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What’s happening on Tampa Bay stages: Lavell Crawford, USF Round Up

The Tampa Bay Theatre Festival showcases talent across town, too.
Lavell Crawford's new comedy special, "New Look Same Funny," premiered on Showtime in July. [Courtesy of Showtime]
Lavell Crawford's new comedy special, "New Look Same Funny," premiered on Showtime in July. [Courtesy of Showtime]
Published Aug. 28

HEAVY LAUGHS: LAVELL CRAWFORD

One of the many fun casting choices made by the creators of Breaking Bad was to cast Lavell Crawford, who makes his living on the microphone, as Huell Babineaux, Saul Goodman’s heavy of few words. The performance relies as much on Crawford’s oversized physique as it does his sense of humor, which means that even if you love Huell, you’re not getting the full Lavell experience. The man’s a prolific voice-over actor and stand-up comic, for Pete’s sake. And he’s even slimmed down quite a bit, as he got into during his latest Showtime special, Lavell Crawford: New Look Same Funny. So get out there and watch him do what he does best this weekend in Ybor City. $30 and up. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday. Tampa Improv, 1600 E Eighth Ave. (813) 864-4000. improvtampa.com.

Sal Vulcano speaks on stage at the "Impractical Jokers" panel during the first day of New York Comic Con, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. [STEVE LUCIANO | AP]

SCHOOL’S IN SESSION: USF ROUND UP

Every year, the University of South Florida holds a big comedy show dubbed the USF Round Up to welcome students back to school. The good news is, you don’t have to be a student to get in. And no, that’s not a prank on the part of this year’s headliner, Impractical Jokers star Sal Vulcano from the comedy troupe the Tenderloins. Free. 8 p.m. Thursday. Yuengling Center, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 974-3004. yuenglingcenter.com.

OLD JOKES: KICK THE BUCKET LIST

George Burns notwithstanding, comedy’s not always a game that caters to older audiences. So it’s refreshing to see Kick the Bucket List: The World According to AARP at the Palladium. Comics Scott Novotny, Bob Burr and John Carfi will delve into issues and insights gleaned from getting older, as well as a few “trips down memory lane.” It’s a clean show, too, which means even the most buttoned-up member of your knitting circle can attend. $25 and up. Side Door Cabaret at the Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 822-3590. mypalladium.org.

CITY STAGES: TAMPA BAY THEATRE FESTIVAL

Now in its sixth year, the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival brings performances to a variety of stages in Tampa this weekend. It also includes workshops for playwrights, actors and directors, as well as monologue and short play competitions. That’s great if you’re in the biz, and the rest of us can enjoy the featured full-length plays. There’s something to meet any taste. If you love musicals, go see Paper Walls, which follows six college friends on a road trip. For something heady, check out The Consciousness, which asks what it would mean for art if an artist’s consciousness lives on after death. And for something historical, see Black Women Walking, which explores the lives of black heroines through storytelling, gospel music, multimedia, humor and contemporary dance. Performances are held at Stageworks Theatre, Carrollwood Players Theatre and the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, as well as other Tampa venues. $12-$20. tampabaytheatrefestival.com.

Harry Lennix teaches a master acting workshop at the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival in 2015. [Courtesy of Rory Lawrence]

SUPPORT OUR TROOPS: VETARTSPAN SHOWCASE

Part of supporting our troops is caring about them when they come home. There are several local initiatives to bring the arts to veterans, including VetArtSpan, the yearlong program at the Straz Center. The collaboration not only provides arts in the form of storytelling to Tampa Bay veterans, but it serves to help the medical community and civilians understand the experience for veterans returning home. It culminates with a showcase of dialogue and performance on Friday. Free. 7:30 p.m. Teco Theater, 1010 N MacInness Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.



ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Criss Angel will bring his Raw: The Mindfreak Unplugged tour to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Dec. 13. [Courtesy of Jerry Metellus Photography]
    It’s the Christmas season at the Florida Orchestra and St. Petersburg Opera.
  2. Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, shown here in the 1978 film "Grease," will make an appearance in Tampa on Dec. 14 for a film sing-along and meet and greet with fans. [AP]
    The forever Sandy Olsson and Danny Zuko will reunite for a sing-along screening on Saturday at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.
  3. Paul Reubens, a.k.a. Pee-Wee Herman, arrives for a Comic-Con panel in 2011 in San Diego. [GREGORY BULL  |  AP]
    The actor (Pee-Wee himself!) will accompany the 35th anniversary celebration at Tampa Theatre.
  4. Charlie explains to his parents and sister, Beth, that the best thing about church is that there are no Herdmans there. Pictured, from left: Sarah Krug as Mother (Grace Bradley), Amber Marino as Beth, Frank Miller as Father (Bob Bradley) and Jude Mys as Charlie. [Kristina Mitten]
    Live Oak Theatre presents ‘Best Christmas Pageant Ever'
  5. Benjamin Ismail, left, and Susan Maris star as Peter Shaw and Henrietta Leavitt in American Stage's "Silent Sky." [Joey Clay Photography]
    Parts of it play like a romantic comedy, but you will learn a thing or two about the woman who mapped the universe. | Theater review
  6. Sutton Foster accepts the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical at the 65th annual Tony Awards in New York in 2011. [JEFF CHRISTENSEN  |  AP]
    Plus, the Florida Orchestra, ‘Straight Up With Stassi’ Live and ‘A Tuna Christmas.’
  7. Nick Offerman will perform at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa on Dec. 7. [Matt Winkelmeyer]
    The ‘Parks and Recreation’ star, who performs at Tampa’s Straz Center on Saturday, knows his face is everywhere. He can’t stop it.
  8. The cast of "The Lion in Winter" at Freefall Theatre: Eric Brandon Davis, Joseph Michael-Kenneth, Alicia Thomas, Rob Glauz, Robert "Spence" Gabriel, Stephanie Dunnam and Joe Lauck. [Courtesy of Thee Photo Ninja]
    Freefall Theatre’s production of James Goldman’s script tells a medieval tale of family dysfunction. | Review
  9. Joel Hodgson and his robot pals - from left, Gypsy, Crow and Tom Servo - will bring their live tour of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" to the Straz Center in Tampa on Dec. 3. [Shout! Factory]
    The show creator’s final live tour hits the Straz Center in Tampa on Dec. 3.
  10. Chris Tucker will perform at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Nov. 29. [Courtesy of Mahaffey Theater]
    ‘Nutcracker’ shows, an ‘America’s Got Talent’ star and other holiday performances fill out this week’s calendar.
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