1. Stage

A guide to shows on Tampa Bay stages this week

Spymonkey’s ‘Hysteria,’ Billy Cobham and ‘Crossing the Bay’ accompany dance experiences and a banned book cabaret.
Spymonkey's "Hysteria!" will run at the Straz Center's Jaeb Theater from Sept. 19-Nov. 3. [Courtesy of Jane Hobson]
Published Sep. 18


Back in 2001, the international comedy troupe Spymonkey debuted a show called Cooped, which won raves at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, played around the world and established the troupe as comedic theatrical stars. But it never came to America — until now. To kick off its 2019-20 Broadway series, the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts is bringing the show across the Atlantic for a seven-week run under the name Spymonkey’s Hysteria. Spymonkey co-founders Toby Park and Aitor Basauri will be on hand to serve as co-stars and artistic directors, revising the farce since its early Cooped days to mark Spymonkey’s 20th anniversary. Hysteria — about a woman from the swinging ’60s who takes a job with a mysterious aristocrat who may or may not be a killer — is described as a mix of Alfred Hitchcock and Peter Sellers, a twist on a pulp novel heavy on physical comedy. Fans of British comedy won’t want to miss it. $45 and up. Thursday through Nov. 3. Jaeb Theater at the Straz, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827.


When your fans have included Prince, Phil Collins and members of Tool and King Crimson, you know your drumming style is singular. Billy Cobham rose to fame drumming for Miles Davis and John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra and ever since has been regarded as one of jazz fusion’s finest percussionists, both for his innovative ideas and technical brilliance. On a tour celebrating his 75th birthday, Cobham will be joined by a veteran band of long-running accomplices including trumpet great Randy Brecker, guitarist Fareed Haque, bassist Tim Landers, saxophonist Paul Hanson and keyboardist Osam Elelwy. $34.50 and up. 8 p.m. Saturday. Central Park Performing Arts Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. (727) 587-6793.

Jazz fusion drummer Billy Cobham works out a musical arrangement with guitarist Dean Brown at St. Petersburg's Palladium in 2013. [Tampa Bay Times (2013)]


Contemporary dance is about much more than movement, full of thought-provoking concepts and reactions to society. Here are two options this weekend.

The Studio@620 is celebrating local dance for the next month with its Dance Hall Festival. This weekend is “Triggered: An Evening in a Brain” by Rogue Dance, a St. Petersburg-based contemporary modern dance company. The performance explores the extremes of logic and absurdity in the face of the cultural status quo. $20, $15 members. 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 895-6620.

While Orange Grove Dance isn’t locally based, its founding members hail from Florida and they’re performing at Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor City campus this weekend. They combine skills as choreographers and filmmakers to create multimedia performances. “Holding Here” addresses migration, exodus and transformation, while "Frequency” creates a digital backdrop to a duet between the founders and a reflection on their growth. $15, free for HCC students, faculty and staff. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 1411 E 11th Ave., Tampa.


The story of how St. Petersburg was founded is a compelling one, especially when it gets a Jane Austen twist. Crossing the Bay is a new musical from the creators of Webb’s City, Bill Leavengood and Lee Ahlin. It is inspired by Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, reset in 1880s Tampa Bay with a cast of colorful characters. It weaves the themes of that story in with the local history of the struggle to bring the railroad and prosperity to the tiny town through the tumultuous relationship between a strong-minded Florida farm girl and the entitled nephew of a Northern rail baron. $29-$39. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 822-3590.


Banned Book Week is next week, so in celebration comes this event at the Palladium directed by Bob Devin Jones. Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret includes songs and scenes from shows people have found objectionable, including The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), Rent, Fun Home, An Octoroon, Kleptocracy, Chicago and Cabaret. Also premiering is Love v. Death, a chamber opera by Tom Sivak predicted to be in next year’s banned cabaret. It’s the grotesque true story of Carl von Cosel, who kept the corpse of his dead girlfriend in his bed for seven years. Free. 7 p.m. Monday. 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg.


  1. Randy Rainbow will perform at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Saturday. Courtesy of Varela Media
    Plus, St. Petersburg Opera’s ‘Merry Widow’ and more.
  2. The cast of American Stage's production of "Vietgone" includes Sami Ma as Tong and Jeff Kim as Quang. Courtesy of Joey Clay Studio
    An immigrant story with voice offers a fresh perspective.
  3. On Saturday, J.B. Smoove will perform at Ferguson Hall, part of Tampa's Straz Center. RICHARD SHOTWELL  |  Invision/AP
    The comedian known for portraying Leon Black on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ likes to wing it. He hits the Straz Center’s Ferguson Hall on Saturday.
  4. The cast performs 'On The Deck Of A Spanish Sailing Ship, 1492' in the Stage West production of 'Songs for a New World', which will be presented Oct. 17-27. Pictured at top, from left: Paris Seaver, Anthony Agnelli and Nicki Poulis. Standing in front: Jay Garcia. Timothy Rooney
    See ‘Songs for a New World’ and other shows in the north Suncoast
  5. Wayne Brady will perform at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Sunday. Courtesy of Mahaffey Theater
    There’s Jeanne Robertson and an inventive Florida Orchestra collaboration, too.
  6. Emilee Dupre and Eric Davis star in Freefall Theatre's production of "The Turn of the Screw." Courtesy of Thee Photo Ninja
    A spooky, risk-filled performance will leave you with questions. | Review
  7. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" will roll through Tampa as part of the Straz Center's 2019-20 Broadway series. JOAN MARCUS  |  Straz Center
    ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ Roy Wood Jr., ‘Vietgone’ at American Stage, Piff the Magic Dragon and more.
  8. Music director Michael Francis leads the Florida Orchestra in the Star-Spangled Banner on Friday during the season-opening program at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. JAY CRIDLIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Friday’s opening night portrayed Tampa as a melting pot, delivering diverse pieces pulled from around the world. | Concert review
  9. Bernadette Peters is pictured at Radio City Music Hall in New York in 2015. CHARLES SYKES  |  AP
    Peters follows the likes of Sting and Seal playing with the orchestra.
  10. Aldo Lopez-Gavilan, shown performing "Rhapsody in Blue" with the Florida Orchestra at St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theater in January, will join the orchestra for its 2019-20 season-opening program this weekend. J.M. LENNON  |  Lennon Media
    Plus, SuicideGirls at Tampa Theatre and comedian Bryan Callen at Tampa Improv.