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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: Stars align for Richey Suncoast Theatre's 'Shakespeare in Hollywood'


    Staci Sabarsky and Marie Skelton must be doing something right.

    Why else would the stars align so perfectly for the director and producer of the comedy Shakespeare in Hollywood, playing weekends through Jan. 29 at Richey Suncoast Theatre in downtown New Port Richey?

    And not just the celestial stars, but also the cream of the crop of Tampa Bay-area acting stars, which Sabarsky has brought to perform playwright Ken Ludwig's fanciful, romantic, award-winning comedy....

    Sam Burke, Susan Belliveau and Jessie Willis are some of the stars of Shakespeare in Hollywood, which runs through Jan. 29 at Richey Suncoast Theatre in downtown New Port Richey.
  2. Review: Flaws aside, Stage West's 'Fiddler on the Roof' is impressive


    The Tony Award-winning Broadway classic Fiddler on the Roof may take place in 1905 imperial Russia, but its themes of bigotry, religious persecution and irrational threats of mass expulsions from the country are as timely today as they were more than a century ago.

    The 38-member cast and 12-piece orchestra in the Stage West Community Playhouse production of the musical playing in Spring Hill through Jan. 22 do an impressive job with the show, despite a sometimes languid tempo and a couple of directorial missteps that lessen the impact of key scenes. Some tightening up and a more brisk pace would not only improve the feel of the production, but also cut precious minutes from its almost three-hour length....

    Stage West Community Playhouse’s production features Jennifer Agnelli, left, as Hodel, Lynda Benson as Golde and Evy Poulis as Chava.
  3. Review: Characters carry Show Palace's 'Beauty and the Beast'


    Those who saw Disney's Beauty and the Beast on Broadway, or the touring version at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa a few years ago, will be surprised — pleasantly, in my view — at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre's version playing through Feb. 12.

    No Beast spinning in the air; no fireworks, laser shows, nor gizmos; no 45-pound dress on Belle, the Beauty; no plastic, body-covering costumes for Beast and his household help. With those distractions absent, you get a sweet love story, nicely rendered characters with many fine voices and facial expressions, gorgeous costumes built so the dancers can really dance, lovely melodies, especially the title song as done by Victoria Stinnett as Mrs. Potts, impressive but not overpowering sets and backdrops, and production numbers that are big, but not overwhelming....

    Katie Mitchell and Matthew Frusher star in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast continues through Feb. 12 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson.
  4. Local theaters greet new year with new shows


    If you need a pick-me-up after the whirl of the holidays, a place to entertain lingering holiday visitors, or just a place to relax, three of the North Suncoast's full-time theaters are launching all-new shows this month — two timeless Broadway hits and a Ken Ludwig comedy set in the 1930s.

    'Beauty and the Beast'

    The Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson kicks it off on Saturday with Disney's Beauty and the Beast, the French fairy tale turned into the Academy Award-nominated animated movie in 1991, reworked for Broadway in 1994 — it ran for 13 years — and a soon-to-be-released new movie, with a mix of live and animated characters (Emma Watson, Dan Stevens — Matthew on Downton Abbey — and Kevin Kline)....

    Jennifer Agnelli, left, plays Hodel, Lynda Benson is Golde, and Evy Polus portrays Chava in Stage West Community Playhouse's production of "Fiddler on the Roof," which plays Jan. 12 to 20. [Photo by Carol Ballard]
  5. Fredricksen: Area theaters gear up for season's promising second act


    One of my favorite sayings about theater is, "As with life, the second act is usually better." Barring some calamity, of course.

    I say that to people who are edging toward the theater exit after a less-than-stellar first act. (This seems to happen most often during the marvelous, wonderful musical — and my all-time favorite — Into the Woods, when many people genuinely think the show is over at the end of Act One; either that, or they just didn't get what it's all about. After all, it is by the often complicated, enigmatic Stephen Sondheim.)...

    Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, with Patrick Moran, left, and Janine Paradiso, opened the season at Richey Suncoast Theatre.
  6. Stage West opens season with look inside a jury room in 'Twelve Angry Men'



    It's been awhile since Americans have been glued to their television sets watching nail-biting courtroom trials like that of, say, O.J. Simpson, Ted Bundy or Casey Anthony.

    Even so, fascination with the inner workings of a trial — the accused, the witnesses, the judge, the jury — remains steady, which may account for the devoted fans of Twelve Angry Men, the 1954 teleplay set inside a jury deliberation room....

    From left sitting, Thomas Garton as Juror No. 5, Chris Hubner as Juror No. 6, Jay Ingle as Juror No. 7 and Sam Petricone as Juror No. 8 listen while Dennis Duggan, standing as Juror No. 3, gets emotional during rehearsal for Twelve Angry Men, which is being presented at Stage West Community Playhouse.
  7. Hermine postpones opening at Richey Suncoast Theatre


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Among the blows by Hurricane Hermine, one struck at Richey Suncoast Theatre, destroying a crucial transformer and forcing the venue to postpone its season opener, the musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, to Sept. 16.

