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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. Musical version of 'Young Frankenstein' opens Sept. 10 at Richey Suncoast Theatre


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Fans of Mel Brooks (The Producers, Blazing Saddles) will get a chance to see the musical version of what Brooks himself described as his best film, Young Frankenstein, at Richey Suncoast Theatre. It opens Sept. 10 and continues weekends through Sept. 27.

    The show is based on Brooks' 1974 film spoof of the 1931 movie version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff. It has the same characters and general story as Brooks' film, with some surprising plot differences and the addition of Broadway-style musical numbers....

    Brittany Gonzalez as Inga, left, Patrick Moran as Igor, center, and Brian Moran as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein perform in Richey Suncoast Theatre’s production of Young Frankenstein.
  2. 'Bye Bye Birdie' comes out on top in Richey Suncoast Theatre's Charlie Awards


    NEW PORT RICHEY — The musical comedy Bye Bye Birdie was the big winner at the 2015 Charlie Awards ceremony Saturday at Richey Suncoast Theatre, picking up six awards in the musicals division. In the plays division, the farce Whose Wives Are They Anyway? won four awards.

    Named in honor of the late Charlie Skelton, winners are chosen by a numerically weighted vote of those who attend the shows. Awards are given in 13 categories, seven in musicals and six in plays....

    The musical comedy Bye Bye Birdie was the big winner at the 2015 Charlie Awards ceremony Saturday at Richey Suncoast Theatre, picking up six awards in the musicals division.
  3. 'Suds' strikes all the right notes at Show Palace Dinner Theatre


    Poor Cindy, she just can't get a break. She has a dead-end job in a laundromat, her pen-pal boyfriend has dumped her because of her poor penmanship, her aunt and uncle have just been wiped out in a car wreck and left her with a $10,000 bill from the IRS, and someone just ran over her beloved cat … all this on her birthday, which everyone seems to have forgotten.

    That's the setup in Suds, the Rockin' '60s Musical Soap Opera, a cute and lively jukebox musical. Writers Melinda Gilb, Bryan Scott and Steve Gunderson strung together everybody's favorite tunes from the late 1950s and late into the 1960s and added a lighthearted story to make a show that had everybody on opening night at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre tapping their toes and singing along....

    Four cast members make up Suds, the Rockin’ ’60s Musical Soap Opera, now playing at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre. The story follows laundromat worker Cindy, who has had the worst birthday with a breakup, deaths and a big IRS bill. It runs through Sept. 13.
  4. Show Palace jukebox musical features a lighthearted plot and plenty of hits from the '60s


    HUDSON — Suds, The Rockin' '60s Musical Soap Opera made its off-Broadway debut in 1988, and it's a mystery why it hasn't played every theater in the Tampa Bay area at least once, if not more, since then.

    The show appears to have everything local audiences like (no, not beer): music from the 1950s and '60s, dancing and a light plot that seems just right for summer entertainment....

    You can see Kevin Kelly, left, and Melissa Whitworth in the Show Palace Dinner Theatre’s performances of Suds, the Rockin’ ’60s Musical Soap Opera, through Sept. 13 in Hudson.
  5. 'Oklahoma!' and 'Mockingbird' big winners of Stage West HAMIs



    The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical classic Oklahoma! and the play based on the literary classic To Kill a Mockingbird were the big winners of the annual HAMI Awards given by Stage West Community Playhouse on Saturday.

    Eight productions from the 2014-15 season were in the running — four musicals on the Main Stage and four plays in the Forum at Stage West. Awards were presented in 23 categories, plus the prestigious Founders Award. Nominations are made by the director of each show; winners are chosen by members of Stage West....

    The musical Peter Pan won the Stage West HAMI for Favorite Special.
  6. Spoof of Hitchcock mystery-thriller coming to Show Palace stage


    HUDSON — Fans of Alfred Hitchcock will get a chance to see a spoof of one of the famed director's best-known movies, the mystery-thriller The 39 Steps, when the Show Palace Dinner Theatre presents the award-winning Broadway show July 3 to Aug. 2.

    Set in 1930s Scotland and England, The 39 Steps is a tale of intrigue, murder and mayhem, with beautiful women and rugged men battling the forces of evil. It started out as a 1915 book by Patrick Barlow and was made into a film four different times, the most famous being the 1935 Hitchcock version....

  7. Two theaters plan busy summer of shows, music



    As summer arrives and community theaters end their regular seasons, the area's two professional theaters — Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre and the Show Palace Dinner Theatre — are continuing or launching full-scale musicals and specials from now through Labor Day and beyond, all providing a way to escape the heat or entertain summer visitors.

    Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre...

    Cast members Victoria Stinnett, from left, Matthew Ruley, Tracie Callahan and Pete Clapsis will perform the comedy Ain’t Retirement Grand! at Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio Theatre in downtown New Port Richey.
  8. Newest show by John Leggio's performing arts students promises plenty of sizzle


    HUDSON — Over the years, John Leggio's Center for the Performing Arts has gained a reputation for putting on shows equal to — and sometimes better than — many full-time professionals. His youthful Xcel dance troupe has performed twice on Royal Caribbean cruise ships and recently took master classes from Broadway's Kissy Simmons, the longtime female lead in The Lion King....

