Laughter on the 23rd Floor
American Stage's season was already in place when Sid Caesar died in February, but one play on the lineup unknowingly sat waiting in tribute. The St. Petersburg theater presents Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, inspired by Simon's time as a writer on Caesar's Your Show of Shows. In the play directed by David Russell, writers try to outwit each other while vying for attention from Max Prince, modeled after Caesar. Watch out for send-ups of famous folks including Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner from the ensemble cast of Chris Jackson, John Lombardi, Joseph Parra, Brian Webb Russell, Larry Alexander, Lauren Wood, Kristian Truelsen, Molly Leigh Healy and Glenn Gover. The show opens Friday and runs through Dec. 14 at American Stage's Raymond James Theatre, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. Wednesday's preview is pay what you can, Thursday's is $29 and opening night is $59 and includes a pre-show reception. Regular shows are $39-$49. Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. (727) 823-7529. americanstage.org....
11/11/14 Music & Concerts
Odds are high you've heard Carmina Burana, or at least part of it. (Not sure? Click here to listen to a portion of it.) You might nod knowingly when the topic comes up at a chichi cocktail hour, but do you actually know anything about this musical behemoth?...
The Evil Dead movies just have so much to offer. There's a cabin in the woods. There's a mysterious force turning people into demons. There's a guy with a chainsaw for a hand. But you know what the films don't have? Musical numbers! Problem solved with Evil Dead the Musical, coming to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa this weekend. Songs include Look Who's Evil Now and All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons. True fans might want to get a seat in the so-called splatter zone (orchestra rows AA-CC), and wear white clothing for a bloody built-in souvenir. Shows are at 8 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $35.50-$79.50. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org....
Some of us here at the Tampa Bay Times got together the past couple days to host an in-office clothing swap. It's been a big success and a fun way to break up the day. Personally, I cleaned five bags out of my closet and walked away with one bag of new things. A total win in my book.
It made me think it might be time to repost our original clothing swap post from years past, explaining how to pull off such a feat at your own workplace or house. Take a spin through our post of yore, and tell us. Have you ever hosted a clothing swap? Got TIPS? Do share....
Ruth Eckerd Hall has built a solid reputation staging big Broadway-level productions, but finding the right home for smaller, quality shows has been a quandary.
Now the Clearwater venue is building a solution.
Construction has started on the Murray Studio Theater, with a groundbreaking ceremony set for Nov. 19. By spring, it is scheduled to become a high-tech space with a resident theater company and shows from theaters spanning five counties....
By now you've heard about the Blue Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit continuing through this weekend in St. Petersburg. Count the Florida Orchestra among the collaborators. Audiences can see a screening of the 2007 humpback whale documentary Ocean Voyagers at the Mahaffey Theater, with live accompaniment from the orchestra's musicians. The concert includes the orchestra's premiere of Mason Bates' Alternative Energy, a symphony in four movements featuring everything from fiddle to techno. The show is at 8 p.m. Saturday at 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $20-$50. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org....
Wander for a moment back to high school. Picture that music teacher who knew everything about music, dropping terms like clave and sforzando without a blink. He could outplay anyone, but never had the edge to cut it as a rock star.
Ben Folds is that guy. The difference is, Folds did cut it as a rock star, and so much more. The bespectacled frontman of Ben Folds Five has now ventured into symphonic music, bringing his Ben Folds Experience to the Florida Orchestra on Friday. They'll team to perform his hits, plus an original concerto under the lead of conductor Jacomo Bairos....
TAMPA — It might have been a whoops to get tickets for Vampire Lesbians of Sodom on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
It's no fault of Jobsite Theater, which produced a high-quality and campy comedy even at the matinee hour.
But if you want the optimal experience, get a ticket for an evening show. Get a gaggle of salty friends together. Have a couple of cocktails. Throw some sass at the cast and the energy should be repaid in full....
Happy Halloween! Up there in the photo, you'll see my Halloween costume this year (you'll also notice Deal Diva Kameel): The failed Sochi Olympic rings! Props to our friend Hilary (center ring) for dreaming up this gem.
If you're frantically trolling the internet minutes before leaving work looking for something to throw on for that Halloween party tonight, feel free to steal our look. It involves four hula hoops and one of those expanding balls, painted white and covered in twinkle lights. If you can't find four friends and an expanding ball, we have a couple places to point you for quick ideas:...
Vampire Lesbians of Sodom
Every now and then, even the most pearl-clutching theatergoer needs to venture to the wild side. Maybe some Rocky Horror. Maybe some Hedwig. Jobsite Theater is taking up the latest cause of camp with Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Charles Busch's long-running off-Broadway satire tells the tale of two vampires with a rivalry lasting almost 2,000 years. Jobsite's take combines an old-fashioned horror movie style with vaudeville and burlesque, and will feature live musical interludes. The show stars Summer Bohnenkamp-Jenkins, and Zachary Hines, who is one half of local cabaret act Coco and Homo. The play opens in time for Halloween on Friday and runs through Nov. 23 at the Shimberg Playhouse at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. Shows are 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays. $28. Preview today is $14. (813) 229-7827. jobsitetheater.org....
Talking to Susan Boyle is a bit startling.
It's not the thick Scottish accent. It's not that she's inherently difficult to talk to — she's plenty friendly.
It's startling because the conversation lacks almost all the bloated, generalized platitudes celebrities are accustomed to passing out. Boyle is self-depreciating, does not seem that impressed with herself, does not give answers for the sake of filling air....
By STEPHANIE HAYES
Times Performing Arts Critic
TAMPA -- It was an evening of significance for the Florida Orchestra, in many ways.
First, Friday's Masterworks concert introduced new conductor Michael Francis, who officially starts his contract in 2015. This weekend marks the first of his three conducting jobs this season.
Francis was "delighted" to have the role, he told the crowd at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. The audience showered him with cheers and applause as he stood smiling in tux and tails....
TAMPA — Much has been made about Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella being a revised feminist fairy tale fit for a new generation.
Indeed, our sooty heroine is much smarter here, and she falls in love with the prince as a person rather than a throne. She's interested in the democracy of her kingdom. And in a twist, she takes control over that whole glass-slipper incident.
That said, there's still a wedding dress large enough to rival Princess Diana's. And there's still the over-arching notion that for the ladies of the town, ultimate happiness hinges on snagging a man....
10/21/14 Music & Concerts
Michael Francis was relieved. His books had just arrived from overseas.
The British conductor was starting to plot a life here as music director of the Florida Orchestra. He had spent the weekend with his pregnant wife, shopping for furniture to fill their new Land O'Lakes home, visiting Bed, Bath & Beyond, narrowly avoiding Ikea.
But to Francis, the reading materials were as vital as tables and chairs. There were magazine pieces on Barber, the book on Copeland and the Great Depression, the biography of Mozart …...
"I'm not interested in shock tactics. I just want to make beautiful clothes."
So said Oscar de la Renta, the iconic fashion designer who died Monday at 82 after battling cancer. It was one of many quoteables from the man with a unique ability to make old-fashioned glamour feel fresh, who informed the way American women dress today.
He outfitted everyone from first ladies to movie stars, wrapping Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Lawrence and Amal Alamuddin in his lacy, figure-flattering confections. The gowns were always ladylike, always achieving some equilibrium of sleek and dainty. His power to balance a ballgown skirt with a chevron stripe was arresting, not distracting. In an era where sweatpants at the airport reign, he stood for getting dressed. He walked the walk in his tailored pinstripe suits and colorful pocket squares....