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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


  1. Review: Talented cast delivers nonstop laughs in Jimmy Ferraro's 'Cookin' with Gus'


    Patrons exiting Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre after having seen the comedy Cookin' with Gus will probably be asking themselves three questions:

    1. How did director Ferraro manage to snare four of the area's top performers to be in this one show?

    2. How does the Studio Theatre's tiny stage manage to contain all that prodigious talent?

    3. How do the walls of the theater in downtown New Port Richey withstand all the laughter and applause of the audience without severely cracking or crumbling?...

    Cooking With Gus continues weekends through May 15 at Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio Theatre in downtown New Port Richey. Cast members Rand Smith, left, Jessica Glass and Jimmy Chang serve up entertaining performances.
  2. Review: Songs and rousing dance numbers make Show Palace's 'Grease' a hit


    At first glance, the musical Grease is a happy-go-lucky look at teenage life, with great songs and some rousing dance numbers, and there are plenty of both in the Show Palace Dinner Theatre production playing through May 22.

    Look deeper, though, and the show is more what it started out to be in a 1971 Chicago nightclub: a send-up of the raunchy world of young hoodlums — the T-Birds and sexually promiscuous girls, the Pink Ladies — and a put-down of the goody two-shoes world of cheerleaders, athletes and study hall nerds, with the hoods and floozies winning, for the time being anyway....

  3. Review: Despite flaws, plenty of guffaws in Stage West's 'A Bedfull of Foreigners'


    Probably the most vexing decision the director of a play set in a foreign country must make is what to do about accents.

    Should Shakespeare be done in Elizabethan English? Should everyone in A Little Night Music have a Swedish accent? Should Fiddler on the Roof be done with Russian enunciation? What about any Ray Cooney English farce?

    Kathy Capelle, the director of A Bedfull of Foreigners, playing weekends through Sunday at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill, had an even more daunting task. Bedfull is set in a small French hotel near the German border, with guests and employees from England, France and, perhaps, Hungary or Mexico. Accents could come from all over the map. And that, indeed, is what they did, including from the plain ol' U.S. of A. It wouldn't be disconcerting, except that some of the players switched back and forth throughout the production on opening night....

  4. It's back to 1959 with Show Palace production of 'Grease'


    HUDSON — Time for girls to drag out their pedal pushers and guys to don their white T-shirts (with a pack of ciggies rolled in the sleeve) and go back to 1959 at Chicago's Rydell High School, home to the Burger Palace Boys and their Pink Ladies, and all the singing, dancing, romance, illicit sex and other things that create Grease, the 1972 record-breaking, Tony-nominated Broadway musical....

    Grease opens April 16 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre.
  5. Bedroom farce returns to stage at Stage West Community Playhouse


    SPRING HILL — The giggly bedroom farce A Bedfull of Foreigners was quite a hit when Stage West Community Playhouse did it in the 1997-98 season. Perhaps that's why the theater decided to bring it back.

    The current edition plays Thursday to April 17 and 22 to 24.

    The 1973 show is set in a rundown hotel in France near the German border, where guests begin pouring in as a big festival is taking place in the town....

  6. Jimmy Ferraro brings back popular 'Cookin' with Gus' at Studio Theatre


    NEW PORT RICHEY — For years, cooking enthusiast Augusta "Gussie" Richardson has talked about cooking, shopped local stores for something new and different to cook, and written book after book about cooking.

    But her big ambition has always been to have her own television cooking show. That's despite the pleadings of her adoring, wealthy, live-in boyfriend, Walter, who for the last 18 years has been begging her to marry him and travel the world in style....

  7. Spring Hill's Stage West theater announces 2016-17 season, price increases


    SPRING HILL — Stage West Community Playhouse has announced the eight shows in its 2016-17 season, highlighted by Andrew Lloyd Webber's and Tim Rice's multi-Tony Award-winning musical Evita, the 1978 rock opera about the powerful and popular second wife of Argentine President Juan Perón, set in the 1950s.

    The Main Stage will also have two, two-actor shows and a new version of last season's surprise hit, this one called Bits of Broadway 2. The Forum will feature a drama, two comedies and a comedy/whodunnit, three of them new to that stage. ...

  8. Richey Suncoast Theatre announces 2016-17 season, ticket sales


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Richey Suncoast Theatre has announced its 2016-17 season, and all six shows — four musicals and two comedies — are new to this area.

    "We wanted something different," said Marie Skelton, executive director of the theater.

    That's in line with this season's lineup, which opened with the 2007 hit The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein, recently showcased the 2006 Broadway hit The Drowsy Chaperone and will feature 2001's musical satire Urinetown: The Musical from May 12 to 29, all of them first-timers on the North Suncoast. ...

  9. Review: Cast is up to the challenge in Stage West's production of 'Ragtime'


    If it weren't for the early 20th century costumes, you might think that the musical Ragtime, playing through March 20 at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill, was actually taking place today.

