School is out and vacations are in, but several local theaters are as busy as they are during the traditional season, with plays, musicals, comedies and specials throughout the long, hot summer. With careful planning, local theater lovers can see a different show almost every week without driving very far.
Stage West Community Playhouse
8390 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill (352) 683-5113
• July 14-17: The Music You Grew Up With, tunes from the 1950s, '60s and '70s, performed by Stage West regulars and perhaps a few newcomers. Tickets are $15, reserved seating.
• Aug. 12-14 and 19-21: Legally Blonde, Jr., the Musical, performed by the youth wing of Stage West. Based on the 2001 movie romance starring Reese Witherspoon, it's the tale of very blond sorority girl Elle Woods, who wants nothing more out of life than to marry boyfriend Warner. When Warner dumps Elle because he's leaving for Harvard Law School (and doesn't think she's smart enough for him), Elle manages to get into Harvard herself in a very creative way and, once there, discovers an all-new and unexpected life. Tickets are $12, reserved seating.
Tarpon Springs Cultural Center
101 S Pinellas Ave., Tarpon Springs (727) 942-5605
• July 16 and 23, at 3 p.m.: Gilbert & Sullivan's Trial by Jury, a production for children and the young at heart by a cast of children. In it, Edwin (Andrew Larsen) has jilted beautiful Angelina (Angelina Fotopolous), and she is pressing charges. Unfortunately for Edwin, all the jury members and the judge have fallen in love with Angelina, which makes it tough for him to get any understanding. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for Tarpon Arts members and students.
• July 30-31 and Aug. 6 and 7, at 3 p.m.: Cinderella, a retelling of the classic fairy tale. It's a production for children and the young at heart by an adult cast. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for Tarpon Arts members and students.
Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center
324 Pine St., Tarpon Springs (727) 942-5605
• July 15-17 and 22-24: Annie Get Your Gun, Irving Berlin's musical about Annie Oakley, the country girl who can ride and shoot better than any man — including marksman Frank Butler. There will also be a brief film of Reba McEntire in the Broadway version of the musical. Tickets are $24 for adults and $20 for Tarpon Arts members and students; $12 for children. Shows are at 7:30, expect Sundays at 2 p.m.
• Aug. 11-14: William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, a comedy, directed by Dee O'Brien. It has cross-dressing, mistaken identity, a priest impersonator, nobility, a shipwreck and numerous love affairs, at least two with the cross-dressers. Tickets are $18 for adults and $14 for Tarpon Arts members and students.
• Aug. 19, 7:30 p.m.: Tampa Taiko, a professional drumming ensemble, with old and new styles of drumming on discarded wine barrels. Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for Tarpon Arts members and students.
(Heads up: The musical 1776 will be presented Oct. 14-16 and 21-23. Tickets are $25 and $22.)
Show Palace Dinner Theatre
11321 U.S. 19, Hudson (727) 863-7949
• Through July 3: The Andrews Brothers, a book musical about three stagehands who do songs made famous by the Andrews Sisters when the sisters themselves are no-shows.
• June 24: Doo Wop With a Twist, starring Tommy Mara and the Crests (Sixteen Candles) and Joey Dee and the Starliters (Peppermint Twist). Show only, $29, plus tax. Cash bar. Doors open at 7:30; show at 8:30 p.m.
• July 16-Aug. 14: My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, starring two couples doing songs made famous by Ol' Blue Eyes himself.
• July 22: The British Invasion, a three-part tribute to the Beatles, opening with suits and ties, then in the Sgt. Pepper costumes and, finally, in Abbey Road gear. Tickets are $25, plus tax. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; show at 8 p.m.
• Aug. 12: Peace of Woodstock, a tribute to the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair experience, starting with Richie Havens, followed by the songs of Crosby, Stills and Nash; the Who; Janis Joplin; Sly and the Family Stone; Joe Cocker; and others. Tickets are $25, plus tax. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; show at 8:30 p.m.
• Aug. 26: An Evening With Elvis, starring Dwight Icenhower doing both the early Elvis and his older Las Vegas version. Dinner and show, $49.50, plus tax and tip. Matinee, doors open at 2 p.m., lunch at 2:30 p.m. and show at 3:30 p.m. Evening show, doors open at 7 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m. and show at 8:30 p.m.
• Aug. 27-Oct. 10: Route 66, a musical revue of 34 "rock 'n' road" hits of the 20th century, starting in 1950s Chicago all the way to the California coast.
(Heads up: Alter Eagles, an Eagles tribute band, will perform Sept. 23. Tickets are $25, cash bar. Group tickets available.)
Note: Shows at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre in New Port Richey have been canceled, and the theater closed, as Ferraro looks for a larger venue. Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey is closed for the summer.