    Dancers rehearse at John Leggio’s Center for the Performing Arts for their upcoming show.
  9. A lot of fine characters to like in Richey Suncoast Theatre's 'Bye Bye Birdie'


    It's likely that everyone who sees the spirited musical comedy Bye Bye Birdie will delight in the entire show, especially the lively way it's done at Richey Suncoast Theatre. But it's also likely everyone will have a favorite character somewhere in the 39-member cast.

    It's a takeoff on the time in 1958 when singing idol Elvis Presley was drafted into the Army and female hearts were totally broken at the thought of not being able to see and touch him in person for TWO WHOLE MISERABLE YEARS! In the musical, Elvis becomes Conrad Birdie (a perfectly-cast Mitchell Gonzalez), a sloppy-drunk, undeserving teen idol who is followed around by a dozen simply adorable screaming, fainting teenage fans....

    Janine Paradiso, from left, Mitchell Gonzalez, Patrick Moran, Roger Kleemichen, Justin Buyea and Kevin Wykoff rehearse on the set of Bye Bye Birdie at Richey Suncoast Theatre.
  10. Crisp performances in 'Born Yesterday' make for an enjoyable experience at Stage West


    The comedy Born Yesterday was written in 1946, but its plot about Washington, D.C., corruption and the characters who are the corrupters rings as true today as it did then.

    It's playing at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill through Sunday.

    The big differences between 1946 and today are that back then, the sleazy bribe-giver Harry Brock (done brilliantly by Sam Petricone) could buy a U.S. senator (a perfectly cast Allen Magnus) for a lousy $80,000. Nowadays, that paltry sum wouldn't warrant a phone call from an assistant to the assistant office manager....

    Doug Doidge, left, is Ed Devery and Sam Petricone is Harry Brock in Stage West’s Born Yesterday.
  11. Tony Award-winning 'Bye Bye Birdie' set to open at Richey Suncoast Theatre


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Anyone around in 1957 can remember the anguish caused when rock idol Elvis Presley was drafted into the Army.

    Locks from his first GI haircut were sold and owned as treasures. Girls — and many women — cried when he shipped out to Germany, not because he was in any danger, but because they wanted him on U.S. soil, close enough for them to see and possibly touch....

    Cast members perform The Telephone Hour during rehearsal for the musical Bye Bye Birdie, which opens May 14 at the Richey Suncoast Theatre in downtown New Port Richey.
  12. Show Palace brings record-setting 'Chorus Line' back to stage


    HUDSON — The 1975 musical A Chorus Line has a record of achievements as long as the legs of the tallest chorus girl in its 21-member cast.

    It won nine Tony Awards, the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for drama, ran for 6,137 performances on Broadway, has been produced around the world — over and over — and still remains a favorite of audiences everywhere.

    The Show Palace Dinner Theatre will present its version of the show from May 7 to June 7, the second time the venue has done it, the last time in 2003....

    A Chorus Line opens May 7 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson.
  13. Stage West to revive post-WWII play, 'Born Yesterday'


    SPRING HILL — Almost anyone around in the 1950s will likely remember Judy Holliday, the pert blond actor who won an Academy Award as chorus girl Billie Dawn — she with the high, cooing, nasal voice and scatterbrained ways — in the comedy Born Yesterday.

    Holliday went on to be a big star until her death at an early age in 1965. But the character of Billie Dawn lived on, beloved to this day, both on stage and in film....

    Cheryl Roberts is Mrs. Hedges, Sam Petricone is Harry Brock and Jeanene MacLean is Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday.
  14. Films from around the world to be shown during two festivals at Richey Suncoast Theatre


    NEW PORT RICHEY — One of the most anticipated cultural events in the Suncoast area, the two-day Thomas Meighan and Black Maria Film Festivals, will be in the historic Richey Suncoast Theatre on May 1 and 2.

    The two-day festival features 24 short films — each of them one to 19 minutes long — on a variety of subjects and in a variety of forms by award-winning cinematographers, videographers and illustrators from around the world....

    Poster for the two-day Thomas Meighan and Black Maria Film Festivals, that will be in the historic Richey Suncoast Theatre on May 1 and 2.

  15. Review: Able cast can't save thin material in 'Ain't Food Wonderful!'


    What do you do when you have four really good actors and pretty thin material?

    The best you can.

    That's what happens during Ain't Food Wonderful!, the current production at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre in downtown New Port Richey.

    Food is the second in a trilogy on familiar situations by playwright Gil Perlroth, a prolific wordsmith whose earlier Ain't Retirement Grand was so popular — and so darned much fun — that Ferraro is bringing it back to his theater June 12 to 28....

    Ain’t Food Wonderful! cast members Pete Clapsis, Tracie Callahan, Jared Michael Shari and Elizabeth S. Phillips rehearse the song Who Doesn’t Like Chinese Food? The musical by Gil Perlroth runs through May 3 at Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio Theatre.