Barbara L. Fredricksen, Times Staff Writer

Barbara L. Fredricksen

Barbara L. Fredricksen writes about the fine arts and performing arts in Pasco, Hernando and upper Pinellas counties. She joined the Times in 1986.

Phone: (727) 869-6262

Email: fredricksen@tampabay.com

link
  1. 'Forever Plaid' is an oldie, mostly goodie at Show Palace

    Stage

    Review | Forever Plaid

    If you've never seen the musical comedy Forever Plaid, you might want to see the production playing through Aug. 24 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre.

    The players are adequate, the story simple and cute, and the music — songs like Moments to Remember, Heart and Soul and Perfidia from the 1950s and '60s, with their tight harmonies, pleasant melodies and sweet lyrics — is hard to beat....

  2. Home-grown musical debuts in downtown New Port Richey

    Stage

    For years, singer-actor Diana Rogers played Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables on Broadway and did that role and others in national touring companies. A few years ago, however, family circumstances brought her to Florida, where she became head of the award-winning drama department at River Ridge High School and directed and wrote plays and musicals for her students.

    Now she's writing for grownups and will launch her first musical comedy at 7:30 p.m. today (July 18) at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre in downtown New Port Richey, where it will continue matinees and evenings through Aug. 10. She named the show Coupled, about three couples who have been together for a while....

    In Coupled, Diana Rogers, who wrote the musical comedy, plays middle school teacher Donna, longtime wife of computer geek Bill, played by Peter Clapsis. 
  3. 'Forever Plaid' is a fun blast to the past

    Stage

    HUDSON — In an era when staggering zombies and aspiring rock stars dominate movies and TV, the 1990 musical Forever Plaid should fit right in. After all, the four main characters have been dead for decades, killed in a car wreck on the way to their first big professional gig back in the 1950s, and they are back for a second chance to show their singing prowess.

    But it's definitely not creepy, nor a copycat. Composer/lyricist/playwright Stuart Ross' four singing Plaids wear Ralph Lauren-style dinner jackets, neat 1950s haircuts and display excellent posture — not rags, rotting skin and hunch-shouldered staggers. And they sing songs with real words that the audience can understand and wouldn't offend either great-grandma or a convention of conservative ministers....

    The four leads of Forever Plaid, a musical comedy that opens Saturday at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson, are played by, from left, Nick Rishel, Matty Colonna, Dick Baker and Brendan Cataldo. The four singers get a second chance to perform one big show.
  4. 'Epic Broadway' brings Broadway hits to Spring Hill

    Human Interest

    SPRING HILL

    If you love dancing…

    If you love Broadway musicals…

    If you love singing…

    Then Epic Broadway is your show.

    The creation of former Broadway performer John Leggio, now owner of John Leggio's Center for the Performing Arts in Spring Hill, the show features 120 singers and dancers performing numbers from a wide variety of Broadway hits, including The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and American Idiot....

    Alicia Randazzo, 18, dances last week during rehearsals for Epic Broadway at John Leggio’s Center for the Performing Arts in Spring Hill. 
  5. Back in town setting the stage

    Stage

    Really, has it been 10 years since Jimmy Ferraro and his wife, Dee Etta Rowe, quietly shuttered their Angel Cabaret Theatre in Port Richey and returned to the thing that first brought them to theater: acting and singing on stage?

    Indeed it has. But now they're back, living in Weeki Wachee, and opening their own theater again, this time called Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre, in the former Tri Arts Printing shop on Main Street in downtown New Port Richey....

    Broadway veterans Jimmy Ferraro and Dee Etta Rowe are opening Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio Theatre on Main Street in downtown New Port Richey. Church Basement Ladies, a musical comedy, opens June 6.
  6. Show Palace 'Wizard of Oz' production enchants

    Stage

    Review | The Wizard of Oz

    An unusual thing happened during Saturday's opening night of The Wizard of Oz at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre, something I've never before witnessed myself.

    The first act ended with enthusiastic, sustained applause, followed by an intermission. Twenty minutes later, when the house lights went down signaling the second act was going to start soon, wild applause broke out again — and the curtain hadn't even gone up yet or a musical note played....

  7. Stage West's 'Best Little Whorehouse' has its moments

    Stage

    SPRING HILL — The kindest thing that can be said of the Stage West Community Playhouse production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is that it is, well, uneven — some really good, some best left unsaid.

    To be sure, the musical itself is terrific. Larry L. King and Peter Masterson's book tells a good tale, filled with off-color Texanisms that would be the envy of newscaster Dan Rather. Carol Hall's music and lyrics go from gusto to serene to sad and move the story along at a nice clip....

    Myndee Washington is Jewel and Leanne Germann is Miss Mona in The Best Little Whorehouse at Stage West in Spring Hill. 
  8. Catch the laughs in Richey Suncoast's 'Spamalot'

    Stage

    Please don't go see Spamalot at Richey Suncoast Theatre unless you're ready to laugh 'til your sides hurt, roll your eyes at the outrageous non sequiturs and jokes, hear some crude language, watch some rude antics and see some of the best performances of the season.

