Top shows on stage this week: 321 Improv Festival, Andrew Dice Clay

Published August 16 2017
Updated August 16 2017


Justin Peters and Kelly Buttermore know how to live in the moment. The improv duo From Justin to Kelly specializes in "radical simplicity," spending 25 to 30 minutes in a location suggested by the audience.

"Unlike most improv shows, which are very talkative, we spend most of the show in silence; this forces us to make emotional choices rather than strictly cerebral choices," said Peters, who co-founded New York's Countdown Theatre with Buttermore.

This weekend's 321 Improv Festival, produced by Countdown, took a lot of cerebral planning. Besides From Justin to Kelly, the nearly two dozen one- to three-person acts (hence the festival's name) include Underhanded Improv (Chicago), LimboLand (New York), Side Pickle (Minneapolis) and Christopher Walken's Adventure Through Time (Miami) as well as eight groups from St. Petersburg, Tampa and Sarasota.

"A few years ago in Tampa we did a show that was literally just us trying to find seats on a subway car for 30 minutes," Peters said. "This spring, when we were on tour in Wisconsin, we did a show where we spent 30 minutes trying to order tacos from a food truck."

Workshops include "Big Screen Characters," "Citizens of Crazytown," "Emotional Puppets," "Creating Successful Solo Shows," and "Silence and Emotion." Events run from 7 p.m. Thursday through 11:30 p.m. Saturday at the Hillsborough Community College Ybor campus Studio Theatre, 2204 N 15th St., Tampa. $20-$30. or

Correction: An earlier online version of this report misspelled the last name of Kelly Buttermore.


Andrew Dice Clay made his name by taking on women and minority groups, the elderly and the disabled. In three minutes at the 1989 Video Music Awards, Clay managed to get himself banned "for life." (MTV rescinded the ban in 2011.)

At his peak, Clay was the first comic to sell out Madison Square Garden twice. Then his career suffered. All along, the Diceman insisted his flamboyantly offensive character was simply an act. Yet a gradual resurgence has shown him performing credibly in a variety of acting roles, including Entourage and the Scorsese-directed Vinyl, both on HBO, and Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.

His scripted, semiautobiographical series Dice on Showtime begins its second season on Sunday at 10:30 p.m.

"Now I'm at least getting to do the things I wanted to do my whole career," Clay told Esquire in 2016.

7:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $59.50 and up. (727) 791-7400.


Four students from the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School will dance with the Sarasota Opera in the 2017-18 season. Tania Vergara, a master teacher and choreographer at the school, will choreograph Verdi's La Traviata (Nov. 3-21). Students Elias Re, Evita Re, Zachary Bennett and Camila Serrano will alternate performances.

Vergara, who taught at Cuba's National Ballet School from 1986 to 2013 and founded Endedans, a Cuban contemporary dance company, will also choreograph the second act of Bizet's Carmen (Feb. 17-March 24) and Eugen d'Albert's Tiefland (March 10-25). This the first such collaboration between the opera and the school, which has produced numerous professional ballet dancers across the country.

Sarasota Opera Company, 61 N Pineapple Ave. $19 and up. (941) 328-1300.