1. Stage

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

Starting on Tuesday, the musical ‘Anastasia’ comes to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Tampa. [Evan Zimmerman, MurphyMade]
Published 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.

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.


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 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.

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.


  1. REO Speedwagon will perform at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on March 1, 2020. Courtesy of Randee St. Nicholas
    REO Speedwagon, Gladys Knight, Kidz Bop, Art Garfunkel and more.
  2. Michael Francis leads a community chorus during one of the Florida Orchestra's Sing Out Tampa Bay sing-alongs. MICHAEL FRANCIS  |  Florida Orchestra
    The music director is entering his fifth year with the orchestra, which has a Beethoven-heavy season opening Sept. 27 in Tampa.
  3. Spymonkey's "Hysteria!" will run at the Straz Center's Jaeb Theater from Sept. 19-Nov. 3. Courtesy of Jane Hobson
    Spymonkey’s ‘Hysteria,’ Billy Cobham and ‘Crossing the Bay’ accompany dance experiences and a banned book cabaret.
  4. Patrons hit the dance floor at Tampa venue Skipper's Smokehouse in 2015. LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times (2015)
    A 12-hour party in the Skipperdome, stargazing and a family-friendly Williams Park festival provide free and cheap entertainment.
  5. A Zombie Bride is one of the characters found in one of Busch Gardens' open-air scare zones at Howl-O-Scream, which opens for its 20th year on Friday.
    Free Museum Day is coming, Howl-O-Scream opens at Busch Gardens, Billy Ray Cyrus plays for the Bucs Beach Bash and Tho Who will be at Amalie Arena.
  6. Jordan Foote (Norm) and Jonelle M. Meyer (Corky) in Jobsite's production of Steve Martin's "Meteor Shower." Courtesy of Pritchard Photography
    Steve Martin’s voice is ingrained in the absurdist comedy.
  7. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, bringing two December shows to Tampa's Amalie Arena, performs in Birmingham, Ala., in 2017. Courtesy of Anna Jones
    Seats at Stomp, Little Big Town and A Nightmare on Franklin Street are also up for grabs.
  8. Jim Jefferies in an episode of Comedy Central's "The Jim Jefferies Show." ALI GOLDSTEIN  |  Comedy Central
    Raunchy moms, YouTubers and flamenco dancers also hit local theaters. Plus, Tampa Rep opens a Pulitzer-winning drama.
  9. From left: Tim Curry as Frank N. Furter, Barry Bostwick as Brad Majors and Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." 20th Century Fox
    The popular ‘Last Podcast on the Left’ and Barry Bostwick from ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ are new to A Nightmare on Franklin Street.
  10. The children just tricked (conned) their father into letting them purchase a dog, much to his displeasure, in the Live Oak Theatre presentation of 'Cheaper By the Dozen,' which opens Sept. 13 at the Brooksville theater. Standing, left to right: Billie (Amber Marino), Martha (Quincee Willis) and Dad (Joe Santerelli). Sitting, left to right: Dan (Jase Ivie), Fredericka (Hailey Radatz), “The dog,” (Ozzie), Jackie (Cam Kennedy) and Lilly (Emily Mosher). Kris Mitten