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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. Review: Black box setting works well for serious offering at Richey Suncoast Theatre

    Stage

    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....

    Eleemosynary includes, from left, Heather Clark as no-nonsense Artie, Susan Capicotto Nichols as flamboyant Dorothea and Elizabeth Giordano as withdrawn, but ultimately outgoing Echo.
  2. Review: Pair of stellar actors bring laughs to Show Palace stage in musical 'Assisted Living'

    Stage

    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....

    Pete Clapsis and Victoria Stinnett star in Assisted Living: The Musical at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson.
  3. Review: Even adorable dogs can't upstage the high-energy cast of 'Legally Blonde' at Richey Suncoast Theatre

    Stage

    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....

    Legally Blonde runs through May 28 at Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey. From left are Suzanne Meck as Pilar, Kaela Koch as Margot and Athena Romanski as Elle.
  4. Review: Stage West delivers near-perfect look at the life of Patsy Cline

    Stage

    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....

    Kerri Lalane, left, plays the role of Patsy, and Emily Nettnin is Louise, in Always ... Patsy Cline at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill. The show runs through May 21.
  5. Stage West announces 2017-18 season, ticket prices

    Stage

    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....

  6. Review: Onstage lunacy makes 'Shakespeare/Abridged' a must-see

    Stage

    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....

  7. Review: 'Always a Bridesmaid' cast performs with grace and ease

    Stage

    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....

    Always a Bridesmaid runs through Sunday at Stage West Community Playhouse. From left are Sandy Mosley, Sharon Vetter, Elizabeth Lichty and Jeanene MacLean as Charlie. 
  8. Black Maria festival returns to Richey Suncoast Theatre with 10 short films

    Movies

    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....

    Joan a documentary about a woman diagnosed with sarcoma who is determined to have a full life, will be one of the films featured at the Black Maria Film Festival at Richey Suncoast Theatre.
  9. Review: Show Palace's 'Trailer Park Musical' is done all in good humor

    Stage

    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....

    A look at the life and loves of Armadillo Acres residents turns out to be funny, campy and infectiously cheerful.
  10. Richey Suncoast Theatre announces 2017-18 lineup

    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."...

  11. Review: Two incredible lead characters, plus excellent choral work and staging, make for superb 'Evita' at Stage West

    Stage

    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....

    Ensemble members Charles Kleber, left, and Anthony Agnelli, right, flank Jennifer Agnelli, who plays Eva Per?n in Stage West Community Playhouse’s production of Evita.
  12. Cast's spirit lifts Richey Suncoast Theatre's 'Nice Work If You Can Get It'

    Stage

    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....

    "Nice Work if You Can Get It," runs weekends through March 19 at Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey.
  13. Award-winning musical 'Evita' to make its Stage West debut

    Stage

    SPRING HILL — It was 1978, and I had the good fortune of being on assignment in London to write a magazine article about how to do London on the cheap. A group of tour guides was staying at the same boutique hotel where I was and invited me to go along with them to see a new musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice — Evita.

    It had just opened, and since I had really enjoyed another of the duo's musicals, Jesus Christ Superstar, I went along....

    Ensemble members Chazz Kleber, left, and Anthony Agnelli, right, flank Jennifer Agnelli, who plays Eva Per?n in the Stage West Community Playhouse production of Evita.
  14. Terrific cast burns up the stage in Show Palace's 'Saturday Night Fever'

    Stage

    Those going to see the musical Saturday Night Fever expecting a replica of the John Travolta movie will have to adjust their tempo and their thinking.

    It's worth the effort. The show, playing through April 2 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson, is a pleasure from start to finish, with terrific singers, good acting and dance numbers that burn up the floor.

    The story is the same as the movie: Brooklyn paint store clerk Tony Manero (a wonderful Aaron Atkinson) relieves the boredom of his bleak existence living in his childhood bedroom and hanging out with his immature, sexist, trash-talking buddies by being the star dancer at the local disco hall, the 2001 Club....

    Heather Baird as Stephanie and Aaron Atkinson as Tony strike the signature dance move in Saturday Night Fever, showing at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson.
  15. Award-winning 'Nice Work If You Can Get It' set to open at Richey Suncoast

    Stage

    NEW PORT RICHEY — You would think a Broadway musical comedy featuring songs by George and Ira Gershwin and set in the 1920s Prohibition era is an oldie but goodie.

    Think again.

    Nice Work If You Can Get It is a frisky 5 years old, having made its Broadway debut in March 2012. Writer Joe DiPietro (who also wrote Over the River and Through the Woods, which recently played to sold-out crowds at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill) did the book, deftly working in George Gershwin's music and Ira Gershwin's lyrics and sound as though they were all written at the same time....