24 at American Stage, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. $29-$47, with student rush tickets for $10 a half-hour before curtain. Pay what you can Tuesday and Dec. 20. Preview at 7:30 tonight. (727) 823-7529; americanstage.org.
MY FAIR LADY
All she wants is a room somewhere: Andrea Prestinario stars as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, which opens the 2011-12 season at Asolo Repertory Theatre. Prestinario, a Chicago actor-singer, had a triumph in a recent production of the Alan Jay Lerner-Frederick Loewe classic at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Ill. There is a definite Chicago flavor to the Asolo staging, directed by Frank Galati, a renowned Chicago and Broadway director (Ragtime, The Grapes of Wrath) who has a home in Sarasota. Chicago actor Jeff Parker plays Professor Henry Higgins. Doug Peck, a Chicago music director, is in charge of the two-piano score for the show. My Fair Lady opens Friday and runs through Dec. 23 at the Asolo, 5555 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. $35-$71. Preview at 8 tonight $30-$45. (941) 351-8000 or toll-free 1-800-361-8388; asolorep.org.
Chi of Shaolin: The Tale of the Dragon
Chinese acrobatics and martial arts have become a big deal onstage, from Cirque du Soleil shows to casino revues. Chi of Shaolin: The Tale of the Dragon features the Imperial Acrobats of China, a group formed by Las Vegas producer (and onetime acrobat) Yan Yan Shao, under the direction of Guy Caron, who staged the Cirque shows Dralion and KA. Loosely inspired by the Buddhist monks of the Shaolin Monastery in China, the show utilizes Gung Fu and Wushu martial arts, acrobatics, dance and music to tell a story. The performance is at 8 p.m. Friday at Ferguson Hall of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa. $23.50-$44.50. (813) 229-7827 or toll-free 1-800-955-1045; strazcenter.org.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic