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What's happening on Tampa Bay stages: Rocktopia, 'Avenue Q'

RELATIONSHIP DRAMA: Hedda

If you think you know Henrik Ibsen's Hedda, a new adaptation at Jobsite Theater might surprise you. British playwright Lucy Kirkwood brought the tale into the 21st century, not just through setting, but by exploring the anti-heroine's choices through the lens of a modern woman. Hedda is the tale of a woman mourning the loss of her father, stuck in a loveless marriage and pregnant with a baby she doesn't want. She feels trapped by her life but too afraid to change it. Now set in modern Notting Hill, Kirkwood mixes it up with twists and updates and frees the characters from the shackles of 19th century costumes. It will provoke us to question how much women's roles have changed. Opens Friday and runs through June 2. $29.50. Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInness Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. For showtimes, visit strazcenter.org.

BABS' BASEMENT: Buyer and Cellar

Have you heard about Barbra Streisand's infamous basement in her Malibu home? She converted it to look like an old-timey street lined with shops, including one to house her not-creepy-at-all collection of dolls. It's the setting of the one-man show at Freefall Theatre, Buyer and Cellar. Alex More, a struggling actor in Los Angeles, takes a job working in this "mall," and one day, Babs comes down to play. The absurdist comedy takes a look at the solitude of celebrity, the relationships between gay men and divas and the underlying sadness of narcissism. Opens Saturday and runs through June 9. $29.50-$52.50. 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 498-5205. For showtimes, visit freefalltheatre.com.

MONSTER SMASH: Avenue Q

If Avenue Q came along today, it'd be interesting to see how audiences would react. The list of song titles alone doesn't look all that great in 2019's cancel culture: If You Were Gay, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist, The Internet Is for Porn. Then again, What Do You Do With a B.A. in English? might be more relevant than ever. The world's still as scary as it seemed to Princeton back in 2003, and the warped puppet fantasies of Avenue Q are still speaking to audiences smitten by Kate Monster, Gary Coleman and their brethren. The music, penned by double EGOT winner Robert Lopez (Frozen, The Book of Mormon, Coco), helps a lot. The Eight O'Clock Theatre production runs at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and May 17-18, and 2 p.m. Sunday and May 19. $28.50 and up. Central Park Performing Arts Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. (727) 587-6793. largoarts.com.

CLASSICAL ROCK: Rocktopia

Mash your Zeppelin with your Handel, your Journey with your Mozart, and boom: You've got Rocktopia, the classical-rock chimera that has devoured stages from Broadway to Budapest. The production is epic in scope, with a five-person band, 20-piece orchestra and 30-person choir backing an array of top vocalists. Imagine Trans-Siberian Orchestra without the yuletide overtones, and you're in the ballpark. Bonus: The production coming to Tampa next week features a local connection in singer Chloe Lowery, a Largo native who has sung with TSO and Yanni. $35 and up. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Morsani Hall at the Straz Center.

LGBTQ+ STORIES: The Equality Festival

2019 is an important year for the LGBTQ community, as it marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Suffice to say, St. Pete's Pride Festival, which is already Florida's largest, will be extra special this year. In anticipation of Pride, the Dramatists Guild is presenting the Equality Festival, staged readings of plays that celebrate LGBTQ stories and characters at three theaters in St. Petersburg. It benefits Equality Florida, a civil rights organization to protect the LGBTQ community. Free. 7 p.m. Monday at American Stage, 163 Third St. N, and the Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S, 7 p.m. Tuesday again at American Stage and Freefall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave.

POPS FOR MOM: Florida Orchestra

Here's your one and only tip: Do not make Mom pack her own picnic basket. Beyond that, you've got a ready-made Mother's Day evening that's fit for the whole fam when the Florida Orchestra stages its popular free Pops in the Park concerts on Friday and Sunday. There will be an instrument petting zoo for kids and a canned food drive benefiting Tampa Bay Harvest. Daniel Black conducts. 7:30 p.m. Friday at Coachman Park, Clearwater; 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, Tampa. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.

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