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 takes a lighter look at retirement at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre


    If you're a retiree (or know a retiree), the musical Ain't Retirement Grand! probably won't hold any shocking revelations for you. You've been there, done that.

    What the show does have is a new, plucky way of looking at retirement and retirees that brings laughs, smiles and nods of touching recognition.

    The laughs come often, thanks to composer/lyricist/writer Gil Perlrorth's incisive view of life after a lifetime of work. It's the 23rd play the Pinellas Park-based writer has written, many of them on this very subject. It's a load of fun from start to finish, made even better by the four singer/actors doing the regional premiere of this collection of songs and comments weekends through Nov. 16 at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre in New Port Richey. These players have the range of talents needed to do these tunes and vignettes to a turn....

  2. Review: Confident 'Swim Club' cast brings plenty of laughs to Richey Suncoast stage


    It's a familiar entreaty to theater audiences in curtain speeches almost everywhere: "So, sit back, relax, and enjoy" whatever play is to come.

    Familiar or not, it's oh, so true for the comedy The Dixie Swim Club, playing weekends through Nov. 2 at Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey.

    The five women playing the college swim team members who meet in an Outer Banks cottage every August for a weeklong reunion with "no men, no work, no kids" seem like five longtime pals, cognizant of each other's foibles, but loving each other unconditionally anyway....

    The Dixie Swim Club stars, from left, Christine Stoll, Emily Nettnin, Natalie Pozdol, Heather Clark and Dee Curran.
  3. Review: Stage West production of 'Hairspray' is a 'don't miss'


    Okay. If you're going to see only one stage show this year, make it Hairspray, the cheeky, Tony Award-winning 2002 musical that's all fun and songs on the surface, but sweetly subversive to the core.

    A sparkling rendition of the 1988 movie turned 2002 Broadway musical turned 2007 movie musical plays Friday through Sunday at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill. Truly, it is the "don't miss" show of this season....

  4. 'Ain't Retirement Grand!' comes to Pasco — finally


    It's about time, I'd say.

    For more than 25 years, theaters have been doing Gulfport playwright-composer-lyricist Gil Perlroth's Florida-friendly shows far and wide — but not up the road in Pasco County. Audiences have flocked to Gulfport: the Musical, Francis Wilson: The Man and His Theatre, Encounters, Letting Go, and his trilogy Ain't Retirement Grand!, Ain't Food Wonderful! and Ain't Sex Sensational! for ages, but not in this area....

    From left, cast members Vicky Stinnett, Matthew Ruley, Tracie Callahan and Pete Clapsis perform a skit.
  5. College pals keep in touch as 'Dixie Swim Club' opens at Richey Suncoast


    Fans of The Golden Girls, Steel Magnolias, Same Time, Next Year and good laughs will likely become fans of The Dixie Swim Club, the comedy playing at Richey Suncoast Theatre Thursday and weekends through Nov. 2.

    It's about five women who starred on their college swim team together decades ago, but have remained friends through the years, despite living far apart and in different worlds. The women meet once a year for a week in a secluded cottage on North Carolina's Outer Banks, free of husbands, kids and careers. They catch up on each other's lives, triumphs and tribulations, giving support when it's needed and raised eyebrows when it isn't sought....

    Christine Stoll as Sheree, from left, Emily Nettnin as Jeri Neal, Natalie Pozdol as Lexie,  Heather Clark as Vernadette and Dee Curran as Dinah are the members of Richey Suncoast Theatre’s Dixie Swim Club.
  6. With big hair and big message, 'Hairspray' opens at Stage West


    SPRING HILL — Stage West Community Playhouse opens its 2014-15 season with one of the best, most exciting musicals ever to hit Broadway — the heart-warming, toe-tapping Hairspray, based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name.

    Sure, the title sounds frivolous, and, indeed, the show has plenty of good laughs, great big songs and hilarious characters. But Hairspray's messages about prejudice and true love are serious, though never preachy, and always gentle. It won eight Tony Awards in 2003, including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score....

    A brief segment on Facebook by the Stage West cast doing one of the big numbers portends a rousing good time.
  7. 'Kiss Me Kate' hits all marks


    This is what can be said about the Show Palace Dinner Theatre's production of Cole Porter's musical Kiss Me, Kate: What. A. Show.

    Incredible voices, sensational dancing, gorgeous costumes, backdrops and sets, perfect sound and music, simply marvelous character actors — this show has it all, and then some.

    Granted, what with today's headlines, you may cringe a bit when the lead male takes his ex-wife over his knee and spanks her so hard she can't sit down for days. But then, Kiss Me, Kate revolves around William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, written at a time when even the courts allowed a husband to give his wife "moderate correction," whatever that meant....

