Andrea Bocelli, 'Phantom of the Opera' and Cirque du Soleil are all in town for Valentine's Day

Andrea Bocelli, shown here in Florence, Italy, at an event benefitting his foundation in 2015, will perform at the Amalie Arena on Feb.14, 2018. Photo by Andrew Goodman.
Andrea Bocelli, shown here in Florence, Italy, at an event benefitting his foundation in 2015, will perform at the Amalie Arena on Feb.14, 2018. Photo by Andrew Goodman.
Published Feb. 9, 2018


Superstar Andrea Bocelli and Broadway legend Kristin Chenoweth team up again, the conclusion of a three-city tour. This time it's a crossover trio with soprano Nadine Sierra, a 2009 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions who made waves in her debut at the Met in 2015. Make it a Valentine's date at 8 p.m. Feb. 14 at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $88 and up. (813) 301-6500.


With new design and staging to add to a resurgent appeal, The Phantom of the Opera returns to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts for a 12-day engagement. The stars seem to have aligned with producer Cameron Mackintosh, director Laurence Connor (who co-directed the latest tour of Les Misérables) and those amazing costumes by Maria Bjornson. Meanwhile, Broadway's longest-running show will soon celebrate 30 years. Runs Feb. 14-Feb. 25 at the Straz Center, Morsani Hall, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $40 and up. (813) 229-7827. For showtimes, go to


Cirque du Soleil is back, this time under their "big top" tent at the Tampa Greyhound Track. The brand-new show Volta features BMX riders, former street performers who do acrobatics while skipping rope, and gymnasts swinging out over the audience. The story follows a successful game show host whose life changes after he encounters the "Free Spirits."

"It's really about celebrating the difference," Michael Smith, Cirque's artistic director, told the Times. "Every single one of us has a difference. And finding your genius and celebrating that is really how you find satisfaction in life." Opens Feb. 14 and runs through March 18 at the Tampa Greyhound Track, 8300 N Nebraska Ave. $37 and up. (877) 924-7783. For showtimes, go to

Look for more on Cirque du Soleil in next week's Weekend.


Tony winner Laura Benanti (for best actress in a musical), who brings her cabaret act to the Straz Center this week, was a self-described ugly duckling. Growing up in New Jersey, she never tired of Sondheim soundtracks and struggled with a secret shyness.

"I put up a good facade in order to try and fit in," Benanti told the Times in an email. "But there were times I simply couldn't and it was so clear that I was the odd person out!"

She's coming off a two-month run of Steve Martin's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? parody, Meteor Shower with Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key and Jeremy Shamos. "I relish any chance to play an out-of-the-box character," she says. "I loved that show so much and was delighted to work with such a brilliant cast."

Benanti dropped a dead-on impersonation following the 2016 Republican convention of Melania Trump, and says she has a soft spot for the first lady. "I try and identify with all people, especially someone I am 'playing,'?" she says. "I have empathy for her for sure."

The cabaret show starts at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Straz Center's Ferguson Hall. $35.50 and up. (813) 229-7827.


Trekkies and Star Wars buffs join forces this weekend in the Florida Orchestra's pops concert, The Music of Star Trek and Star Wars. The concert has surely brought back memories for music director Michael Francis, who played double bass with the London Symphony Orchestra on two Star Wars soundtracks, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, conducted by John Williams in the Abbey Road Studios. Starts at 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center in Tampa, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $15-$45. (727) 892-3337.

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Stageworks Theatre opens Brownsville Song (B-side for Tray), a new play by Kimber Lee about an 18-year-old and his African-American family. Based on true events, the play delves into strength amid a tragedy. Runs Friday-Feb. 25 at 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. $30. (813) 374-2416.


Jobsite Theater's The Tempest extended its run and now will now goes through Feb. 18 at the Straz Center. $29.50. (813) 229-7827.