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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. Nunsense bunch returns to Stage West for Christmas


    SPRING HILL — If anyone can bring smiles and laughter to the holidays, it's the Little Sisters of Hoboken, the zany Nunsense bunch from Mount Saint Helen's Convent who have sung and danced their way from the fronts of greeting cards to more than 8,000 productions around the world, a 10-year off-Broadway run, two television specials, numerous theatrical awards and more than a half-million dollars in revenue....

    From left, Stage West Community Playhouse actors Leanne Germann as Sister Robert Anne, Patty Villegas as the Reverend Mother, Angelena Burrow as Sister Mary Hubert, Matthew J. Veasey as Father Virgil and Toni Merchant as Sister Mary Leo star in Nuncrackers.
  2. Santa Claus hit with legal action in Richey Suncoast Theatre's Christmas show


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Oh dear, oh dear. That harridan, Mrs. Artiluke, is back at Richey Suncoast Theatre, once again trying to ruin Christmas for everyone — except herself, of course.

    As longtime RST patrons already know, Mrs. Artiluke is the creation of the late Charlie Skelton, and, for years, she's been done to a turn by Jeanne Botz.

    Mrs. Artiluke is the quintessential spoil-sport, haranguing anyone and everyone who doesn't do exactly as she says. As president of Citizens Against Virtually Everything, a.k.a. CAVE dwellers, she has held her homeowners association's clubhouse hostage unless her little daughter, Erika, gets the lead in every play. She's shown up at political rallies (always on the loudest-talking side), parties and family gatherings to stick it to everyone and ruin the day....

    Richey Suncoast Theatre’s original presentation, Santa’s North Pole, opens Friday and plays on weekends through Dec. 7.
  3. 'A Christmas Cabaret' aims to put audiences in the holiday spirit


    NEW PORT RICHEY — If you're a theater buff and been in the area a decade or more, you may have seen one of singer/theater owner Jimmy Ferraro's Christmas shows, either at his Angel Cabaret Theatre, Angel "garden cafe" Theatre or the Show Palace Dinner Theatre.

    They're always upbeat and happy, filled with traditional holiday songs, some comedy routines and ditties, lots of glittery costumes and a heartwarming finale to boost the Christmas spirit....

    Broadway veteran Dee Etta Rowe will be singing such songs as O Holy Night, Silver Bells and White Christmas.
  4. 'A Christmas Carol' bringing timeless tale to Show Palace


    HUDSON — A Christmas Carol, the Broadway musical, is a lot like the movie Apollo 13 or The Nutcracker ballet: Almost all of us know exactly what is going to happen and precisely how it ends, but even so, we're mesmerized by the whole thing, from start to finish.

    Local audiences will get a chance to see this longtime favorite (it ran for nearly a decade at New York City's Madison Square Garden) at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre from Thursday through Dec. 25....

    Tom Bengston, left, (Ebenezer Scrooge), Clay Smith (Bob Cratchit) and Evana Foisy (Tiny Tim) star in A Christmas Carol, opening Thursday.
  5. Review: Onstage and off, Stage West clicks with 'Greater Tuna'


    Review | Greater Tuna

    There may have been only two actors on the Forum stage at Stage West Community Playhouse (and a few brief appearances by a stagehand or two), but there was an army of behind­-the-­scenes people who were, arguably, just as important to the delightfully successful opening-night production of the comedy Greater Tuna, the two-person show with 20 characters, set in the third-smallest town in Texas....

  6. Stage West takes on the challenge of 'Greater Tuna'



    It's not often you get a chance to see the comedy Greater Tuna at a community theater, and there's one big reason why: It's just too danged difficult to do.

    First, you have to find two actors (two men or two women or one of each) who have the talent to play 22 characters, complete with split-second costume, demeanor and attitude changes.

    Then you have to find a director who can guide these actors....

    Dalton Benson and Ellen Hutt in Greater Tuna at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill.
  7. Review: Talented cast takes a lighter look at retirement


    If you're a retiree (or know one), the musical Ain't Retirement Grand! probably won't hold any shocking revelations for you. You've been there, done that.

    What the show does have is a new, plucky way of looking at retirement and retirees that brings laughs, smiles and nods of touching recognition.

    The laughs come often, thanks to composer-lyricist-writer Gil Perlroth's incisive view of life after a lifetime of work. It's the 23rd play that the Pinellas Park-based writer has written, many of them on this subject. It's a load of fun from start to finish, made even better by the four singer-actors doing the regional premiere of this collection of songs and comments running weekends through Nov. 16 at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre in New Port Richey. These players have the range of talents needed to do these tunes and vignettes to a turn....

    Ain’t Retirement Grand!, written by Gil Perlroth, runs through Nov. 16 at Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio Theatre in New Port Richey.
  8. Review: Confident 'Swim Club' cast brings plenty of laughs to Richey Suncoast stage


    It's a familiar entreaty to theater audiences in curtain speeches almost everywhere: "So, sit back, relax, and enjoy" whatever play is to come.

    Familiar or not, it's oh, so true for the comedy The Dixie Swim Club, playing weekends through Nov. 2 at Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey.

