NEW TOUR: ON YOUR FEET!
Gloria Estefan launched a stellar career on talent and heart, becoming a role model.
"I remember my mother playing Gloria’s CDs in the car," said Christie Prades, the Cuban-American actor who is playing Estefan in On Your Feet! The musical is as lively as they come.
Estefan and husband Emilio met extensively with Prades to help her prepare for the role. Prades, of Miami, also worked on the Broadway show that wrapped in August.
"They really wanted to us to know who they are as human beings," Prades said. "She was very open to me and let me know she was accessible."
The show works beyond its many hits — including Oye, Conga, Everlasting Love and Turn the Beat Around — because of its inspirational message and Estefan’s story of overcoming setbacks and tragedy.
"My mother used to tell me, ‘Gloria is us,’?" Prades said.
Tuesday through Oct. 29 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $45 and up. (813) 229-7827. For show times, go to strazcenter.org.
SCARLET BILLOWS: THE THREEPENNY OPERA
The line forms on the right for The Threepenny Opera, Jobsite Theater’s major musical event this season. David Jenkins, who directs this show, says they wanted something beyond a kitschy cult-hit for the Jaeb Theater, a versatile 300-plus-seat box, while still having fun.
A large cast will be dressed to kill, steal and cajole as Jobsite unspools this Brechtian adaptation of an 18th century parody of opera. The composition by Kurt Weill produced some great tunes, including Pirate Jenny and The Ballad of Mack the Knife.
Several veterans of Jobsite musicals return, including Jonathan Harrison and Amy E. Gray, who played Hannibal Lecter and Clarice in Silence! The Musical; Colleen Cherry and Fo’i Meleah, who starred in last year’s Lizzie; and local theater mainstays Derrick Phillips and Katrina Stevenson. Jeremy Douglass, who killed assembling and leading Lizzie’s band, returns as musical director with an eight-piece band. Runs Friday through Nov. 12 at the Straz Center, Jaeb Theater. $29.50. A preview starts at 8 p.m. Thursday and costs $15. (813) 229-7827. For show times, go to strazcenter.org.
ACTUAL BARGAIN: FAUST
The St. Petersburg Opera Company starts off the season with Charles Gounod’s Faust. The 19th century classic, based on the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe play, stars tenor Samuel Hall as Faust, bass Branch Fields as Mephistopheles and Stephanie Lessard as Marguerite. 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Palladium Theatre, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $20-$75. (727) 823-2040. stpeteopera.org.
UNCLASSIFIABLE: SIRO-A TECHNO CIRCUS
This Japanese dance troupe pushes themselves and audiences from comfort zones to ecstasy stations. SIRO-A Techno Circus knocked out judges on America’s Got Talent in 2015. That experience as finalists "was the biggest opportunity to let people know about us and our performance," Cocoona, the company’s director, and Hiroyuki, the sound programmer, told the Tampa Bay Times in an email."Siro" means white in Japanese and "A" stands for anonymity, the leaders explained: "We wanted to be like a white screen on which anything can be drawn."
At any given moment, these performers will look like geometric shapes, 1980s new wave, Netflix on fast-forward or the galaxies. Formed in Sendai, Japan, in 2002, these high school buddies use "projection mapping" to compile a slew of observations into "dots."
"And we connect these dots and edit," the leaders said. "New combinations of the dots could be turned into new performance." 7 p.m. Thursday at the Straz Center, Ferguson Hall. $35 and up. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
LIVE IN STUDIO: RADIO THEATRE PROJECT
The fall season at Radio Theatre Project, a professional venue at the [email protected], starts Monday with Twisted Tales of Poe and Elizabeth Gelman’s The Blackout. High Thin Cirrus by Michael Downend, The Secret Keeper by David Meyers and Not Here Yet by William Ivor Fowlkes, go on 7 p.m. Nov. 27; followed by Remember the Night on Dec. 18, an adaptation of a play by Preston Sturges. All shows at the [email protected], 620 First Avenue S, St. Petersburg. $10