TWO ROADS DIVERGE: IF/THEN
The popular Broadway musical, If/Then, with a splashy song list and intriguing premise, comes to the Straz Center. Jackie Burns, the standby for Idina Menzel on Broadway, plays the lead role of Elizabeth, an urban planner who has moved back to New York for a fresh start. It also stars Anthony Rapp from the original Broadway cast of RENT and Tamyra Gray from American Idol.
A reflective take on seemingly random coincidences and choices made as a result, If/Then follows both tracks of fate following an encounter with a stranger, for once answering those "what if" questions that never go away.
"I think everybody wonders about a moment or an event or a decision, what their life might look like if it had been a little bit different," said Tom Kitt, who wrote the score. Read an interview with Kitt and Brian Yorkey, who wrote the book and lyrics, at tampabay.com/things-to-do/stage.
The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through May 19; 8 p.m. May 20; 2 and 8 p.m. May 21; and 2 and 7:30 p.m. May 22 in the Straz Center's Morsani Hall. $45-$95. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
ALMOST FAMOUS: GLITCH
Ever tried to write a poem or a short story or a book, but couldn't finish? (Did any hands not go up?)
Playwright Sam Bobrick feels your pain. And he'll be on stage at Ruth Eckerd Hall to talk about it this weekend. So will the cast of Bobrick's latest play, Glitch, which is all about unfinished projects.
Bobrick might seem an unlikely source of inspiration. He's the author of more than 40 plays, including four on Broadway. That's after a career writing television shows such as Captain Kangaroo, Bewitched, The Flintstones and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
But struggle he has, creating scores of characters that somehow get displaced and never see the light of day. It's what Bobrick has done with those characters that might prove instructive to other writers.
He let six of them speak.
You'll have a chance to meet them at the Murray Theatre at Ruth Eckerd Hall, in a staged reading of Glitch, by Hat Trick Theatre. In the play, a "computer malfunction" brings the characters to life, where they seek completion. The inspiration came when Bobrick found himself thumbing through his own work.
"I started reading and I said, 'God, I've got a lot of unfinished plays,' " Bobrick said. "That kind of gave me the thought of meshing the plays together."
After the reading, Bobrick, director Jack Holloway and the cast will take questions from the audience, along with Zev Buffman, Ruth Eckerd's president and CEO. The reading starts at 7:30 p.m. tonight at 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. Free, but event tickets are required. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.
NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE: HAMLET
Catch a broadcast on Sunday from London to more than 1,100 venues around the world, including the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, when Benedict Cumberbatch, left, stars in Hamlet. Check out similar experiences through the Metropolitan Opera, with links to participating local theaters at metopera.org/season/in-cinemas.
Both endeavors, filmed by high-definition cameras positioned throughout the theaters, have proved popular with American audiences. Hamlet is at 2 p.m. at the Straz Center's Ferguson Hall. 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $20. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
ROYAL FLUSH: RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE
Winners of previous seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race are promising a lively show Sunday at the Ritz Ybor. "Battle of the Seasons" contestants with printable names (there is one exception) include Adore Delano, Courtney Act, Ginger Minj, Miss Fame, Phi Phi O'hara and Violet Chachki. Michelle Visage, right, author of The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top, will host. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 9 p.m. 1503 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. $37.50-$299. (813) 390-0397. theritzybor.com.
O FORTUNA: FLORIDA WIND BAND
The Florida Wind Band, with dozens of woodwind, brass and percussion players, is still thriving. Founded as a nonprofit in 2008, the band is led by John C. Carmichael, director of bands at the University of South Florida, who said then he wanted to establish "the first fully professional, civilian wind band in America this century."
The band on Sunday tackles Carmina Burana, one of the most popular orchestral pieces performed today. Carl Orff composed the piece in 1935 and 1936, based on the Latin text of medieval poems. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. at USF's MUS 101 building, 4202 East Fowler Ave., Tampa. $15, $10 students. ticketmaster.com.