    The five women playing the college swim team members who meet in an Outer Banks cottage every August for a weeklong reunion with "no men, no work, no kids" seem like five longtime pals, cognizant of each other's foibles, but loving each other unconditionally anyway....

    The Dixie Swim Club stars, from left, Christine Stoll, Emily Nettnin, Natalie Pozdol, Heather Clark and Dee Curran.
  9. Review: Stage West production of 'Hairspray' is a 'don't miss'


    Okay. If you're going to see only one stage show this year, make it Hairspray, the cheeky, Tony Award-winning 2002 musical that's all fun and songs on the surface, but sweetly subversive to the core.

    A sparkling rendition of the 1988 movie turned 2002 Broadway musical turned 2007 movie musical plays Friday through Sunday at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill. Truly, it is the "don't miss" show of this season....

  10. 'Ain't Retirement Grand!' comes to Pasco — finally


    It's about time, I'd say.

    For more than 25 years, theaters have been doing Gulfport playwright-composer-lyricist Gil Perlroth's Florida-friendly shows far and wide — but not up the road in Pasco County. Audiences have flocked to Gulfport: the Musical, Francis Wilson: The Man and His Theatre, Encounters, Letting Go, and his trilogy Ain't Retirement Grand!, Ain't Food Wonderful! and Ain't Sex Sensational! for ages, but not in this area....

    From left, cast members Vicky Stinnett, Matthew Ruley, Tracie Callahan and Pete Clapsis perform a skit.
  11. College pals keep in touch as 'Dixie Swim Club' opens at Richey Suncoast


    Fans of The Golden Girls, Steel Magnolias, Same Time, Next Year and good laughs will likely become fans of The Dixie Swim Club, the comedy playing at Richey Suncoast Theatre Thursday and weekends through Nov. 2.

    It's about five women who starred on their college swim team together decades ago, but have remained friends through the years, despite living far apart and in different worlds. The women meet once a year for a week in a secluded cottage on North Carolina's Outer Banks, free of husbands, kids and careers. They catch up on each other's lives, triumphs and tribulations, giving support when it's needed and raised eyebrows when it isn't sought....

    Christine Stoll as Sheree, from left, Emily Nettnin as Jeri Neal, Natalie Pozdol as Lexie,  Heather Clark as Vernadette and Dee Curran as Dinah are the members of Richey Suncoast Theatre’s Dixie Swim Club.
  12. With big hair and big message, 'Hairspray' opens at Stage West


    SPRING HILL — Stage West Community Playhouse opens its 2014-15 season with one of the best, most exciting musicals ever to hit Broadway — the heart-warming, toe-tapping Hairspray, based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name.

    Sure, the title sounds frivolous, and, indeed, the show has plenty of good laughs, great big songs and hilarious characters. But Hairspray's messages about prejudice and true love are serious, though never preachy, and always gentle. It won eight Tony Awards in 2003, including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score....

    A brief segment on Facebook by the Stage West cast doing one of the big numbers portends a rousing good time.
  13. 'Kiss Me Kate' hits all marks


    This is what can be said about the Show Palace Dinner Theatre's production of Cole Porter's musical Kiss Me, Kate: What. A. Show.

    Incredible voices, sensational dancing, gorgeous costumes, backdrops and sets, perfect sound and music, simply marvelous character actors — this show has it all, and then some.

    Granted, what with today's headlines, you may cringe a bit when the lead male takes his ex-wife over his knee and spanks her so hard she can't sit down for days. But then, Kiss Me, Kate revolves around William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, written at a time when even the courts allowed a husband to give his wife "moderate correction," whatever that meant....

    From left, Adam Biner, as Bill Calhoun, takes a leap over Andi Sperduti-Garner, as Bianca, while Dick Baker and Matty Colonna, who play Hortensio and Gremio, look on.
  14. Richey Suncoast's 'Pajama Game' worth the wait


    Richey Suncoast Theatre waited seven long years to get performance rights to the 1954 Tony Award-winning musical Pajama Game, and co-directors/choreorgraphers Marie Skelton and Linda Hougland have gone all out to see that this beloved period piece, playing weekends through Sept. 28, gets proper treatment.

    Pajama Game was written at the height of labor union power and also the Cold War's communist scare, and the passing of time has lessened the power of both institutions, so the show doesn't evoke the strong emotions it did when it hit Broadway the first time around and seems dated. Even so, the familiar score and the Richey Suncoast cast's joyful rendition of it will likely have audiences humming as they leave the theater....

  15. 'Pajama Game' finally hits Richey Suncoast Theatre stage


    For seven years, Richey Suncoast Theatre has tried to obtain performance rights for the Tony Award-winning musical The Pajama Game.

    "But it's either already promised to someone else (in the area), or there's a national tour, or something," making it unavailable to the theater, said Marie Skelton, executive director of the venue, who takes the lead in choosing plays and musicals every season....

    Steve Ailing offers a comic twist as Vernon Hines, wearing a sagging pair of pajamas as factory head, Myron “Old Man” Hasler (Bill Schommer), looks on during a rehearsal for The Pajama Game.