SHOW BUSINESS: Make some dates
Theater might be coasting a bit for the summer, but the new season lineups offer something for everybody. We've got musicals and experimental plays, Broadway legends and Shakespeare coming. Advance tickets are available for many, so if you want to be sure to catch the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker Dec. 26 (Mahaffey Theater), for example, you can do that now. Here's a sampling from some recently announced fall seasons....
ST. PETERSBURG — Putting It Together, a revue of Stephen Sondheim songs loosely arranged around a Manhattan couple's cocktail party, aims to please devotees of the composer.
The show, a sequel to the 1976 Side by Side by Sondheim, ran on Broadway in 1999 starring Carol Burnett and has retained relevance as a charming vehicle to showcase some of Sondheim's lesser-known numbers. A production that opened Friday at the Palladium, with which the St. Petersburg Opera Company closed out its ninth season, does the work justice....
TAMPA — At this point, you don't go to Mamma Mia!, the touring Broadway show playing at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, without some idea of what to expect.
The show, built around songs of the Swedish pop group Abba, opened in New York in 2001. Ever since, versions of it have been touring on three continents. Though Abba broke up in the early 1980s after about a decade, Catherine Johnson's splashy musical based on its hits has endured, with audience members returning multiple times to relive the experience....
ST. PETERSBURG — In 1996, Stewart Fletcher Currin mailed me a letter.
The contents, a mixture of satirical wit and a persecution complex, could only have come from my childhood best friend, lonely and schizophrenic and railing against society.
The only son of deceased parents, Fletcher had drifted between St. Petersburg and North Carolina, between a psychiatric hospital and a homeless shelter and the street. ...
I spent several hours this week watching dozens of clips of stage performances from Mamma Mia!, the hit Broadway musical opening Tuesday at the Straz Center in Tampa. The show centers on a young woman's search to learn the identity of her father.
As many of you know by now, the quest is complicated, and comically so, by the fact that any of three men who knew the mother could fit the bill....
Ready for a fresh take on the Tampa Bay area?
You'll find that 10 times over at TampaWorks 2015, a joint production by Stageworks Theatre and the Gorilla Theatre featuring 10 new plays by local playwrights, most of them young adults.
The short one-act pieces emphasize "people and experiences that are unique to the Tampa Bay area and help define its culture — including ways we do not think about every day," according to promotional literature....
TAMPA — The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts has packed another season with a variety of entertainment options, with more than 70 events scheduled from September through July 2016. The 2015-2016 season line-up released Tuesday features Patti LaBelle, Itzhak Perlman, Garrison Keillor and the Florida Opera Festival, as well as the previously announced Broadway series. Here are some highlights:...
ST. PETERSBURG — If you have ever found yourself a reluctant witness to a bitter argument with friends, you already have some sense of what it will be like to watch Red, the latest offering at American Stage.
The Tony-winning play by John Logan, a fictionalized exploration into the mind and New York studio of painter Mark Rothko in the late 1950s, is a brawl interspersed with discussions of art, mythology and capitalism. It is also the story of Rothko, played by Gregg Weiner, a man who is riding on the crest of post-World War II abstract expressionism yet hates change, an artist so protective of his work he can barely stand for the public to view it....
From the first forceful reverberations of a gong, Turandot announces itself as a bold statement.
The St. Petersburg Opera Company set an ambitious tone early during Friday's opening night, an entire village of impoverished peasants on stage, crying out for blood.
The romantic leads in Puccini's final opera soon take over to drive the plot, which interweaves love and brutality, and they do not disappoint. Most of this opera, in which a mysterious suitor bulldozes ahead to win the heart of Princess Turandot, paints romantic love as a bad idea likely to get you killed....
TAMPA — Philip Neal, a dancer and choreographer with a long and distinguished track record, is the new chair of the Patel Conservatory's dance department, the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts announced on Thursday.
He will direct Next Generation Ballet, starting with overseeing several summer programs and preparing for the fall 2015 session. Based at the conservatory, the ballet develops young dancers from age 3 through college, many of whom have gone on to place highly at major competitions and dance with companies around the world....
Fans of Puccini will recognize Turandot, which opens Friday from the St. Petersburg Opera Company at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg, as the composer's final work.
It is a grand one, drawn from a 12th-century Persian legend about an icy princess and the mysterious suitor who is willing to risk death to win her heart.
But even the most casual music fan has probably heard the Nessun dorma aria which begins the opera's third act. Set in China's Forbidden City, Turandot's deceptively simple plot explores themes of love, nobility and power....
ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Davis often perched on a bar stool drinking Jack Daniels and Coke.
He talked about his time in the Marines, skydiving, and his side job removing venomous snakes and coyotes.
The Times and other publications wrote about Mr. Davis, better known as "Treeman" or "Noah," removing a hive of bees that stung a pit bull to death and clearing Clearwater Central Catholic High of rattlesnakes....
TAMPA — On the still-ascending arc of a promising young life, a few major life events defined Tommy McNeeley more than any others.
All entailed choices made, as well as the encouragement of others. Rescued from homelessness in high school, he would become an intelligence analyst in Africa and Iraq.
Mr. McNeeley died May 17 in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, where he was stationed. He was 37. He leaves behind his wife, a daughter, 19, and a son, 3....
For a part of my life, I loved nothing more than waiting in the wings to go on stage. There I could only see my immediate surroundings, and I nurtured at least a steadily evolving vision of what I wanted to do.
I lost sleep because of rehearsals or performances. As head muleteer in Man of La Mancha, I sang Little Bird but also had to drag a dead man up a ladder for six weeks — then get up at 5:30 a.m. to go to my construction job....
WEEKI WACHEE — The B-24 bomber was flying low, about 10,000 feet over France in 1944. The idea was to pave the way for Allied troops to cross the border into Germany.
The Germans were fighting with anti-aircraft fire.
That's when Murray Smart, who was crouched in the nose of the plane, got a message from the pilot. Something was wrong with the radio man.
He was staggering, disoriented....