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Phyllis Day, Times Correspondent

Phyllis Day

Phyllis Day started working at the Times in February 2000. She works for the Hernando Times regional edition, writing entertainment stories for the Hernando Things to Do page, and puts together various listings for clubs, events, government meetings and other happenings in Hernando County.

Phone: (352) 754-6101

E-mail: pday@tampabay.com

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  1. Stage West summer production of 'Legally Blonde Jr.' opens this weekend

    Stage

    SPRING HILL — Elle is the stereotypical sorority girl, consumed by fashion, celebrities and where the next party is. Most people don't expect much from her. In fact, her boyfriend, Warner, dumps her right before leaving for Harvard Law School, claiming he needs someone "serious."

    But nobody expects the bubbly and blond Elle Woods to take matters into her own hands, winning her own way into Harvard Law while on a mission to win back Warner....

    The Stage West Community Playhouse production of Legally Blonde Jr. opens Friday. It’s a little different than the original Broadway show, with fewer songs and without the risque language.  
  2. Part revue, part old-time TV show, Stage West summer show promises fun

    Stage

    SPRING HILL — It has all the makings of an exciting musical revue — high-energy dancing and some of the greatest songs spanning several decades.

    Add in a flashy light show, sketch comedy and old-time commercials, and you have the ingredients for the Main Stage summer "special" at Stage West Community Playhouse — The Music You Grew Up With, which opens July 14.

    The show, directed by Andi Sperduti Garner, will be part revue and part old-time television show....

    Jennifer Agnelli and Jay Garcia share a moment during Stage West Community Playhouse’s production of The Music You Grew Up With.
  3. Organizers say they're better prepared for Fourth crowds at Hernando fairgrounds

    Events

    BROOKSVILLE — When the Hernando County Fairgrounds, after an 18-year hiatus, revived its Fourth of July celebration last year, organizers were a bit unprepared for the overwhelming response.

    Thousands of vehicles flooded the parking lot, with lines of cars about a mile long up and down U.S. 41.

    "The turnout was amazing," said Shari Klimas, president of the Hernando County Fair Association. "We were not expecting the crowds. We thought there would only be a few thousand people."...

    A fireworks show provided by Sky Candy Fireworks of Riverview will finish the day at this year’s Firecracker Smash’m Up! on July 4 in Brooksville.
  4. Fifth annual Autism Fest set for Saturday at Springstead High

    Events

    SPRING HILL — It started as a small project spearheaded by an International Baccalaureate student at Springstead High School, and included just a handful of vendors to promote awareness for disorders falling under the autism spectrum.

    Last year, with help from the Inspire Foundation, the event became more of a family musical event and grew to 70 vendors and sponsors. It drew more than 600 visitors....

    Durbin
  5. Springstead alum taking break from Broadway, returning home for 'Carousel'

    Stage

    SPRING HILL — Zach James, by any measure, is a bona fide Broadway star.

    After landing the role of Seaman Thomas Hassinger in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of South Pacific in 2008, James continued his upward rise, creating the role of Lurch in Broadway's The Addams Family in 2010. And he has continued to perform other Broadway and off-Broadway roles — too numerous to mention....

    During their first time alone, Billy Bigelow, played by Zach James, and Julie Jordan, played by Ashley Schoendorf, discuss how life would be if they fell in love, singing If I Loved You.
  6. Award-winning Zephyrhills cadets learn speed, fire/rescue skills

    Human Interest

    ZEPHYRHILLS — Competing in statewide events was never something these aspiring firefighters considered. But four months ago, members of Zephyrhills Fire Rescue Cadet Post 605 wanted to take part in the Florida Association of Fire Rescue Cadets' 2016 Florida Winter Fire Games.

    The experience, to say the least, was humbling.

    "We got stomped," Capt. Cadet Jacob Vaughn said. "We placed (number) 14 out of 17."...

    Members of the Zephyrhills Fire Rescue Cadet Post 605, along with cadet adviser Billy Jeffries. The team’s efforts were recognized by the City Council.
  7. Weeki Wachee High production of 'Mary Poppins' benefits from community support

    Stage

    WEEKI WACHEE — Everyone knows her. She is the perfect nanny with a magical carpetbag and umbrella who takes two children under her care on a magical journey and helps mend a fractured family.

    The 1964 film Mary Poppins is among Walt Disney's most popular movies. Yet the musical version didn't hit the stage until 40 years later, based on the Disney film and stories by P.L. Travers....

  8. Nature Coast Handbells set to perform Sunday at Spring Hill Baptist

    Music & Concerts

    SPRING HILL — Michele DiLuzio was introduced to handbell music when she was 13, performing on trumpet at St. Theresa Catholic Church. There was a newly formed handbell choir that needed members for a holiday program.

    "I got hooked," DiLuzio admits, and years later, while a member of St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, she formed and directed the Bells of St. Frances.

