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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. Richey Suncoast Theatre brings twisted sex farce 'Key for Two' to stage


    NEW PORT RICHEY — If there's one thing Richey Suncoast Theatre audiences seem to like, it's a good, old-fashioned sex farce. That's one big reason every season has at least one, sometimes more.

    This year, it's British playwright John Chapman's Key for Two, complete with door slamming, mistaken identities, a zany plot with twists and turns — and plenty of fibbing, some scantily clad women and lots of innuendo and double entendres....

  2. Stage West's reprise of 'Don't Drink the Water' promises hijinks and satire


    SPRING HILL — This must be nostalgia season, as two area theaters present plays from the 1960s by last-half 20th century playwriting icons.

    At Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre in New Port Richey, it's Neil Simon's 1969 comedy Last of the Red Hot Lovers.

    At the Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse, it's Woody Allen's 1966 farce Don't Drink the Water.

    Don't Drink is a return engagement for Stage West. It was first presented during the 2004-05 season, when lead actor Dalton Benson won a HAMI award as Walter Hollander, the bumbling American who has to take refuge in a foreign embassy to save his own hide — the same role he is doing in the current production....

    Rehearsing for the Stage West production of Don’t Drink the Water are, from left, Dave Stenger as Chef, Jennifer Bryant as Susan Hollander and Jim Hansen as Father Drobney.
  3. Review: Stellar cast creates believable characters in Jimmy Ferraro's 'Red Hot Lovers'


    It's the late 1960s, the sexual revolution is cresting, and 51-year-old, faithfully married, charming-but-naive Manhattan restaurateur Barney Cashman feels that life is passing him by. And he's just not going to let that happen.

    That's the setup for Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Neil Simon's sometimes poignant 1969 comedy about life, love, sex and, yes, death — or the dread of death — playing weekends through Oct. 18 at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre in New Port Richey....

  4. Review: Talented voices, with lots of glitz, tell Broadway's story at Show Palace


    Pick a number, any number (as in Broadway tune), and it's likely you'll hear it during the musical revue Give Our Regards to Broadway, playing through Nov. 8 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson.

    Whether it's the get-up-and-dance sound of You Can't Stop the Beat from Hairspray, or the tenderly sweet Memory from Cats, the super-talented 13 singers and dancers do them up right. Indeed, director/choreographer Jill Godfrey capitalizes on the talents of each carefully chosen performer to showcase Broadway's best songs and to tell Broadway's story....

  5. 'Last of the Red Hot Lovers' opens 2015-16 season at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Neil Simon's 1969 Tony-nominated comedy Last of the Red Hot Lovers opens the 2015-16 season at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre, a seven-show series that includes four musicals, two comedies and a screwball mystery.

    "It's gonna be a fuuuun season," owner Jimmy Ferraro said. "I am very excited about it."

    For the opening show, which runs from Sept. 25 to Oct. 18, director Ferraro cast in-demand actor Greg Thompson as Barney Cashman, a middle-aged seafood restaurateur faithfully and not unhappily married to his high school sweetheart but determined to become a part of the swinging 1960s sex scene before it passes him by....

    Greg Thompson plays Barney Cashman in Last of the Red Hot Lovers, opening Sept. 25.
  6. Review: Perfectly suited cast delivers sheer fun in Richey Suncoast Theatre's production of 'Young Frankenstein'


    Let me confess at the start that I'm a foaming-at-the-mouth rabid fan of writer/composer/comedian Mel Brooks.

    Yes, I know his humor can be crude (Blazing Saddles), crass (The Producers), vulgar (High Anxiety), coarse (Robin Hood: Men in Tights) and lowbrow (almost everything). But most of it is quite clever, and, besides, sometimes a person just needs a big dose of all that....

    Brian Moran as Dr. Frankenstein, Kaela Koch as his fiancee, Elizabeth Benning, and Dale Collins as the train conductor, rehearse a scene from Young Frankenstein.
  7. Once again, John Leggio is living his dream -- in New York

    Human Interest

    Back in 1999, John Vincent Leggio was living the dream. He was in his early 30s, based in New York City and dancing six different roles in the record-setting Broadway show Cats, with a resume that included major Broadway and Broadway touring company shows, television shows, cruise line shows and European tours.

    Then he got sidetracked — for a while (more on that later).

    "My goal when I left NYC in 1999 was to live in Orlando, make a name for myself as a director/choreographer with Disney and other venues while continuing to go back and forth to NYC to audition and keep my connections," Leggio said. "My hope was that I could do both … have the best of both worlds."...

    John Leggio plans to come back to Spring Hill when he can. “Sometime, I might surprise my kids.”
  8. 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.
  9. '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.
  10. '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.
  11. 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.
  12. '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.
  13. 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....

  14. 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.
  15. 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....

    Jasmine Smith, center, and others rehearse at John Leggio’s Center for the Performing Arts for their upcoming show.