    It's Monty Python, for cryin' out loud — you gotta expect anything, and director Marie Skelton's truly wonderful cast and crew give it to you for two laugh-out-loud hours....

  9. Lots of laughs in season-ending shows at Stage West, Richey Suncoast

    Stage

    The Nature Coast's two largest community theaters — Stage West Community Playhouse and Richey Suncoast Theatre — are ending the 2013-14 season with rollicking musicals, one a slightly bawdy romp, the other a zany farce.

    Stage West is doing The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, based on the real-life bordello nicknamed the "Chicken Ranch" outside of LaGrange, Texas, that was a favorite hangout for farmers, ranchers, businessmen, politicians and students from nearby Texas A&M University. The musical played for more than four years on Broadway and is a favorite of regional and community theater actors and audiences....

    Gary Depp plays Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd and Sam Petricone plays Melvin P. Thorpe at Stage West Community Playhouse.
  10. 'Spamalot' and 'Best Little Whorehouse in Texas' finish season for two Pasco community theaters

    Stage

    The Nature Coast's two largest community theaters — Richey Suncoast Theatre and Stage West Community Playhouse — are ending the 2013-14 season with rollicking musicals, one a zany farce, the other a slightly bawdy romp.

    Richey Suncoast's offering is Spamalot, a spoof of its recently presented musical drama Camelot. Based on the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it won three Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical of the 2004-05 season, and was seen by more than 2 million people....

    Jesslyn Kostopoulos is Lady of the Lake in Richey Suncoast Theatre’s production of Monty Python’s Spamalot.
  11. Superb Stage West cast brings laughter, tears during 'Dixie Swim Club'

    Stage

    SPRING HILL — Take a hankie. Or take two.

    You'll need them to watch The Dixie Swim Club at the Forum at Stage West through Sunday, first to dab at tears of laughter, then to mop up tears of poignancy as the stellar cast of this dear, sweet play brings you right into the middle of four of their annual get-togethers in a cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina over a period of 33 years....

    Jeanene MacLean is Dinah and Rose DeAngelo is Sheree in the Stage West production, which runs through Sunday.
  12. Richey Suncoast Theatre rolls out offerings for 2014-15 season

    Stage

    As Richey Suncoast Theatre winds up its 2013-14 season in May with the Monty Python-inspired Spamalot, a spoof of the seriously sweet Camelot that ended March 23, the board has announced the 2014-15 shows and ticket information.

    "Current season ticket holders can retain their seats if they buy their tickets now or no later than the day they see Spamalot," said Marie Skelton, executive director of the theater. That means if your ticket is on, say May 8, you must buy your season tickets to next year's shows by May 8, or your seat will be released for sale to the general public. Those with season tickets on May 25, the last day of Spamalot, have until May 25 to keep their seats....

    Season tickets for Richey Suncoast Theatre’s 2014-15 season cost $60 for five regular shows and $10 for the Christmas show. Opening night is at Thursday, Sept. 11, at 8 p.m., followed by three subsequent weekends with shows at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays.
  13. 'Dixie Swim Club' opens Thursday at Stage West

    Stage

    SPRING HILL — The Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse concludes its 2013-14 season of plays (there's one more musical on the Main Stage in May) with one tailor-made for a core audience that appreciates the fact that people do get older: The Dixie Swim Club.

    Often called a mix of Steel Magnolias and Same Time, Next Year, it's about five women who were together on their college swim team and since graduation have gotten together at a North Carolina beach cottage every summer to catch up on what's going on in each other's lives....

    From left, Jeanene McLean as Dinah, Betsy Glasson as Jeri Neal, Cheryl Roberts as Lexie and Rose DeAngelo as Sharee rehearse for Stage West’s production of The Dixie Swim Club,” with shows Thursday and weekends through April 20.
  14. Review: 'Forever Plaid' at Stage West hits the spot

    Human Interest

    SPRING HILL — To hear them sing, you'd think that Ryan Bintz, Jeff Germann, Jason Yungmann and Madison Byers have been doing close harmony on tunes from the 1950s and 1960s all their lives. They blend, they soar, they have fun.

    But they've been together mere weeks — only three, in the case of Byers, a replacement for a truant original cast member — preparing to perform one truly enjoyable musical, Forever Plaid....

    Ryan Bintz as Frankie, left, Jason Yungmann as Smudge, Madison Byers as Jinx, and Jeff Germann as Sparky are stars in Forever Plaid at Stage West Community Playhouse.
  15. Earlier show times, more matinees on tap at Stage West for 2014-15

    Stage

    The patrons asked, and Stage West Community Playhouse listened.

    For some time, many patrons have been asking Stage West to move the curtain time for evening performances from 8 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., especially on the Main Stage, when lengthy musicals often don't conclude until 11 p.m. or later.

    It makes sense; Stage West's co-tenant, the Hernando Symphony Orchestra, set its start at 7:30 p.m. ages ago, even though the concerts rarely run more than two hours. The change to the earlier start for the acting side would make the theater's start times completely consistent....

    Hairspray is coming to the Stage West Community Playhouse in October.