MINI DINNER THEATER: LA COTE BASQUE
Dinner and a show. It's not exactly a new idea. People like to eat and be entertained. Now an intimate European restaurant is pairing original one-act plays with dinner, courtesy of a group of community theater players.
At least once a month, Gulfport's La Cote Basque reserves a room for Mary and Company, who perform before, during and after a three-course meal. ...
ST. PETERSBURG — In April, St. Petersburg City Theatre was thinking ahead, preparing for the fall season of performances.
Then the calls started.
Staffers told Bruce Cook, then the theater's president, about getting calls from vendors wanting to be paid.
"Utility bills, printing bills, that sort of thing" were all past due," Cook said. "That's when the red flags went up."...
Political conventions don't happen spontaneously. Strategists plan every detail, which makes those rare unscripted moments memorable.
Sometimes that's disappointing. We want to feel moved, the way a play can transport us from everyday life. But neither the hackneyed oratory of vote-casting delegates nor most speeches can get us there.
Acceptance speeches by the nominees are a little different. They represent the kickoff in our political Super Bowl. Contestants are each undertaking a high-stakes mission, the outcome of which depends partly on their motivation and character....
Stage Planner: Piano and trumpet at MFA St. Petersburg, comics Brad Williams, Ward Smith, Paul Venier08/17/16Stage
MELLOW MARLEY: PIANO AND TRUMPET
It's been a little quiet lately. A few shows are running, but most performing arts venues are lying low, at least for another couple of weeks.
It's a great time to appreciate one of our performing arts amenities, the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. The museum's Music in the Marly series this weekend brings pianist Rachel Kudo and trumpeter Brandon Ridenour to the Marly room....
GOING PLACES: PATEL'S BEST
Just how talented are Thursday's high school performers? One of the last shows of the summer season at the Patel Conservatory might provide answers.
This weekend's Showstoppers: A Jukebox Musical Revue, created and choreographed by Scott Daniel, pushes a promising ensemble of members to the top of their game.
A veteran of national Broadway tours and cruise ships, Daniel is perhaps better known in the Tampa Bay area as half of the Scott and Patti Show, a slick variety show with Matthew McGee. Showstoppers, which he also directs, serves up classics by Billy Joel, Queen, Carole King, Elvis Presley and the Four Seasons....
ST. PETERSBURG — Good theater stretches the mind, makes us think on eternal delights and dilemmas in new ways. One of the hallmarks of Freefall Theatre, which is closing its season with Pirates of Penzance, is that it often prompts those experiences by repurposing tried and true works.
The latest example, Freefall artistic director Eric Davis' adaptation of the Gilbert and Sullivan classic, is one of the most striking in a while. The concept alone feels like a giant leap for mankind, an exquisite mashup of a 19th century operetta with Star Trek culture, with 1960s go-go dancers thrown in. This musical changes all previous impressions of everything it touches, from the perfect iambic librettos of A.S. Gilbert to Star Wars and Star Trek irreverently mangled together. The result is silly and spectacular and fun....
Say this for the Heenes, a cheery stage dad who with his wife and three sons have been promoting the "world's youngest heavy metal band" for a couple of years now: They are persistent.
The family, once at the center of the most notorious hoax in recent history, on Thursday uploaded an original song and video supporting the candidacy of Donald Trump. ...
Stage Planner: Junkyard percussion, 'Pirates of Penzance' in space, tickets on sale for Legend of Zelda concert08/03/16Stage
BANG-UP JOB: RECYCLED PERCUSSION
If you check out Recycled Percussion on YouTube, it's impossible to avoid one conclusion: These guys are having fun.
The foursome specializes in found percussion instruments, turning everything from paint buckets to car parts and the occasional oxygen tank into a riotous explosion of sound. These pioneers of "junk rock" regularly pass out pots and pans and sticks to the audience so they can bang along too....
ST. PETERSBURG — As the Mahaffey Theater refines its identity in Tampa Bay's performing arts landscape, mortgage magnate Bill Edwards will continue to run the show.
In a new five-year contract with the city of St. Petersburg, Edwards' Big3 Entertainment will book the acts for the city-owned theater. The deal gives Edwards more autonomy over operations — for instance, the ability to sell naming rights for rooms within the theater. ...
OUT OF MOTHBALLS: FLORIDA LYRIC OPERA
After a couple of years dark, the Florida Lyric Opera has reopened. The company, which traces its roots to some of the state's oldest efforts to establish opera, returns with Gaetano Donizetti's farce Viva la Mamma.
It stars Katy Lindhart, who debuted earlier this year with Boston's Odyssey Opera, as a soprano in rehearsals for a serious opera. Baritone Stefanos Koroneos, an international performer, plays her stage-managing mother....
ST. PETERSBURG — It isn't often someone even tries to accomplish what Lee Hall has done in writing The Pitmen Painters, a discussion of a serious subject — in this case art — built into a storyline people are meant to watch and enjoy.
The show, with which American Stage closes its season, is therefore an ambitious undertaking. Five men take a course in art appreciation in the 1930s. That is the premise....
CLEARWATER -- Apart from a boisterous few, the crowd nearly filling Ruth Eckerd Hall on Saturday to see rocker Ted Nugent seemed remarkably calm, even a little sedate at first. Many were regulars, their loyalty praised by Nugent, who has been passing through for decades.
Some wore American flag shirts, flag bandanas or even flag pants, the couture matching two flags on the stage and a gigantic flag backdrop that appeared as Nugent appeared in the fog, playing the National Anthem. Nugent loves America, a fact he underscored repeatedly over two very fast-paced hours. ...
TAMPA — Nancy Sears, who took several high school plays to the Florida State Thespian Festival and was twice nominated for Pinellas County Teacher of the Year, has been named the new theater chairwoman at the Patel Conservatory at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.
Sears brings a career in theater to the position, from her days running the Los Angeles children's entertainment company she created to chairing theater programs in District 4 of Pinellas County Schools. The 21-year educator also coordinated college transfer auditions for the Florida Theatre Conference....
SEASON CLOSER: PITMEN PAINTERS
Once again, Gregg Weiner performs at American Stage playing an artist. The Coral Springs actor, who turned heads last year with his portrayal of artist Mark Rothko in Red, is back at American Stage, playing a coal miner in The Pitmen Painters. The play by Tony winner Lee Hall is directed by Brendon Fox.
The final play of the season for American Stage is based on a true story about a group of English miners in the 1930s who discovered a passion for art through a government education program. The painters, who had no formal education in art, became world sensations. ...
SARASOTA — The Sarasota Improv Festival, a three-day event that brings in some of the biggest names in improvisational theater, kicks off Thursday at the Florida Studio Theatre.
This weekend's main attractions include the Los Angeles-based Impro Theatre, which has taken its brand of spontaneous composition and performance worldwide; ImprovBoston, a staple of late night television and fount of inspiration for acclaimed comics, producers and directors; and North Coast Improv, named one of the top 10 best comedy shows by Time Out New York. ...