Friday, January 19, 2018
Stage

Stage planner: Opera Tampa does 'La Traviata,' Freefall's 'Sondheim on Sondheim'

 

OPERA TAMPA:

 

LA TRAVIATA

 

A well-off businessman and a prostitute share a brief romance before complications ensue. Opera fans have likely seen Guiseppe Verdi's La Traviata, one of the all time greats. Millions more have seen the movie Pretty Woman without realizing that it is based on the Verdi classic.

The adaptation is admittedly a loose one, and Pretty Woman might have been more interesting if Julia Roberts had died of tuberculosis instead of being whisked away by Richard Gere. You can see the real story, plus unreal vocals, at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts this weekend.

The story tracks Violetta (played by Cecilia Violetta Lopez), the courtesan, and Alfredo (Cody Austin), who despises what she does for a living yet has fallen in love. Austin said he likes Verdi's choices of opera themes because of their broad appeal and the way the music sets up the singing.

"When I sing Verdi, it really brings out my core sound a lot more," he said. "There is some really passionate music there that really lets you go full throttle."

Opera Tampa presents La Traviata at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $49.50-$125. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.

 

SIDE BY SIDE: SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM

 

Start with the single most important Broadway composer of the 20th century. Add video footage in which Stephen Sondheim discusses his life and artistic process.

Wrap it up with new arrangements of more than two dozen Sondheim favorites, sung by a talented cast including Ann Morrison, an original cast member of Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along; Kissy Simmons of Broadway's The Lion King; and Larry Alexander of Broadway's Les Miserables. That's a recipe Freefall Theatre Company hopes audiences will enjoy with Sondheim on Sondheim, a three-dimensional portrait of the composer. The cast also includes Nick Fitzer, Amy Marie Stewart, Kelly Pekar, Nick Lerew and Freefall's artistic director Eric Davis. Michael Raabe is handling the music direction for the show, which will pack the largest band so far this year. The show premieres at 8 p.m. Saturday and runs through April 10, with previews 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday, at Freefall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20-$43. (727) 498-5205. freefalltheatre.com.

 

EVOLUTION ON TRIAL: INHERIT THE WIND

 

It was a much different trial of the century, one with deeper ramifications than whether O.J. killed Nicole and Ron. The State of Tennessee vs. John Thomas Scopes (1925) put a substitute science teacher on trial for violating a state law forbidding that evolution be taught in public schools. The case was later immortalized in a 1955 play, Inherit the Wind, and a 1960 movie of the same name.

In a partnership with Tampa Repertory Theatre, Stageworks Theatre is producing the play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee. Directed by Tampa Repertory artistic director C. David Frankel, the cast of nearly 20 features Jim Wicker and Richard Coppinger as nationally known lawyers Matthew Harrison Brady and Henry Drummond. The show opens at 8 p.m. Friday (preview 8 p.m. Thursday) and runs through March 27 at Stageworks Theatre, 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. $30-$40. (813) 374-2416. stageworkstheatre.org.

 

ET LUX PERPETUA: BRAHMS' REQUIEM

 

The Florida Orchestra presents an unusual format this weekend with three Masterworks concerts at two churches and Ruth Eckerd Hall. Michael Francis will conduct the orchestra and the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay in the German Requiem by Johannes Brahms. The first concert, "Inside Brahms' German Requiem," is special in that the first half is an interactive talk with Francis, along with musical demonstrations by the orchestra and chorale. A full performance follows. That concert starts at 8 p.m. Friday at Idlewild Baptist Church, 18333 Exciting Idlewild Blvd., Lutz. $15.

The Saturday and Sunday concert format includes the Requiem, plus The World's Ransoming by contemporary composer James MacMillan. Saturday's event is at 8 p.m. at Pasadena Community Church, 227 70th St. S, St. Petersburg, featuring the Master Chorale and an English horn solo by Jeffrey Stephenson. The concert Sunday is the same program at 7:30 p.m. at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $15-45, (727) 892-3331. floridaorchestra.org.

Comments

‘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...
Updated: 3 hours ago
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
Here’s how to sing along to the entire Hamilton soundtrack at a Tampa library

Here’s how to sing along to the entire Hamilton soundtrack at a Tampa library

If you’re already singing along to the entire Hamilton soundtrack alone, why not meet like-minded folks and do it together?A Hamilton singalong goes down tonight at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library in Tampa. Fans will gather to sing the entire — y...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18