On stage this week in Tampa Bay: ‘Anastasia,’ Tampa International Fringe Festival

What else? Opera Tampa announces its 2019-20 season, Florida Orchestra plays Mahler and rapper Joe Budden brings his live podcast.
Published May 1
Updated May 2

OFFBEAT: Tampa International Fringe Festival

Tampa Bay has long been known as a hub for local theater. And with the return of the Tampa International Fringe Festival for the third year, we can consider ourselves a place where experimental performances thrive. Jobsite Theater artistic director David Jenkins and William Glenn and Trish Parry of Wish Experience started the collaborative in 2016. The festival brings eclectic performances to venues around Ybor City Thursday through May 11. The lineup includes solo performances, comedies, satire and even two children’s shows (most of the performances are definitely not for kids). The festival’s headquarters, Fringe Central, is at Gaspar’s Grotto, 1805 E Seventh Ave. Special events include Thursday’s opening party performance of Dreams Deferred by Kezra Leon at Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St. $5-$13 per performance, passes available. tampafringe.org.

OPERA TAMPA: 2019-20 Season Announcement

Opera Tampa’s 25th anniversary season includes works from Bizet, Verdi and Gilbert and Sullivan, all held at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInness Place. The season begins on Nov. 30 with a concert, Viva Italia: A Salute to Four Great Italian Tenors, by up-and-coming opera stars paying tribute to Pavarotti, Caruso, Botticelli and Lanza. The rest of the season follows:

Carmen ( Feb. 7-9): George Bizet’s opera about a fiercely independent woman and the disaster that strikes when a man tries to claim her will be sung in French with English supertitles.

The Pirates of Penzance (March 13-15): Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera following a soft-hearted band of pirates contains the classic, I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General. Sung in English with supertitles.

Aida (April 24 and 26): Giuseppe Verdi’s love triangle set in Egypt will be sung in Italian with English supertitles.

Season tickets are available now. Individual tickets go on sale Aug. 9. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.

MUSICAL FANTASY: Anastasia

DNA testing conclusively ruled out the theory that Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna escaped the execution of her family by the Bolsheviks in 1918. But it was a beautiful fantasy that resulted in some impostors and became the subject of film and a Broadway play. Anastasia opens at Tampa’s Straz Center Tuesday and runs through May 12. In the musical, two con men see the opportunity to claim they’ve found Anastasia when they meet an amnesiac orphan named Anya. $168 and up, but there is a digital lottery that gives fans the chance to purchase tickets for $25. Visit luckyseat.com/anastasia to register.

DRUMS, PLEASE: Florida Orchestra

Mahler’s the main master at the Masterworks concerts this weekend by the Florida Orchestra; his sprawling, percussive Symphony No. 1 is the main course at two performances. But the others should be just as compelling, especially if you like big beats. Master percussionist Colin Currie will bring a huge, immersive complement of percussion instruments to perform Switch, by 39-year-old American composer Andrew Norman. And then there’s Steve Reich’s Music for Pieces of Wood, which is exactly what it sounds like — a piece played entirely on five differently tuned wooden claves. It sounds stark, but is in fact mesmerizing. Michael Francis conducts. $18 and up, free for 18 and younger in advance. 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.

RAP SESSION: Joe Budden Podcast

How did Joe Budden go from being the Pump It Up guy to, as the New York Times put it, “the Howard Stern of Hip-Hop”? Being afraid to speak his mind hasn’t hurt. The man has beefed with the likes of Eminem, Meek Mill and even Chance the Rapper, and he’s lived to tell about it all on his Joe Budden Podcast. Along with co-hosts Rory, Mal and Parks, Budden dissects the state of modern rap with such uncensored frankness that it led to an exclusive deal with Spotify. You know, kind of like the one Stern signed with SiriusXM once upon a time. The podcast will host a live taping at 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center. $33.75 and up.

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