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Stage Planner: Beethoven, Bodytraffic and 'Forbidden Broadway' at the Straz




Every job has its drudgery. Truckers have traffic jams. Lawyers have paperwork. Politicians have to shake hands and smile when they don't want to. No one feels especially sorry for them.

Actors have costume changes. A cast of four in Forbidden Broadway, the parody revue at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, zip on and off stage at dizzying speeds, emerging seconds later in a new outfit, representing another big name on the hit list.

A couple of weeks ago, Heather Krueger, whose characters include Idina Menzel, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Frankie Valli (Walk Like a Man, Sing Like a Girl), had bigger concerns than a breakneck pace. First she had to get the job. Krueger, a Brandon native who graduated from Blake High's arts magnet, recently took over for Trisha Rapier, who left the two-month run at the Straz's Jaeb Theater early. She has appeared on Tampa Bay area professional stages for years, including a 2010 run of Forbidden Broadway at the Jaeb, directed by current cast member Edward Staudenmayer.

Still, the quick turnaround from the invitation to audition to performing was an adjustment, she said. On those costume changes in the wings, Krueger said, "Clothes will be laid over chairs. There's a lot of Velcro involved." The show runs through March 12. 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $40. (813) 229-7827.




If their record and repertoire are any guide, Bodytraffic will be unlike any other offering at major performing arts venues this season. Co-artistic director Lillian Barbeito said she and Tina Finkelman Berkett value the unique expression of each dancer over a resume or physical type.

"Technique and physicality are a given," Barbeito said of her dancers. "What Tina and I respond to is personality and character — if they have a greater understanding of the value of dance and how it can have a positive impact on the world."

Some compositions tell stories, others express themes more abstractly. Originally conceived for 10 dancers, they have pared it down to eight, but are still not making money, Barbeito said.

"We are now looking at programs to tour with six or seven dancers just so we can make ends meet," she said.

That's a struggle in the dance world almost as universal as its appeal. A group of local dancers and choreographers, the Beacon, recently held its second concert in two years at the Palladium, hoping to build a base of support for dancers in St. Petersburg. Bodytraffic's founders started out in similar ways.

"I encourage those dance makers in St. Petersburg and Tampa to follow their need to express themselves through dance," Barbeito said. 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Straz Center, Ferguson Hall. $29.50 and up.




The Florida Orchestra performed Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, better known as the Eroica, last season, a milestone in the composer's career and life, marked by the unburdening of painful secrets, notably the deterioration of his hearing. Before that breakout work he composed Symphony No. 2 on a royal commission, the headline work in this weekend's Masterworks concert. While Beethoven in 1802 was about to veer toward his most powerful work, this symphony gives plenty of advance warning of the bursting, genre-changing energy that was to come.

The program opens with Debussy's Sacred and Profane Dances, with principal harp soloist Anna Kate Mackle. It closes with Maurice Duruflé's Requiem, featuring the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, with mezzo-soprano Anita Krause and baritone James K. Bass. Michael Francis conducts. 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center in Tampa, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $15-$45. (727) 892-3337.

Stage Planner: Beethoven, Bodytraffic and 'Forbidden Broadway' at the Straz 02/15/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 11:27am]
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