Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Stage

Stage Planner: 'Informed Consent' at American Stage, 'A Skull in Connemara' at Jobsite

BOUNDARY ISSUES: INFORMED CONSENT

In 1989, Arizona State University researchers entered into a research project with a group of American Indians living in the Grand Canyon area. The search for a genetic marker to Type 2 diabetes was unsuccessful. The scientists later used leftover blood samples for other studies, and that's where their troubles began with the Havasupai tribe.

Informed Consent by Deborah Zoe Laufer delves into legal and ethical issues surrounding privacy, medical records, religious beliefs and social stigmatization. The play opens Friday at American Stage.

"It really goes into meaty topics like personal space, science and religion butting up against each other," said Benjamin T. Ismail, the show's director. The casting call attracted actors from across the country.

Conflicts developed when researchers submitted DNA from their subjects into unrelated studies delving into schizophrenia, migration and inbreeding — all taboo topics for the Havasupai. The tribe sued the Arizona Board of Regents in 2004, saying that the unauthorized use of their DNA violated their civil rights and medical confidentiality.

Juliana Davis, last seen at American Stage in The 39 Steps, plays Jillian, a genetic anthropologist with a personal stake in finding genetic links to diseases. Dana Segal plays Arella, a tribe member opposed to what the researchers have done.

"What's great about this play is that it doesn't say you should do this or you should feel that," Ismail said. "I really do my best to give each character equal weight."

The play has been lauded for its thought-provoking treatment of profound differences in how each side of the dispute sees the world and the power dynamics between them. It's a dimension the American Stage production will explore in staging.

"There's some cat-and-mouse blocking," Ismail said, "a feeling of how high someone is, if someone is up a level."

The show starts at 8 p.m. Friday and runs through April 9 at the Raymond James Theatre, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. $39 and up. (727) 823-7529. americanstage.org.

BURIED SECRETS: A SKULL IN CONNEMARA

Many regulars in the Jobsite Theater audience have already savored Martin McDonagh's crisp dialogue and dark wit, in productions of The Pillowman, The Lonesome West and others. With A Skull in Connemara opening this weekend, fans of the Irish playwright will find his edge as sharp as ever.

Once a year, a grave digger is hired to disinter bodies from a small-town cemetery in County Galway, Ireland, to make room for new bodies. This time, the crop due for excavation includes his late wife, who died under mysterious circumstances. Things could get messy if you sit up close, so keep your eyes open. Paul J. Potenza directs.

The show starts at 8 p.m. Friday and runs through April 9 at the Shimberg Playhouse at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $28. Previews at 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday are $14. (813) 229-7827. jobsitetheater.org.

SOUNDTRACK SHOWS: ONCE, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER

What do streetwise Tony Manero of Brooklyn and an Irish street singer have in common? Both are the inspirations for hit shows — Broadway's Saturday Night Fever — the Musical and Once with beloved soundtracks about the power of music and following your dreams. And both are coming to stages in the Tampa Bay area this weekend.

Once, the winner of eight Tony Awards, tells the tale of a Dublin street musician whose career skyrockets from the spark of a new romance. It includes the Oscar-winning song Falling Slowly. Shows are 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $35-$100. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.

Based on the 1977 movie, the new tour for Saturday Night Fever follows dancing heartthrob Tony as he escapes his troubles by spending weekends at the local disco. With favorite Bee Gees songs from the movie such as Night Fever, Stayin' Alive and Jive Talkin', the show should have you should be dancing by the end. 8 p.m. Friday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $49.50-$69.50. (727) 893-7832. mahaffeytheater.com.

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer

MAHLER: RESURRECTION SYMPHONY

Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2 is dark and searching, wistful and apocalyptic. The "Resurrection" symphony was also the composer's favorite and one his most popular works. The Florida Orchestra takes on the massive work this weekend. Soprano Alexandra Batsios and mezzo-soprano Claudia Chapa will perform with as many as 100 musicians and the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. Music director Michael Francis conducts. 8 p.m. Friday at Idlewild Baptist Church, 18333 Exciting Idlewild Blvd., Lutz; 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $15-$45. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.

