Make us your home page
Instagram

Stage Planner: Tampa Bay Theatre Festival, Florida Orchestra debuts Happy Hour Concerts

ENCORE, ENCORE: TAMPA BAY THEATRE FESTIVAL

The Tampa Bay Theatre Festival is back for its third year. The weekend of workshops, including a free, three-hour master class by Harry Lennix, right, of NBC's The Blacklist (reservations required), and short and full-length original plays, monologues and improv, kicks off Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa.

The area's only theater festival began as the dream — some might say the unlikely fantasy — of Rory Lawrence, a financial analyst a decade or so ago who could not get a love for live performance out of his head. He took acting classes, started getting roles and eventually quit his job. Lawrence also wrote plays and entered them into theater festivals in other cities. Now several of the area's professional theaters will man tables at a networking party that starts at 9:45 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center Rehearsal Hall, following a production of Lawrence's Between Calls at 7:30 p.m. in the Jaeb Theater.

Saturday's events include an improv workshop from Patrick McInnis (9 a.m.) and "The Conscious Actor" workshop by Jayne Trinette (11 a.m.), both at the Straz Center Rehearsal Hall. Afternoon workshops include one on musical theater by Elaine Pechacek (1:30 p.m., Hillsborough Community College's Studio Theatre) and the Lennix class (3:30 p.m., HCC's Mainstage Theatre).

Six full-length plays, 14 short plays and 15 monologues are each part of competitions, with winners announced at the awards party (7:30 p.m. Sunday, Maestro's Restaurant at the Straz). Between Calls is not included in any competition.

"It's the first play I ever wrote," Lawrence said. "My mentor told me it was funny but too long."

He revised the script, which centers on interactions between call center workers, reducing the running time to 90 minutes. The show, like the festival itself, falls into a genre of its own, multicultural and willing to tackle issues of religion and spirituality. Whipped: The Modern Day Love Story of Hosea and Gomer (7 p.m. Saturday, the Inkwell Centre), follows a pastor whose troubles with an unfaithful wife adversely affect his standing in the congregation. Playwright Tracie Bonnick based the play on the Old Testament's book of Hosea.

In the early days, Lawrence enjoyed participating in a couple of black theater festivals. Nonetheless, he decided to avoid the modifier when creating his own. Over time, he believes, a message of racial inclusiveness is starting to sink in.

"People are starting to see my heart," Lawrence said. "Everyone is invited. I don't care if you're black, white, atheist or straight. I'm all about the people, and I think now people know that."

1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. Free to $135. (813) 229-7827. For a full schedule, visit tampabaytheatrefestival.com.

HAPPY HOUR CONCERTS: FLORIDA ORCHESTRA

The Florida Orchestra wants to loosen you up. Tickets are now on sale for a new series at the Straz Center dubbed Happy Hour Concerts, with 6:30 p.m. concert start times in February and March, a new way to experience the orchestra and meet its musicians. Each hourlong concert will be conducted by one of the orchestra's premier conductors, music director Michael Francis, above, principal pops conductor Jeff Tyzik, left, or principal guest conductor Stuart Malina, below left.

Happy Hour Concerts offer some complimentary beverages, including Stella Artois beer and Tito's Handmade Vodka. Other drinks, including soda and water, will be available for purchase. Light snacks are free. $35. Doors and bars open at 5:30 p.m. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.

Here's the lineup:

A Toast to the Classics (Feb. 2, Ferguson Hall): Bernstein's Candide Overture, Brahms' Academic Festival Overture and Prokofiev's Summer Day. Stuart Malina conducts.

American Spirit(s) (Feb. 23, Ferguson Hall): Duke Ellington Portrait, Gershwin's An American in Paris, and Jeff Tyzik conducting his own work, New York Cityscape.

Scheherazade: A Fantasy in Music (March 23, Morsani Hall): Rimsky-Korsakov's haunting tale of Scheherazade, with Michael Francis as your guide.

Stage Planner: Tampa Bay Theatre Festival, Florida Orchestra debuts Happy Hour Concerts 08/31/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 8:55am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Glen Campbell's wife Kim discusses challenges, guilt caregivers of Alzheimer's patients, others face

    Life Times

    If there's one thing Kim Campbell would change about caregiving for Alzheimer's patients, it's the attitude so many of us have toward transferring a loved one from home to a long-term care facility. According to Campbell, it's often the most kind, loving decision you can make. It's not a sign of failure, but one of …

    Kim Campbell, wife of country music legend Glen Campbell, is acknowledged by those attending the free event where she shared the story of her personal journey with Alzheimer???‚??„?s disease and the struggles she faced caring for her husband on Friday (5/26/17) at the Suncoast Hospice's Empath Health Service Center in Clearwater. Empath Choices for Care, a member of Empath Health, and Arden Courts Memory Care hosted the free event where Kim shared her story to help others understand the early stages, how the disease changes lives, the challenges families face and the role of caregiver.
  2. What happened when I took my dad to a Pitbull concert

    Music & Concerts

    TAMPA — "So, you know how you like Pitbull?" I asked my dad. "We can see him."

    Selfie of Divya Kumar and Anand Kumar at Pitbull/Enrique Iglesias concert.
  3. Tampa City Council votes to accept travel invitation from Cuban ambassador

    Blogs

    The invitation came to Tampa City Council chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin in a June 9 letter from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.

    The Tampa City Council voted 6-0, with Frank Reddick out of the room, to respond to a travel invitation from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 25

    Events

    St. Pete Pride Festival: The daytime festival covers Central Avenue's Grand Central District with more than 350 vendors, multiple stages, live music, art and food. 9 a.m., Grand Central District, 2429 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 342-0084.

    Kristen Whalen poses for a photo before the start of the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg last year. It's that time of year again, so check with us for your planning purposes. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times (2016)]
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 24

    Events

    St. Pete Pride Block Party and Night Parade: St. Pete Pride's popular parade moves to downtown St. Petersburg's scenic waterfront. The block party brings DJs, food and drinks starting at 2 p.m. The parade steps off at Fifth Ave NE and Bayshore at 7 p.m. with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. 2 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth …

    Thousands line the streets of Central Ave. during the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg.  [Saturday, June 25, 2016] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]