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Tampa Bay stage events this week: Martin Lawrence, Jay Pharoah, ‘Jersey Boys’

‘Doubt,’ ‘The People Downstairs’ and productions by Opera Tampa and St. Petersburg Opera are also opening.
Martin Lawrence will perform at the Yuengling Center in Tampa on March 12. [Right On PR]

MO’ FUNNY: MORE COMEDIANS

The past few weeks have been jammed with notable comics. This week is a lot lighter but the comedians are heavyweights.

On the heels of the release of Bad Boys for Life, a sequel that comes 25 years after the original movie, Martin Lawrence brings his Lit AF tour to the Yuengling Center. The show will also feature DeRay Davis, Michael Blackson and Adele Givens. Blackson will appear in Eddie Murphy’s upcoming Coming to America 2, a sequel that comes more than 30 years after the original. $42 and up. 7:30 p.m. Thursday. 12499 USF Bull Run Drive, Tampa. Toll-free 1-800-745-3000. yuenglingcenter.com.

Watching master impressionist Jay Pharoah feels like watching a show full of other comedians. His takes on Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Kevin Hart and Dave Chappelle are spot on. Hopefully he’ll bust them out when he comes 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. improvtampa.com.

OH, WHAT A NIGHT: JERSEY BOYS

A musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons was bound to be popular. It just naturally comes with a beloved soundtrack. Tony- and Grammy Award-winning musical Jersey Boys comes to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts this weekend. It features a number of their top 10 hits, including Sherry, Walk Like a Man and Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You. But it also portrays the dramatic story of the group’s ups and downs. $39 and up. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday. 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.

FAMILY DRAMA: THE PEOPLE DOWNSTAIRS

After local playwright Natalie Symons brought The People Downstairs to American Stage’s New Play Festival last year, it was selected to become part of their 2019-20 main-stage season. Set in Buffalo, N.Y., it follows Miles, an aging funeral home director who lives with his middle-aged daughter, Mabel. She spends her time writing letters to prison inmates, and after they’re threatened with losing their house, Miles tries to set Mabel up with an inept mortician. Themes of love, loss and loneliness are explored in the comedy that touches on the healing power of laughter. Friday’s opening night performance is sold out. $44-$54. 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 823-7529. For showtimes, visit americanstage.org.

DOUBT: A PARABLE

Suspicion is at the core of John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning play, Doubt: A Parable, opening this weekend at Jobsite Theater. Set in a parochial school in 1964, rigid nun Sister Aloysius questions the relationship between Father Flynn and Donald Miller, the school’s first African American student. Accusations fly, leading to secrecy and blackmail. The play was adapted into an Academy Award-winning movie starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Those roles will be played locally by Roxanne Fay and Jobsite artistic director David M. Jenkins. $29.50 and up. Opens at 8 p.m. Friday. Shimberg Playhouse, David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. For showtimes, visit jobsitetheater.org.

David M. Jenkins and Roxanne Fay in Jobsite Theater's production of "Doubt: A Parable," opening on March 13. [Courtesy of Jobsite Theater]

SING IT LOUD: OPERA EVENTS

Opera Tampa’s 25th season opened with a classic (Carmen) and will go out with a bang (Aida). In the middle is something artistic director Robin Stamper calls “silly in a good way”: Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. “We just want people to come and have a good time and laugh,” Stamper said. “You’re not going to walk away feeling like you’ve had some sort of revelation, emotionally, just because you’ve been laughing the whole night.” Good luck trying to get “I am the very model of a modern major-general ...” out of your head afterward. $85.50 and up. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa.

Related: Opera Tampa at 25: A 'crazy' dream that made it, but what comes next?

Speaking of opera, we’re in the middle of a long hiatus between major St. Petersburg Opera productions, but the company is staying busy until Donizetti’s La fille du Régiment in late May. This weekend brings Creative Collaborations, with a blend of styles and genres that includes arias and chamber performances. Featured will be selections from Musto’s River Songs, Barber’s Hand of Bridge and Martinu’s La Revue de Cuisine. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 2145 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 823-2040. stpeteopera.com.

Tyler Putnam stars as the Pirate King in Opera Tampa's production of "The Pirates of Penzance," opening on March 13. [Courtesy of Rob Harris Productions]

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