TAMPA — No one can spoof show business like the actors and writers who are steeped in it, and that is part of the reason why Forbidden Broadway is still going strong after 35 years. The fast-paced musical revue has gone through numerous revisions and given work to more than 2,000 struggling actors, including a young Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington and Renée Zellweger.
Forbidden Broadway has become a rite of passage, an initiation into an exclusive club. It is a feather in one's cap to be skewered so skillfully, a slight to be spared. The show, which is really series of fast-paced musical sketches, rewrites well known songs, usually to make fun of the people singing them....
In the past decade at American Stage, we've witnessed more than 100 years of life.
We've met the residents of Pittsburgh's Hill District. We've seen their struggles with gentrification, watched them try to escape the aftereffects of prison or change an oppressive system by running for office.
We've sat for three hours at a time to hear the kind of dialogue that feels much faster....
Here's a rundown of 10 seasons of American Century Cycle plays at American Stage, and what our reviewers said at the time.
ROMEO'S RAVES: RICHARD TROXELL
The leading man in Opera Tampa's Romeo and Juliet is riding a wave of critical acclaim. Richard Troxell has wowed crowds with dashing looks, dramatic fervor and an effortless high D.
But the tenor who has played Galileo in Galileo Galilei with the Portland Opera and Lt. Pinkerton in Martin Scorsese's Madame Butterfly film, is perhaps best known in recent years for his thought provoking rendition of the Meow Mix jingle on the The Tonight Show....
TAMPA — Ambition in theater is nothing if not respectable, and Jobsite Theater has achieved at least that much with Shakespeare's As You Like It.
This is a sprawling, sometimes contemporary version of the comedy, which as the title implies, contains a little something for everyone. In that spirit, a large cast delivers an enjoyable production, suitable for different tastes. The set of the royal court hints of Tampa, and the nostalgic twinge contrasts with the relatively stress-free Forest of Arden, to which several characters have been "banished" by a controlling Queen Frederick....
TAMPA — From the opening seconds of Grounded, Tampa Repertory Theatre's production of George Brant's one-act play, you know who will be flying this plane.
Emilia Sargent delivers all of the dialogue with a minimal set (a high-backed office chair) and nothing but air in her hands, narrating a war story that feels up-to-the-minute and uncomfortably believable. The unnamed Air Force pilot wears a zippered flight suit of Sargent's design, her identity in a war machine that regards its fighters as expendable parts. One actor cannot deliver so much exposition and drive the story forward at the speed of an F-16, but this show moves fast enough and executes surprising maneuvers before landing....
GRANT HELPS JOBSITE: AS YOU LIKE IT
Jobsite Theater has stood out as one of the local companies showing the most love for Shakespeare. Going back at least 15 years, the resident theater company at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts has produced updated versions of Macbeth and Twelfth Night; the lesser known Titus Andronicus, Pericles and Much Ado About Nothing; irreverent sendups of Hamlet (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead) and The Tempest (Return to the Forbidden Planet); and multiple productions of the satirical The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), which puts all 37 works on fast-forward....
ST. PETERSBURG — The Florida Orchestra will take on an expanded presence throughout Florida, thanks to new funding that will send musicians to cities around the state.
Orchestra leaders stood before the St. Petersburg City Council Thursday and spoke of an ambitious state residency program funded by more than $700,000 in grant money from the state of Florida's Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture....
NO ONE SPARED: FORBIDDEN BROADWAY
How can you not love Robert Goulet? Or Kristin Chenoweth? Or Dustin Hoffman, Stephen Sondheim, Harvey Fierstein or Carol Channing? The people behind Forbidden Broadway, the longest-running musical around, love these stars so much they have to trash them.
The show, which lampoons Broadway conventions and dozens of its biggest names, is back at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts starting Tuesday, this time for a two-month run. Gerard Alessandrini, who conceived, wrote and directed the revue, has stayed abreast of the times, steadily adding material to keep up with a slew of technological changes since 1982, when the show debuted....
TIMELESS: SWAN LAKE
Even if the new year makes some of us feel a little old, here's one way to finish 2016 on an upbeat note.
The State Ballet Theatre of Russia on Friday performs Swan Lake, which has given composer Tchaikovsky a breath of immortality.
The director, Nikolay Anokhin, is a former principal dancer in the world-famous Moiseyev Dance Company who later conducted more than 300 concerts in Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic states. The State Ballet Theatre of Russia was founded by a close associate of Anokhin's, former prima ballerina Maya Plisetskaya of the Bolshoi Ballet. 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $27.50 and up. (727) 892-5798. themahaffey.com. ...
12/28/16 Human Interest
She wasn't expecting the call or inclined to take it.
The phone rang on a Sunday night, April 24, a few minutes after 8. Linda Palm, 63, had just stepped inside from tending plants around her Gulfport home. Her husband was taking a shower.
She stared at the phone. On voicemail, a man was talking about an important message for Linda Palm. She decided to ignore the call, but four words changed her mind....
ST. PETERSBURG — There's a writing axiom students of the craft hear a lot, essentially telling them to "write so that an 8-year-old kid could understand it."
Children have good truth detectors. Some fiction writers run their ideas by kids before they get too invested in a plot. Fail to clear that bar and you might want to take another look.
British playwright J.M. Barrie took that principle a step further. The British playwright told his stories to children, then asked them to repeat back what they heard....
THE BIG DANCE: STUDENTS AND MOSCOW BALLET
At age 12, Autumn Hughes has already played multiple roles in the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker. This year, she'll be one of the Party Boys in the Christmas-themed classic.
The ballet's "Dance With Us'" program gives young dancers a chance to perform with the international touring company. The company, created in 1993 around choreographer Stanislav Vlasov's adaptation of the Tchaikovsky suite, retains the charm of the 19th century tale. With a Christmas Eve party with Russian court dancers and the Moscow skyline in the background, a little girl falls asleep. Her dreams flit from toys to an army of mice, to a Nutcracker prince and a Snow Maiden....
TAMPA — An old movie built around retrofitted show tunes by George and Ira Gershwin got new life last year on Broadway. An American in Paris is now a delightful touring show and a wise holiday extravaganza pick by the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.
The show began as a 1951 movie starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. Tunes by the Gershwins make up the score, including I've Got Rhythm, 'S Wonderful, They Can't Take That Away From Me and the instrumental title track....
ST. PETERSBURG — The success last year of Peter and the Starcatcher, a prequel created more than a century after Peter Pan, inspired Freefall Theatre to bring the play back over the holidays.
The stage play by Rick Elice, which started as a young adult novel by Ridley Pearson and humorist Dave Barry, won five Tonys in 2012. The theater is alternating performances of Starcatcher with Peter Pan, the 1904 play by J.M. Barrie, through January....