    That group, founded in 1993, not only performed at the church, but also as guests at other churches and at community events. They even traveled to Italy and played before Pope John Paul II....

  9. Live Oak Theatre to stage 'The Secret Garden'

    Stage

    BROOKSVILLE — A classic piece of English children's literature, The Secret Garden is among author Frances Hodgson Burnett's most popular novels. With several film and stage adaptations, its 1991 musical adaptation, written by Marsha Norman with music composed by Lucy Simon, was met with critical acclaim, snatching up three Tony Awards.

    The musical is considered difficult to perform, with intricate music that goes practically nonstop for 2 1/2 hours. In fact, most amateur theater groups opt to use recorded soundtracks....

    Certain that he is going to be a hunchback like his father, Colin (Christopher Alexander) allows Martha (Caitlin Frostman) to show Mary (Elizabeth Kessel) the lump on his back, while the nurse (Gwyneth Mitten) looks on in their performance of The Secret Garden.  
  10. Hernando Symphony Orchestra closes season with 'Light Classics'

    Music & Concerts

    BROOKSVILLE — Their sounds are familiar to ears both young and old, often heard on television shows, cartoons and in movies.

    But audiences often are unaware that the light pieces are actually classical masterpieces, created by some of the world's greatest composers.

    Some of those sounds — including Rossini's The Barber of Seville and Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusic — will come to life this weekend when the Hernando Symphony Orchestra wraps up the 2015-16 season with its "Light Classics" concerts....

  11. Easier entry promised as fifth annual Florida Blueberry Festival opens Saturday

    Events

    BROOKSVILLE — Last year, the lines formed early in the morning, with many waiting in anticipation of entry to the weekend event that combines thousands upon thousands of pounds of blueberries with musical entertainment, artisans and a variety of children and adult activities.

    Those lines should run much more smoothly during this weekend's fifth annual Florida Blueberry Festival in downtown Brooksville....

    Blueberry shortcake will be among the favorites at the  Florida Blueberry Festival this weekend in Brooksville.
  12. 'A little bit of everything' promised at weekend StringBreak fest at Sertoma

    Music & Concerts

    SPRING LAKE — As the chill of winters come to an end, it is the time of year that spring breakers flock to Florida. It's also the time when Central Florida's music scene starts to heat up.

    This weekend brings the annual StringBreak Music Festival, with scores of musicians and lots of fans expected to gather at the Sertoma Youth Ranch for the four-day camping and music extravaganza.

    "It's going to be a little bit of everything you never heard before," said Mitch Lind, who launched the event more than a decade ago as a sister event to the popular Riverhawk Music Festival, which takes place each November. ...

    Australian performer 8 Ball Aitken, who fuses country with Australian blues and roots, will perform at this weekend StringBreak music festival at the Sertoma Youth Ranch.
  13. Central High's ambitious drama class tackles Neil Simon

    K12

    BROOKSVILLE

    Lighthearted musicals are often the norm for year-end high school productions. But not at Central High School, where drama teacher Leonard Budd has often taken a much different approach.

    Since he took over the drama department during the 2012-13 school year, Budd's students have tackled heavier, more thought-provoking dramas, such as The Diary of Anne Frank, about a girl whose family spent 2 1/2 years in hiding before being captured by the Nazis; and Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, the controversial 19th century play about a wife who leaves her husband and children....

    Cast members rehearse a scene from God’s Favorite. From left are Joe Benjamin (Jachob Hollenbeck), Morris (Nicholas McInnis), Mady (Giana Packan), Rose (Kaylee Buraczewski), Ben (Alex Fredenberg) and Sarah (Mallory Thompson). Under Central High drama teacher Leonard Budd, students have tackled serious works over the past four years. 
  14. Springstead High prepares to take on popular musical 'Beauty and the Beast'

    Stage

    SPRING HILL — Beauty and the Beast is a French fairy tale made widely popular by the 1991 animated Disney film. A musical based on the film has proven popular as well. It ran on Broadway from 1994 to 2007, making it the ninth longest-running show there.

    The drama and choral departments at Springstead High School will take on the musical with a production that runs from March 31 through April 4 at Springstead Theatre. (There will be no shows April 2 because of the school's prom.)...

    Chip the teapot (Makayla Messaris) and Mrs. Potts (Julia Diven) discuss the arrival of their new guest — Belle — at the Beast’s castle.
  15. New after-school program aims to keep kids on track in the classroom

    K12

    They were clearly excited. Some were nervous. Aside from presenting small showcases for their parents, most had never performed in front of a large audience.

    But when the group of nearly 100 children performed at halftime during last week's Harlem Ambassadors vs. Hernando Hoopsters basketball game at Nature Coast Technical High School, all eyes were on them.

    "It was so cute," said Leanne Germann, one of the instructors. "They were just so excited."...

    STEAM participant Praise Lawson, 9, dances to the choreographed beat.