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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. Review: Familiarity aside, Show Palace Christmas show is a sweet holiday treat


    If you enjoyed last year's A Show Palace Christmas Spectacular, you will probably love this year's version. They're very much alike. In fact, the last half of the two-hour show is a duplicate of last year's, only with a few different singers and dancers.

    Unlike last year's soft, mellow opening, this year's Show Palace Dinner Theatre production starts out lively, with 14 dancers in sparkling aqua and white swirling around the stage to an energetic The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (probably needed by patrons after all that tasty turkey tryptophan), followed by a soothing Silver Bells and the arrival of carolers, the women in costume coordinator Pat Werner's Victorian hoop skirts and bonnets, the men in cutaways, singing a cappella Christmas favorites....

    Santa, gingerbread people, reindeer and other nostalgic characters have a place in A Show Palace Christmas Spectacular.
  2. Show Palace Dinner Theatre brings holiday flair with annual Christmas show


    HUDSON — If Thanksgiving is gone, can Christmas be far behind?

    The Christmas season at Show Palace Dinner Theatre starts officially on Nov. 26 with A Show Palace Christmas Spectacular. It's filled with nostalgia with a strong Christian flavor: a Christmas tree, more than 45 Christmas carols and Christmas stories.

    The 14 singers and dancers in the show include a dozen Show Palace veterans and two newcomers — Alexis Harter, a Clearwater native who has played many supporting roles at other theaters since graduating from Emerson College, and Brittany Ambler, a recent graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University who has performed as Inga in Young Frankenstein and Sugar Plum Fairy in Shrek at other venues....

    “A Show Palace Christmas Spectacular” includes a dozen veterans and two newcomers.
  3. Review: Inaugural Skelton Cabaret production of 'Proof' is a must-see


    I'm sitting here struggling to find enough accolades for the inaugural production of the Charlie and Marie Skelton Cabaret Theatre, the Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award and Drama Desk Award winning drama Proof, playing weekends through Sunday at Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey.

    The Skelton Cabaret's new venue on Main Street will host future productions.

    Playwright David Auburn's magnificent script. Professional director-actor Staci Sabarsky's perfect casting and coaching. Superb acting so genuine that audience members almost feel like voyeurs listening in on a family's private patio conversations. Evocative background music that sets the mood. Matt Beil's unobtrusive lighting. This production has it all, and then some....

    Dennis Duggan, left, as Robert and Marie-Claude Tremblay as Catherine start in the drama Proof.
  4. Review: Stage West's 'Butler Did It' has possibilities, but also some problems


    The comedy The Butler Did It, playing through Nov. 20 at the Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill, seems quite promising.

    There's a clever play on words — all the suspects in the apparent murder are either named Butler or are actual butlers. There are nimble, unexpected plot twists. Playwrights Walter Marks and Peter Marks supply a few funny lines. And the six-member cast includes four of Stage West's most award-winning actors....

    Stephanie Cooper, from left, John Pridgen and Cheryl Roberts rehearse The Butler Did It. The play-within-a-play has quick plot twists and runs through Sunday at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill.
  5. Richey Suncoast Theatre announces series of shows

    Music & Concerts


    The increasingly active Richey Suncoast Theatre has announced two series of shows, three special shows and the date for the annual short film festivals at the theater at 6237 Grand Blvd.

    Although the series and shows don't start until January, season and individual tickets are on sale now at the box office or by phone at (727) 842-6777. Both series are at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays. All ticket prices listed are cash or check. Processing fees are added to credit card purchases....

  6. Everyone is suspect in Stage West's production of 'The Butler Did It'


    SPRING HILL — If you're thinking of writing a play, you may want to avoid the title The Butler Did It. There are at least a half-dozen existing plays by that name in circulation, starting in the early 1900s, and yours would be just one more.

    The phrase has been around so long, in fact, that it's become a cliche and is always good for a laugh. (One imaginative playwright named his play A Butler Did It, thus vaulting his play to the top of the alphabetical list of Butler-Did-It shows.)...

    The whodunit The Butler Did It opens at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill on Thursday. Stephanie Cooper, left, is cast as Victoria, John Pridgen as Aldo and Cheryl Roberts as Angela.
  7. Skelton Cabaret's first production will be back on a familiar stage


    NEW PORT RICHEY — The new Richey Suncoast Theatre II, named the Charlie and Marie Skelton Cabaret, will open its first black box production Nov. 11, the Pulitzer Prize-, Tony Award- and Drama Desk Award-winning drama Proof.

    Except it won't be in the actual Skelton Cabaret space on Main Street. Instead, the drama will be performed on the stage at Richey Suncoast on Grand Boulevard, with the audience also on stage, seated in regular chairs and bar stool-height chairs and the play on a slightly raised platform, in true black box theater tradition....

    Dennis Duggan, left, and Marie-Claude Tremblay star in a black box production of the drama Proof, which runs Nov. 11 to 13 and Nov. 18 to 20 at Richey Suncoast Theatre.
  8. Review: Show Palace's 'Marvelous Wonderettes' hits the right notes


    Almost two years before the phenomenally successful four-man musical Forever Plaid hit the boards, there was The Taffetas, the tale of a girl group hoping for fame and fortune. Both shows have four characters, sketchy plots, lots of songs from the 1950s and '60s and have been worldwide hits.

