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. Superb Stage West cast brings laughter, tears during 'Dixie Swim Club'


    SPRING HILL — Take a hankie. Or take two.

    You'll need them to watch The Dixie Swim Club at the Forum at Stage West through Sunday, first to dab at tears of laughter, then to mop up tears of poignancy as the stellar cast of this dear, sweet play brings you right into the middle of four of their annual get-togethers in a cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina over a period of 33 years....

    Jeanene MacLean is Dinah and Rose DeAngelo is Sheree in the Stage West production, which runs through Sunday.
  2. Richey Suncoast Theatre rolls out offerings for 2014-15 season


    As Richey Suncoast Theatre winds up its 2013-14 season in May with the Monty Python-inspired Spamalot, a spoof of the seriously sweet Camelot that ended March 23, the board has announced the 2014-15 shows and ticket information.

    "Current season ticket holders can retain their seats if they buy their tickets now or no later than the day they see Spamalot," said Marie Skelton, executive director of the theater. That means if your ticket is on, say May 8, you must buy your season tickets to next year's shows by May 8, or your seat will be released for sale to the general public. Those with season tickets on May 25, the last day of Spamalot, have until May 25 to keep their seats....

    Season tickets for Richey Suncoast Theatre’s 2014-15 season cost $60 for five regular shows and $10 for the Christmas show. Opening night is at Thursday, Sept. 11, at 8 p.m., followed by three subsequent weekends with shows at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays.
  3. 'Dixie Swim Club' opens Thursday at Stage West


    SPRING HILL — The Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse concludes its 2013-14 season of plays (there's one more musical on the Main Stage in May) with one tailor-made for a core audience that appreciates the fact that people do get older: The Dixie Swim Club.

    Often called a mix of Steel Magnolias and Same Time, Next Year, it's about five women who were together on their college swim team and since graduation have gotten together at a North Carolina beach cottage every summer to catch up on what's going on in each other's lives....

    From left, Jeanene McLean as Dinah, Betsy Glasson as Jeri Neal, Cheryl Roberts as Lexie and Rose DeAngelo as Sharee rehearse for Stage West’s production of The Dixie Swim Club,” with shows Thursday and weekends through April 20.
  4. Review: 'Forever Plaid' at Stage West hits the spot

    Human Interest

    SPRING HILL — To hear them sing, you'd think that Ryan Bintz, Jeff Germann, Jason Yungmann and Madison Byers have been doing close harmony on tunes from the 1950s and 1960s all their lives. They blend, they soar, they have fun.

    But they've been together mere weeks — only three, in the case of Byers, a replacement for a truant original cast member — preparing to perform one truly enjoyable musical, Forever Plaid....

    Ryan Bintz as Frankie, left, Jason Yungmann as Smudge, Madison Byers as Jinx, and Jeff Germann as Sparky are stars in Forever Plaid at Stage West Community Playhouse.
  5. Earlier show times, more matinees on tap at Stage West for 2014-15


    The patrons asked, and Stage West Community Playhouse listened.

    For some time, many patrons have been asking Stage West to move the curtain time for evening performances from 8 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., especially on the Main Stage, when lengthy musicals often don't conclude until 11 p.m. or later.

    It makes sense; Stage West's co-tenant, the Hernando Symphony Orchestra, set its start at 7:30 p.m. ages ago, even though the concerts rarely run more than two hours. The change to the earlier start for the acting side would make the theater's start times completely consistent....

    Hairspray is coming to the Stage West Community Playhouse in October.
  6. 'La Cage aux Folles' opens at Show Palace Dinner Theatre


    Back in 1983 when the musical La Cage aux Folles hit Broadway, it was considered brave, daring and downright scandalous. After all, it was the first big musical with cross-dressing homosexuals at its center.

    Three decades later, with more than half of Americans favoring gay marriage, the shock is over, and audiences flock to the show for what it is — a heartwarming story of love, tenderness and devotion, with some of composer Jerry Herman's best and most beloved songs: I Am What I Am, Look Over There, Song on the Sand, and the rousing The Best of Times....

    Megan Morgan in La Cage aux Folles. Two prior stagings of the farce broke box office records at the Show Palace.
  7. The ever-popular 'Forever Plaid' comes to Stage West


    Pick a day — any day; pick a time — well, almost any time. And you can bet that on that day and at that time, the little musical Forever Plaid will be playing somewhere in the world. That's how popular the show is with both professional and community theaters, to say nothing of audiences.

    Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill opens its version of the show Thursday and continues for two subsequent weekends....

    Forever Plaid is filled with classic oldies tunes from the 1950s and ’60s. Starring are Ryan Bintz as Frankie; Jason Yungmann as Smudge; Madison Byers as Jinx; and Jeff Germann as Sparkey.         
  8. Richey Suncoast stages a delightful 'Camelot'


    Review | Camelot

    Whether you're a first-timer or have seen the musical Camelot a dozen times, the Richey Suncoast Theatre version playing weekends through March 23 holds surprises and delights.

