SWEET STRINGS: LARA ST. JOHN
Here are a few things you probably don't know about violinist Lara St. John, who will be playing in the Florida Orchestra's Vivaldi's The Four Seasons masterworks concert this weekend.
For starters, the Canadian native got an early start, first soloing with an orchestra at age 4. To keep her practicing, her mother bribed her with toy dinosaurs. Now St. John is the proud owner of Baby Cain, a 4-foot iguana that wanders her home at will.
She has soloed with the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, the Royal Philharmonic and many others.
See the Florida Orchestra present Vivaldi's The Four Seasons at 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa; 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 Firstst Street S, St. Petersburg; or 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. $15-$45. See flaorchestra.org or call (727) 892-3337.
BROADWAY COMEDY HIT: A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, a sleeper hit on Broadway, runs through Sunday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. The genuinely funny show stars the kind of antihero we don't often see, given that most serial killers are neither particularly clever nor charming, nor can most identify with their "causes."
Monty Navarro is a little different. The son of a dispossessed heiress, Navarro is only trying to get back what is rightfully his. The problem is, his blue blood family wants nothing to do with him. Eight of them stand between Monty and the family's wealth.
"People can relate to Monty," said Kevin Massey, who plays Navarro. "It's a chance for everyman to be their champion. But unfortunately, he goes about it in a really awful way. But the other family is so hideous, you really root for him to keep going."
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder runs through Sunday at the Straz Center, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $40-$95. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
LOCAL TALENT: HELEN KEANEY
Helen Keaney got her start in comedy while pursuing another dream, as an actor in New York. She hit the comedy clubs where friends of hers were performing and found herself saying, "I can do that."
"I guess that's what Hillary said to herself when she was first lady," said Keaney, who will perform Friday at the Largo Cultural Center.
Keaney raised a daughter while touring as a comedian, but decided to revise that dream as well. While watching HSN in her hotel room, the thought came back: She could do that, too.
In 2008, Keaney moved to Tampa to work as a host for HSN. But she's still a comic at heart.
"I always think the funniest thing in my act is when I go away from my act and play to the crowd," she said. "I don't plan anything; I just go with it. Every show is different, and if you scare easily you shouldn't sit in the front five rows."
See Keaney perform adult-only stand-up at 8 p.m. Friday, Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive. $19.50 advance, $24.50 at the door. (727) 587-6793. largoarts.com.
ONE-WOMAN SHOW RETURNS: BECCA McCOY
The Pearl in the Hogwaller, Becca McCoy's one-woman cabaret show, is back. After a popular run in August, the St. Petersburg native and Eckerd College graduate returns to American Stage, where she will narrate her unplanned journey from Chicago to Palatka in series of vignettes and song.
Those years in Palatka brought "very powerful life lessons, and that's why it's a story worth telling," McCoy said before her previous show. Bottom line, she said: "I don't just trash Palatka for an hour, I swear."
The show starts at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at American Stage, 163 Third St. N. $12 in advance, $15 at the door. (727) 823-7529. americanstage.org.