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Playwright's doing it his way

Normally, a playwright will do almost anything to draw attention to his show. But Todd Olson, artistic director of American Stage, is keeping his distance from an upcoming performance of a popular revue he co-created, My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra. It makes its Tampa Bay area debut Wednesday, when a touring production performs it as part of the Adults at Leisure series at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Olson said in an e-mail that he didn't want to comment on the tour by Encore Attractions of Arizona. Instead, he prefers to hold off discussing his Sinatra tribute, which he created with David Grapes, until he directs his own production at American Stage later in the season.

"Our agreement with (Encore) was that they would stay 50 miles away from St. Pete and our production," Olson wrote, but the company made the date with Ruth Eckerd Hall before he came on board at American Stage a year ago.

Sandi McKenna, a Ruth Eckerd Hall spokeswoman, said My Way had advance sales of almost 1,700 for its matinee performance. The American Stage production will open in July and run five weeks.

Olson and Grapes are on to a good thing. Their Sinatra revue is one of the most widely produced shows in the country. They also have musical tributes in the works on Johnny Mercer and Tony Bennett.

My Way is at Ruth Eckerd Hall at 1 p.m. Wednesday. $15. (727) 791-7400.

Trio to skip memory exercise

An impressive young German string trio appears tonight in Tarpon Springs, but it will forgo one of its claims to fame. Usually, the Jacques Thibaud Trio, named for an acclaimed French violinist who died in a plane crash in 1953, play their music by heart. Though orchestral soloists and pianists perform without printed music, chamber ensembles rarely do.

But because the Thibaud has a substitute cellist used to having music on his stand, Stefan Heinmeyer, joining Philip Douvier, viola, and Burkhard Maiss, violin, tonight's concert will not be played from memory. The group will perform the Arensky Quartet with guest artist and mentor Laszlo Varga, who was principal cellist with the New York Philharmonic under Dmitri Mitropoulis and Leonard Bernstein.

The trio also plays works of Beethoven and Francaix at 7:30 p.m. at Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center. $13, $15. (727) 942-5605.

Sarasota saxophonist wins youth competition

Katherine Weintraub, a saxophone player from Sarasota, was the grand prize winner in the Florida Orchestra's Young Artists Competition. Weintraub, 15, played a movement from a concerto by Pierre Max Dubois to win $1,000 in cash, a $1,000 savings bond and a chance to perform with the orchestra. There were 80 entrants in the competition, held this month at Hillsborough Community College in Ybor City.

Other senior prize winners were pianist Michelle Cann, 16, Avon Park; pianist Andrew Lapp, 14, Sarasota; and flutist Rebecca auf dem Kampe, 22, St. Petersburg. Junior first-place winners were pianist Jason Nong, 9, Tampa; violinist Pengtao Teng, 14, Tampa; horn player Bradley Schaffer, 13, Seminole; and flutist Grace Weintraub (sister of the grand prize winner), 14, Sarasota.

Banyan Theatre Company opens with "Uncle Vanya'

Chekhov's Uncle Vanya opens the Banyan Theatre Company's third summer season June 24-July 11, followed by Otherwise Engaged by Simon Gray (July 15-Aug. 1) and Vincent in Brixton by Nicholas Wright (Aug. 5-22). The company will be performing in a new space, the Cook Theatre in the Asolo/Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts in Sarasota. Three-show subscriptions are $66 and go on sale March 1. (941) 358-5330.

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