From old favorites like Hello Dolly! to high-heeled hits like Kinky Boots, 2017 brings a hefty lineup of musicals, comedy and drama hits to North Pinellas stages, many of them Broadway born. Here's your preview of the top coming attractions for the winter and spring seasons:
Jan. 13 –Feb. 5: Doublewide, Texas
West Coast Players opens its winter season with this comedy by the same playwrights who cooked up plenty of deep-fried fun in The Red Velvet Cake War, Rex's Exes, and The Last Round-up of the Guacamole Queens. This time around, the Crumpler family and their wacky neighbors inhabit one of the smallest trailer parks in Texas — four doublewides and a shed. It's double trouble when the nearby town of Tugaloo tries to annex them. Tickets are $19; group and student discounts available. Info: (727) 437-2363 or visit www.wcplayers.org
Feb. 3–5: Gilbert and Sullivan's Princess Ida
A literal war between the sexes is the premise of this comic opera spun in medieval fairy tale fashion. When a strong-willed princess founds a university with the idea that women are superior to men, the young prince she's been married to since infancy disguises himself as a female student and sneaks in to claim his bride. Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $20 with discounts for groups, members and students. (727) 942-5605 or visit www.tarponarts.org.
Feb. 23–March 12: Hello Dolly!
Decades since her 1964 debut on Broadway, Dolly is still glowin', still crowin' and still goin' strong. In fact, Bette Midler opens the Broadway revival of Hello Dolly! performing as the widowed matchmaker, March 15 — three days after the close at Francis Wilson. "We were lucky to obtain royalties," said the theater's manager, Gabrielle Snapp. Tickets are $26 each; $15 for students with I.D. Info: (727) 446-1360 or visit www.franciswilsonplayhouse.org
March 3--19: Evita
The rock musical tells the story of the tumultuous rise of Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón, who emerged from humble beginnings to become Argentina's First Lady. The Tony Award-winner features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber including the grand Don't Cry for Me Argentina. Largo Eight O'Clock Theatre. Tickets are $26.50. (727) 587-6793. Visit www.largoarts.com or www.eightoclocktheatre.com
March 3–19: The Lyons
This dark comedy marks the 2012 Broadway debut of a Nicky Silver play. It's set in a hospital where the father is dying from cancer. It may not sound funny, but be prepared to laugh out loud as this dysfunctional family tries to get its act together before it's too late. West Coast Players. Tickets are $19; group and student discounts available. Info: (727) 437-2363 or visit www.wcplayers.org
March 24--29: Richard Wagner's Rienzi, the Last of the Tribunes
New Century Opera presents this opera sung in English. Set in Rome, it's based on the life of Cola di Rienzi, a late medieval Italian leader who successfully outwitted the nobles and elevated the power of the people. His leadership becomes threatened as the people and the Church eventually turn against him. Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $25 with discounts for groups, members and students. (727) 942-5605 or visit www.tarponarts.org
March 30 –April 9: The Grapes of Wrath
This adaptation based on the timeless novel by John Steinbeck won the 1990 Tony Award for Best Play. It tells the story of poor Oklahoma farmers and their migration from the dust bowl to California where their hopes of a better life are crushed due to the realities of the Great Depression. Francis Wilson Playhouse. Tickets are $26 each; $15 for students with I.D. Info: (727) 446-1360 or visit www.franciswilsonplayhouse.org.
April 11–16: Kinky Boots
This winner of six Broadway Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Choreography will premier for the first time at Ruth Eckerd Hall for an entire week. It features music and lyrics by pop queen Cyndi Lauper and tells the story of Charlie Price, who is struggling to save the family shoe business. When he forms an unlikely partnership with a drag queen named Lola, they come up with some pretty snappy stilettos. Tickets are $35 to $125; pre-show dining available. (727) 791.7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com.
April 21 & 22: Mamma Mia!
It's the farewell tour with a stop at Ruth Eckerd Hall for this jukebox musical that ran for 14 years on Broadway. The show features ABBA's greatest hits — like Dancing Queen, Super Trouper, Take a Chance on Me, The Winner Takes It All — along with an enchanting tale of second-chance love. Tickets are $35 to $100: pre-show dining available. (727) 791.7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com.
April 21--May 7: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Written by comic playwright Christopher Durang, this Broadway show won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2013. It's about middle-aged siblings, two of whom have spent their adult life looking after their now-deceased parents. Their movie star sister, who has provided for them, now plans to sell the house. West Coast Players. Tickets are $19; group and student discounts available. Info: (727) 437-2363 or visit www.wcplayers.org.
May 4– 21: The Wedding Singer
Francis Wilson Playhouse will produce this 2006 Tony- nominated Broadway musical comedy based on the film by the same name. It's a marriage of big 1980s hair; crazy, mixed-up love and non-stop fun. Tickets are $26 each; $15 for students with I.D. Info: (727) 446-1360 or visit www.franciswilsonplayhouse.org.
May 5–7: Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage
Return to the summer of 1963 when innocent Frances 'Baby' Houseman is ready to learn a thing or two about dance, love and life itself from the handsome dance king, Johnny Castle. The musical showcases lots of sexy dancing and hit songs like Hungry Eyes and Do You Love Me? Tickets are $35 to $100; pre-show dining available. Ruth Eckerd Hall. (727) 791.7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com.
May 11–13: Libertaire, the play
Local artist, writer and St. Petersburg College professor, Elizabeth Indianos, has won numerous film festival awards for her screenplay Libertaire. Now she has turned the script into a play to make its debut at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center. It tells the backstory of Lady Liberty, "the woman nobody wanted," and how the statue came to be thanks to Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and Joseph Pulitzer. Tickets are $25 with discounts for groups, members and students. (727) 942-5605
May 12—21: Monty Python's Spamalot
This irreverent parody won three Tony Awards in 2005 including Best Musical. It retells the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Table with the aid of chorus girls, cows, killer rabbits and French people. Featured are memorable songs like Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Eight O'Clock Theatre. Tickets are $26.50. (727) 587-6793. Visit www.largoarts.com or www.eightoclocktheatre.com
Reach Terri Bryce Reeves at [email protected]