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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. Specialty shows come to Show Palace, Palace Grand


    The Show Palace Dinner Theatre and Palace Grand managers found themselves with a few nights not filled with Broadway shows, banquets, weddings, fundraisers or award dinners and decided it was the perfect time to make those "specialty show" nights.

    "These won't be regular, just once in a while," said Missy Lindblom, box office manager.

    Already, Show Palace Entertainment, the presenters for both venues, has booked four one-time shows, three of them at the Show Palace and one at the Palace Grand....

  2. Sweet, sentimental 'State Fair' opens March 5 at Richey Suncoast Theatre


    NEW PORT RICHEY — In the mood for a folksy, homespun story with some hummable Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II tunes?

    Richey Suncoast Theatre will ladle it on with the musical State Fair, first seen as a movie in 1945 and a remake in 1962, then made into a stage show that wound its way through regional theaters and the Iowa State Fair, to finally land on Broadway in 1996. It plays March 5 and weekends through March 22....

    The midway is alive with carnival barkers. It’s no different in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s State Fair, at the Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey.
  3. Review: Humor in 'Holy Cannoli' is uproarious, but can be overwhelming


    If you like boisterous plays with pratfalls, double takes, triple takes, quadruple takes and over-the-top physical humor and volume, Holy Cannoli could be your cup of Chianti.

    It's the tale of a sweet Italian girl, Maria D'Angelo (a lovely Christina Kay Jimenez in a distracting red dress) and her platonic roommate, John Douglas (Timothy Michels), and their dilemma when Maria's strict Catholic parents announce they're coming to New York City for a visit and to meet their daughter's roommate, whom they, of course, think is female....

    From left, Michelle Procida, Steve Manfredi, Tom Costello, Jessica Glass and Christina Kay Jimenez team up for some hilarious exchanges in Holy Cannoli, a comedy directed by Jimmy Ferraro in which a young Italian girl living in New York City braces for a visit from her parents by trying to disguise the fact that her roommate is a man.
  4. Review: Spot-on performances make Stage West's 'Oklahoma' a joy


    I suppose you have to have recently seen the profane musical The Book of Mormon, the eye-popping spectacle of The Phantom of the Opera or the for-their-time daring Full Monty or La Cage aux Folles to realize how much musical theater has changed since the heyday of Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1943 classic Oklahoma.

    To be sure, Oklahoma was groundbreaking but in structure and form. Oklahoma took integration of music and plot giant leaps forward, with Hammerstein's lyrics advancing the plot as much as his dialogue, instead of the until-then traditional tacked-on feeling dominating (mostly forgettable) musical theater....

  5. 'Twelve Angry Men' to be staged as fundraiser for Knights of Columbus council


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Ever since he followed the case of accused killer Casey Anthony in 2011, actor and director Maurice Batista has wondered what was said in the room where the jury decided to find her not guilty.

    "I wished I had been a fly in that jury room," Batista said.

    Of course, jury rooms are closed to the public. But many people say that playwright Reginald Rose got it just about right when he wrote Twelve Angry Men, a 1954 teleplay set inside a jury deliberation room. The play was made into a movie in 1957 and again in 1997 and went to Broadway in 2004. ...

  6. Top performers lined up for Stage West production of Oklahoma


    SPRING HILL — Okay, confess. How many of you have strolled outdoors this past week to, say, get the newspaper, and been tempted to burst into a quick chorus of Oh, What a Beautiful Morning, the opening song of the Rodgers and Hammerstein beautiful musical Oklahoma!?

    Indeed, Florida has been blessed with many crisp, cool mornings (though no corn as high as an elephant's eye, and "hibiscus" just doesn't fit) that would inspire such singing. You just can't beat those R&H songs for inspiration....

    Sharyn Beach plays Laurey and Brian Beach is Curly in a rehearsal of Oklahoma! at Stage West Community Playhouse.
  7. Back by popular demand: 'Holy Cannoli' at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Eleven years ago, the comedy/farce Holy Cannoli made its Tampa Bay debut at Jimmy Ferraro's Angel Cabaret Theatre in New Port Richey's Southgate Mall.

    It was a hit, drawing people from far and near.

    Ever since then, Ferraro said, people have been asking him to do the show again. Problem was, Ferraro had closed the Angel and gone on the road, performing and directing shows with various theatrical touring companies. ...

    Michelle Procida, from left, Keith Surplus, Jessica Glass and Tom Costello are part of the cast for Holy Cannoli, which opens Feb 13 at Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio Theatre.
  8. Richey Suncoast Theatre reaches beyond traditional shows for 2015-16 season


    NEW PORT RICHEY — For years, theaters — especially community theaters — have relied on tried-and-true classic musicals for their bread and butter. A Rodgers and Hammerstein (South Pacific, Carousel) or Lerner and Loewe (My Fair Lady, Camelot) favorite can fill seats (and coffers) as dependably as summer rain.

    But for the 2015-16 season, Richey Suncoast Theatre is breaking with that tradition, going with three relatively new and offbeat Broadway musicals that haven't been produced by RST or any other community theater nearby: the Mel Brooks comedy Young Frankenstein from 2007, the cheeky political satire Urinetown from 2001 and the parody of musicals themselves, The Drowsy Chaperone, which made its Broadway debut in 2006....

  9. REVIEW: Well-coached cast stands out in 'Whose Wives?' at Richey Suncoast Theatre


    The first five sex comedies by playwright Michael Parker presented by Richey Suncoast Theatre had very similar setups: Philandering husbands somehow manage to get away from their trusting wives for a little hanky-panky, the wives show up and mayhem ensues. They're always good for big laughs and have been popular with audiences.

