FLORIDA ORCHESTRA: MICHAEL LYNCHE RETURNS
The Florida Orchestra brings St. Petersburg native Michael Lynche back for its Holiday Pops concert. A former football standout at Gibbs High and the University of Central Florida, Lynche, 35, made a bigger splash as an American Idol finalist than have many winners. He last took the stage with the orchestra in an April concert toasting R&B legends. Jeff Tyzik conducts musicians and the Unlimited Gospel Expressions choir. $18-$48. 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday in St. Petersburg; and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.
COFFEE CONCERT: AUDIENCE CHOICE
The orchestra's musicians and conductor Stuart Malina will show up to play in a pair of coffee concerts, but what they play is up to you. Will the opera segment be Rossini's The Barber of Seville or Orpheus in the Underworld? Tchaikovsky also shows up on the menu. But which one — Swan Lake or the Nutcracker March? In Orchestra a la Carte, you get to decide. $24 and up. 11 a.m. Dec. 19 at Ruth Eckerd Hall and 11 a.m. Dec. 20 at the Mahaffey. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.
THAT SOUND: EVAN TYRONE MARTIN
An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas brings Chicago actor Evan Tyrone Martin to the Jaeb Theater. Martin has been turning heads in musical theater for years, and has an uncanny ability to replicate the inimitable crooner of Mona Lisa, The Christmas Song, Unforgettable and more. $60 and up. Thursday through Sunday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. For show times, go to strazcenter.org.
ST. PETERSBURG OPERA: SEASONAL SPARKLE
On top of the visiting singers, the St. Petersburg Opera draws from a deep well of local talent. Those soloists and choral performers anchor Seasonal Sparkle, a holiday concert for all seasons. Selections include Handel's Messiah, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker and operatic tributes to the sun, moon and universe. $20 and up. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Palladium Theatre, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 822-3590. stpeteopera.org.
FIRST OF MANY: LA HABLADA
Stageworks Theatre wants La Hablada, a spoken word event for Spanish language artists, to go quarterly. The idea, the theater says, is to "encourage our Spanish-speaking community to come out and participate, support, and be entertained." Pay what you can. 7 p.m. Sunday. 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Suite 151, Tampa. (813) 374-2416. For show times, go to stageworkstheatre.org.
NOT RELATED: CIRQUE MUSICA
It must irk Cirque. Three days before Cirque du Soleil brings Crystal to the Amalie Arena, an American company, Cirque Musica, brings its own "unforgettable visuals and amazing acrobats," aerialists and more to Tampa. Cirque Musica adds a classical touch to its daring acts, emphasizing its orchestra as part of a "full sensory experience." Wonderland is its holiday show, one of four in circulation.
It would be hard to trademark "Cirque," given that it's French for "circus." French companies called Cirque-something date back to at least the 1870s, whereas Cirque du Soleil was founded in Montreal in 1984. "Cirque" companies founded in the United States include Cirque Berserk (2004), Cirque de Flambe (mid-1990s) and Cirque de la Symphonie (2005). Wonderland tickets start at $25. 7 p.m. Sunday at the Yuengling Center, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (800) 745-3000. yuenglingcenter.com.