Friday, May 25, 2018
Stage

The best shows on stage this weekend: Leslie Odom Jr., 'Beauty and the Beast'

MITCHELL BROADWATER

At age 18 and standing 6 feet 6, actor Mitchell Broadwater hopes he hasn't outgrown a lot of leading roles.

"There are not a lot of parts for that height," the 2017 Countryside High graduate said.

There's at least one — Broadwater plays the Beast in the Patel Conservatory's Beauty and the Beast, opening Thursday.

He heads to St. Petersburg College this fall. Broadwater dreams of transferring to the Royal College of Music in London, then earning a master's degree in voice at the Royal Academy of Music.

Friday's performance carries special significance. Broadwater's sister, Emily, 20, has cerebral palsy. Due to a sensitivity to light and noise, she has never seen him perform, Broadwater said. On Friday, the Patel stages a "sensory friendly" performance — no microphones or special effects, the houselights undimmed — for audience members whose sensitivities might otherwise have kept them away.

He enjoys playing the prince whose coldness to an enchantress disguised as a beggar led her to transform him into a beast.

"He is lost, and is trying to find his way back to being human," Broadwater said.

Runs through Sunday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, TECO Theater, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $15-$20. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.

POST 'HAMILTON': LESLIE ODOM JR.

Looks like third time's a charm for Tony-winning performer Leslie Odom Jr., who brings his cabaret show, An Evening of Song With Leslie Odom Jr., to the Straz after canceling two earlier dates. The Tony-winning actor (for his performance as Aaron Burr in Hamilton) released his self-titled album in June 2016, the month before he left the show. 7 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Ferguson Hall, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $50 and up. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.

Read an interview with Odom at tampabay.com/thingstodo/stage.

HEADLINER: ALONZO BODDEN

In his late 20s, aspiring comic Alonzo Bodden was living in Southern California and training aircraft mechanics for Lockheed Martin and McDonnell Douglas.

"I started comedy in L.A. because I didn't know I wasn't supposed to," Bodden told Black Hollywood Live in 2016. He worked as a doorman at the Laugh Factory, where talents like Damon Wayans and George Wallace might drop by just to do an open mic.

A successful run in Montreal in his early 30s inspired him to pursue comedy full time. He was 42 in 2004 when he won the third season of NBC's Last Comic Standing. He got his first standup comedy special on Showtime in 2011, Who's Paying Attention?; his second, Historically Incorrect, aired last year.

Bodden, 55, brings his topical humor to Side Splitters this weekend. He's glad he hit his first open mics in Los Angeles instead of following conventional wisdom and starting small. Otherwise, he said, "You're the funniest guy in Iowa." Multiple showtimes Friday through Sunday. 12938 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. $14-$16. (813) 960-1197. sidesplitterscomedy.com.

 
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