    Now comes something from Parker altogether opposite: two husbands who adore their wives, are totally faithful to them and would not even think about playing around with any other woman. In Whose Wives Are They Anyway?, all ambitious young company vice presidents John Baker (done with seriously contained outrageousness by Chris McGinnis) and David "Dave" McGachen (played with coolheaded conviction by Jason Hoolihan) want to do is have one last weekend of uninterrupted golf before the new president of their recently purchased cosmetics company arrives and the two have to spend every weekend working to impress him. They've even sent their wives (Ali Lagrant and Christine Stoll) off to New York for a fun weekend of shopping....

    MICHELE MILLER  |  Times
There's a little confusion over  who's married to who in the  production of  Michael Parker's comedy/farce, "Whose Wives Are They Anyway?" at the Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey. Pictured here are cast members Emily Nettnin Earle (left) as D.L. Hutchison and Chris McGinnis (right) as John Baker.
  10. Stage West's 'Mockingbird' holds attention with compelling performances, story


    To Kill a Mockingbird is not an "action" play. It's a thought-provoking, often subtle, generally gentle play packed with bone-rattling themes and implications. It takes deft guidance and a perceptive cast to pull it off, and the production playing weekends through Jan. 25 at the Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse impresses mightily in both categories.

    Based on Harper Lee's 1960 book of the same name, Mockingbird revolves around a small-town attorney, his family and his neighbors in the town of Maycomb, Ala., before, during and after a 1935 trial of a black man, Tom Robinson (a splendidly convincing Steve Muriel) — casually, repeatedly and often loudly called "n - - - - -" by the populace. Tom has been wrongfully accused of raping a white woman, without one scintilla of physical evidence, and is fighting for his life....

    Isabel Cuevas (Scout) and Sam McCall (Atticus Finch) rehearse a scene from To Kill a Mockingbird recently at the Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill.
  11. Review: Voices, funny moments help make murder-mystery at Jimmy Ferraro's a success


    Take a little schmaltz, some melodrama, a lot of hamming it up, add some truly fine voices and comical (over) acting, and you have Murder on the High C's, the audience interactive musical murder-mystery playing through Feb. 1 at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre.

    This is playwright David Craven's 12th such show, and he has the mood and feel down pat. Choose good actors and singers, give them the bones of a humorous situation, then leave them to fill in the meat and muscle of the production....

    The cast of Murder on the High C’s, which runs through Feb. 1 at Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio Theatre in New Port Richey, include, from left, Jerry Cowling, Trish Farber, Tricia LLoyd, Nicole Cavalani, Heather Spillane,  Michelle Procida and Keith Surplus.
  12. Top draw 'Crazy for You' returns to Show Palace stage


    HUDSON — Thirteen years ago, when the Show Palace Dinner Theatre first did the George and Ira Gershwin musical Crazy for You, it was one of the three top box office draws in the venue's history, drawing almost 12,000 people during its run.

    Now the Show Palace is bringing back the show, with a new cast, direction by actor-singer-director Steven Flaa, and choreography by Andi Sperduti, who also did Kiss Me Kate, Cabaret, The Full Monty and other favorites....

    Crazy for You opens Thursday at the Show Palace with a 20-member cast.
  13. Farce breaks out on Richey Suncoast stage when the wives are away


    NEW PORT RICHEY — In the mood for some big, easy belly laughs? Just in time comes Whose Wives Are They Anyway?, the sixth comedy/farce by Michael Parker to play at Richey Suncoast Theatre in the past few seasons.

    Previous — and highly popular — ones have included The Sensuous Senator, The Amorous Ambassador and Hotbed Hotel. The themes are comfortably alike — philandering husbands getting caught — but the details are just different enough to make each one funny in its own way....

    There’s a little confusion over who’s married to whom in Who’s Wives Are They Anyway?” at the Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey. Shown are Chris McGinnis, playing John Baker and “Karly,” and Jason Hoolihan as David McGachen.
  14. 'To Kill a Mockingbird' set for two-week run at Stage West


    SPRING HILL — By now, just about everyone has either read Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, or seen the 1962 Gregory Peck movie.

    Set in a small Alabama town in 1935, it's the story of principled lawyer Atticus Finch agreeing to defend black man Tom Robinson, who has been accused of raping a 19-year-old white girl. Atticus is a widower, rearing his two young children, Scout and Jem, with the help of a strong-willed black woman named Calpurnia....

    Heck Tate (Gary Depp) and Judge Taylor (Rich Fogg) speak with Atticus Finch (Samuel McCall, right) in a scene from the upcoming production of To Kill a Mockingbird at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill.
  15. Review: Laughs abound in Stage West's production of 'Nuncrackers'


    SPRING HILL — If you liked Nunsense, Nunsense 2: The Second Coming and Nunsense Jamboree, you'll probably enjoy Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical, playing at Stage West Community Playhouse. It's the fourth of seven Nunsense musicals about the adventures of the high-spirited Little Sister of Hoboken by playwright Dan Goggin.

    This chapter is a good-hearted spoof of just about everything connected with the holiday — home-shopping channels, last-minute shopping, hilariously misunderstood song lyrics, the spirit of giving, and, of course, the beloved Nutcracker ballet....

    Patty Villegas as Reverand Mother, Matthew J. Veasey as Father Virgil  “Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical” rehearsal at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill.