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

Email: fredricksen@tampabay.com

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  1. Richey Suncoast's 'Pajama Game' worth the wait

    Stage

    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....

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

    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.
  3. Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre announces light-hearted 2014-15 season

    Stage

    The Jimmy Ferraro Studio Theatre in downtown New Port Richey is gearing up for the 2014-15 season with five shows from Oct. 17 to May 3.

    The season reflects what theater founder and owner Ferraro knows his audiences will like — light-hearted, funny, quick-paced shows suitable for grown-ups and kids alike. And each show offers something altogether different from the other.

    "I keep my patrons in the forefront of my mind when I am selecting shows," Ferraro said....

  4. Richey Suncoast Theatre gives out Charlie Awards

    Stage

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The musical Spamalot and the comedy/farce The Amorous Ambassador were the big winners at the annual Charlie Awards celebration of the 2013-14 season at Richey Suncoast Theatre on Saturday. The awards are named in honor of the late Charlie Skelton, who, along with his wife Marie, is credited with reviving the theater over the past 15 years. Winners are chosen by a vote of the people who attended each show....

  5. Singing Divas take stage at Ferraro's

    Stage

    The new Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre winds up its inaugural summer season with the musical The Singing Divas of Broadway and Hollywood, starring Broadway's Dee Etta Rowe and opera singer Mary Anne Edwards, with Debbie Snyder and Elicia Nystrom adding color and dancing as backup.

    "I'm calling it a musical cabaret," said Ferraro, not because the venue is indeed a restaurant or nightclub, but because the songs evoke the feel of a cabaret's floor show....

    Dee Etta Rowe sings Hey, Big Spender (from Sweet Charity) for the musical, The Singing Divas of Broadway and Hollywood.
  6. 'Les Mis' wins big at Stage West's annual HAMI Awards

    Stage

    SPRING HILL — The musical drama Les Miserables took home all the marbles in the Main Stage (musicals) division of the annual HAMI Awards presentations for Stage West Community Playhouse's 2013-14 season, winning 11 out of 11 of the coveted statues at a ceremony on Saturday evening at the Palace Grand in Spring Hill.

    The season's blockbuster made it an even dozen by winning still another award in the overall category of Rising Star, given to Maxwell Brazier for his role as young Gavorche in the production....

  7. 'Forever Plaid' is an oldie, mostly goodie at Show Palace

    Stage

    Review | Forever Plaid

    If you've never seen the musical comedy Forever Plaid, you might want to see the production playing through Aug. 24 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre.

    The players are adequate, the story simple and cute, and the music — songs like Moments to Remember, Heart and Soul and Perfidia from the 1950s and '60s, with their tight harmonies, pleasant melodies and sweet lyrics — is hard to beat....

  8. Home-grown musical debuts in downtown New Port Richey

    Stage

    For years, singer-actor Diana Rogers played Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables on Broadway and did that role and others in national touring companies. A few years ago, however, family circumstances brought her to Florida, where she became head of the award-winning drama department at River Ridge High School and directed and wrote plays and musicals for her students.

    Now she's writing for grownups and will launch her first musical comedy at 7:30 p.m. today (July 18) at Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre in downtown New Port Richey, where it will continue matinees and evenings through Aug. 10. She named the show Coupled, about three couples who have been together for a while....

    In Coupled, Diana Rogers, who wrote the musical comedy, plays middle school teacher Donna, longtime wife of computer geek Bill, played by Peter Clapsis. 
  9. 'Forever Plaid' is a fun blast to the past

    Stage

    HUDSON — In an era when staggering zombies and aspiring rock stars dominate movies and TV, the 1990 musical Forever Plaid should fit right in. After all, the four main characters have been dead for decades, killed in a car wreck on the way to their first big professional gig back in the 1950s, and they are back for a second chance to show their singing prowess.

    But it's definitely not creepy, nor a copycat. Composer/lyricist/playwright Stuart Ross' four singing Plaids wear Ralph Lauren-style dinner jackets, neat 1950s haircuts and display excellent posture — not rags, rotting skin and hunch-shouldered staggers. And they sing songs with real words that the audience can understand and wouldn't offend either great-grandma or a convention of conservative ministers....

