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Stage Planner: Opera Tampa's 'Romeo and Juliet,' American Stage finishes August Wilson cycle

ROMEO'S RAVES: RICHARD TROXELL

The leading man in Opera Tampa's Romeo and Juliet is riding a wave of critical acclaim. Richard Troxell has wowed crowds with dashing looks, dramatic fervor and an effortless high D.

But the tenor who has played Galileo in Galileo Galilei with the Portland Opera and Lt. Pinkerton in Martin Scorsese's Madame Butterfly film, is perhaps best known in recent years for his thought provoking rendition of the Meow Mix jingle on the The Tonight Show.

The bit was actually perfect for Troxell, whose resume includes roles as a punk rocker in a contemporary staging of Giacomo Puccini's Manon Lescaut and as Dr. Yes in the New York City Opera's Anna Nicole.

"I'm not even close to an opera snob," he said. "I think it's an art form like any other, telling a story with beautiful music."

This is his third stop at Opera Tampa in recent years, having sung in La Boheme and Madama Butterfly. Troxell, who started as an actor in musicals, enjoys introducing opera to new audiences.

"It's like going to a hockey game," he said. "You kind of want to see it again."

8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Morsani Hall, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $66.50 and up. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.

FULL CYCLE: JOE TURNER'S COME AND GONE

In its 2007-08 season, American Stage produced Gem of the Ocean, August Wilson's play about a man's search for redemption in 1904 Pittsburgh. King Hedley II, about an ex-con in the 1980s who sells stolen refrigerators, ran the following year. Wilson wrote 10 African-American-centric plays, one for each decade of the 20th century. American Stage has produced a "Century Cycle" play a year.

Joe Turner's Come and Gone, set in the 1910s in a Pittsburgh boardinghouse, opens this weekend. With this production, American Stage becomes one of only 12 theaters to have produced all of the Century Cycle.

"I refer to August Wilson as the Shakespeare of our time," said L. Peter Callender, right, the artistic director of the African-American Shakespeare Company in San Francisco, who is directing this show. Callender said he loves Wilson's honesty, the "anthropological aspect" of listening to real people and capturing the rhythms of their speech.

See Joe Turner's Come and Gone at 8 p.m. Friday; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday; and 7 p.m. Wednesday. It runs through Feb. 19 at the Raymond James Theatre, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. $39 and up. $59 opening night, includes 7 p.m. reception. A pay-what-you-can preview starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday. A $29 preview at 8 p.m. Thursday. (727) 823-7529. americanstage.org.

Read more on American Stage and the Century Cycle at tbtim.es/stage.

SPOTLIGHT ON OBOE, WOODSON: FLORIDA ORCHESTRA

This weekend's Florida Orchestra concert, Brahms, Mozart and Mendelssohn, will give audiences a better view of one of the orchestra's most recognizable faces. Principal oboe John Upton, 26, joined the orchestra last year after serving as guest principal oboe for several other orchestras, including the Rochester Philharmonic, and a fellowship with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. He will take the lead in Mozart's Oboe Concerto. The concert also features Variations on a Theme by Haydn by Johannes Brahms; Franz Liszt's Mephisto Waltz No. 1; and Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 (also known as the Italian symphony). 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. $15-$45. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.

Also this weekend, the orchestra launches a chamber music series at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum at 3 p.m. Sunday. These monthly, pay-what-you-can concerts run through April at the museum, 2240 Ninth Ave. S, St. Petersburg.

STILL PACKING 'EM IN: CABARET

Roundabout Theatre Company celebrates its 50th anniversary season with this North American tour of Cabaret. The musical still bears the stamp of the Broadway production of director Sam Mendes and choreographer Rob Marshall. Veteran Andrea Goss returns to the role of Sally Bowles while Randy Harrison, best known as Justin in Showtime's Queer as Folk, plays the Emcee. Runs Tuesday through Jan. 29 at the Straz Center's Morsani Hall. $27.50 and up. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.

Stage Planner: Opera Tampa's 'Romeo and Juliet,' American Stage finishes August Wilson cycle 01/18/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 11:29am]
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