What’s happening on Tampa Bay stages: Adam Sandler, Laughs for the Troops, Little Black Dress

We map out some highlights of the Straz Center’s 2019-20 season, too.
Published June 26


If you could travel back in time to 1996 and inform the world that Keanu Reeves would be the most intriguing actor of the summer and Adam Sandler would be in the middle of a grand critical re-evaluation, would anyone have believed you? Yet here we are in 2018, with John Wick punching up Twitter every day, and the Sandman on a comedic hot streak. First came last fall’s 100% Fresh, his celebrated first standup special in more than 20 years, which featured an eye-openingly sincere tribute to his late friend Chris Farley. Then came his first-ever gig hosting Saturday Night Live, where he resurrected his beloved old character Opera Man. Now he’s embarking on his biggest tour ever. Many will tell you that Sandler never went away; his dramatic work in Punch-Drunk Love and The Wedding Singer has always had supporters. But something just feels right about this comeback, if you want to call it that, like he’s starting to remember why so many people liked him in the first place. If he keeps it up, someday he might once again be as omnipresent as Keanu. His new tour features an opening slot from old buddy Rob Schneider. $33.75 and up. 8 p.m. Saturday. Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500. amaliearena.com.

THE BEST MEDICINE: Laughs for the Troops

Comedy is supposed to make you feel better, right? Well, here’s one way it can do that even if you can’t make the show. Laughs for the Troops is a Riverview nonprofit that aims to help veterans and first responders through laughter, especially those dealing with PTSD. They’ve got a show with Thomas Brown, Happy Cole, Tommy Drake, Phil Palisoul and Consuela Ivy. And if you can’t make it, you can purchase a ticket to be donated to a veteran — and Laughs for the Troops will match it with three more seats for their family. $30 and up. 8 p.m. Saturday. David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. laughsforthetroops.org.

LADIES NIGHT: Little Black Dress

We’ve all seen ladies out on the town for a bachelorette party. They wear sashes proclaiming it, the bachelorette sporting a veil and toting phallic toys. They take over the club, doing shots and dancing on the bar. By now, the bachelorette party phenomenon is cliche, making it ripe for spoofing. And that’s just what the musical party Little Black Dress does. The ladies gleefully sing about getting wasted, go to a male revue and cleverly use audience participation for an improvisational element. Grab a group of girlfriends and whoop it up. $30 and up. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Straz Center.


After previously announcing Broadway, Opera Tampa and Jobsite Theatre offerings for the 2019-20 season, the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts announced its full lineup, including musical performances, comedy, guest speakers and family favorites. Among the highlights are John Tesh: Songs and Stories from the Grand Piano (Feb. 28); astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson (April 17); comedian and actor Nick Offerman (Dec. 7); Pursuit of the Black Panther with photographer Shannon Wild, part of the National Geographic Live series (Jan. 21); Diavolo Dance Theatre: Architecture in Motion (Oct. 25); and Lippo the Clown’s Small Family Circus (Feb. 8). Other events include the Broadway Ball (Oct. 19); the free Broadway and opera concert Straz Live in the Park (Nov. 3); Taste at the Straz (April 4); and Opera Tampa’s Grand Gala (May 2). Single tickets for most events go on sale on Aug. 9 at strazcenter.org.