    That success spawned a spate of similar shows, some wildly successful — Menopause, the Musical, for example — and not a few bombs — Hats! The Musical, which was nothing more than an annoying 90-minute commercial for the Red Hat Society....

    The Marvelous Wonderettes is showing through Nov. 13 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson. From left are cast members Heather Baird, Colleen Campbell, Caitie Moss and Kristin Wells. [Photo courtesy of Show Palace Dinner Theatre]
  9. Review: Laughs aplenty in Richey Suncoast Theatre's smartly cast 'Leading Ladies'


    How many laughs and smiles can be packed into a single two-hour, 40-minute show?

    Richey Suncoast Theatre gives that question a good test with a splendid rendition of the comedy Leading Ladies, playing weekends through Oct. 30, thanks to smart casting decisions by director Robin New and solid performances by each actor.

    Outstanding is award-winning Richey Suncoast newcomer Miguel Rodriguez (director-actor at Carrollwood Players) whose comic timing and physical humor as Leo Clark, a down-on-his-luck Shakespearean actor, is priceless....

    Jason Hoolihan, left, and Miguel Rodriguez star in the comedy Leading Ladies at Richey Suncoast Theatre through Oct. 30.
  10. Review: 'I Do! I Do!' takes audience back in time at Stage West


    The musical I Do! I Do! is showing its age — and that could be encouraging, rather than distressing.

    The 1966 show takes the audience through several phases of a 50-year marriage in just over two hours, including intermission, which makes for some jarringly quick changes in emotions and actions by both husband and wife. But that's the nature of the script, not the fault of the players in Stage West Community Playhouse's nicely done version of the show, thanks to actors Dorothy Ferguson as Agnes and Keith Surplus as Michael and director Kathy Capelle....

    Dorothy Ferguson portrays Agnes and Keith Surplus plays Michael in Stage West Community Playhouse's production of "I Do! I Do!" [By Carol Ballard]
  11. Skelton Black Box Theatre announces first season


    NEW PORT RICHEY — The hammers, saws and paint buckets are still visible, transforming the former Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre in downtown New Port Richey into Richey Suncoast Theatre's first satellite venture, the Charlie and Marie Skelton Black Box Theatre, a small venue dedicated to shows geared toward adult audiences.

    As the remodeling work wraps up, executive director Marie Skelton has announced the venue's first full season of four shows, starting Nov. 11 with the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning drama Proof, and ending on June 18 with the last performance of the 1985 multi-generational drama Eleemosynary. In between are the tragedy Stop Kiss and the zany comedy The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)....

  12. Stage West production of musical 'I Do! I Do!' features bold casting move


    SPRING HILL — The director of Stage West Community Playhouse's musical Jesus Christ Superstar, made a daring casting decision for its production of that show last season: She cast a female in the role of Judas Iscariot, a role traditionally played by a male, usually a black male.

    It was an inspired move. Actor/singer Victoria Primosch did a magnificent job with the role and went on to win a coveted HAMI Award, the single HAMI given to the show in a tough season that included the musicals Ragtime and Little Shop of Horrors....

    Dorothy Ferguson portrays Agnes and Keith Surplus plays Michael in Stage West Community Playhouse’s production of I Do! I Do!
  13. First North Suncoast production of 'Menopause the Musical' highlights Show Palace's 2017-18 season


    HUDSON — The Show Palace Dinner Theatre has announced its 2017-18 season of shows, four packages of season tickets at discounted prices and a small increase in price for all shows.

    "For the first time in six years, we have had to raise all pricing by $1," said Jennifer Mara, business manager for the theater.

    The season comprises eight musicals, including Smokey Joe's Cafe, the longest-running musical revue in Broadway history, and, for the first time on the North Suncoast, Menopause the Musical, a four-woman musical launched in an erstwhile Orlando perfume shop that has gone on to become an international sensation....

  14. Capable cast engrosses audience in Stage West's production of 'Twelve Angry Men'


    There is no soft underbelly of bigotry in Twelve Angry Men, the 1956 drama about a jury debating a death sentence for a 16-year-old accused of murdering his father.

    No, the bigotry, hatred, racism and xenophobia in Twelve Angry Men are hard and loud and violent — and very disturbing, especially at this particular time in U.S. history.

    The show, playing at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill, opens as the all-male jury — it wasn't until 1973 that all states allowed women to serve on juries — files into a stifling jury room with one tiny, balky buzz fan to render what looks like a slam-dunk verdict of guilty as charged. It's such an obvious decision that the level-headed Jury Foreman (Mark Dunham) doesn't even bother with a secret, written ballot. After all, everybody is eager to get out of that stuffy room and on with their lives. So the foreman asks for a vote by raised hands, and, sure enough, it looks like it's unanimous … until Juror No. 8 lifts his hand in a single "not guilty" vote....

  15. Review: Hermine delays, but fails to dampen, Richey Suncoast Theatre opener


    Hurricane Hermine may have blown opening weekend at Richey Suncoast Theatre down the road a week, but it didn't dampen the performances or the enthusiasm of the cast and crew of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the musical comedy about charming con men and the ladies they charm, playing weekends through Sept. 25.

    As performed by the amazing cast at RST in New Port Richey, it's 2 1/2 hours of laughs, surprises, singing, dancing and Mark Anthony Jelks' sweet little orchestra that keeps everything moving....

    Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a musical comedy, runs through Sept. 25 at Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey.