GATSBY'S FLAME:LAUREN BUGLIOLI
In her early 20s, Lauren Buglioli stood on the threshold of a dream. A triple threat who had trained at the Lee Strasberg school and acted alongside Wesley Snipes in Unstoppable, as well as on British sitcoms, she was close to inking a contract with the soap opera Guiding Light. Instead of that next step, Buglioli found herself in a hospital bed with double pneumonia.
Between gaining and losing 70 pounds, she got other roles, but none of them felt right and some felt degrading, "like I was a commodity," Buglioli said.
A year ago, Buglioli returned to Tampa, where she had once attended Berkeley Preparatory School.
"It felt very much like giving up," said Buglioli, 29. She put her early childhood education degree to use with a teaching job, but a weakened immune system sidelined her after a year.
She now teaches cycling and is thrilled to have landed a lead role in The Great Gatsby, which opens this weekend at Stageworks Theatre. Buglioli is a longtime fan of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, even engaging Georgetown University literary critic Maureen Corrigan, a Gatsby expert, in ongoing dialogue about her role as Daisy Buchanan.
"I so want to do this story justice — why (Daisy) is immortalized, why she is celebrated," Buglioli said. "Playing Daisy Buchanan is a dream come true."
The show starts at 8 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. It runs through Dec. 18 at Stageworks Theatre, 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. $30. $40 opening night Friday. A preview starts at 8 p.m. Thursday and costs $15. (813) 374-2416. stageworkstheatre.org.
LOCAL TALENT: BRIANNA MELTON
This weekend, Brianna Melton dances in her 11th production of The Nutcracker, by the St. Petersburg Ballet Company. She has not lost her enthusiasm.
"It's my favorite part of the holidays, experiencing the show with all of the students," said Brianna, 16, who will play the Sugar Plum Fairy.
A junior in St. Petersburg High's International Baccalaureate program, she has spent summers training with ballet companies in San Francisco; Salt Lake City; Peoria, Ill.; and Raleigh, N.C. Colleges on her short list include the University of Indiana and the University of Utah, where she is considering a double major in dance and literature.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Palladium Theatre, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $24, $12 students and seniors. (727) 822-3590. mypalladium.org.
SWEET STRINGS: BEETHOVEN'S VIOLIN CONCERTO
You have seen this. Before every concert, a tall man draws his bow across a violin and plays a single A-note. This weekend, concertmaster Jeffrey Multer, who helps tune the Florida Orchestra, will solo in Ludwig van Beethoven's Violin Concerto. The concert also includes Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10. Concerts begin at 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $15-$45. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.