    Same hostility toward immigrants, same violence toward African-Americans, same dashed hopes about becoming a big success in America, simply because it's America. Ah, the good old days....

    Brian Beach is Tateh, Sharyn Beach is mother, Briana Rifino is the little girl and Michael Yarin is Edgar in the production.
  10. Flawless production makes 'Drowsy Chaperone' a can't-miss


    The Richey Suncoast Theatre production of The Drowsy Chaperone is adorable, fascinating, marvelous and every other word you can think of that says "Do not miss this sophisticated, unconventional and thoroughly captivating show."

    Its delightful cast, impeccable direction, boffo orchestra, gorgeous costumes and precise lights and sounds make it a winner all the way around.

    The heart and soul of the show is Chris McGinnis as Man in Chair. Man has happened across a long-ago recording of a (mythical) Broadway musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, that just happens to contain every Broadway musical cliche ever concocted — the rich suitor, the Broadway diva who must choose between his love and her love of fame, a money-grubbing producer, comical gangsters, a drunk, an aspiring starlet, a wealthy showbiz enthusiast and a contrived happily-ever-after ending. He puts the record on a turntable, and as the music begins, actors fill the stage, doing the show....

    The Drowsy Chaperone spoofs Broadway musicals with a natural intimacy and flawless production. The show runs this weekend and next at Richey Suncoast Theatre.
  11. Experienced cast lined up for musical tribute at Jimmy Ferraro's


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Believe it or not, some people go see Broadway shows just to hear one favorite tune from the entire show.

    It may be the dramatic "chandelier song" from The Phantom of the Opera, when an organist pounds the keyboard as a wobbly chandelier rises from the stage floor to dangle from the theater ceiling; the wickedly funny Popular from Wicked, when Galinda advises Elphaba how to manipulate and contrive to be pop-u-lur, or the tenderly gentle Tonight from West Side Story....

  12. Themes in Stage West's 'Ragtime' still resonate today


    SPRING HILL — The haunting musical Ragtime is set at the turn of the century. But by the end of the show, the audience may be wondering, "Which century?

    The problems depicted in the musical at Stage West Community Playhouse seem eerily familiar: fear and loathing of immigrants, a woman yearning for independence, racist public officials, trigger-happy law enforcement, impassioned social Democrats, celebrity worship, ruthless oligarchs and more....

    Mother’s Younger Brother (Keith Surplus) stands and listens as Grandfather (Ernie Rowland) speaks to Mother (Sharyn Beach) and Father (Brady Lay) at the table. Stage West Community Playhouse’s production of Ragtime opens Thursday.
  13. Review: Kudos aplenty in Show Palace's 'The Addams Family'


    The neat thing about seeing a musical for the first time is that you never know what to expect. Funny? Sad? Boring? Silly? Touching? Quirky? What?

    Put The Addams Family in the quirky-funny slot. And fun, too, especially the way it's being done through April 3 by the cast and crew at Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson.

    Perhaps it's because this is director Michael LaFleur's sixth time directing this musical — "I'm making a career going from here to there to direct this show," he quipped after opening night. Perhaps that's why the show is sharp, perfectly paced and delightfully entertaining from start to finish....

    Cast members from the Show Palace Dinner Theatre’s presentation of The Addams Family perform Thursdays through Sundays until April 3.
  14. Broadway musicals spoofed in Richey Suncoast Theatre's coming production


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Those who disdain Broadway musicals, saying "seen one, seen 'em all," may laugh the loudest at The Drowsy Chaperone, a spoof of Broadway musical cliches playing March 3 to 20 at Richey Suncoast Theatre.

    Those of who love all those shows can laugh along, as they recognize — and delight in — those very cliches the haters love to hate.

    The 2006 Tony Award-winning (Best Book, Best Original Score) musical revolves around a play within a play, with every stock character and situation ever used (or overused) on Broadway. It's told through the eyes of an anxiety-plagued Broadway fanatic, the Man in Chair (Chris McGinnis, John Baker in Whose Wives Are They Anyway?), who slumps in the tackiest chair in his cramped apartment as he listens to an ancient recording of the fictional 1928 musical comedy, The Drowsy Chaperone. ("Drowsy" is a euphemism for "tipsy," by the way.)...

    The Drowsy Chaperone runs March 3 to 20 at Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey.
  15. Show Palace musical production of 'Addams Family' returns to original cartoons


    HUDSON — It all started in 1938, when cartoonist Charles Addams was paid the lofty sum of $85 for what was supposed to be a one-time panel in the New Yorker magazine.

    It showed a clean-cut vacuum cleaner salesman touting his wares to a creepy-looking couple — she radiantly gorgeous, but unnaturally thin, in a close-fitting black dress with long black hair in a tight bun; he a hulk with fright wig hair — the salesman oblivious to the draping spider webs, broken stairs, flying bats, shredded wallpaper and a scary creature peering over the crumbling balcony rail above....

    The Show Palace Dinner Theatre’s presentation of The Addams Family opens Saturday.