THE RIGHTER STUFF: CINDERELLA
When she's not touring Europe or the United States, Emily Righter, right, gives concerts to support the homeless.
So it's fitting the mezzo-soprano is singing the lead in Gioachino Rossini's Cinderella (or La Cenerentola, the Italian title), which turns on her treatment of a beggar in the opening scene. It's Opera Tampa's first production of the season. Angelina (the character name in Rossini's version) serves bread and coffee to the visitor, who is actually an envoy to the prince. Based on her current trajectory, Righter could wind up in some pretty elite circles of her own. She has consistently earned kudos for her vocal control and delivery, plus an attention to detail in embodying her roles, a result of talent and high standards.
"There's a fine line between excellent — like, 'Wow, she's a fantastic singer' — and extraordinary, where you can't even put words to it, and that is what gives you chills because it's something you can't explain," said Righter, 32. "But you have to study your craft."
8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Ferguson Hall, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $83.50. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
TWO AMIGOS: MARTIN AND SHORT
Steve Martin, left, and Martin Short have been friends since meeting more than 30 years ago while filming Three Amigos. Now the comedians are bringing their variety show to town. "An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life" will feature lots of jokes, songs and stories, plus the Steep Canyon Rangers, a Grammy-winning bluegrass band.
"Steve and I have many things we share that are very beneficial for this show," Short said in a phone interview with the pair. "We have very similar comedic instincts. Our approach to the construction of comedy is similar."
Asked how they contrast, Short said, "Steve is much, much older — not decades, but close to it." (Martin is 71, Short is 66.)
"And Marty is actually happy," Martin chimed in. 8 p.m. Saturday. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $100.25 and up. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.
THE EMPTY SPACE: THE ALIENS
Two artistic types in their 30s meet in an alley behind a Vermont coffee shop, where they discuss art and music. A high school student wanders onto the scene, and finds himself the focus of a wide-ranging exchange of ideas and perspective of everything of importance. The Aliens, which opens this weekend at Stageworks Theatre, allows audiences to relate to the dialogue in their own ways rather than by following a didactic plot line, said Chris Jackson, above, who plays Jasper, one of the two older men. Playwright Annie Baker won a 2013 Obie Award, which honors off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway work, for playwriting, and a 2014 Pulitzer for The Flick, also set in Vermont. David Jenkins directs. 8 p.m. Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday. The show runs through Feb. 26 at Stageworks Theatre, 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. $30 (opening night $40). A preview starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, $15. (813) 374-2416. stageworkstheatre.org.
AWAKENINGS: TAMPA BAY SYMPHONY
The first of three winter concerts by the Tampa Bay Symphony, “Spring Awakens," opens with Rossini's Guillaume Tell (the William Tell Overture) and moves to Schumann's Spring Symphony No. 1. It features the winner of the symphony's 30th Young Artist Competition, pianist Chance Israel, above, who will play Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3. Israel graduated cum laude with a music degree from Lynn University in Boca Raton, and is working on a master's degree at the university's Conservatory of Music. 4 p.m. Sunday at St. Petersburg College's Clearwater campus, Music Center, 2465 Drew St., Clearwater; 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg; and 4 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Straz Center. $20, students with ID free. (813) 229-7827. tampabaysymphony.com.
NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE: HANGMEN
One of the cheapest ways to see a good show is through National Theatre Live, a cinematic experience beamed from London-area stages. Next up is the Royal Court Theatre's production of Hangmen, by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. Cameras placed throughout the theater allow viewers anywhere in the world an intimate experience, sometimes through live-streaming. Hangmen follows Harry, England's "second-best hangman" and a celebrity at his pub in northern England, where the play is set. Now the state has outlawed hanging, and Harry (played by The Walking Dead's David Morrissey) is out of a job. 1:30 p.m. Friday at Eckerd College, Miller Auditorium, 4200 54th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. $25, $22 OLLI pass holders, ASPEC members, via Eventbrite. (727) 867-1166.