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What's on stage this week: 'Forever Plaid,' 'Keely and Du,' 'Gnit'

Broadway star Lisa Vroman headlines the Florida Orchestra's tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Jan. 12-13, 2017. Times files.
Published Jan. 10, 2018

OPENING: KEELY AND DU

With 17 award-winning plays in 36 years, the writer under the pen name Jane Martin has become the "best unknown playwright in America." Now the new Innovocative Theatre in its second production has produced Martin's 1994 Pulitzer finalist, Keely and Du. The play centers on an oddly civil confrontation by anti-abortion kidnappers with a woman they are trying to influence.

As Innovocative's founder and artistic director Staci Sabarsky notes Martin's plays have tackled gender and race (Middle-Aged White Guys), school shootings (Good Boys), political dissent (Flags) and the rights of sex offenders (Mr. Bundy).

"Perhaps Martin's uncompromising examinations of our culture's hot-button issues themselves ultimately explain the playwright's long-term avoidance of the limelight," Sabarsky wrote in an email to the Times.

Opens Friday and runs through Jan. 21 at Stageworks Theatre, 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. $30-$35. A preview Thursday costs $15. (813) 374-2416. For show times, go to stageworkstheatre.org.

BLENDING: FOREVER PLAID

The premise of Forever Plaid, in which the ghosts of four teenagers killed in a car crash croon 1960s standards, hasn't gotten any less odd. But neither have those glorious doo-wop harmonies faded when entrusted to the right pipes. The latest incarnation has returned for an eight-week engagement to give fans more Moments to Remember. Opens Friday and runs through March 11 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Jaeb Theater, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $42. (813) 229-7827. For show times, go to strazcenter.org.

EXPLORING: GNIT

Tampa Repertory Theater presents its second show of the season this week with Will Eno's Gnit. The story about a traveler's comical journey of self-discovery is an American take on Ibsen's Peer Gynt. C. David Frankel, Tampa Rep's producing artistic director, directs this show. Runs Friday through Jan. 28 at the University of South Florida's Studio 120, 3837 USF Holly Drive. $25, $20 seniors and students. A preview Thursday costs $14. For show times, go tamparep.org/gnit.

REMEMBERING: RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN

The Florida Orchestra's pops concert, Rodgers and Hammerstein, by definition should be a feel-good thrill package. The exclamation point is soprano Lisa Vroman, a Broadway veteran who has starred in Aspects of Love, Les Misérables, The Threepenny Opera, West Side Story and many more. Concerts start at 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center in Tampa, and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. $15-$45.

Also this weekend, a string quartet from the orchestra celebrates African-American composers and arrangers, including Florence Price, Duke Ellington and George Walker. The Sunday concert precedes a candlelight vigil remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, 2240 Ninth Ave S, St. Petersburg. Pay what you can. (Limited space, so arrive early.) (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.

MOVING: LOTS OF DANCE

In its winter concert, the Moving Current Dance Collective celebrates 20 years in Tampa with works by Cynthia Hennessy, its director, plus choreographers Douglas Gillespie of New York, Kyle Sorensen and Gina Bolles Sorensen of San Diego, and Jack Clark of St. Petersburg. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, at the University of South Florida's Theatre 2, 3829 W Holly Drive, Tampa. $20, $15 students, seniors and military. (813)237-0216. info@movingcurrent.com.

Beacon 2018 represents the third annual concert by local dancers and choreographers. Co-producers Helen Hansen French and Lauren Ree Slone have assembled the largest cast yet with their own work and that of Kellie Harmon, Paula Kramer, Charlotte Johnson and more. 8 p.m. Friday at the Palladium Theatre, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $25-$35, $10 students. (727) 822-3590. mypalladium.org.

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