Sunday, June 24, 2018
Features and More

'New York Nights" brings Big Apple vibe to Show Palace

Put together favorite fairy tales, the atmospherics of The Sopranos, Jersey Shore and West Side Story, 11 critically praised performers and a show created and directed by Show Palace Dinner Theatre favorite Matthew McGee and co-creator/choreographer Scott Daniel, and you have New York Nights, the new jukebox show coming to the Hudson venue June 8 through July 15.

"The show is wonderfully unique in that it tells stories of romance, escapism and comedy," McGee said.

Not only is the show new, more than half the cast members — seven out of 11 — are making their Show Palace debuts. That includes show lead Justin Lore, who won kudos from Tampa Bay Times performing arts critic John Fleming for his performance in the Straz Center's Jaeb Theatre production of Forbidden Broadway.

Set in a modest, timeless Brooklyn neighborhood, New York Nights is the story of young Tommy (Lore), who must choose between his love for Angie (Alison Burns, Show Palace debut) and a chance for music stardom. The action moves from Tommy's front stoop to the Sunny and Shears Salon to the streets of Brooklyn, with stops at Da Club (a disco palace), Da Restaurant, and the Manhattan office of an insistently amorous song producer (Gabrielle Mirabella, Velma in Hairspray).

It's all done to the strains of doo wop, classic pop, disco, rock and beyond, McGee said.

The theater isn't releasing a list of the songs in the show. "We decided to just list the scenes and have the songs be a surprise for the audience," said Susan Haldeman, managing director.

In addition to Lore, Mirabella and Burns (who won Creative Loafing's 2010 Loafie for "Best Actress in Tampa Bay"), the show features singer-dancer-actor Troy Lafon (in his 61st Show Palace show) as Dave; recording artist and actor Fredena Williams (Crowns at American Stage); Heather DiBianco (Dynamite in Hairspray) as Nikki; and Scott Daniel (Link Larkin in Hairspray).

Also making their Show Palace debuts are Kristina Huegel (Busch Gardens, Princess and Celebrity cruise lines) as Chrissy; Michelle Oppedisano (Orlando Fringe Festival) as Jackie; Stephen M. Ray Jr. (Paul in Rent! for American Stage) as Vic; and Joe Haladey (title role in Sweeney Todd in Ohio) as Johnny.

This is "a professional cast of ultra-talented singers and dancers," McGee said.

Musical director is William Garon, who has done more than 4,500 performances in 40 countries, including a recent performance with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and was musical director of Hairspray and the Christmas Show at the Show Palace. Award-winning set designer Tom Hansen did the sets and lights and is technical director.

Comments
Finding the fun in a family road trip

Finding the fun in a family road trip

When Matt Villano sets out on the 560-mile road trip from his home in Healdsburg, California, to San Diego in July, his game plan will be carefully crafted. When you’re traveling with three kids under age 10, you have no choice.Villano, a freelance w...
Published: 06/23/18
See Datz pastry chef Alicia Wolding on Netflix’s Sugar Rush

See Datz pastry chef Alicia Wolding on Netflix’s Sugar Rush

When Alicia Wolding joined Datz as the new executive pastry chef last year her hair was rainbow — pretty much the whole ROY G BIV spectrum in cascading tresses. More recently, it’s bright purple, somewhere between iris and lilac. This is the color yo...
Published: 06/22/18
Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

By Katie WorkmanIsraeli or Mediterranean couscous are tiny balls of toasted semolina pasta that plump up when cooked into toothsome, slightly less tiny balls of pasta. They make a great base for a side or salad. You can make the couscous according to...
Published: 06/22/18
Bar review: St. Pete’s Garage is a dive with Pride

Bar review: St. Pete’s Garage is a dive with Pride

Last year’s St. Pete Pride went smoothly, despite some behind-the-scenes drama involving the decision to relocate the parade to the downtown waterfront, rather than the Grand Central District, where it had traditionally been held. After all, the Gran...
Published: 06/21/18
Local craft beer of the week: Beach Slap Piña Colada Wheat Ale from Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company

Local craft beer of the week: Beach Slap Piña Colada Wheat Ale from Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company

"Hooray, it’s summer!" exclaimed no Floridians. But if it’s summer proper and not just the usual year-round weather, you might as well embrace the heat and humidity with a trip to the beach, accompanied by some suitably refreshing beers. While you’r...
Published: 06/21/18
Wine dinners, beer projects and more will wet your whistle this summer

Wine dinners, beer projects and more will wet your whistle this summer

FILIPINO FOOD: WELCOME CHISMISHave you been to the Heights Public Market at the 73,000-square-foot Armature Works yet? It’s the buzzy food market in Tampa Heights with more than a dozen vendors offering up everything from rolled ice cream to Cuban sa...
Published: 06/20/18
On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

SENDUP: MUSICAL OF MUSICALSFive composers, a talented cast, choreography by Cheryl Lee and music directed by Michael Raabe — that’s Freefall Theatre’s recipe for a laugh-filled, season-ending summer musical, appropriately titled The Musical of Musica...
Published: 06/20/18
Artists’ talks and Sharon Norwood’s definition of beauty

Artists’ talks and Sharon Norwood’s definition of beauty

MARK MAKING: DEFINING BEAUTYBlack, squiggly lines are at the center of multidisciplinary artist Sharon Norwood’s works, an exhibition of which titled "Defining Beauty" opens at Tempus Projects on Saturday. Norwood’s use of the line in a variety of me...
Published: 06/20/18
Here’s the skinny on the ketogenic diet: What it is, how to follow it properly

Here’s the skinny on the ketogenic diet: What it is, how to follow it properly

It started with jugs of olive oil and cans of tuna, lots of it, which my husband hauled in one day and plunked on the counter. "That’s my lunch!"That was about three months ago, and every day since there has been a new entity in our house to consider...
Published: 06/20/18
Five ideas for rainbow-themed foods to serve at your Pride party

Five ideas for rainbow-themed foods to serve at your Pride party

More than 50,000 people are estimated to attend Pride weekend in St. Petersburg, which runs Friday to Sunday. (June is LGBTQ Pride Month.) Whether you plan to march in the parade or host your own smaller gathering, we’ve selected five rainbow-themed ...
Published: 06/20/18