In the middle of the afternoon, in the middle of another sleepy Tampa week, an imported world dropped into the center of our own.
The Bollywood Oscars officially began.
We've hosted Super Bowls. We've had the Republican National Convention. But we've never had anything as glamorously unfamiliar as the Bollywood Oscars, the Indian film industry's signature event held before in places like Macau, Singapore and Toronto. Never the United States. Never Tampa....
TAMPA — Ghost, that 1990 otherworldly lovefest with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, won Academy Awards. It grossed some $500 million at the box office. People still enjoy it, still cue it up to watch in their jammies. It had everything going for it.
So did it really have to be a stage musical, too? Not every Disney starlet needs a record deal and a line of flavored lip gloss. Not every kid on the soccer field needs a trophy. And while some films lend themselves to reinvention on stage, some don't, and at a certain point, can't we just be happy with what we have?...
Just what are you missing in your life? Is it Kabuki? Is it Las Vegas? Is it RuPaul's Drag Race? If so, Freefall Theatre in St. Petersburg has a combination of all three for you with an all-male staging of The Mikado, Gilbert and Sullivan's classic comic opera set in feudal Japan. Freefall's production stars local actor and drag performer Matthew McGee as Katisha the elderly lady, Larry Alexander as Pooh-Bah and Patrick Ryan Sullivan as the Mikado of Japan. The Mikado opens Saturday and runs through May 18 at the theater, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $29 to $44. (727) 498-5205; freefalltheatre.com....
ST. PETERSBURG — John Shaw hunched over the instruments lined up in his practice room. He had a plastic tube, a dismembered rubber flip-flop, a set of wooden salad bowls. Most crucially, he had water.
His jeans were soaked, a perpetual hazard of his recent style of musicmaking. He held one of the bowls in the air. Tap, tap, tap. Hollow, tinny, blah.
"It doesn't sound like much of anything except a wooden bowl," he said....
It's Bollywood week here in Tampa! If you haven't heard, the International Indian Film Association has chosen Tampa as the location to host what folks refer to as the Bollywood Oscars, the biggest awards show in the Bollywood industry. I'll be reporting from the IIFA "green carpet" this week, capturing the eye candy sparkle gear on all the stars. Rest assured pictures will happen.Follow all the Times' coverage right here....
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Grapes of Wrath, Sarasota's Asolo Repertory Theatre will be featured at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., on a panel April 24 called "Steinbeck on Stage." The panel at the Hirshhorn Museum in the Ring Auditorium will include Asolo's producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards and Tony Award-winning Grapes of Wrath adapter and Sarasota resident Frank Galati. Asolo Rep actors will perform select scenes from The Grapes of Wrath, now playing at Asolo. You can still catch a performance of the play at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at Asolo, 5555 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Call (941) 351-8000 or visit asolorep.org. —Stephanie Hayes, Times performing arts critic...
I feel like we keep doing this for Desert Island Week: "I WAS going to tell you about this, but instead..."
Here I go, too. We just love so many products, it's hard to choose! I was going to tell you how Retin A changed my life, freed me from having acne in my 30s, rebuilt my skin from the ground up leaving it clear and smooth. However, it's prescription and not readily available to everyone. And then I thought, "Maybe we can have a skincare week and I'll ramble on then!"...
Today, two incandescent masses of blondness collapsed and formed a black hole of 1990s proportions, leaving trails of stunned 30 and 40-somethings across America dead in the wake.
In other words, Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg got engaged.
You remember them. Jenny ran around screaming on Singled Out. Donnie ran around bro-ing with the New Kids on the Block. For the past year, they've been a thing, and today on The View, where McCarthy is a co-host, she pulled her hand from under the table and flashed a giant yellow sapphire engagement ring. It's the second marriage for McCarthy and Wahlberg, who is also on the CBS show Blue Bloods....
You know how sometimes you can't take your delicious alcoholic beverage inside a theater to sip during the show? This is not one of those times. In fact, Jobsite Theater's A Brief History of Beer takes place in a bar, New World Brewery in Ybor City. A Brief History of Beer, performed by Will Glenn and Trish Parry, is part theater, part lecture, part drinking game. The heroes ride their Quantum Pint Machine through space and time from ancient Sumeria to today to learn and teach all about beer. Performances are at 8 p.m. Sunday and April 27 at the bar, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7, free for Jobsite season ticket holders. To make reservations, visit jobsitetheater.org/beer or call (813) 229-7827....
CLEARWATER — About the time Dorothy found herself in the precarious situation of having a pair of fine red pumps soldered to her feet, enraging an unstable green witch who wanted them for herself, my friend Lisa leaned in and whispered:
"I never realized until now that The Wizard of Oz is about women fighting over shoes."
This is what happens when you see something familiar out of context. You realize new things. You think about it differently. You make insights....
Back in the 1980s, the notion of an orchestra playing music from video games would have been laughable. A flute flourish when the duck bites it on Duck Hunt? A violin crescendo when Frogger rides a crocodile off screen?
But not anymore. Modern video game music is getting a sophisticated treatment Saturday with rePLAY: Symphony of Heroes, a concert from the Florida Orchestra and the University of South Florida chamber singers. It's produced by Jason Michael Paul, whose show credits range from Luciano Pavarotti and the Three Tenors to the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda....
On the count of three, everyone run to the closet and grab a sweatshirt from the 1980s. Now, cut off the neck. Now, drape it flirtatiously over one shoulder. You're obviously ready for Flashdance the Musical.
It joins the Broadway lineup at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall for the 2014-15 season, announced Tuesday. Flashdance the Musical (Jan. 24), tells the story of Alex Owens, Pittsburgh welder and risque nighttime dancer who dreams of making it big and being legit. You already know the Jennifer Beals movie from 1983, but rest assured the stage adaptation has all the song staples, including What a Feeling, Maniac and Gloria....
Happy My Outfit Monday!
Last week, the Divas got together for a very intense, high-stakes business meeting at the Canopy at the Birchwood, the rooftop bar overlooking the water in St. Petersburg. Over elderflower cocktails, we discussed ways to make the blog better, more engaged, and threw around some new features we hope to introduce, including more themed weeks. More on that in a minute....
ST. PETERSBURG — It's fitting that this year's play in the park kicks off with a big tornado. American Stage's outdoor performance always has a certain rough-hewn charm, with actors and techs braving the elements in an unpredictable setting.
The cast of The Wiz powered through it on opening night Friday. It rained briefly, the Tampa Bay Blues Festival was blaring down the street, and the audio quality was spotty at the start....
Here's an alternative to curling up with a glass of wine and watching Ghost on cable for the 39th time. Pull on a dress or a jacket and head to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, where the tour of Ghost the Musical opens Tuesday. The story is the one you know from the 1990 movie — Sam and Molly are young and in love, except Sam is dead and caught in the ether. The musical has an original pop score from Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and Glen Ballard, who co-wrote Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill. The show runs through April 27 at the Straz Center, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $46.50-$81.50, (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org....