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What's happening on stage in Tampa Bay: The St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival is back

Pianist Igor Lovchinsky performs at the Palladium in downtown St. Petersburg on Tuesday. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg College]
Published Apr. 17

When American Stage stopped doing Shakespeare in the Park in favor of musicals, there was a void of the Bard in the 'Burg. Then, in 2015, a group of educators, writers, musicians and performers formed the St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival. They present two productions each year and return to Williams Park today with the comedy Much Ado About Nothing. It's the tale of Hero and Claudio, young lovers who secretly decide to set up their friends Beatrice and Benedick, who have a witty banter. The plan works, but not without complications. It is Shakespeare, after all, so jealousy, plotting and backstabbing ensue. Free. 8 p.m. Thursday through April 28. 350 Second Ave. N. stpeteshakesfest.org.

HE'S A BIT SHARP: Igor Lovchinsky

There are smart guys, brilliant guys, and then there are guys like Igor Lovchinsky. The 34-year-old Russian is an internationally recognized classical pianist who trained at Juilliard and has performed everywhere from the Kennedy Center to Carnegie Hall. He also happens to be a Harvard-educated physicist who has been published on topics like quantum metrology and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Don't ask us what any of that means. Ask him yourself when he performs works by Chopin, Gershwin and others who reflect his love of both classical and jazz piano at three local shows this weekend. 7 p.m. Friday at the Tampa Friends (Quaker meeting house), 1502 W Sligh Ave., Tampa, $20 and up; 3 p.m. Saturday at the Hudson Regional Library, 8012 Library Road, free; and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg, $22 and up. chopinproject.com.

WALTZ THIS WAY: Coffee Concerts

It's a dark weekend for the Florida Orchestra, but that doesn't mean you can't still get your waltz on. Next week's Coffee Concerts with conductor Daniel Black will feature brunch-sized bites of Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss in a program dubbed Taste of Vienna. 11 a.m. Wednesday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, and 11 a.m. April 25 at the Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg. Get there early for a conversation about the music at 10 a.m. $24 and up. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.

SUPPORT OUR TROOPS: VetArtSpan

The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts and the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital have teamed up to create VetArtSpan, a collaborative project that will bridge the medical, science and arts communities to support Tampa Bay veterans and their families. The program is part of Creative Forces, which is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U. S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The project not only brings cultural education to veterans, but arts providers seek to learn from veterans in order to build programs that will best serve their needs. The program includes multidisciplinary visual arts, podcast networking, digital video programs, veteran-civilian dialogues and an online artmaking resource. The Straz Center will expand their arts programs and will include a Veterans Riverwalk Art Exhibit.

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