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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. Mitchell High show will pay tribute to late teacher

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    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.
  2. Stage West announces schedule for upcoming season

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    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....

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

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    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.
  4. Review: Show-stopping numbers and more in Show Palace's 'King and I'

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    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. ...

  5. Lots to like in Richey Suncoast Theatre's production of 'State Fair'

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    Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's sweet and sentimental musical State Fair was released as a movie in 1945, following the team's blockbuster first Broadway collaboration, Oklahoma!, in 1943 and a year after another family movie musical, Meet Me in St. Louis, in 1944.

    All three revolve around tight-knit families contending with mostly chaste romances and non-threatening life situations. Only Oklahoma! has a real villain (the sinister Jud Fry), murder (Fry again), or implied impure sex (Ado Annie and Ali Hakim), perhaps because it debuted on the more permissive live stage, rather than under then-strict movie codes....

    Rodgers and Hammerstein’s State Fair runs weekends through March 22 at the Richey Suncoast Theatre in downtown New Port Richey.
  6. Comedy 'Moonlight and Magnolias' opens March 12 at Stage West

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    SPRING HILL — Even as the wild and wicked Fifty Shades of Grey was setting box-office records in theaters a couple of weeks ago, millions of people were glued to the Turner Classic Movies channel, where the relatively chaste 1939 Civil War epic Gone With the Wind was playing for the umpteenth time.

    And I'm betting that 10 years from now, Shades will have been mostly forgotten — who has read or watched Peyton Place recently? — and GWTW will still be playing to millions on TCM....

    Craig Balcomb as Ben Hecht, Gary Depp as David O. Selznick and Jim Hansen as Victor Fleming rehearse for Moonlight and Magnolias at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill.
  7. Specialty shows come to Show Palace, Palace Grand

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    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....

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

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    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.
  9. Review: Humor in 'Holy Cannoli' is uproarious, but can be overwhelming

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    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.
  10. Review: Spot-on performances make Stage West's 'Oklahoma' a joy

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    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....

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

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    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. ...

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

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    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.
  13. Back by popular demand: 'Holy Cannoli' at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre

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    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.
  14. Richey Suncoast Theatre reaches beyond traditional shows for 2015-16 season

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    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....

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

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    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.