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This weekend on Tampa Bay stages: Bill Engvall, Carlos Mencia

Plus, the Florida Orchestra, Funny Women of a Certain Age, ‘The Thanksgiving Play,’ Phantasmagoria and a roundup of dance performances.
Bill Engvall will perform at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Thursday. [Marleah Leslie and Associates]
Published Oct. 23


Bill Engvall isn’t just the “Here’s your sign” guy. He isn’t just the guy whose sitcom gave Jennifer Lawrence her big break. The 62-year-old Texan has parlayed his role as the fourth most popular Blue Collar Comic into a surprisingly diverse career, hosting game shows and appearing in dramatic movies and even a few thrillers. (Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, anyone?) He has been a blogger for the Los Angeles Angels and made the finals on Dancing With the Stars. And he’s still performing standup comedy — tons of it, in fact, including his 2016 special Just Sell Him for Parts. Say this for the guy: With the resume he has built up, he should never have a shortage of material. $29 and up. 8 p.m. Friday. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. (727) 791-7400.


Premiering between Chappelle’s Show and Key and Peele, Carlos Mencia’s Mind of Mencia had its moment in the Comedy Central sketch-a-verse, too. That was before Mencia got caught up in a joke-stealing scandal that busted his drawing power from theaters down to clubs seemingly overnight. But he’s still touring tirelessly, hosting his own comedy podcast (because 2019, duh) and, according to IMDB, still trying to get a Mind of Mencia spinoff, Judge Carlos, off the ground. America loves a comeback story, and maybe Mencia’s got one in mind. $25 and up. 8:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, 7 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Side Splitters, 12938 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (813) 960–1197.

Carlos Mencia will perform at Tampa's Side Splitters Comedy Club Thursday through Saturday. [Courtesy of Randy Shropshire]


Fancy footwork is happening across Tampa Bay stages this weekend, creating choices for dance aficionados.

The University of Tampa’s Fall Dance Happening brings popular music and more than 60 student dancers to the stage. Free. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday. Falk Theatre, 428 W Kennedy Blvd. (813) 257-6322.

Daredevil dance troupe Diavolo Dance Theatre returns to the Straz Center with the Architecture in Motion tour. In association with the University of South Florida School of Theatre and Dance, local veterans guided by Diavolo’s artistic team will present their piece during the engagement. $35 and up. 7:30 p.m. Friday. 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827.

Tampa City Ballet presents If I Cry, a production inspired by Frida Kahlo’s diaries. $15-$30. 7 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday. Hillsborough Community College Ybor City Campus Mainstage Theatre, 1411 E 11th Ave., Tampa. (813) 558-0800.

So You Think You Can Dance Live features the top 10 finalists and favorite dancers from Season 16 of the popular television show, as well as two all-stars. $45-$100. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. (727) 791-7400.

On Friday, the Diavolo dance troupe's engagement at the Straz Center in Tampa will include a special performance with veterans. [Courtesy of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts]


Maybe you’ve seen Funny Women of a Certain Age, headlined by female comedians over 50 on its two Showtime specials. Now its creator, Carole Montgomery, is bringing the show to the Palladium this weekend, along with Kerri Louise and Leighann Lord. The wisecracking women make lots of jokes about aging because, as they say, “funny never gets old.” $35. 8 p.m. Friday. 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 822-3590.


Jobsite Theater tackles a satire by Native American playwright Larissa Fasthorse. The Thanksgiving Play skewers a group of “woke” teachers’ attempt to throw a pageant that honors the holiday “when families gather to celebrate the warmth of home, the bounty of the harvest and a legacy of genocide and violent colonial expansion,” and Native American Heritage month. $18-$29.50. Opens Friday and runs through Nov. 17. Preview at 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. For showtimes, visit

From left: Caitlin Eason, Giles Davies, Dana Mauro and Adam Workman in Jobsite Theater's "The Thanksgiving Play." [Courtesy of Jobsite Theater]


Get in the Halloween spirit with this performance from Phantasmagoria, a “whimsical macabre” theater troupe that tells dark tales of horror, legends and myth through chorus, dance and storytelling. They’re bringing their 10th anniversary tour, Reckoning, to the Tampa Theatre. Not recommended for kids younger than 8. $26. 7 p.m. Saturday. 711 N Franklin St. (813) 274-8286.


This weekend, let the Florida Orchestra be your guide to the world and beyond. Start with a Latin Pops show, featuring guest conductor Matt Catingub and vocalist Christina Souza leading the orchestra through salsa, mambo and bossa nova classics. 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. $18 and up.

Then at 2 p.m. Sunday, the orchestra will return to the Straz Center with One Giant Leap!, a family-friendly celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, featuring music from Holst’s The Planets and John Williams’ E.T. score as space footage scrolls across the stage. There’s an instrument petting zoo and other activities beforehand. $8 and up in advance, $10 and up at the door, ages 3 and younger free. The program repeats at 2 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Palladium in St. Petersburg. (727) 892-3337.

Matt Catingub will conduct the Florida Orchestra's Latin Pops performances on Friday and Saturday. [Courtesy of Tommy Ewasko]


  1. Julie Andrews, at right, and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton took fans' questions in a Q&A at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Nov. 13, 2019. JAY CRIDLIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The stage and screen icon came to Clearwater to discuss her new memoir ‘Home Work’ and a wide range of other topics.
  2. Kevin James appears in his 2018 Netflix special "Don't Never Give Up." Courtesy of KC Bailey
    Plus, ‘Once on This Island,’ the Tampa Bay Symphony and the Florida Orchestra.
  3. John Leguizamo will bring his one-man show "Latin History for Morons" to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa on Nov. 17. Courtesy of Matthew Murphy
    Plus, how his ‘House of Buggin’ became ‘Mad TV’ and a dream project about a Hispanic Oscar Schindler. Leguizamo’s one-man show comes to the Straz Center on Nov. 17.
  4. "Fiddler on the Roof" is at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. Courtesy of Joan Marcus
    The revival of a pointed story about tradition stays close to the source. | Review
  5. Comic John Crist has canceled his upcoming tour, including a May 10, 2020 concert at Tampa's Yuengling Center, following a report by the Christian publication Charisma News alleging multiple instances of sexual misconduct. Courtesy of John Crist
    The viral star’s Netflix special and tour are on hold after a report alleging sexual misconduct.
  6. Julie Andrews will appear in conversation at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Nov. 13. Courtesy of Andrew Eccles
    The 84-year-old Hollywood icon will discuss her new autobiography this week at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
  7. Julie Andrews arrives at the Los Angeles Philharmonic 2015-16 season opening gala at Walt Disney Concert Hall. RICHARD SHOTWELL  |  Invision/AP
    Plus, comics Jay Mohr and Cristela Alonso, the Florida Orchestra’s ‘Deep Field’ with Eric Whitacre and more.
  8. Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater is undergoing a $12 million renovation/ expansion. Progress is seen here Wednesday, October 30, 2019. SCOTT KEELER  |  Times
    The 6,000-square-foot entryway opens this weekend, showcasing the venue’s most extensive facelift to date.
  9. Jobsite Theater's "The Thanksgiving Play" features Caitlin Eason, Giles Davies, Dana Mauro and Adam Workman. It runs through Nov. 17 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for Performing Arts in Tampa. Courtesy of Jobsite Theater
    Larissa FastHorse’s witty satire at Jobsite Theater mocks political correctness as well as theater itself. | Review
  10. "Fiddler on the Roof" will come to the Straz Center in Tampa on Tuesday as part of its 2019-20 Broadway series. Courtesy of Joan Marcus
    Plus, Mo’Nique, Bianca Del Rio and more.