 
Comments
Grief and wit, heritage and family dynamics collide in ‘Bad Jews’ at American Stage

Grief and wit, heritage and family dynamics collide in ‘Bad Jews’ at American Stage

ST. PETERSBURG — Whatever else he learned at Cornell University and the Juilliard School, playwright Joshua Harmon surely learned family dynamics. His play, Bad Jews, bristles with wit and malevolence dished out by people for whom familiarity breeds ...
Published: 07/17/18
‘Honky Tonk Laundry’ starts a summer run at Show Palace in Hudson

‘Honky Tonk Laundry’ starts a summer run at Show Palace in Hudson

HUDSON — If you’re into country, Honky Tonk Laundry, which opens July 21 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre, might be the ticket. Written by Roger Bean (The Marvelous Wonderettes/Life Could Be a Dream?), this comedy musical features a two-woman cast ...
Published: 07/16/18
What’s on stage this week: ‘Bad Jews,’ ‘Red,’ ‘It Shoulda Been You’

What’s on stage this week: ‘Bad Jews,’ ‘Red,’ ‘It Shoulda Been You’

AMERICAN STAGE: BAD JEWSWe know that death draws family members closer together. Except when it drives them further apart. A grandfather’s valuable heirloom shifts relatives from grief to competition, questions about who was closer to the deceased an...
Published: 07/11/18
Paul Reiser on 'Mad About You' revival: 'My guess is it won't happen'

Paul Reiser on 'Mad About You' revival: 'My guess is it won't happen'

Paul Reiser has some bad news for Mad About You fans hoping for a series revival. "It’s kind of stuck in the business end of it now," the comic, actor and co-creator of NBC’s Emmy-winning sitcom said by phone Monday. "Sony is trying to f...
Published: 07/10/18
Review: Confident brush strokes paint an eminently watchable ‘Red’ at Heather Theatre

Review: Confident brush strokes paint an eminently watchable ‘Red’ at Heather Theatre

TAMPA — You can always count on the Heather Theatre to do one thing. And that is to produce meaningful plays, and find within each the burning ember that gives off heat and light.So it is again with Red, John Logan’s deconstruction of a brilliant art...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/10/18
This week on stage: ‘Cinderella,’ ‘So Long Life,’ American Stage previews ‘Bad Jews’

This week on stage: ‘Cinderella,’ ‘So Long Life,’ American Stage previews ‘Bad Jews’

THE BALL IS BACK: CINDERELLAThe national tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella comes with flamboyant colors, ebullient music and lavish costumes."My favorite song is a huge ball scene at the end of Act 1, when Ella and the prince fall in love ...
Published: 07/05/18
St. Petersburg Opera finishes season with an energetic ‘The Music Man’

St. Petersburg Opera finishes season with an energetic ‘The Music Man’

ST. PETERSBURG — Musically, the creative team behind the St. Petersburg Opera’s season-ending musical, The Music Man, were clearly going all out. Meredith Willson’s paean to small-town Americana outdid West Side Story in the 1958 To...
Updated one month ago
This week on stage: Cindy Williams in Menopause the Musical, The Music Man at St. Petersburg Opera

This week on stage: Cindy Williams in Menopause the Musical, The Music Man at St. Petersburg Opera

STRAZ CENTER: MENOPAUSE THE MUSICALCindy Williams has made a career of saying yes. When producer Garry Marshall asked Williams and Penny Marshall, his sister, to parlay the success of their roles in Happy Days into a spin-off series, Williams agreed....
Updated one month ago
Parody and theater trivia combine in Freefall’s light-hearted of ‘Musical of Musicals’

Parody and theater trivia combine in Freefall’s light-hearted of ‘Musical of Musicals’

ST. PETERSBURG — Forgive yourself if you recognize only a portion of the dozens of musicals being lampooned in The Musical of Musicals — The Musical!, Freefall Theatre’s season closer. This mash-up of the works of five celebrated composers reads like...
Updated one month ago
On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

SENDUP: MUSICAL OF MUSICALSFive composers, a talented cast, choreography by Cheryl Lee and music directed by Michael Raabe — that’s Freefall Theatre’s recipe for a laugh-filled, season-ending summer musical, appropriately titled The Musical of Musica...
Updated one month ago