Let me get my prejudice out in the open from the start: I love the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, from the mellow Spanish Harlem to the high-powered Jailhouse Rock to the quirky Charlie Brown and the heartbreaking I (Who Have Nothing) and everything in between. They're the songs of my youth that have stayed in my head (and feet) ever since.
So I'm delighted when a crackerjack cast of singer/dancers does such a fine job with Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller that I want to get up and sing and dance with them, and that's pretty much how I felt at opening night of the show at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson....
The warm comedy Over the River and Through the Woods won the most HAMI Awards at the 2016-17 Stage West Community Playhouse ceremony, taking home six of the 10 given out in the Forum division, including the coveted Favorite Show trophy.
On the Main Stage, the musical Fiddler on the Roof won five HAMI honors out of 11 in that division, though the biographical musical Always . . . Patsy Cline was voted Favorite Show. The musical Evita was a close second in number of awards, taking home four, including three of four top acting awards....
Whew! I didn't remember that so many of the songs of the 1970s (also known as "the forgotten years") were so sexy. Nor that so many were wonderful and memorable and still being sung by the original singers, as well as covered by scads of newer ones.
But 8-Track: The Sounds of the '70s, playing matinees and evenings through Aug. 13 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson, reminds one and all that many of the songs of the 1970s deserve to be remembered and will be for a long time....
Eleemosynary, the current offering at Richey Suncoast Theatre's intimate black box theater, is tailor-made for those who enjoy serious theater.
Its three characters — grandmother Dorothea; mother Artemis, "Artie" for short, and daughter Echo — are complex, and their relationships are complicated, but their spoken thoughts and encounters contain truths that ring with authority and sting with insights....
Those of us of a certain age may find the title of Assisted Living: The Musical a tad disconcerting. After all, assisted living is not something we exactly anticipate with glee.
But the musical by that name playing through June 25 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson is so clever, happy and well-performed by two of Tampa Bay's top singer/actors — Pete Clapsis and Victoria Stinnett — that it had the opening night audience laughing, smiling and applauding from the opening song to the hand-clapping finale....
Review: Even adorable dogs can't upstage the high-energy cast of 'Legally Blonde' at Richey Suncoast Theatre05/13/17Stage
You know a musical is good when even two adorable little dogs can't steal the show (though they do get lots of "oohs" and "aahs" when they make their wide-eyed, well-behaved appearances).
But that's what happens in Legally Blonde, the 2007 Broadway hit playing through May 28 at Richey Suncoast Theatre in downtown New Port Richey.
Thanks to a stellar, almost 50-member cast of high-energy singer/dancers, led by beautiful RST newcomer Athena Tootie Jolee Romanski (yes, that is her full name) as sorority president/aspiring Harvard Law School student Elle Wood, Melissa Smith's knockout choreography, and Marie Skelton's fine direction, Legally Blonde delivers so much pow and punch that the puppies become just two more elements in an overall adorable show....
As we might say in Texas, the land of my birth, Always … Patsy Cline, as done by Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill, is "pert near perfick."
It's a look into the all-too-brief life of late 1950s and '60s country-pop singer Patsy Cline, as told by her real-life friend, Louise Seger, a good old gal from Houston who took Patsy under her wing after they met at the legendary Esquire Ballroom north of the city and Louise took Patsy home for some bacon, eggs and late-night girl talk about their good kids and bad husbands....
SPRING HILL — Stage West Community Playhouse has announced its 2017-18 season of shows, ticket prices and a new, discounted ticket package aimed at seasonal residents.
The Main Stage shows include three musicals and one comedy: Young Frankenstein; 9 to 5: The Musical; Rock of Ages, and Calendar Girls. Shows in the Forum shows include The 39 Steps, Baggage, The Diary of Anne Frank and I'll Be Back Before Midnight....
Okay, so maybe you were turned off by the very thought of a play by William Shakespeare somewhere in your sophomore year of high school, back when you were more attracted by sports or band or the person three rows up in Algebra 1 class than a lecture on Macbeth.
Or perhaps you've seen The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged, somewhere else and think once is enough....
Take The Dixie Swim Club, add a dollop of Steel Magnolias (without the sadness), a pinch of The Golden Girls and a smidgen of Sex and the City, and you get the nicely satisfying and enjoyable Always a Bridesmaid, the 2013 comedy playing through April 30 in the Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill.
It's the story of four high school girlfriends who made a vow at their dateless high school prom that no matter where, no matter when, they would all show up to stand as bridesmaids when one them got married. It's three decades later, and they're still at it, only these times for second and third marriages....
NEW PORT RICHEY — The world-famous Black Maria Film Festival will make a stop at Richey Suncoast Theatre at 7:30 p.m. April 28, showing a collection of 10 award-winning short films created by filmmakers from around the world. They range in length from four to 15 minutes.
The Black Maria (pronounced Muh-RYE-uh) was started 36 years ago in West Orange, N.J., and named in honor of the first-ever movie studio built by Thomas Edison 114 years ago. Neighbors thought it looked like the police wagons they called Black Marias, thus the name....
I was prepared to cringe my way through The Great American Trailer Park Musical, showing through May 21 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson, anticipating tacky barbs aimed at perfectly nice people, many of whom I know and like.
Instead, the good-natured spoof of life and love in Florida's Armadillo Acres turned out to be so funny, campy and infectiously good-humored that it was well nigh impossible to get all snootfied about the antics on stage....
NEW PORT RICHEY — Richey Suncoast Theatre has announced its 2017-18 season of five shows, a change of style for the holiday special and an increase in the season ticket price, though tickets for individual shows will stay the same.
"We haven't had a (season ticket) price increase in years," said Marie Skelton, executive director of the theater. "With expenses going up like they are, we think it's about time we do."...
Review: Two incredible lead characters, plus excellent choral work and staging, make for superb 'Evita' at Stage West03/10/17Stage
I often wonder if casual patrons of the musical Evita appreciate just how incredibly difficult the show is to perform. Andrew Lloyd Webber's eclectic music styles — classical, ballad, Latin, rock — lightning-fast tempo changes and sometimes atonal, non-melodic sing-throughs, paired with Tim Rice's information-packed lyrics, are a challenge to performers and listeners alike. It's a show that may take more than one viewing to comprehend....
Richey Suncoast Theatre continues to bat 1.000 with its third big show of the regular season, Nice Work If You Can Get It, the 2012 Broadway musical featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin and a Drama Desk Award-winning and Tony-nominated book by Joe DiPietro.
Like this season's previous shows, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Leading Ladies, Nice Work boasts a terrific cast and crew, this time featuring deft direction by David Bethards and Linda Hoagland; rip-roaring dances by resident choreographer Melissa Smith; colorful, era-setting costumes and props by Emily Nettnin, and, well, nice work by music director Mark Anthony Jelks' seven-piece combo, even if the overture was a tad jagged....