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This week on Tampa Bay stages: Criss Angel, Cirque Musica, holiday pops

It’s the Christmas season at the Florida Orchestra and St. Petersburg Opera.
Criss Angel will bring his Raw: The Mindfreak Unplugged tour to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Dec. 13. [Courtesy of Jerry Metellus Photography]
Criss Angel will bring his Raw: The Mindfreak Unplugged tour to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Dec. 13. [Courtesy of Jerry Metellus Photography]
Published Dec. 11, 2019


Fans were losing their minds on the promotional video for Criss Angel’s Raw: The Mindfreak Unplugged tour. One woman’s scream could have shattered glass. Hopefully that won’t happen when the bad boy magician brings the show to Ruth Eckerd Hall this weekend. But they’re not the only fans; Oprah called him the “best,” and the grand opening for his Mindfreak show at Planet Hollywood was star studded, with Gary Oldman in attendance. It’s little wonder; he’s been at it for 25 years now, and even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Raw looks exciting, with levitation, a snake and Angel’s mind-blowing sleight of hand, mentalism and illusions in what’s billed as a stripped-down, pure show in an intimate setting. $48.75-$103.25. 8 p.m. Friday. 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. (727) 791-7400.


Why not spice up your holiday tradition with a show of extremely strong and coordinated people? Cirque Musica: Holiday Wishes uses a holiday story to connect the action of acrobats in dazzling costumes flying through the air, making impossible landings and doing unbelievable feats on roller skates — all while a live orchestra plays holiday favorites and adds to the spectacle. $25 and up. 7 p.m. Wednesday. Amalie Area, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500.

Cirque Musica: Holiday Wishes will fly through Amalie Arena on Dec. 18. [Courtesy of Amalie Arena]


You can’t swing a candy cane around town these days without hitting some sort of holiday show — even in the world of classical music. The Florida Orchestra revives its popular annual Holiday Pops program for a whopping five shows, bringing holiday favorites to life in jingle-janglin’ fashion. Guests can donate canned and nonperishable food for Tampa Bay Harvest, and the orchestra will collect unwrapped toys for children in need. Daniel Black conducts, with Vanessa Thomas serving as lead vocalist. $18 and up. 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; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. (727) 892-3337.


Speaking of holiday pops, the St. Petersburg Opera is gearing up for its own Christmas spectacular in Holiday Sparkle, featuring all your favorite yuletide jingles performed by the most tasteful tenors and contraltos. Conductor Mark Sforzini leads a 15-piece orchestra and familiar soloists like Rachel Policar, Paula Broadwater and Chris Romeo through a holiday program in their candlelit, cabaret-style Opera Central venue. Intimate seating, warm 'n' fuzzy singing and dancing — what’s not to love? $30 and up. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and Dec. 19-21, 2 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 22. 2145 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 823-2040.


  1. Demetri Martin will perform at Tampa Theatre on Jan. 18. [Courtesy of the Tampa Theatre]
    'A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ ‘The Screwtape Letters’ and ambitious Florida Orchestra collaborations round out the list.
  2. Ira Glass will appear at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Jan. 25. [Courtesy of Sandy Honig]
    The host of ‘This American Life’ brings stories from his years on the air to St. Petersburg on Jan. 25.
  3. "Sunset Baby" stars, from left, Aris Rogers II as Damon, Kelli Vonshay as Nina Shakur and Darren Constantine as Kenyatta Shakur. [Courtesy of the Heather Theatre]
    An activist tries to reconnect with his daughter after prison. But did “revolution” cost him his family? | Review
  4. These undated photos show William "Bill" Holley in costume during his thriving career as an opera singer in Europe from 1961 to 1984. After that, he retired to Plant City, where he never really performed opera, only singing in church and at weddings for friends and family. He died Dec. 28, 2019, at age 89. [Courtesy of Candy Greene]
    Before his quiet life of rural retirement, the Panhandle native performed in some of Europe’s most vaunted opera houses.
  5. Drumline Live will high-step through the Straz Center in Tampa on Jan. 14. [Courtesy of the Straz Center]
    Comic Matt Braunger at Side Splitters and a Duke Ellington tribute by the Florida Orchestra, too.
  6. Mike Tyson announces "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth," a one-man show on Broadway, in New York in 2012. [EVAN AGOSTINI  |  Invision/AP]
    The boxing legend and his ‘Undisputed Truth: Round 2’ will hit the Hard Rock Event Center in April.
  7. The National Theatre Ballet of Odessa, Ukraine, will present "Romeo and Juliet" at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Jan. 5. [Courtesy of the Mahaffey Theater]
    Plus, Illusionist Ivan Amodei and the Florida Orchestra.
  8. Jim Gaffigan will perform at Tampa's Yuengling Center on Dec. 31. [Courtesy of Robyn Von Swank]
    Say hello to 2020 with Moscow Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker,’ comedy shows and more.
  9. Kaenaonalani Kekoa (Jasmine) and Jonah Ho'okano (Aladdin) in the Straz Center's production of "Aladdin" in Tampa. [Disney]
    The Disney musical will win you over, thanks to imaginative effects and a couple of lively stars at the center.
  10. The touring production of "Hamilton" came to Tampa's Straz Center from Feb. 12 to March 10. [Courtesy of Joan Marcus]
    Great theater and orchestral works happened all over town this year. Here are some of our favorites.