    Based on the legend of the fifth century Knights of the Round Table and its idealistic founder, King Arthur of England, it's a tale of love, betrayal and the eternal conflict between "might makes right" and "might for right," a philosophy as vexing today as it was 1,500 years ago. In Camelot, the starry-eyed Arthur hopes for a peaceful, loving world, but he's up against a society accustomed to crushing the perceived enemy to get its way. ...

    Ensemble members from the cast of Camelot rehearse ahead of the musical’s opening at Richey Suncoast Theatre. Camelot continues weekends through March 23.
  9. 'Camelot' brings romance, tragedy to Richey Suncoast Theatre


    The night the now-classic musical Camelot opened in Canada in 1960, it ran for 4 1/2 hours, creating what co-creator Alan Jay Lerner called a "bladder endurance contest."

    Subsequently, Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe pared it down considerably, and that's the version opening March 6 at Richey Suncoast Theatre.

    It's a romantic and tragic story based on the legend of fifth-century King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Arthur's love for his bride Guenevere, the betrayal of his favorite knight, Sir Lancelot de Lac, and his hope for a perfect, peaceful world....

    Ensemble members from the cast of Camelot rehearse  for the Richey Suncoast Theatre’s upcoming production that runs weekends from March 6 to March 23.
  10. 'Harvey' captures the imagination


    There are reasons the 1944 comedy Harvey has become a classic. It's fun; playwright Mary Chase's script is tight, fast and well-constructed, and when an audience is lucky enough to get a cast as delightful as the one doing the show at the intimate Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse, it's something that brings a smile every time it's remembered.

    Credit director Dalton Benson for fine casting that includes theater stalwarts like Allen Magnus and Patricia Villegas, showcases players such as Mickey Mandel who have previously done well in small roles, and introduces experienced actors such as Rich Fogg in their Stage West debuts. Kudos, too, to set designer Lynda Dilts-Benson, whose clever rolling set pieces quickly and unobtrusively change the complete location of the action in mere moments, with professional-level help from cast and crew....

    Patty Villegas as Veta, Mickey Mandel as Aunt Ethel and Kathy Capelle as Myrtle Mae star in the production of Harvey.
  11. Comedy classic 'Harvey' opens Thursday at Stage West



    Stage West Community Playhouse will take a flight of fancy — or is it reality? — beginning Thursday with the 1944 comedy classic Harvey, the story of a sweet and gentle older gentleman's imaginary — or is it? — friend, a 6-foot-tall rabbit.

    Harvey won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize, beating out Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie, for drama and was made into a much-beloved movie in 1950 starring James Stewart as the affable Elwood P. Dowd, Harvey's pal. It has had several adaptations for television and was made into a short-lived musical....

    A snooty socialite, Veta (Patty Villegas, right) is determined to marry off her daughter Myrtle (Kathy Capelle) to someone equally respectable, and her brother’s visions are getting in the way in Harvey.
  12. 'Burglar' delivers at Richey Suncoast


    NEW PORT RICHEY — If the current offering at Richey Suncoast Theater seems a bit familiar, there's a reason. There's a Burglar in My Bed is the fifth sex farce by the same playwright — Michael Parker — that the theater has produced in the past couple of seasons.

    But that's okay, especially if you like broad, easy-to-follow, laugh-filled comedy and appreciate a cast that delivers it well, as director Rich Aront's cast does....

    Coveting the famous Worthington necklace, worth millions, pits divorcing spouses and their lovers against one another.
  13. Review: No one sacred in Stage West's 'Forbidden Broadway'


    If you love — and go to — Broadway musicals, you'll adore Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits, a razor-sharp spoof of musicals and the performers who do them, playing Friday through Sunday at Stage West Community Playhouse.

    It's 100 minutes of send-ups of the Great White Way's most popular shows, with not-so-subtle pokes at the egos and eccentricities of luminaries like Carol Channing, Barbra Streisand, Mandy Patinkin and composer/writing darlings Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Stephen Sondheim....

  14. 'Guys and Dolls' is familiar and fabulous


    For many, if not most people, going to see the 1950 musical fable Guys and Dolls is like visiting an old friend. It's familiar (if not from the stage show, from the 1955 movie), comfortable and loaded with lovable characters, hummable tunes, and, if done right, moments that stay in the mind forever.

    The version playing through Feb. 23 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre mostly does it right, with many delicious moments done by director Steven Flaa's sharp, well-chosen cast, framed by Tom Hansen's appropriately cartoonish backdrops and accompanied by music director Phyllis Gessler's spot-on tracks....

    The Crapshooters Ballet features, from left, Casey Hicks, Vince Orabona  and Bo Price with the male cast of Guys and Dolls.
  15. Third time's the charm for 'Guys and Dolls'


    To turnabout an old adage, "If at first you wildly succeed, try, try again."

    That may be the thought at Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson as it launches its third take on the blockbuster Broadway musical Guys and Dolls, opening Thursday and continuing through Feb. 23.

    The romantic comedy, first played in the summer of 1997, was the first Broadway show ever done at the Show Palace. It was such a hit with audiences (and so often requested) that the owners brought it back in October 2001, tripling the attendance from the first time around....

    The Crapshooters Ballet features, from left, Casey Hicks, Vince Orabona and Bo Price with the male cast of Guys and Dolls.