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


    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....

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


    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. 
  3. Black Maria festival returns to Richey Suncoast Theatre with 10 short films


    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.
  4. Review: Show Palace's 'Trailer Park Musical' is done all in good humor


    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.
  5. Richey Suncoast Theatre announces 2017-18 lineup


    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."...

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


    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.
  7. Cast's spirit lifts Richey Suncoast Theatre's 'Nice Work If You Can Get It'


    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....

    Brian Moran stars as Jimmy Winter, a much-married playboy, and Megan Gillespie is modern dance diva Eileen Evergreen in Nice Work If You Can Get It.
  8. Award-winning musical 'Evita' to make its Stage West debut


    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....

    Brady Lay plays the role of Juan Peron, and Jennifer Agnelli is Eva Peron in the Stage West Community Playhouse production of "Evita," which opens March 9. [Photo by Carol Ballard]
  9. Terrific cast burns up the stage in Show Palace's 'Saturday Night Fever'


    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.
  10. Award-winning 'Nice Work If You Can Get It' set to open at Richey Suncoast


    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....

  11. Musical version of 1970s classic opens Saturday night at Show Palace


    HUDSON — Think of iconic movie scenes — Rhett Butler carrying Scarlett O'Hara up a broad staircase two steps at a time in Gone with the Wind, Rocky Balboa running up the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Rocky, Bette Davis's Margo Channing standing on the staircase snarling, "Fasten you seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!" in All About Eve. A fourth likely would be John Travolta as 19-year-old Tony Manero, strutting along a Brooklyn sidewalk to the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive in Saturday Night Fever....

    Saturday Night Fever runs Feb. 25-April 2 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson. Pictured are cast members Heather Baird as Stephanie and Aaron Atkinson as Tony.
  12. Pauses aside, fine actors relate touching story in 'Stop Kiss'


    Don't get me wrong. The drama Stop Kiss has a fine script with a compelling story. The cast of the Richey Suncoast Theatre II production playing through Feb. 26, is an honor roll of the theater's best actors, plus a newcomer who promises to be a great addition to that list.

    Despite all this, the play isn't quite stellar, strictly because of playwright Diana Son's many short scenes that require numerous blackouts for set dressing and costume changes. I counted at least 15 scenes during the 90-plus minutes of the one-act play, meaning most are no more than 4 or 5 minutes long, some much shorter. Even though the backstage crew works quickly and quietly to change out set dressings and pieces, there's no getting around the fact that so many pauses break the flow of the story. Fortunately, the opening night audience sat respectfully silent between scenes, for the most part, allowing patrons to reflect on what they'd seen and anticipate what might come next....

  13. Cast, crew, script combine for superb 'Over the River' at Stage West


    You know, I almost regret having to give the comedy Over the River and Through the Woods a rave review.

    Not because the play doesn't deserve it. Indeed, it deserves raves and a lot more.

    It's just that the Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill, where the dramady is playing through Sunday, Feb. 19, has a limited number of seats, most of which are already sold. And once people start hearing how enjoyable and well-rendered this play is, thanks to Joe DiPietro's marvelous script and director Sandy Penwarden's top-notch cast and crew, all those seats will be gone. And everyone else will be left regretting they didn't buy a ticket sooner. Oh, well....

    Over the River and Through the Woods plays until Sunday, Feb. 19, at the Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill. From left, portraying the loving grandparents of the main character, are: Ernie Rowland as Frank, Gary Kopitzke as Nunzio, Betsy Glasson as Aida and Barbara Santoro as Emma.
  14. Skelton Cabaret production of 'Stop Kiss' explores relationships, loyalty


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Even though it was written in 1998 before sea changes in public attitudes toward gay and lesbian people and several U.S. Supreme Court rulings protecting their rights, the adult drama Stop Kiss is as timely today as it was then, what with violence against gays still a threat.

    In it, New York City radio traffic reporter Callie (Suzanne Meck, Jolene in Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels) agrees to tend to the cat of a friend of a friend, Sara (Gemma Davimes), a third-grade schoolteacher from St. Louis doing an internship in the Bronx. The two women soon become close friends, hanging out at West Village coffee shops and strolling through New York streets, talking into the wee hours of the morning....

  15. Stage West to reprise 'Over the River and Through the Woods'


    SPRING HILL — When it comes to connecting with local audiences, what could be better than a story about doting New Jersey Italian-American grandparents and their loving, but ambitious grandson who is ready to get on with his life, even if it means moving from New York City to Seattle for a better job, thus ending his regular Sunday visits with them?

    It gets even more pertinent when it's revealed that the young man's parents have moved to Florida, leaving both sets of his grandparents in Hoboken with only Nick left behind for them to pamper and adore....