    The show was scheduled to open Sept. 8 and continue weekends through Sept. 25. Now, it will play only two weekends: Sept. 15 to 18 and 23 to 25. Shows are at 8 p.m., except Sundays at 2:30 p.m....

  8. Richey Suncoast Theatre opens 2016-17 season with musical comedy 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels'



    Don't plan to take a snooze during the musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a comedy about two charming con artists fleecing unsuspecting victims on the French Riviera.

    It's so full of twists and turns and surprises that you may miss the best ones if you even blink your eyes. And just as you think you've figured it all out, something new happens, and the plot takes off in an all new direction....

    Janine Paradiso is Christine Colgate and Michael McGuigan is Lawrence Jameson in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which kicks off Richey Suncoast Theatre’s 2016-17 Broadway series season.
  9. Musical revue at Show Palace will bring back memories of famous highway


    HUDSON — Looking for some lighthearted, nostalgia-filled entertainment? Take Route 66, a musical revue playing Saturday to Oct. 2 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre.

    There's no story — just 34 tunes from the 1950s and '60s, the heyday of the legendary road many called the Main Street of America, a strip of highway that stretched 2,400-plus miles from Chicago, down through Oklahoma and across to Santa Monica, Calif....

    Route 66, a musical revue, features 34 songs from the 1950s and ’60s, which are tied together by a musical journey across the country on the titular highway.  
  10. 'Ragtime,' 'On Golden Pond' big winners in Stage West's HAMI Awards



    The beautiful and difficult musical Ragtime and the heartwarming dramedy On Golden Pond were the big winners in their respective divisions at Saturday's annual HAMI Awards, the Stage West Community Playhouse's version of Broadway's Tonys.

    Ragtime, with its syncopated, early 20th-century rhythms and sometimes heartbreaking, sometime uplifting themes of racial prejudice, violence and dreams fulfilled, went away with 10 of 13 awards presented in the Main Stage (musical) division, including Favorite Show. The poignant On Golden Pond won seven of 10 possible awards in the Forum division, including Favorite Show....

    Brian Beach, left  as Tateh, won the lead male HAMI for his performance in Stage West’s Ragtime.
  11. Zany comedy 'There Goes the Bride' delights at Richey Suncoast

    Performing Arts

    If you're in the mood for two-plus hours of light-hearted laughs and zany situations, you could do no better than There Goes the Bride, the Ray Cooney and John Chapman farce playing weekends through Nov. 6 at Richey Suncoast Theatre.

    It's classic bedroom mockery, except it takes place in the living room of on-again, off-again bride Judy Westerby (a charmingly pouty Allison Iskowitz). And though it has a few "damns," "hells" and mentions of premarital sex and sly winks about sexual orientation, it's as innocent as the phantom kitty that scampers about in the script....

    In a scene from There Goes the Bride, a play directed by Jim Laird, the animated Rick Giordande, left, playing the groom’s father, and the reliably funny Jim Poe, father of the bride, rehearse the innocent bedroom mockery.
  12. Need a laugh? 'There Goes the Bride' at Richey Suncoast Theatre promises many

    Performing Arts

    It has been about 12 years since Richey Suncoast Theatre presented the Ray Cooney- John Chapman comedy There Goes the Bride, but longtime RST fans still remember the big belly laughs they enjoyed during that show.

    So does Charlie Skelton, who now is president of the theater board and played the father of the bride in that 1999 show. He liked the play so much, in fact, he has made his character's name part of his e-mail address....

    The dreamy flapper Polly Perkins (Yve Cedrez) dances with father of the bride Timothy Westerby (Jim Poe), whose fantasy wreaks havoc on plans. 
  13. Casting director Jane Jenkins will offer critiques at Stage West

    Performing Arts

    I went to see the 1988 movie Mystic Pizza because I had accidentally wandered through Mystic, Conn., where it's set, in 1983 on a blue-road trip through Maine and hoped to spot the little tavern where we had eaten.

    I didn't see the bar in the movie, but what we in the theater did see for the first time was a tall, skinny girl with huuuuge hair, a Georgia accent and a mouth that seemed too big for her face bemoaning her fear that she was stuck for life pushing those Mystic pizzas....

  14. Play offers delightful take on life in Florida high-rises

    Performing Arts

    For once in my life, I feel at a loss for words to say how wonderful, enjoyable, insightful and delightful the Stage West Community Playhouse production of a play actually is.

    Okay, that's four words, so I'm really not completely at a loss.

    But Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks is so fresh, so incisive, and so doggone well done, both by actors Betsy Glasson and Peter Clapsis and by the crew, that it's simply hard to put it all into words....

  15. Pasco County diversions

    Performing Arts

    mellow music

    The Frank Parsons Big Band, right, will perform "School Daze" at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Richey Suncoast Theatre, 6237 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey. Tickets are $11. Season tickets for monthly shows October through May are $64 (8 shows) or December through April, $45 (five shows). Call (727) 842-6777 and leave a local phone number. The box office will call back to arrange seat selection....