It will be interesting to see how Curtis Belz (above) is doing Jails, Hospitals & Hip Hop these days. The actor has been performing the one-man show by Danny Hoch for several years, and now he is giving it a spin at the Gorilla Theatre. In a motor-mouthed tour de force, he portrays a collection of characters, mostly under the influence of hip-hop, including a white teenager in Montana rapping in front of his bedroom mirror, a guy on crutches flirting with a Czech girl in a hospital and an inmate busted for selling Bart Simpson and O.J. Simpson T-shirts.
Jails, Hospitals & Hip Hop is paired with A Report to the Academy, an adaptation of a Kafka short story written and performed by Drew Valins, in what Gorilla is calling an "Urban/Gorilla" minifestival that opens tonight and runs through May 1 at the theater in Tampa's Drew Park. A ticket to both plays is $20-$35. (813) 879-2914; gorillatheatre.com.
Easter weekend tends to be a slow time in the performing arts, but the lull hasn't stopped a couple of theaters that have openings.
Murder Ballads: At the Studio@620 in St. Petersburg, Blue Scarf Collective performs this new play by Heather Jones. It's described in a news release as "the story of men and women in Knoxville, Tenn., one year after the end of the Civil War, as they struggle to accept the tragedies they experienced during the war, and embrace love and life." It opens Friday and runs through May 1, with a preview at 7 tonight. $15-$25. (727) 895-6620; studio620.org.
Mauritius: The play by Theresa Rebeck is about stamp collectors, staged by Hat Trick Theatre at the Dempsey Performing Arts Center in Hudson. With a cast of Joanna Sycz, Megan Perry, Rusty Gillespie, Thom McColgan and Robb Lee, directed by Jonathan Cho, it opens Friday and runs through May 8. $9-$16. (727) 857-2604; hattricktheatre.org.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic