GIDGET MEETS SYBIL: STAGEWORKS
Stageworks Theatre is opening its season with a comedy by master camp satirist Charles Busch. Psycho Beach Party combines multiple personality disorder with lots of drag and a 1962 Malibu Beach crowd that only existed in movies. Zachary Hines stars as Chicklet Forrest, whose desire to join the cool kids is but one of her character's many facets. Chicklet's "alters" include a black checkout girl, a male model, an accounting firm and the adventurous Ann Bowman, who intends to subjugate the world.
"I have always had a fondness for this particular play," said Stageworks producing artistic director Karla Hartley, who is also directing this show. "What I think the play really talks about, especially with Chicklet, is how we are all different people to different groups. We all have faces that we use for work, faces we use for home and faces for whatever situation we happen to be in."
The show starts at 8 p.m. Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. It runs through Oct. 23 at Stageworks Theatre, 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. $30, $40 opening night. A preview at 8 p.m. Thursday costs $15. (813) 374-2416. stageworkstheatre.org.
KILLING IT: ASSASSINS
The first day of rehearsals for Assassins, the Stephen Sondheim musical opening Saturday at Freefall Theatre, director Chris Crawford challenged the cast to "work hard not to judge these characters, but to find the humanity inside them."
The show unites characters rarely heard from — John Wilkes Booth, Charles Guiteau, Leon Czolgosz, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, Lee Harvey Oswald and many more — by a common need to feel recognized, to earn a slice of fame and somehow achieve the American dream.
"I think that one of the poignant themes of the show is that with one wrong turn or from listening to one wrong voice, any one of us could be these people," Crawford said. "We are not that different. … I am in no way justifying these acts, but I am saying that we should use this as a reminder to reach out to people. To help, to listen, to understand."
The show starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, and 7 p.m. Wednesday and Oct. 13. It runs through Nov. 6 at Freefall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $25-$52. Previews start at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday and cost $25. (727) 498-5205. freefalltheatre.com.
SOARING TUNES: CIRQUE DE LA SYMPHONIE
The season's first pops concert gets the Florida Orchestra off to a celebratory start. Cirque de la Symphonie features gymnasts, jugglers and aerialists working their athletic magic to classical favorites and movie soundtracks.
Between them, the half-dozen acrobats boast stints on Broadway, Circus Circus in Las Vegas, Cirque du Soleil, the Grammy Awards and the Academy Awards. As the acrobats perform, guest conductor Michael Krajewski will lead the orchestra through Maurice Ravel's theme from the movie 10 (a piece better known as Bolero), music from The Godfather and The Witches of Eastwick, work by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky and more.
Shows start at 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa; 2 and 8 p.m. at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg; and 7:30 p.m. at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $15-$45. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.