What’s happening on Tampa Bay stages: 85 South Show, Alonzo Bodden, the Spouse Whisperer

Francis Wilson Playhouse also kicks off its 90th season with ‘Titanic the Musical,’ plus ‘Rabbit Hole’ at West Coast Players and a new comedy showcase at the Studio@620.
Published August 14

WHEEL MAN: Alonzo Bodden

If you’re driving to see Alonzo Bodden in Tampa this weekend, select your ride carefully. In addition to being a Last Comic Standing champion, Wait Wait ... Don’t Tell Me! regular and touring host of Family Feud Live, Bodden is a renowned gearhead, hosting cable shows like 101 Cars You Must Drive and America’s Worst Driver. The last thing you want is for a huge guy like Bodden to rip on your whip in his commanding baritone. Maybe think about Lyft for this one. $16 and up. 8:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday. Side Splitters, 12938 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 960-1197. sidesplitterscomedy.com.

SOUTHERN MEN: 85 South Show

The 85 South Show is improv comedy, but not in a traditional sense. Its hosts perform standing up, but it’s not standup comedy. The popular podcast and YouTube series feels first and foremost like a live experience. What DC Young Fly, Karlous Miller and Chico Bean do is this: They pick up mics, start riffing and don’t stop until you’re doubled over in laughter. You’re basically hanging out in a basement, bar or barbershop, listening to the three Wild ’N Out alumni rant and roast one another. $40 and up. 7 p.m. Saturday. David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.

’SHIPS CAPTAIN: The Spouse Whisperer

Got marriage troubles no counselor can solve? Think only a standup can get you and your partner back in sync? Mark Cordes, a.k.a. the Spouse Whisperer, is your guy. The veteran comic has turned a career built on relationship observations into a popular one-man show that frequently involves couples in the audience. Matter of fact, if you’re in the middle of a debate in your relationship, email it to sonya@entertainmentevents.com and Cordes might settle your score live on stage. If not, a little laughter is bound to help anyway. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. $35 and up. Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 791-7400. atthecap.com.

OFF THE CUFF: Countdown Improv Festival

Something funny’s going on in Ybor City this weekend. A lot of funny things, actually. The Countdown Improv Festival will bring more than 80 solo, duo and trio improv acts to town. Some might be well known to local audiences, like Tampa’s the Third Thought or Sarasota’s FST Improv. Others hail from New York, Denver, Austin, Texas, and Portland, Ore. There’s also a slate of workshops open to the public. $30 and up per night, $50 for the weekend. Hillsborough Community College performing arts building, 1411 E 11th Ave., Tampa. countdownimprovfestival.com.

SPIRAL: Rabbit Hole

Grief is at the heart of Rabbit Hole, the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama presented by West Coast Players. A family’s lives are shattered because of the tragic death of a couple’s 4-year-old son. Becca, the wife, copes by trying to remove every trace of the boy, while her husband, Howie, obsessively watches home videos of him. Becca has her mom and sister to comfort her, if she’ll let them. And the teenager who hit and killed the boy feels terrible and wants to talk to Becca and Howie. Things go up and down, as it often does in life, as the couple tries to cope. Opens Friday and runs through Sept. 1. $17-$21. 21905 U.S. 19 N, Clearwater. (727) 437-2363. For showtimes, visit wcplayers.org.

SHIP OF DREAMS: Titanic the Musical

It’s been more than 100 years since the disaster of the Titanic, which you probably knew. But did you know that the Francis Wilson Playhouse is celebrating its 90th season this year? That’s pretty epic, so why not kick it off with the epic Titanic the Musical? It’s not based on the characters we know from James Cameron’s iconic film, so don’t expect Jack, Rose or Celine Dion’s earworm My Heart Will Go On. Instead, it’s based on real stories and people from the tragedy, with a book written by Peter Stone and a score by Maury Yeston. The show earned Tony awards for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Score after its debut in 1997. It opens Thursday and runs through Sept. 1. $15-$25. 302 Seminole St., Clearwater. (727) 446-1360. For showtimes, visit franciswilsonplayhouse.org.

LAUGHS: What That Mouth Do

It’s common knowledge that if you ask to perform at the Studio@620, the answer is going to be yes. And in the 15 years that the studio’s been open, many arts groups have launched there and gained a devoted following. So check out the new comedy showcase series hosted by Forrest Beers, What That Mouth Do. You might discover your new favorite comedian. $10. 8 p.m. Friday. 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 895-6620. thestudioat620.org.

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