1. Stage

Weekend stage picks: Mike Epps, 'Spamilton,' Tape Face, 'Mamma Mia!'

Florida Orchestra fans love jazz trumpeter Byron Stripling, who revists both sides of the bay this weekend. [Stephen Pariser/Florida Orchestra]
Published Apr. 3

Times Staff Writers

DETOUR: Road Closure Affects Ruth Eckerd Hall

Clearwater's McMullen-Booth Road between Drew Street and State Road 590 will be under construction starting at 5 a.m. Friday and will be closed in both directions to vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. It's scheduled to reopen Tuesday. The closure is in front of the entrance to Ruth Eckerd Hall, so if you have tickets to a show during that time frame, note the detour routes. U.S. 19 will be the main north-south detour. State Road 580 and Drew Street are the main east-west detours, and Enterprise Road, Sunset Point Road and State Road 590 are secondary detours. There will be plenty of signage. To see a detour route map, visit

PREVIEW: Mamma Mia

American Stage returns to Demens Landing Park next week with a production of Mamma Mia. (Read Weekend next week for more on the show.) The musical inspired by the Swedish supergroup ABBA features many of their biggest hits, including SOS, Dancing Queen and the title track. Get started early with a preview Wednesday and April 11 on pay-what-you-can nights ($20 in advance). Pack a picnic and bring a chair or blanket. On-site concessions aren't available on these nights. 8 p.m. at Bayshore Drive and Second Avenue S, St. Petersburg.

TWO-TIMER: Mike Epps

Rare is the standup comic who can headline an arena. Even rarer is the comic who can do it twice in one night. Such is the case with Mike Epps, who just added a late show to his night at the Yuengling Center on Saturday. The comic and actor, who will soon appear alongside Eddie Murphy in the Rudy Ray Moore biopic Dolemite Is My Name, will perform at 8 and 11:30 p.m., joined by a monster lineup that includes Sommore, Earthquake, Rickey Smiley, Lavell Crawford and DC Young Fly. $52 and up. (813) 974-3004.

#HAM4SHAM: Spamilton: An American Parody

"I laughed my brains out," Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted in 2016. High praise no matter the production. That Miranda was tweeting about Spamilton: An American Parody, though, well, that's just crazy. But so is the fact that Miranda might not be wrong. Spamilton, which debuted in New York little more than a year after Hamilton, has earned positive reviews for its deft parodies of multiple Broadway sensations — no major surprise there, since creator Gerard Alessandrini had succeeded with a similar formula for his Forbidden Broadway sendups. If you scored tickets for Hamilton's Tampa debut a month ago, consider this your chaser. Jaeb Theater at the Straz Center, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $30 and up. (813) 229-7827.

ODD TALENTS: Piff the Magic Dragon, Tape Face

It's a glorious time to be a talented weirdo on reality TV. Consider Piff the Magic Dragon, a respected magician who has worked with everyone from Penn and Teller to Mumford and Sons — and who just happens to wear a dragon suit and carry a chihuahua. He broke big on America's Got Talent in 2015 and is now headlining theaters around the country. He'll perform at 7:30 tonight at Ferguson Hall of the Straz Center, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $24.50 and up. (813) 229-7827.

And then there's Tape Face, the New Zealand street performer who made a splash on America's Got Talent in 2016. Often performing with his mouth taped up, he's something of a modern clown, juggling and mugging and getting a reaction out of his audience without saying a word. 8 p.m. Sunday. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $28.50 and up. (727) 791-7400.

SWINGIN' IN: Florida Orchestra

Florida Orchestra fans love Byron Stripling so much that he has essentially become an annual guest. The trumpeter and vocalist returns this weekend for "Ragtime, Blues and All That Jazz," wherein he'll perform numbers from Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong and more. Jeff Tyzik conducts. 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center in Tampa, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $18 and up. (727) 892-3337.

EN POINTE: LEs Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

It's enough that Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, a comic, all-male, drag ballet troupe, spoofs classics including Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. But where they really go over the top is when they go en pointe, something that male ballet dancers don't typically do. They'll bring their fun show to the Straz Center's Ferguson Hall on Friday at 7:30 p.m. $45.50 and up.


  1. Randy Rainbow will perform at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Saturday. Courtesy of Varela Media
    Plus, St. Petersburg Opera’s ‘Merry Widow’ and more.
  2. The cast of American Stage's production of "Vietgone" includes Sami Ma as Tong and Jeff Kim as Quang. Courtesy of Joey Clay Studio
    An immigrant story with voice offers a fresh perspective.
  3. On Saturday, J.B. Smoove will perform at Ferguson Hall, part of Tampa's Straz Center. RICHARD SHOTWELL  |  Invision/AP
    The comedian known for portraying Leon Black on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ likes to wing it. He hits the Straz Center’s Ferguson Hall on Saturday.
  4. The cast performs 'On The Deck Of A Spanish Sailing Ship, 1492' in the Stage West production of 'Songs for a New World', which will be presented Oct. 17-27. Pictured at top, from left: Paris Seaver, Anthony Agnelli and Nicki Poulis. Standing in front: Jay Garcia. Timothy Rooney
    See ‘Songs for a New World’ and other shows in the north Suncoast
  5. Wayne Brady will perform at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Sunday. Courtesy of Mahaffey Theater
    There’s Jeanne Robertson and an inventive Florida Orchestra collaboration, too.
  6. Emilee Dupre and Eric Davis star in Freefall Theatre's production of "The Turn of the Screw." Courtesy of Thee Photo Ninja
    A spooky, risk-filled performance will leave you with questions. | Review
  7. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" will roll through Tampa as part of the Straz Center's 2019-20 Broadway series. JOAN MARCUS  |  Straz Center
    ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ Roy Wood Jr., ‘Vietgone’ at American Stage, Piff the Magic Dragon and more.
  8. Music director Michael Francis leads the Florida Orchestra in the Star-Spangled Banner on Friday during the season-opening program at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. JAY CRIDLIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Friday’s opening night portrayed Tampa as a melting pot, delivering diverse pieces pulled from around the world. | Concert review
  9. Bernadette Peters is pictured at Radio City Music Hall in New York in 2015. CHARLES SYKES  |  AP
    Peters follows the likes of Sting and Seal playing with the orchestra.
  10. Aldo Lopez-Gavilan, shown performing "Rhapsody in Blue" with the Florida Orchestra at St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theater in January, will join the orchestra for its 2019-20 season-opening program this weekend. J.M. LENNON  |  Lennon Media
    Plus, SuicideGirls at Tampa Theatre and comedian Bryan Callen at Tampa Improv.