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Jonesing is the name of the musical, as in Dylan Jones, who wrote music and lyrics for songs in the show being premiered this week. He describes it as a nontraditional musical in the form of a song cycle.

The characters include "a couple who split and lose everything, a young woman who finds that getting what she wants can have unintended consequences, and a man who makes an important choice right as the world is about to end," Jones said in a synopsis. "The style of music varies from jazz and Broadway to folk and rock."

Jones, 28, who lives in Bradenton, likens his new show to a musical by Jason Robert Brown. "Similar in tone and format to Songs for a New World, each of the actors portray characters seeking something missing in their lives," he said.

Jonesing has a cast of eight, with Aaron Cassette as musical director. Itruns Thursday through Sunday at the Small Theater, Manatee School for the Arts, 700 Haben Blvd., Palmetto. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday. $8, $12. (941) 721-6800, ext. 1095;

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Back on stage

In August, a fire at St. Petersburg High School caused extensive smoke and water damage to the auditorium where thespians put on plays and musicals. The damage is not yet repaired, but the show is still going on when the fall production of Almost Maine, a comedy by John Cariani, opens at Boca Ciega High School's newly renovated theater, just three miles away.

"The teachers and students at Boca Ciega reached out to us, and we built the set for our show there," said Trish Grunz, director of the drama department at St. Petersburg High. "It has been a good experience for our kids to perform on a different stage and work with another troupe."

Almost Maine, made up of nine vignettes and set in snowbound northern Maine, is one of the most produced plays at North American high schools. It features 19 characters in tales of love and loss. The St. Petersburg High production involves a cast and crew of about 50 students.

"It's a sweet play, and it was especially good for us because it was easily transferable from one school to the other," Grunz said.

Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Boca Ciega High, 924 58th St., Gulfport. $5-$10.

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For World AIDS Day

As a prelude to World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), there is a staged reading of Larry Kramer's drama from the early years of the disease, The Normal Heart, at 7:30 p.m. Monday at American Stage, St. Petersburg. Actors include Eric Davis, Roxanne Fay and Chris Swan. Pay what you can. Proceeds go to people with AIDS programs at Metropolitan Charities of Pinellas. (727) 823-7529;

John Fleming can be reached at or (727) 893-8716.