Sunday, January 21, 2018
Stage

Skelton Cabaret production of 'Stop Kiss' explores relationships, loyalty

NEW PORT RICHEY — Even though it was written in 1998 before sea changes in public attitudes toward gay and lesbian people and several U.S. Supreme Court rulings protecting their rights, the adult drama Stop Kiss is as timely today as it was then, what with violence against gays still a threat.

In it, New York City radio traffic reporter Callie (Suzanne Meck, Jolene in Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels) agrees to tend to the cat of a friend of a friend, Sara (Gemma Davimes), a third-grade schoolteacher from St. Louis doing an internship in the Bronx. The two women soon become close friends, hanging out at West Village coffee shops and strolling through New York streets, talking into the wee hours of the morning.

Before long, the friendship intensifies into a romance, and Callie and Sara exchange a lingering kiss while sitting on a sidewalk bench at 4 a.m. They're spotted by a homophobe, who attacks and beats them up, hurling Sara into a coma. (This is told in flashback, not shown on stage.)

George (Michael McGuigan, Officer Lockstock in Urinetown; Lawrence in Scoundrels), Callie's "friend with benefits" tries to help, but it seems there is little he can do. Besides, he's a tad jealous of Callie's relationship with Sara, which colors his reaction to what has happened.

Peter (Jason Hoolihan, Oberon in Shakespeare in Hollywood), who was Sara's boyfriend in St. Louis and is still in love with her, rushes to her side and seems to be of genuine assistance, though he has no idea where it will all lead.

The play explores relationships, feelings, love, loyalty and how all that can change in a heartbeat. It has moments of comedy and moments of tragedy.

Playwright Diana Son tells the story both in the present and in flashback, fleshing out the characters and their lives. It received good reviews when it debuted in New York's Joseph Papp Public Theatre, a showcase for up-and-coming works, and its initial one-month run was extended twice, to three months.

This is the second production by the newly formed Charlie and Marie Skelton Cabaret, an offshoot of Richey Suncoast Theatre aimed at adult theatergoers. The cabaret will eventually move to the space formerly occupied by Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre on Main Street. But until unexpectedly extensive renovations to that space are completed, the plays are being presented on the stage at Richey Suncoast.

Comments
Orchestra sets off fireworks in the brassy ‘Sinfonietta’

Orchestra sets off fireworks in the brassy ‘Sinfonietta’

TAMPA — Many times during Sinfonietta, Leoš Janácek’s notoriously difficult but joyous work, it was impossible for a regular patron of the Florida Orchestra to escape this observation: They have never sounded quite like this.This isn’t to say musicia...
Published: 01/20/18
‘Mike Hammer - Encore for Murder’ serves up hard-boiled 1950s fare with a healthy side of wit

‘Mike Hammer - Encore for Murder’ serves up hard-boiled 1950s fare with a healthy side of wit

CLEARWATER — From the moment the title character takes center stage, Mike Hammer — Encore for Murder is sold. Rarely does one actor own an entire production the way Gary Sandy owns this world premiere, and it’s a pleasure at watch, in large measure t...
Published: 01/19/18
Inside American Stage’s plan to offer free or reduced admission to young people

Inside American Stage’s plan to offer free or reduced admission to young people

ST. PETERSBURG An air compressor did most of the talking as the small crew stapled down flooring to the stage. A master carpenter kept unskilled but eager workers on track, telling them where to line up edges. An astringent smell of glue permeated t...
Published: 01/18/18
What’s on stage this week: Riverdance, ‘Mike Hammer,’ ‘The Tempest’

What’s on stage this week: Riverdance, ‘Mike Hammer,’ ‘The Tempest’

RIVERDANCE AT 20: CIARA SEXTONShe’s a former world champion in Irish dance, and now Ciara Sexton, center, is leading Riverdance in Tampa. A lead dancer and soloist with the troupe, Sexton said she has felt comfortable touring the states."What really ...
Published: 01/17/18
Steve Martin and Martin Short talk touring together and ‘newfangled old-fashioned’ variety show

Steve Martin and Martin Short talk touring together and ‘newfangled old-fashioned’ variety show

It’s barely been a year since Steve Martin and Martin Short last brought their roadshow to town. But there was never a doubt in their minds they’d be back."We thought — and I seriously mean this — we’ve got to play Florida more." Martin said in a pho...
Published: 01/17/18
Tampa Rep’s ‘Gnit’ is a sharp commentary on narcissism in the age of selfies

Tampa Rep’s ‘Gnit’ is a sharp commentary on narcissism in the age of selfies

By JULIE GARISTOTimes CorrespondentTAMPA — Tampa Repertory Theatre’s Gnit strikes gold for theatergoers who appreciate deadpan wit, clever wordplay and incisive commentary on the human condition.First produced in 2013, the retread of a Scandinavian c...
Published: 01/16/18
Review: Show Palace’s Pippin daring and dangerous

Review: Show Palace’s Pippin daring and dangerous

HUDSON —If you saw the musical Pippin when it first hit Broadway in 1972, or a high school drama club version, or even a touring company rendition a decade ago, it’s not exactly the Pippin you’ll see if you’re wise enough to go see the spectacular mo...
Published: 01/15/18
Updated: 01/18/18
Review: Richey Suncoast’s I Hate Hamlet worth shouting about

Review: Richey Suncoast’s I Hate Hamlet worth shouting about

NEW PORT RICHEY — Many years ago I lived near New Orleans, and one of my favorite pastimes was to put my son in his stroller and saunter up and down the streets of the Vieux Carre.But Bourbon Street in the late afternoon was our favorite. Back then, ...
Published: 01/15/18
Updated: 01/18/18
A play about Miami’s Cocaine Cowboys is becoming a reality

A play about Miami’s Cocaine Cowboys is becoming a reality

MIAMI — The idea seemed outlandish, maybe even impossible at the time: a one-man play about Miami’s infamous Cocaine Cowboys of the 1980s. Some 15 years ago, the Miami-raised Billy Corben was deep into research for what would become Coca...
Published: 01/15/18
Updated: 01/16/18
With Zev Buffman at the creative end, Ruth Eckerd Hall brings Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer to the stage

With Zev Buffman at the creative end, Ruth Eckerd Hall brings Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer to the stage

An actor famous for playing a radio station manager will star this week in the world premiere of a radio play.Mike Hammer: Encore for Murder brings Gary Sandy, who played Andy Travis on WKRP in Cincinnati, to Ruth Eckerd Hall. And the star power was ...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/13/18