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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

Email: fredricksen@tampabay.com

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  1. Newest show by John Leggio's performing arts students promises plenty of sizzle

    Stage

    HUDSON — Over the years, John Leggio's Center for the Performing Arts has gained a reputation for putting on shows equal to — and sometimes better than — many full-time professionals. His youthful Xcel dance troupe has performed twice on Royal Caribbean cruise ships and recently took master classes from Broadway's Kissy Simmons, the longtime female lead in The Lion King....

    Dancers rehearse at John Leggio’s Center for the Performing Arts for their upcoming show.
  2. A lot of fine characters to like in Richey Suncoast Theatre's 'Bye Bye Birdie'

    Stage

    It's likely that everyone who sees the spirited musical comedy Bye Bye Birdie will delight in the entire show, especially the lively way it's done at Richey Suncoast Theatre. But it's also likely everyone will have a favorite character somewhere in the 39-member cast.

    It's a takeoff on the time in 1958 when singing idol Elvis Presley was drafted into the Army and female hearts were totally broken at the thought of not being able to see and touch him in person for TWO WHOLE MISERABLE YEARS! In the musical, Elvis becomes Conrad Birdie (a perfectly-cast Mitchell Gonzalez), a sloppy-drunk, undeserving teen idol who is followed around by a dozen simply adorable screaming, fainting teenage fans....

    Janine Paradiso, from left, Mitchell Gonzalez, Patrick Moran, Roger Kleemichen, Justin Buyea and Kevin Wykoff rehearse on the set of Bye Bye Birdie at Richey Suncoast Theatre.
  3. Crisp performances in 'Born Yesterday' make for an enjoyable experience at Stage West

    Stage

    The comedy Born Yesterday was written in 1946, but its plot about Washington, D.C., corruption and the characters who are the corrupters rings as true today as it did then.

    It's playing at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill through Sunday.

    The big differences between 1946 and today are that back then, the sleazy bribe-giver Harry Brock (done brilliantly by Sam Petricone) could buy a U.S. senator (a perfectly cast Allen Magnus) for a lousy $80,000. Nowadays, that paltry sum wouldn't warrant a phone call from an assistant to the assistant office manager....

    Doug Doidge, left, is Ed Devery and Sam Petricone is Harry Brock in Stage West’s Born Yesterday.
  4. Tony Award-winning 'Bye Bye Birdie' set to open at Richey Suncoast Theatre

    Stage

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Anyone around in 1957 can remember the anguish caused when rock idol Elvis Presley was drafted into the Army.

    Locks from his first GI haircut were sold and owned as treasures. Girls — and many women — cried when he shipped out to Germany, not because he was in any danger, but because they wanted him on U.S. soil, close enough for them to see and possibly touch....

    Cast members perform The Telephone Hour during rehearsal for the musical Bye Bye Birdie, which opens May 14 at the Richey Suncoast Theatre in downtown New Port Richey.
  5. Show Palace brings record-setting 'Chorus Line' back to stage

    Stage

    HUDSON — The 1975 musical A Chorus Line has a record of achievements as long as the legs of the tallest chorus girl in its 21-member cast.

    It won nine Tony Awards, the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for drama, ran for 6,137 performances on Broadway, has been produced around the world — over and over — and still remains a favorite of audiences everywhere.

    The Show Palace Dinner Theatre will present its version of the show from May 7 to June 7, the second time the venue has done it, the last time in 2003....

    A Chorus Line opens May 7 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson.
  6. Stage West to revive post-WWII play, 'Born Yesterday'

    Stage

    SPRING HILL — Almost anyone around in the 1950s will likely remember Judy Holliday, the pert blond actor who won an Academy Award as chorus girl Billie Dawn — she with the high, cooing, nasal voice and scatterbrained ways — in the comedy Born Yesterday.

    Holliday went on to be a big star until her death at an early age in 1965. But the character of Billie Dawn lived on, beloved to this day, both on stage and in film....

    Cheryl Roberts is Mrs. Hedges, Sam Petricone is Harry Brock and Jeanene MacLean is Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday.
  7. Films from around the world to be shown during two festivals at Richey Suncoast Theatre

    Movies

    NEW PORT RICHEY — One of the most anticipated cultural events in the Suncoast area, the two-day Thomas Meighan and Black Maria Film Festivals, will be in the historic Richey Suncoast Theatre on May 1 and 2.

    The two-day festival features 24 short films — each of them one to 19 minutes long — on a variety of subjects and in a variety of forms by award-winning cinematographers, videographers and illustrators from around the world....

    Poster for the two-day Thomas Meighan and Black Maria Film Festivals, that will be in the historic Richey Suncoast Theatre on May 1 and 2.

  8. Review: Able cast can't save thin material in 'Ain't Food Wonderful!'

    Stage

    What do you do when you have four really good actors and pretty thin material?

    The best you can.

