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Stage planner: Local talent meets Moscow Ballet, plus Fortune Feimster


At age 12, Autumn Hughes has already played multiple roles in the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker. This year, she'll be one of the Party Boys in the Christmas-themed classic.

The ballet's "Dance With Us'" program gives young dancers a chance to perform with the international touring company. The company, created in 1993 around choreographer Stanislav Vlasov's adaptation of the Tchaikovsky suite, retains the charm of the 19th century tale. With a Christmas Eve party with Russian court dancers and the Moscow skyline in the background, a little girl falls asleep. Her dreams flit from toys to an army of mice, to a Nutcracker prince and a Snow Maiden.

Auditions for local students to dance in the productions were held in October, and Autumn said she was thrilled to get the email telling her she was going to be in the cast.

"It's hard at first but eventually you catch on," Autumn said.

It's also the third Nutcracker for Laele Shipley, 8, and she's loving the experience.

"It's really an excitement," said Laele, of Brooksville, who performs in the "French variation" of the internationally flavored production. She would love a chance to dance with the ballet again.

Both students are products of the Judith Lee Johnson Dance School.

The concert starts at 3 and 7 p.m. Monday and 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $32 and up. (727) 892-5798.


All comics do self-deprecation, only with varying levels of believability. Fortune Feimster puts herself down with considerable finesse.

"I want to ask y'all something," she asked a Conan audience a couple of years ago. "Have you ever been compared to the entire Honey Boo Boo family?"

She hit her weight, her slovenly couture and family as the audience laughed along, then subtly dropped the self-put-downs in a riff about being an out gay woman. It's a slick four minutes.

Variety in 2014 designated Feimster one of the year's "Top 10 comics to watch." After a debut on Last Comic Standing (she made the semis), Feimster has gone on to worldwide bookings, recurring guest roles on CBS's Life in Pieces and Mulaney, and became a regular guest for Chelsea Handler, where she got her start as a writer.

Feimster performs locally at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Tampa Improv, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. $20. (813) 864-4000.


Tickets are on sale for the 20th anniversary tour of Rent. The musical, often called a game changer for its sweep and scope as it put a human face on the AIDS crisis, runs Sept. 19-24 at the Straz Center's Morsani Hall, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $31 and up. (813) 229-7827.

And here's another recent addition to the 2017 lineup: Bianca Del Rio, left, the alter ego of comic Roy Haylock and a winner of RuPaul's Drag Race. The show starts at 8 p.m. April 7, Ferguson Hall. $39.50 and up. 813) 229-7827.

Stage planner: Local talent meets Moscow Ballet, plus Fortune Feimster 12/21/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 11:46am]
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