    The four leads of Forever Plaid, a musical comedy that opens Saturday at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson, are played by, from left, Nick Rishel, Matty Colonna, Dick Baker and Brendan Cataldo. The four singers get a second chance to perform one big show.
  10. 'Epic Broadway' brings Broadway hits to Spring Hill

    Human Interest

    SPRING HILL

    If you love dancing…

    If you love Broadway musicals…

    If you love singing…

    Then Epic Broadway is your show.

    The creation of former Broadway performer John Leggio, now owner of John Leggio's Center for the Performing Arts in Spring Hill, the show features 120 singers and dancers performing numbers from a wide variety of Broadway hits, including The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and American Idiot....

    Jordon Woolridge, 12, from left, Alicia Randazzo, 18, Hannah Hall, 17, and Melissa Scotti, 17, rehearse the opening scene of Epic Broadway last week in Spring Hill. The show features 120 singers and dancers. 
  11. Back in town setting the stage

    Stage

    Really, has it been 10 years since Jimmy Ferraro and his wife, Dee Etta Rowe, quietly shuttered their Angel Cabaret Theatre in Port Richey and returned to the thing that first brought them to theater: acting and singing on stage?

    Indeed it has. But now they're back, living in Weeki Wachee, and opening their own theater again, this time called Jimmy Ferraro's Studio Theatre, in the former Tri Arts Printing shop on Main Street in downtown New Port Richey....

    Broadway veterans Jimmy Ferraro and Dee Etta Rowe are opening Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio Theatre on Main Street in downtown New Port Richey. Church Basement Ladies, a musical comedy, opens June 6.
  12. Show Palace 'Wizard of Oz' production enchants

    Stage

    Review | The Wizard of Oz

    An unusual thing happened during Saturday's opening night of The Wizard of Oz at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre, something I've never before witnessed myself.

    The first act ended with enthusiastic, sustained applause, followed by an intermission. Twenty minutes later, when the house lights went down signaling the second act was going to start soon, wild applause broke out again — and the curtain hadn't even gone up yet or a musical note played....

  13. Stage West's 'Best Little Whorehouse' has its moments

    Stage

    SPRING HILL — The kindest thing that can be said of the Stage West Community Playhouse production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is that it is, well, uneven — some really good, some best left unsaid.

    To be sure, the musical itself is terrific. Larry L. King and Peter Masterson's book tells a good tale, filled with off-color Texanisms that would be the envy of newscaster Dan Rather. Carol Hall's music and lyrics go from gusto to serene to sad and move the story along at a nice clip....

    Myndee Washington is Jewel and Leanne Germann is Miss Mona in The Best Little Whorehouse at Stage West in Spring Hill. 
  14. Catch the laughs in Richey Suncoast's 'Spamalot'

    Stage

    Please don't go see Spamalot at Richey Suncoast Theatre unless you're ready to laugh 'til your sides hurt, roll your eyes at the outrageous non sequiturs and jokes, hear some crude language, watch some rude antics and see some of the best performances of the season.

    It's Monty Python, for cryin' out loud — you gotta expect anything, and director Marie Skelton's truly wonderful cast and crew give it to you for two laugh-out-loud hours....

  15. Lots of laughs in season-ending shows at Stage West, Richey Suncoast

    Stage

    The Nature Coast's two largest community theaters — Stage West Community Playhouse and Richey Suncoast Theatre — are ending the 2013-14 season with rollicking musicals, one a slightly bawdy romp, the other a zany farce.

    Stage West is doing The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, based on the real-life bordello nicknamed the "Chicken Ranch" outside of LaGrange, Texas, that was a favorite hangout for farmers, ranchers, businessmen, politicians and students from nearby Texas A&M University. The musical played for more than four years on Broadway and is a favorite of regional and community theater actors and audiences....

    Gary Depp plays Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd and Sam Petricone plays Melvin P. Thorpe at Stage West Community Playhouse.