    That's what happens during Ain't Food Wonderful!, the current production at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre in downtown New Port Richey.

    Food is the second in a trilogy on familiar situations by playwright Gil Perlroth, a prolific wordsmith whose earlier Ain't Retirement Grand was so popular — and so darned much fun — that Ferraro is bringing it back to his theater June 12 to 28....

    Ain’t Food Wonderful! cast members Pete Clapsis, Tracie Callahan, Jared Michael Shari and Elizabeth S. Phillips rehearse the song Who Doesn’t Like Chinese Food? The musical by Gil Perlroth runs through May 3 at Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio Theatre.
  9. Review: 'I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change' a stellar Stage West show

    Stage

    SPRING HILL — When it comes to the musical comedy I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, it's like the old song says: T'ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It).

    You can play the show as "woman as sad victim" or you can do it "woman as powerful and funny."

    Stage West Community Playhouse director Carol Ballard and her super-stellar cast of four — Melody Craven, Ryan Bintz, Jessica Virginia and Madison Byers — chose the latter, and the result rippled through the opening-night audience in gales of laughter and tears of recognition and delight....

    Stage West Community Playhouse's production of "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" stars, standing: Madison Byers as Dad, Melody Craven as Mom; sitting: Ryan Bintz as Mitch, Jessica Virginia as Karen.
 Shown in rehearsal.  [Photo courtesy Carol Ballard]

  10. Pasco's Studio Theatre offers another "Aint..." show

    Stage

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre seems to be on a roll — in more ways than one.

    For one thing, most of the eight-month-old theater's recent shows have been almost or completely sold out, including the boisterous Holy Cannoli, the sentimental A Christmas Cabaret, the audience-interactive Murder on the High C's, and the comedy Ain't Retirement Grand....

    “Ain’t Food Wonderful” opens April 10 at Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio Theatre in downtown New Port Richey. Here, cast members Pete Clapsis, Tracie Callahan, Jared Michael Shari and Elizabeth S. Phillips rehearse the song, Who Doesn’t Like Chinese Food?
  11. Stage West will offer "I Love You ... Now Change"

    Human Interest

    SPRING HILL — The musical potpourri I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change played for a dozen years off-Broadway — the second-longest show in history.

    It has been translated into 14 languages and played around the world for years. The most recent of many performances in the Tampa Bay area was a summer special at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in August 2013.

    Stage West Community Playhouse will launch its own version of the lighthearted show on Thursday, followed by a two-weekend run....

    Madison Byers, clockwise from top left; Melody Craven, Jessica Virginia and Ryan Bintz will appear in Stage West Community Playhouse’s production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.
  12. Mitchell High show will pay tribute to late teacher

    Stage

    NEW PORT RICHEY — For decades, audiences around the world enjoyed performances by singer/actor/dancer Bill Garon, whether on a five-star luxury liner, in the Far East, Europe, Canada, or the U.S.

    He often played solo, but many Tampa Bay area fans first saw him as the opening act for Liberace impersonator Martin Preston, Garon's longtime partner.

    For three years, 2001-2004, he was an integral part of Jimmy Ferraro's erstwhile Angel Cabaret Theatre in Port Richey, where he acted, sang, directed and choreographed numerous shows....

    Mitchell High drama teacher David O’Hara, seated left front, plays Lazar Wolfe in Fiddler on the Roof, which Bill Garon was involved in. “He was the musical director, stage director, and choreographer for the last six shows at the school,” O’Hara said.
  13. Stage West announces schedule for upcoming season

    Stage

    SPRING HILL — Stage West Community Playhouse has announced its 2015-16 season, and it includes five shows familiar to local audiences and three musicals that have not been seen in live theaters in the Suncoast area: High Society, Ragtime and Jesus Christ Superstar.

    The remaining musical is the comedy Little Shop of Horrors, which was a Stage West summer special in 2003....

  14. Review: Despite onstage fumbles, 'Moonlight and Magnolias' delivers in many ways

    Stage

    On its surface, the comedy Moonlight and Magnolias is based on the allegedly true tale of how the final script for the blockbuster 1939 movie Gone With the Wind came about. In it, producer David O. Selznick locks himself and the hastily summoned Hollywood writer Ben Hecht and legendary director Victor Fleming into his office for five days to rewrite the script for what was going to become Selznick's masterpiece....

    Gary Depp as David O. Selznick, standing, and Jim Hansen as Victor Fleming rehearse a scene from Moonlight and Magnolias at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill.
  15. Review: Show-stopping numbers and more in Show Palace's 'King and I'

    Stage

    The musical The King and I may be the only show ever written for the benefit of one person: singer-actor Gertrude Lawrence.

    It was written at the behest of the wives of lyricist/writer Oscar Hammerstein II and composer Richard Rodgers, who were great fans of Lawrence and wanted to see her on the stage again. Never mind that by that time in her career, Lawrence was 50+ and her voice had seen its best days long before. ...