Andrew Grams, the Florida Orchestra's guest conductor, has an interesting assignment this week. Not only is Grams conducting the orchestra, but he also has a group of actors to work with in a program of works by Tchaikovsky and Shakespeare.
Many composers have been inspired by Shakespeare — Verdi wrote three Shakespearean operas, Prokofiev wrote a great ballet score to Romeo and Juliet — and Tchaikovsky had particular success in matching his music to the Bard. Grams will lead the orchestra in three popular pieces on Hamlet, The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet.
The production is a collaboration with American Stage, whose artistic director, Todd Olson, has rounded up a strong cast to speak the speech to go with Tchaikovsky's music. Gavin Hawk, Meg Heimstead, Joe Parra and Brian Shea perform scenes from the plays.
There are concerts at 10 a.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday at Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. $15, $30, $45. (727) 892-3337 or toll-free 1-800-662-7286; floridaorchestra.org.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic