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New seasons open at Florida Orchestra, Freefall, Stageworks

Plus, SuicideGirls at Tampa Theatre and comedian Bryan Callen at Tampa Improv.


For the opening program of its 2019-20 season, the Florida Orchestra wanted to tell a Tampa story. That’s easier said than done. “We want to be an orchestra that reflects where we’re from,” said music director Michael Francis. “It’s interesting to draw attention to that in music. What is Tampa Bay? How could we curate something around that?” For starters, there’s a Cuban influence reflected in Gershwin’s Cuban Overture and Cuban jazz pianist Aldo Lopez-Gavilan on Grieg’s Piano Concerto; plus Ravel’s Spanish-influenced Bolero. There’s Mason Bates’ global fusion piece Mothership, which Francis said reflects “an idea of a city being a melting pot.” And to kick off a two-year celebration of Beethoven, there’s the great composer’s Lenore Overture No. 3, which may not have much to do with Tampa, but does get at “how communities and people can grow, be free and move on and move into a better world,” Francis said. 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and 2 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $18 and up. (727) 892-3337.

RELATED: The Florida Orchestra is bingeing on Beethoven, and here’s why


Don’t go Googling SuicideGirls at work. You might end up drifting from PG-13 to R to NC-17 pretty quickly. But the brand — built around pinup-style images and communities of women, many of them tattooed with colorful hair — isn’t necessarily pornographic. In fact, SuicideGirls is taking over the historic Tampa Theatre, of all places, with a pop culture-focused show dubbed Blackheart Burlesque. It’ll feature stripteases and dancing with an array of geek-friendly themes, from Star Wars to Stranger Things to Game of Thrones. Things will get risque; admission is 18 and up. But at least you’ll keep your browser history clean. 9 p.m. Saturday. Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St. (813) 274-8286.

RELATED: Fall Arts Preview: A guide to Tampa Bay’s top stage and museum events of 2019-20


The interpretation of Henry James’ 1898 ghostly novella The Turn of the Screw is one of the greatest debates in fiction. But maybe that’s the point. James didn’t have to wrap the story all up in a bow, Sixth Sense style. Form your own opinion at Freefall Theatre’s production of Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of the classic, opening this weekend. Described as “one of the most deeply psychological ghost stories ever written," the play follows a new governess for precocious Miles and quiet Flora on a remote estate. When she learns what happened to the previous governess, she begins to suspect that the children are under the influence of malevolent forces. But is it the place or she that is haunted? Starring Emilee Dupre and Freefall artistic director Eric Davis. Opens Saturday and runs through Oct. 27. $25-$50. 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 498-5205. For showtimes, visit


A missing weird doll, total darkness and a switchblade named Geraldine? Wait Until Dark sounds scary, and it’s opening at Stageworks Theatre this weekend. At the center of the thriller is Susan, a blind woman who lives with her traveling businessman husband, Sam, in a basement apartment in Greenwich Village. After Sam unwittingly smuggles in that weird doll, murder, secret identities and a battle of wits ensue. A film version was made in 1967 starring Audrey Hepburn. Google the trailer if you dare. Opens Friday and runs through Oct. 13. $15-$50. 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 374-2416. For showtimes, visit


As the tight shorts-wearing Coach Mellor on The Goldbergs, Bryan Callen’s character gives a pep talk about the caterpillar becoming a butterfly. But Callen is a chameleon who started out flexing his impressions of everyone from Robert DeNiro to Kevin Bacon on Mad TV. He played two different characters on The Hangover and The Hangover 2. And he co-hosts the popular podcast The Fighter and the Kid with Brendan Schaub, where they talk mixed martial arts and pop culture stuff. His online comedy special Complicated Apes gives a sense of the frenetic energy and observational humor that he’ll bring to the Improv this weekend. $25. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday. 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. (813) 864-4000.

Bryan Callen, pictured during a 2017 show, will appear at Tampa Improv on Friday and Saturday. [Eric Charbonneau/Invision for TS Alliance/AP]