On stage this week: ‘Liberal Redneck’Trae Crowder, ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ and more

Plus: Dance collective Cakeface, a salute to rockin’ women from the Florida Orchestra, cheap Opera Tampa insights and more.
Published February 27

DANCE-THEATRE: Stairway to Stardom

Blake High School of the Arts and University of South Florida alumna Amanda Szeglowski is the founder of Cakeface, a New York City-based, all-female-identifying dance company. They’ll bring Stairway to Stardom to Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor Campus Mainstage Theater on Friday and Saturday. The dance-theater show is an attack on the American dream and the concept of “making it.” Sequined dancers move and speak in unison, saying phrases like, “That’s not a talent,” to music and visuals from Brooklyn electronic duo Prism House, all while clips from the 1980s cult New York public access TV show, also called Stairway to Stardom, flicker in the background. The show has earned rave reviews in New York; it’s a treat for Szeglowski to bring her productions back to her native Tampa. They’ve been holding workshops all week, which are free and open to the public. The last one happens Thursday at 11 a.m. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $15, or free to HCC students. 1411 E 11th Ave., Tampa. (813) 253-7623.

LIVE PODCAST: Welcome to Night Vale

If you’re not familiar with the twice-monthly podcast Welcome to Night Vale, this New York Times description captures it perfectly: “With its uncanny blend of the macabre and the mundane, the news out of Night Vale sounds like what might occur if Stephen King or David Lynch was a guest producer at your local public radio station.” The show, set up like the radio plays of old, comes to Tampa Theatre Thursday. You don’t have to be familiar with the podcast to enjoy the show; each episode is a standalone story centered around the fictional desert town of Night Vale. Stories are told in the style of community updates featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police and reports of mysterious lights or dark, hooded figures. It’s full of silliness and humor, so don’t worry about being too scared. 8 p.m. $27.50-$37.50. 711 N Franklin St. (813) 274-8981. tampatheatre.org.

BLUE COMEDY: Trae Crowder

It’s kind of a genius gimmick: the Liberal Redneck. It’s not just a character for Tennessee native Trae Crowder, who put the blue in blue-collar comedy with his viral (and liberal) takes on guns, LGBTQ issues and Black Lives Matter. His point of view, inspired in part by growing up with a gay uncle, has led to a hit book and sitcom development deal with ABC. He’s setting out to squash stereotypes on the road alongside like-minded standups Drew Morgan and Corey Forrester. 7:30 p.m. Friday. David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $35 and up. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.

HEY, LADIES: Florida Orchestra: Women Rock

Women take center stage at the Florida Orchestra this weekend. Singers Shayna Steele, Cassidy Catanzaro and Katrina Rose join conductor Bob Bernhardt for a pops performance dubbed Women Rock, featuring the music of Carole King (I Feel the Earth Move), Tina Turner (What’s Love Got to Do With It), Joan Jett (I Love Rock n’ Roll), Pat Benatar (Hit Me With Your Best Shot) and more. 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $18 and up. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.

SNEAK PEEK: The Pearl Fishers

Opera Tampa won’t open Georges Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers at the Straz Center for a few more weeks, but smart fans can get a preview on the cheap. Open rehearsals take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Monday and March 7, with limited tickets for $10. At 2 p.m. Sunday, managing director Robin Stamper will deliver free insights on the French opera and lead arias from upcoming performances. A reception with Stamper and Straz Center president Judith Lisi will follow. Space is limited. Call (813) 222-4890 or email [email protected] for reservations.

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