What’s on stage this week: 'The Play That Goes Wrong,' Florida Orchestra does Harry Potter

In one play, everything goes wrong on purpose. Plus, the Florida Orchestra tackles Harry Potter, and Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Dickinson meet, defying the odds.
Published October 10
Updated October 10

TRAGICOMEDY: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG

Mischief Theatre, a group of graduates of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, began a decade ago as a long-form improv troupe. Characters and plots came from the audience suggestions before the show. Out of that experience, company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields wrote The Play That Goes Wrong about a beleaguered production of a 1920s murder mystery. A paying audience of four watched the first show.

Now a Broadway comedy, this show subjects the Cornley University Drama Society to nonstop series of tough breaks. Actors take pratfalls. Sets collapse. Characters yell “Stop the show!” so many times, the cast had to invent safe words for the real thing.

“We have a Tony-winning set that likes to behave in outrageous ways that we don’t always have a ton of control over,” said Evan Alexander Smith, who plays Inspector Detective Carter. “A lot of dropping from high levels, a lot of rolling on the ground. It’s a very physical show for all of us and no one gets out unscathed.” Runs Tuesday through Oct. 21 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $51 and up. (813) 229-7827. For showtimes, go to strazcenter.org.

BETTER THAN 3-D: ORCHESTRA DOES HARRY POTTER

The fire is lit for aspiring Hogwarts alumni of all ages. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third movie of the series and the last to be composed by John Williams, will run as the Florida Orchestra performs the Oscar- and Grammy-nominated score. Major numbers include Double Trouble (witches welcome students back to Hogwarts), Forward to Time Past (Harry and Hermione go back in time) and The Dementors Challenge (Harry tries to save Sirius Black, set to timpani, piercing brass and a choir). 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, at the Straz Center. $48.75 and up. For showtimes, go to strazcenter.org.

MEETING OF MINDS: EDGAR & EMILY

Edgar Allan Poe wrote with Beethoven’s fury, Emily Dickinson in Chopin etudes. Yet the two are much more alike than different and enjoy comparing notes in Edgar & Emily, Joseph McDonough’s new play at Jobsite Theater. History says Poe couldn’t have knocked on Dickinson’s door in 1864, given that he died in 1849.

McDonough has an answer for that: Poe was buried alive but has managed to dig himself out. His brief respite allows the pair to reflect on death and their lives as artists, even to critique each other’s work.

“I want people to (think) the play is much funnier than they were anticipating, but gives them a lot to think about as they drive home,” McDonough told Palm Beach Illustrated before the world premiere in April. David Jenkins directs Paul Potenza and Katrina Stevenson. Friday through Nov. 4 at the Straz Center. $29.50. Previews Wednesday and Thursday cost $18. For showtimes, go to jobsitetheater.org.

LIGHTS, ACTION: LORD OF THE DANCE

Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games brings a new story of the Little Spirit fighting the Dark Lords. The company, created 20 years ago by former Riverdance star Michael Flatley, combines dance, music, special effects lighting and world-class acrobatics. 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $36 and up. (727) 791–7400. rutheckerdhall.com.

Also, the World of Dance tour has been drawing fans in more than 30 countries so far, not to mention a No. 1 television show and YouTube network with a billion views. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $35 and up. (727) 893-7832. themahaffey.com.

HEADS UP: CANCELLATION, TICKETS ON SALE

Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer — The Little Death, which had been scheduled to run Jan. 17-27 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, has been canceled. Call (727) 791-7400 for refunds. Tickets are now on sale for Dear Evan Hansen, April 9-14 at the Straz Center. $68-$133.

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