    From left, Adam Biner, as Bill Calhoun, takes a leap over Andi Sperduti-Garner, as Bianca, while Dick Baker and Matty Colonna, who play Hortensio and Gremio, look on.
  8. Richey Suncoast's 'Pajama Game' worth the wait


    Richey Suncoast Theatre waited seven long years to get performance rights to the 1954 Tony Award-winning musical Pajama Game, and co-directors/choreorgraphers Marie Skelton and Linda Hougland have gone all out to see that this beloved period piece, playing weekends through Sept. 28, gets proper treatment.

    Pajama Game was written at the height of labor union power and also the Cold War's communist scare, and the passing of time has lessened the power of both institutions, so the show doesn't evoke the strong emotions it did when it hit Broadway the first time around and seems dated. Even so, the familiar score and the Richey Suncoast cast's joyful rendition of it will likely have audiences humming as they leave the theater....

  9. 'Pajama Game' finally hits Richey Suncoast Theatre stage


    For seven years, Richey Suncoast Theatre has tried to obtain performance rights for the Tony Award-winning musical The Pajama Game.

    "But it's either already promised to someone else (in the area), or there's a national tour, or something," making it unavailable to the theater, said Marie Skelton, executive director of the venue, who takes the lead in choosing plays and musicals every season....

    Steve Ailing offers a comic twist as Vernon Hines, wearing a sagging pair of pajamas as factory head, Myron “Old Man” Hasler (Bill Schommer), looks on during a rehearsal for The Pajama Game.
  10. Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre announces light-hearted 2014-15 season


    The Jimmy Ferraro Studio Theatre in downtown New Port Richey is gearing up for the 2014-15 season with five shows from Oct. 17 to May 3.

    The season reflects what theater founder and owner Ferraro knows his audiences will like — light-hearted, funny, quick-paced shows suitable for grown-ups and kids alike. And each show offers something altogether different from the other.

    "I keep my patrons in the forefront of my mind when I am selecting shows," Ferraro said....

  11. Richey Suncoast Theatre gives out Charlie Awards


    NEW PORT RICHEY — The musical Spamalot and the comedy/farce The Amorous Ambassador were the big winners at the annual Charlie Awards celebration of the 2013-14 season at Richey Suncoast Theatre on Saturday. The awards are named in honor of the late Charlie Skelton, who, along with his wife Marie, is credited with reviving the theater over the past 15 years. Winners are chosen by a vote of the people who attended each show....

  12. Singing Divas take stage at Ferraro's


    The new Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre winds up its inaugural summer season with the musical The Singing Divas of Broadway and Hollywood, starring Broadway's Dee Etta Rowe and opera singer Mary Anne Edwards, with Debbie Snyder and Elicia Nystrom adding color and dancing as backup.

    "I'm calling it a musical cabaret," said Ferraro, not because the venue is indeed a restaurant or nightclub, but because the songs evoke the feel of a cabaret's floor show....

    Dee Etta Rowe sings Hey, Big Spender (from Sweet Charity) for the musical, The Singing Divas of Broadway and Hollywood.
  13. 'Les Mis' wins big at Stage West's annual HAMI Awards


    SPRING HILL — The musical drama Les Miserables took home all the marbles in the Main Stage (musicals) division of the annual HAMI Awards presentations for Stage West Community Playhouse's 2013-14 season, winning 11 out of 11 of the coveted statues at a ceremony on Saturday evening at the Palace Grand in Spring Hill.

    The season's blockbuster made it an even dozen by winning still another award in the overall category of Rising Star, given to Maxwell Brazier for his role as young Gavorche in the production....

  14. 'Forever Plaid' is an oldie, mostly goodie at Show Palace


    Review | Forever Plaid

    If you've never seen the musical comedy Forever Plaid, you might want to see the production playing through Aug. 24 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre.

    The players are adequate, the story simple and cute, and the music — songs like Moments to Remember, Heart and Soul and Perfidia from the 1950s and '60s, with their tight harmonies, pleasant melodies and sweet lyrics — is hard to beat....

  15. Home-grown musical debuts in downtown New Port Richey


    For years, singer-actor Diana Rogers played Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables on Broadway and did that role and others in national touring companies. A few years ago, however, family circumstances brought her to Florida, where she became head of the award-winning drama department at River Ridge High School and directed and wrote plays and musicals for her students.

    Now she's writing for grownups and will launch her first musical comedy at 7:30 p.m. today (July 18) at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre in downtown New Port Richey, where it will continue matinees and evenings through Aug. 10. She named the show Coupled, about three couples who have been together for a while....

    In Coupled, Diana Rogers, who wrote the musical comedy, plays middle school teacher Donna, longtime wife of computer geek Bill, played by Peter Clapsis.