GRANT HELPS JOBSITE: AS YOU LIKE IT
Jobsite Theater has stood out as one of the local companies showing the most love for Shakespeare. Going back at least 15 years, the resident theater company at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts has produced updated versions of Macbeth and Twelfth Night; the lesser known Titus Andronicus, Pericles and Much Ado About Nothing; irreverent sendups of Hamlet (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead) and The Tempest (Return to the Forbidden Planet); and multiple productions of the satirical The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), which puts all 37 works on fast-forward.
This weekend, the theater opens with the comedy of courtship and confusion As You Like It. As You Like It plays with politics and gender while trotting out some of Shakespeare's most enduring lines, including the "All the world's a stage" speech in Act II.
"It's a good fit now," said producing artistic director David Jenkins, who also directs the play. Jobsite has set the play in contemporary downtown Tampa, consistent with Jenkins' vision of the Bard's "forest of Arden" setting as "a metaphor … for getting away, escaping the grasp of society and all it would impose on us."
Spirits at the theater have been running high since December, when the theater announced $20,000 for its outreach into public schools. A $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, plus a $5,000 donation from the Saunders Foundation, will underwrite six additional matinee productions of As You Like It for middle and high school students at "greatly reduced and no cost," Jenkins said. The funding also allows Jobsite to visit schools and conduct workshops for students.
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4 p.m. Sunday. The show runs through Feb. 5 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $28. A preview at 8 p.m. Thursday costs $14.(813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
MIDWEEK LIFT: PALLADIUM CHAMBER PLAYERS
One of the Tampa Bay area's jewels comes out of the case this week. The Palladium Chamber Players, four soloists with national reputations, combine at the Palladium Theatre for an intimate evening of orchestral music, the first of five monthly concerts running through May. Wednesday's program includes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Trio in E Major; Samuel Barber's Sonata for Cello and Piano; and Antonín Dvorák's Trio in F Minor. The Palladium Chamber Players sometimes bring in guest musicians (the internationally renowned Ehnes Quartet performs in February). Its core group consists of Florida Orchestra concertmaster Jeffrey Multer, left, violist Danielle Farina, cellist Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Palladium Theatre, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $25-$38, $10 students with ID. (727) 822-3590. mypalladium.org.
DANCE IS BACK: BEACON 2017
Also at the Palladium: the return of the Beacon dance series, a collage of intimate movement pieces. Led by founders Helen Hansen French and Lauren Ree Slone, both professional dancers and choreographers, Beacon got off to an inspiring start last January. The program returns with more than 25 artists in multiple disciplines, and includes the premiere of a dance film. 8 p.m. Friday at the Palladium. $25-$35. (727) 822-3590. mypalladium.org.
CAN'T GO WRONG: ORCHESTRA DOES BROADWAY
Gary Mauer and Elizabeth Southard lead the Florida Orchestra in pops concerts this weekend, paying tribute to Broadway. The husband-and-wife team bring a deep background on and off Broadway, including starring roles in national tours of The Phantom of the Opera (that's Southard below). Conductor Stuart Malina will take the ensemble through selections from Phantom, Wicked, West Side Story, Guys and Dolls and more. Concerts start at 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa; 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. Limited tickets were available at press time: $15-$45. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.